Chinese Annexation of Tibet

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AP Photo/Ng Han Guan
A Chinese military officer visits the square near the Potala Palace in Lhasa, western China's Tibet
Province, July 28, 2007. Tibet's history is steeped in dispute.

Modern Political History of Tibet

In the popular consciousness, Tibet is a mystical, spiritually and culturally rich land of sublime natural beauty, beset with social unrest and political turmoil. And its exiled leader, the 14th Dalai Lama, is of the world’s most charismatic and influential social activists. Learn about the modern political history of Tibet, the debate surrounding Tibetan freedom and the future of Tibet.

History of Tibet

Tibet was once a great military power that “carved for itself a huge empire in Central ... read more »

Chinese Annexation of Tibet

In the early 1950s, China invaded Tibet, enforcing its claim to ownership of the region. The signing of the Seventeen-Point Agreement, the Chinese “liberation” of Tibet and the establishment of military and administrative headquarters in Tibet by the People’s Republic are controversial events that shaped the course of Tibet’s history over the second half of the 20th century. Learn more about the Chinese annexation of Tibet using the resources below.

Top Sites for the Chinese Annexation of Tibet

The Office of Tibet in London presents a white paper entitled, “Invasion and illegal annexation of Tibet: 1949-1951.” The piece discusses the conditions surrounding the Tibetan signing of the Seventeen-Point Agreement, a document affirming Chinese sovereignty over Tibet, as well as the events that transpired during China’s invasion.

The New York Times published an opinion piece in 2008 by Elliot Sperling, director of the Tibetan Studies program at Indiana University, in which he attempts to clarify the historical accuracy of Tibet’s assertion that it is, and always has been, an autonomous country, and China’s assertion that Tibet has been a Chinese province since it was conquered by the Mongols.

PBS Frontline’s “Dreams of Tibet” page presents links to a variety of documents discussing the impact of China in Tibet.
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Tibet Today

Protests surrounding the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games brought renewed attention to Tibet, and ... read more »

Free Tibet Movement

The Dalai Lama and advocates of Tibetan political sovereignty maintain that since the 1951 invasion ... read more »

The Future of Tibet

Activists advocate for Tibetan sovereignty, and the Chinese government argues that life for ... read more »

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