June 22, 2006
Mongols vs. the Chinese in Tibet
From The Pundits: British Exploration of Tibet & Central Asia, by Derek Waller. 1990 (paperback, 2004). The University Press of Kentucky, ISBN 0-8131-1666-X.
At the time of the establishment of the Qing (or Manchu) dynasty in China in 1644, Lhasa was ruled by Mongols from the Koko Nor area. They built up the Dalai Lama as a religious power, and it was the Dalai Lama who also began to assume secular authority following the death of the Mongol leader in 1655. His policies were generally in accordance with those of the Qing, particularly the policy of keeping a rein on the hostile Dzungarian Mongols of the Ili region. But with the demise of the Dalai Lama in 1682, a complex dispute arose around the question of his successor, intertwined with the possibility of a Mongol reunification under Tibetan auspices threatening the power of the Qing emperor. In 1717, the Dzungarian Mongols invaded Tibet. At first welcoming the invaders, the population soon turned against them and sought assistance from the Chinese in expelling them. The Emperor Kangxi was only too happy to oblige and sent an army to Tibet, which was roundly defeated by the Mongols in 1718. A second, larger Chinese force was more successful and occupied Lhasa in 1720. The Chinese army was warmly received as the savior from the Mongols and the restorer of the new Dalai Lama to his rightful position. The foundation of Chinese suzerainty over Tibet had been laid in a masterful manner, and with the cooperation of the Tibetans themselves.
Read my review of Trespassers on the roof of the world by Peter Hopkirk for more on China, Britain and Tibet in the early part of the 20th century.Posted by anoop at June 22, 2006 05:15 PM