The Invasion of Tibet

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People's Liberation Army

The PLA troops prepare to enter Lhasa

17 Point Agreement

The 17 Article Agreement between Tibet and China

signing ceremony

the signing ceremony May 23, 1951

In 1950 the new Communist Chinese government invaded Tibet, asserting that Tibet was not an independent country but merely a part of China. Tibet asked for help from other nations, including the United States, but received none.

The small and poorly equipped Tibetan army (approximately 5000) was unable to provide effective resistance against the PLA (People's Liberation Army) and was completely killed or captured. The 14th Dalai Lama sent a delegation to Beijing to negotiate. The 17 Article Agreement marked the end of an independent Tibet.

Tibet asserted that it was and had always been a sovereign nation . In 1960 the International Commission of Jurists' Legal Enquiry Committee on Tibet reported that Tibet was correct. But there was a lack of political will in the international community to assist Tibet.


Part of When the Iron Bird Flies: The Disappearance of Tibet exhibit