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mandala To share and promote interest in Tibetan culture, people and land

Chronology of Major Events Since Chinese Conquest

by Ivy Hsu
October, 1996
Chinese (BIG5) version

  • 1949 China's People's Daily Editorial proclaimed that "Chinese people must liberate Tibet".
  • 1950 China invaded Tibet.
      • Radio Beijing announced that "the tasks for the PLA for 1950 are to liberate Taiwan, Hainan, and Tibet".
      • Diplomatic efforts by the Tibetan government in seeking assistance from India led to no avail.
      • PLA occupied Chamdo.
  • 1951 Tibet delegation was forced to sign a "Seventeen-Point Agreement for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet" with the Communist government in Peking.
      • "The Tibetan people return to the embrace of the Motherland" - the agreement proclaimed Chinese sovereignty over Tibet.
      • China offered to maintain Tibet's regional autonomy and religious freedom.
  • 1951 PLA occupied Lhasa.
      • Food shortage and starvation later broke out in Lhasa due to the strain of army provisions.
  • 1954 Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama visited Beijing on invitation of Mao Zedong.
  • 1955-1956 Military resistance against Chinese occupation broke out in Chamdo.
  • 1959 China suppressed riots in support of Tibetan independence in Lhasa. Thousands of Tibetans were killed.
  • 1959 H. H. the Dalai Lama went into exile with about 100,000 Tibetans in India and other neighboring countries.
  • 1960 The Tibetan government-in-exile established its headquarters in Dharamsala, India.
  • 1961-1974 National Volunteer Defense Army carried out guerrilla resistance
      • The efforts had been partially aided by CIA and Indian government, for the intelligence gathered by the guerrillas and their strategic value during the Korean War. The CIA assistance was stopped after Kissinger's secret visit to Beijing in 1971.
  • 1964 Panchen Lama was prosecuted.
      • Panchen Lama submitted a "70,000 Character Petition" to Chou En-Lai in early 1960s. As the result he was subjected to a 50-day struggle session in Lhasa and later sent to Beijing under a 14-year detention.
  • 1965 Beijing established Tibet Autonomous Region.
  • 1965-1972 Massive Destruction during the Cultural Revolution
      • Most of Tibet's 6,000 monasteries were destroyed.
      • Thousands of monks were tortured and killed in reform camps.
  • 1982-1984 Negotiation between Beijing and the Tibetan Government-in-Exile.
      • Formal delegations were sent to Beijing in 1982 and 1984.
  • 1984 China began massive population transfer to Tibet.
  • 1987-1989 Bloody suppression of multiple pro-independence demonstration in Lhasa.
      • Beijing declared martial law in Tibet for one year.
  • 1988 Dalai Lama delivered an important address at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
      • For the first time publicly he laid out his willingness to accept something less than independence for Tibet.
  • 1989 H.H. the Dalai Lama was awarded Nobel Peace Price.
      • Citing his "constructive and forward-looking proposals for the solution of international conflicts, human issues and global environmental problems," the Nobel Committee awarded him the Peace Prize.
  • 1989 The 10th Panchen Lama passed away.
      • The Panchen Lama was fully restored to his former position only in 1988.
  • 1995 Dalai Lama recognized the 11th Panchen Lama. Beijing enthroned another candidate.
      • Tightened security was in place after the tension caused by this event.


  1. "In Exile from the Land of Snows: The Dalai Lama and Tibet Since the Chinese Conquest" by John F. Avedon.
  2. "Tibetan Portrait: The Power of Compassion" by Phil Borges
  3. (French translated into Chinese) "Tibet mort ou vif" by Pierre Antoine Donnet, translated by Ying-Shien Su.
  4. "Tibet, China and the United States: Reflections on the Tibet Question", Atlantic Council of the United States? occasional paper, by Melvyn C. Goldstein.