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"17-Article Agreement" on Measures for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet
Beijing, 23 May 1951

1951/05/23

[Chinese]


The Agreement of the Central People's Government and the Local Government of Tibet
on Measures for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet

(Beijing, 23 May 1951)

The Tibetan ethnic group is one of the ethnic groups with a long history within the boundaries of China and, like many other ethnic groups, it has performed its glorious duty in the course of the creation and development of our great motherland. But over the last 100 years or more, imperialist forces penetrated into China, and in consequence also penetrated into the Tibetan region and carried out all kinds of deceptions and provocations. Like previous reactionary governments, the Kuomintang reactionary government continued to carry out a policy of oppressing and sowing dissension among the ethnic groups, causing division and disunity among the Tibetan people. And the local government of Tibet did not oppose the imperialist deceptions and provocations, and adopted an unpatriotic attitude towards our great motherland. Under such conditions, the Tibetan ethnic group and people were plunged into the depths of enslavement and suffering.

In 1949, basic victory was achieved on a nationwide scale in the Chinese People's War of Liberation; the common domestic enemy of all ethnic groups-the Kuomintang reactionary government-was overthrown; and the common foreign enemy of all the ethnic groups--the aggressive imperialist forces-was driven out. On this basis, the founding of the People's Republic of China and of the Central People's Government was announced. In accordance with the Common Program passed by the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the Central people's Government declared that all ethnic groups within the boundaries of the People's Republic of China are equal, and that they shall establish unity and mutual aid and oppose imperialism and their own public enemies, so that the People's Republic of China will become a big fraternal and cooperative family, composed of all its ethnic groups; that within the big family of all ethnic groups of the People's Republic of China, national regional autonomy shall be exercised in areas where national minorities are concentrated, and all national minorities shall have freedom to develop their spoken and written languages and to preserve or People's Government shall assist all ethnic minorities to develop their political, economic, cultural and educational construction work. Since then, all ethnic groups within the country, with the exception of those in the areas of Tibet and Taiwan, have gained liberation. Under the unified leadership of the Central People's Government and the direct leadership of higher levels of People's Governments, all ethnic minorities are full enjoying the right of national equality and have established, or are establishing, national regional autonomy.

In order that the influences of aggressive imperialist forces in Tibet might be successfully eliminated, the unification of the territory and sovereignty of the People's Republic of China accomplished, and national defense safeguarded; in order that the Tibetan ethnic group and people might be freed and return to the big family of the People's Republic of China to enjoy the same rights of national equality as all the other ethnic groups in the country and develop their political, economic, cultural and educational work, the Central People's Government, when it ordered the People's Liberation Army to march into Tibet, notified the local government of Tibet to send delegates to the central authorities to conduct talks for the conclusion of an agreement on measures for the peaceful liberation of Tibet.

In the latter part of April 1951, the delegates with full powers of the local government of Tibet arrived in Beijing. The Central People's Government appointed representatives with full powers to conduct talks on a friendly basis with the delegates with full powers of the local government of Tibet. As a result of these talks, both parties agreed to conclude this agreement and guarantee that it will be carried into effect.

1. The Tibetan people shall unite and drive out imperialist aggressive forces from Tibet; the Tibetan people shall return to the big family of the motherland-the People's Republic of China.

2. The local government of Tibet shall actively assist the People's Liberation Army to enter Tibet and consolidate the national defense.

3.In accordance with the policy towards ethnic groups laid down in the Common Program of the CPPCC, the Tibetan people have the right of exercising national regional autonomy under the unified leadership of the Central People's Government.

4. The central authorities will not alter the existing political system in Tibet. The central authorities also will not alter the established status, functions and powers of the Dalai Lama. Officials of various ranks shall hold office as usual.

5. The established status, functions and powers of the Panchen Erdeni shall be maintained.

6. By the established status, functions and powers of the Dalai Lama and of the Panchen Erdeni are meant the status, functions and powers of the 13th Dalai Lama and of the 9th Panchen Erdeni when they were in friendly and amicable relations with each other.

7. The policy of freedom of religious belief laid down in the Common Program of the CPPCC shall be carried out. The religious beliefs, customs and habits of the Tibetan people shall be respected, and lama monasteries shall be protected. The central authorities will not effect a change in the income of the monasteries.

8. Tibetan troops shall be reorganized by stages into the People's Liberation Army, and become a part of the national defense forces of the People's Republic of China.

9. The spoken and written language and school education of the Tibetan ethnic group shall be developed step by step in accordance with the actual conditions in Tibet.

10. Tibetan agriculture, livestock raising, industry and commerce shall be developed step by step, and the people's livelihood shall be improved step by step in accordance with the actual conditions in Tibet.

11. In matters related to various reforms in Tibet, there will be no compulsion on the part of the central authorities. The local government of Tibet should carry out reforms of its own accord, and when the people raise demands for reform, they shall be settled by means of consultation with the leading personnel of Tibet.

12. In so far as former pro-imperialist and pro-Kuomintang officials resolutely sever relations with imperialism and the Kuomintang and do not engage in sabotage or resistance, they may continue to hold office irrespective of their past.

13. The People's Liberation Army entering Tibet shall abide by all the above-mentioned policies and shall also be fair in all buying and selling and shall not arbitrarily take a single needle or thread from the people.

14. The Central People's Government shall conduct the centralized handling of all external affairs of the area of Tibet; and there will be peaceful co-existence with neighboring countries and establishment and development of fair commercial and trading relations with them on the basis of equality, mutual benefit and mutual respect for territory and sovereignty.

15. In order to ensure the implementation of this agreement, the Central People's Government shall set up a military and administrative committee and a military area headquarters in Tibet, and apart from the personnel sent there by the Central People's Government shall absorb as many local Tibetan personnel as possible to take part in the work.

Local Tibetan personnel taking part in the military and administrative committee may include patriotic elements from the local government of Tibet, various districts and leading monasteries; the name-list shall be drawn up after consultation between the representatives designated by the Central People's Government and the various quarters concerned, and shall be submitted to the Central People's Government for appointment.

16. Funds needed by the military and administrative committee, the military area headquarters and the People's Liberation Army entering Tibet shall be provided by the Central People's Government. The local government of Tibet will assist the People's Liberation Army in the purchase and transport of food, fodder and other daily necessities.

17. This agreement shall come into force immediately after signatures and seals are affixed to it.

Signed and sealed by:

 

Delegates with full powers
of the Central People's Government:

Delegates with full powers
of the local government of Tibet:

 

Chief Delegate: 

Li Weihan

 

Delegates:

Zhang Jingwu
Zhang Guohua
Sun Zhiyuan

 

 

Chief Delegate: 

Galoon Ngapoi Ngwang Jigmei

 

Delegates:

Kemey Soinam Wangdui
Tubdain Dainda
Tubdain Lemoin
Sangpo Tainzin Toinzhub

 

Beijing, May 23, 1951

 

 

 


YouTube

"Tibet Diary" of 2 American Visitors to Tibet Autonomous Region of China

Episode 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNeGcLoPFow

Episode 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQOzHDob5gw

Episode 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5MdCMs0NUk

Episode 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEHrIRrOXTA

Episode 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DL_kaiauMnk

Episode 6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkprHNIItNU

 


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