According to pre-1949 official documents, Tibet was never a part of China before the People’s Republic of China (PRC) invaded the Himalayan province in 1950. These historical documents completely refute China’s long-standing claim to Tibet.
This is one of the results of a recent publication of a multi-year cooperative historical study endeavour. On June 23, the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China heard the project’s conclusions.
Hon-Shiang Lau, Retired Chair Professor, City University of Hong Kong, in his testimony before the Commission said, “China’s pre-1949 official historical records clearly show that, before the PRC invaded Tibet in 1950, Tibet was never part of China. Sadly, today many governments incorrectly believe this ridiculous lie, and this is part of the reason why many western democracies fail to provide adequate support for upholding Tibet’s sovereignty,”. Additionally, he displayed maps from the Ming and Qing periods to demonstrate that Tibet was never a part of the Chinese empire and that the PRC’s claims to be able to acquire Tibet and thereby unify China are unfounded.
He pointed out that this theme is supported by two key foundational ideas. 1. Foundation A: “There is an abundance of authentic and reliable pre-1949 Chinese official historical records. The PRC-version of “Chinese history” is very different from the version of “Chinese history” reflected in these pre-1949 official Chinese records, and 2. Foundation B: “we use a comprehensive range of objective criteria to examine whether Tibet was part of China. Thus, to judge whether Tibet was part of China during China’s Ming dynasty, we use official classical Chinese records to examine”.
Michael van Walt van Praag, a professor of international law and the executive chairman of Kreddha, was another witness who made it abundantly evident that Tibet was not historically a part of China and refuted their assertion that Tibet has been theirs from ancient times. In addition to this, the lecturer charged that the US and the rest of the world were adopting China’s version of history, which maintains that Tibet has always been a part of China. He said “Contrary to what the People’s Republic of China claims and to what many people take for granted, Tibet was historically not a part of China. This is one of the outcomes of a multiyear collaborative historical research project that I recently completed and published.This is relevant and requires our attention because the PRC government has made an agreement on its version of history a precondition to Sino-Tibetan negotiations, which have been in deadlock now for 12 years. More fundamentally, the PRC bases its entitlement to Tibet solely on its assertion that Tibet has been an integral part of China since antiquity. Whether or not Tibet was historically a part of China, therefore, determines whether the PRC has the legitimacy to rule Tibet or not. And that, in turn, informs the international community’s obligations and responsibilities regarding the Sino-Tibetan conflict,”.
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