In the autumn of 1911, revolution took place in China's interior, overthrowing the 270-year-old rule of the Qing Dynasty and establishing the Republic of China.

Wu Zhongxin, chief of the Commission for Mongolian
and Tibetan Affairs of the Republic of China, and
the current Dalai Lama before his installation
ceremony in 1940. (File Photo)

Upon its founding, the Republic of China declared itself a unified republic of the Han, Manchu, Mongol, Hui, Tibetan and other ethnic groups. In his inauguration statement on January 1, 1912, Sun Yat-sen, the provisional first president of the Republic of China, declared to the world: "The foundation of the country lies in the people, and the unification of lands inhabited by the Han, Manchu, Mongol, Hui and Tibetan people into one country means the unification of the Han, Manchu, Mongol, Hui and Tibetan into one people. It is called national unification."

In March, the Nanjing-based provisional senate of the Republic of China promulgated the republic's first constitution, the Provisional Constitution of the Republic of China, in which it was clearly stipulated that Tibet was a part of the territory of the Republic of China.

When the Chinese Kuomintang formed the national government in 1927 in Nanjing and held the national assembly in 1931, both the 13th Dalai Lama and the ninth Bainqen Erdeni sent representatives.

After the Nanjing national government was set up, a Commission for Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs was established in 1929 to handle the administrative affairs of the Tibetans, Mongolians and other ethnic minorities.

Despite the fact that incessant foreign aggression and civil wars weakened the central government of the Republic of China, it continued to grant honorific titles to the Dalai Lama and the Bainqen Erdeni. On many occasions the Dalai Lama and the Bainqen Erdeni expressed their support for national unification and for the central government.

The death of the 13th Dalai Lama in December 1933 was reported to the central government by the Tibetan local government in the traditional manner. The national government sent a special envoy to Tibet for the memorial ceremony.

The local Tibetan government also followed the age-old system in reporting to the central government all the procedures that should be followed in the search for the reincarnation of the late 13th Dalai Lama.

The present 14th Dalai Lama was born in Qinghai province. Originally named Lhamo Toinzhub, he was selected as one of the incarnate boys at age 2. After receiving a report submitted by the local Tibetan government in 1939, the central government ordered the Qinghai authorities to send troops to escort him to Lhasa.

After an inspection tour in Lhasa by Wu Zhongxin, chief of the Commission for Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs, in 1940, Chiang Kai-shek, then head of the central government, approved Tibetan Regent Razheng's request to waive the lot-drawing convention, and the chairman of the national government issued an official decree conferring the title of the 14th Dalai Lama on Lhamo Toinzhub.

People's Republic of China

The People's Republic of China was founded in 1949. In January 1950, the central government formally notified the local authorities of Tibet to "send delegates to Beijing to negotiate the peaceful liberation of Tibet".

The central government's adherence to the policy of peaceful negotiations greatly supported and inspired the patriotic forces in Tibet.

The 14th Dalai Lama (front) and the 10th Bainqen
Erdeni cast their ballots for the drafting of the
constitution during the first session of the first
National People's Congress in 1954 in Beijing.
(File Photo)

On May 23, 1951, the Agreement of the Central People's Government and the Local Government of Tibet on Measures for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet (also known as the 17-Article Agreement) was signed after the delegates of the central people's government and the Tibetan local government agreed on a series of questions concerning Tibet's peaceful liberation.

On the celebration feast for signing the agreement
of the peaceful liberation of Tibet, Chinese Presider
Mao Zedong is talking with 10th Panchen Erdini and
Ngapoi Ngawang Jigme friendly.

A conference of all ecclesiastic and secular officials and representatives of the three most prominent monasteries was called by the local Tibetan government between Sept 26 and 29, 1951, to discuss the agreement. A report to the Dalai Lama was approved at the end of the conference.

It stated: "The 17-Article Agreement that has been signed is of great and unrivaled benefit to the grand cause of the Dalai and to Buddhism, politics, economy and other aspects of life in Tibet.

"Naturally, it should be implemented."