History of Qinghai (青海) Province / East Tibet (3) Qing Dynasty
This page was last updated on: July 10, 2017
Qinghai Province of China
Historic Map - China (Qing) Empire in 1910 AD
An obviously non-Chinese but western-inspired and made Map of the Ching Dynasty Chinese Empire in the year 1910 AD, a year in which China's sovereignty has been under threat and siege for over 70 years.
In this Map of 1910 AD, made one year before the abdication of Last Ching Emperor Xuan Tong and the final end of China's Feudal History, China is depicted as in it's smallest boundaries and definition. Most notably Manchuria, and Inner Mongolia, both territories nominally under Chinese Control and under Chinese Sovereignty are depicted as separate area's. Manchuria is the ancestral home of the Aisin-Gioro Clan of the Ching Dynasty.
Other interesting features of the Map and geography of the Time : after the Sino-Japanese war of 1899 AD, both Korea and the Island of Formosa (now Taiwan / ROC) have been annexed by the Japanese Empire.
Treaty Ports, around 80 in total dot the Map of China.
The 5Th Dalai Lama - a man now recognized as the third great person in Tibetan History after King Songtsan Gamp and Tsongkhapa founder and ruler of the Yellow Hat Sect - had payed a court visit to Beijing under the 1st True Qing Emperor Shunzi (1652 AD) .The 5Th Dalai Lama stayed at Court in Beijing for two Months, teaching in Tibetan-Buddhism and Establishing close and warm Relations with the Manchu Qing, who were themselves followers of Tibetan Buddhism.
As a sign of the Manchu Qing overtures towards the Tibetans and sovreignty claims on Tibetan Territories, The Tibetans were officially listed as among the Five Main Ethnic Minorities of the Manchurian Empire of which China had already become a subordinary territory of.
The Tibetans on the other hand had little jearning to join this fate. Their country was a vital trading partner as well as a strategic region in the then Western Territories of China and Borders. To illustrate the great importance of the visit of the Tibetan Lama King over for instance the European visits, in advance of the arrival of the Dalai Lama in Beijing, a gigantic White Marble Dagoba was constructed within the Imperial Pleasure Park of Beihai, in clear sight of the Entire City and Imperial Palace Grounds. It still stands Today as a lasting Monument to the eventful visit and is well worth visiting as one of the most beautiful and scenic parts of that city today.
Again as stipulated by the Government of the Peoples Republic of China in the Section 'Tibet as an inseparable part of China' part of the document 'Tibet - The 'Roof of the World' , from the series China - Facts & Figures ; ISBN: 7-119-01259-2 / Z502 and Published by Beijing Foreign Language Press (BFL) in 1990 AD, Beijing :
Qinghai and Tibet during the Qing Dynasty(1644AD-1911AD):
Continuing from the Chinese Government Document 'Tibet as an inseparable part of China' states : "In the middle of the seventeenth century, the Qing Dynasty (1644AD - 1911AD) replaced the Ming Dynasty and strengthened the administration of Tibet. Emperors Shunzi and Kangxi (Reign: 1661 AD - 1722 AD) conferred in 1653 AD and 1713 AD the titles Dalai Lama and Bainqen Erdini (Panchen Lama) of the Gelugpa sect on the two Living Buddha's."
Near the end of the Qing Dynasty Era the government was no longer able to look after many of the needs in the nation. Foreign indemnities and corruption had bankrupted the nation, plagues and natural disasters, especially large flooding's of the Yellow River only added to the misery. As a result various revolts ravaged the nation. During the 19th Century no less than five wars and campaigns were waged against the Muslim Minorities in the West.
A first uprising in and around Lanzhou in current day Gansu Province and in the Tarim River Basin in 'Xinjiang' lasted no less than 8 years before it was quelled (1820 AD-1828 AD). Later there were multiple Muslim rebellions between 1855 AD and 1873 AD in Yunnan, Gansu and Shaanxi Province.
One of these revolts was a rising of the Islamic Hui in Gansu Province and neighboring Ningxia Region known as the Dungang Revolt (1864 AD – 1875 AD). Due to the fact that the rebels took Lanzhou the City as their main stronghold, the City was badly damaged in the uprising when Qing Armies descended on City and regions for what can today best be described as a campaign of Ethnic Clensing. The Rebel armies were decimated and those that didn't die scrambled out of the city heading West with Manchu Armies in pursuit.
As a result of the complete collapse of Chinese Society during the colonial infringement on China itself the remote and un-connected western regions were left in a situation where they were left to fend for themselves. Without railroads, roads or navigable rivers the regions Ningxia, Gansu, Tibet and Xinjiang especially had been started to be regarded as satellite 'states' of the Chinese heartlands, any many Colonial Nations (Russia, Japan, Britain, Germany, USA) were increasingly interested in expanding their influence in the Regions. In accordance with these ambitions many exploratory missions to The West were made by various renowned travelers and discoverers. Among them were well-known Men such as Sven Hedin, Aurel Stein, various Russian Parties, Britons and the lone German Heinrich Harrer. Notably, the Russian explorer Gombojab Tsybikov was the first person to make photographs in and around Lhasa, residing in that City during in 1900 and 1901 AD. He did so with the aid of the thirteenth Dalai Lama's Russian courtier Agvan Dorjiyev.
Meanwhile both local leaderships, Hui, Tibetan and Uyghur prepared for moves to emancipate themselves and their peoples.
"From then on the positions of Dalai and Bainqen were confirmed by the Central Regime (I.e. the Chinese EmperorconfirmedtheTitlesmuchafterthechoiceshadbeenmadeinTibetautonomously)".
By the Time of the Qianlong Emperor (Reign 1735 - 1796 AD) of the Qing Dynasty (1644 AD - 1911 AD) the Shanxi Merchants and their various monopolies had made Shanxi Province the wealthiest province of the prospering nation, together owning far more cash money in silver teals than there were contained within the Imperial Coffers. The Emperor was almost a beggar in comparison and thus the Bankers held much sway behind the scenes. To give an idea of their importance; Shanxi Businessmen controlled trading as far as Dunhuang in far Western Gansu Province, and organized Camel Caravans to reach further along the Silk Road to Xinjiang and well into area's now part of the Capital of the Republic of Mongolia. In the wake of their trade Chinese Han Culture, new technologies and Shanxi's Financial Influence followed. Thus, the knowledge and influence of the Shanxi Bankers was of great significance to the young and aspiring Emperor Qianlong.
As described in the history of the Qing Dynasty, under the Reign of the Qianlong Emperor, regions beforehand 'reconnoitered' by the Shanxi Bankers were than absorbed into a new and larger Qing Empire through the means of military conquest.
First up were the remaining Mongol Tribes of current day Mongolia, who were quickly subdued adding Inner-Mongolia and the current day Socialist Republic of Mongolia to the List of Chinese Tributary States.
In their conquest the Manchu Troops established the current day borders of western Mongolia, while constructing their military strongholds at Khovd and Ölgii underneat the foothilss of the Altai Mountains.
Next up in the military expansion of the Manchu and their Chinese minions came the planned conquest of the remaining Territories of today's Xinjiang-Uygur Autonomous Region in the West. Following a pattern that had been followed by earlier claimants to the Chinese Throne and the "Mandate of Heaven" such as the brutal first Emperor Qin and his sucessors, the Han Dynasty and the Tang Dynasty, the Manchu Emperors prodded on by their Chinese Advisors and Bankers began to absorb more of the territories of surrounding Nations and Peoples.
In another wave of conquest led by the Qianlong Emperor himself the regions today known by their Qing Dynasty name of "Xinjiang" were added to the Manchu Empire as the Western "Protectorate" which for the time being fell directly under the Qing Dynasty Military Rule not the usual civilian apparatus. This completed a strategic Plan to regain the Empire roughly along the Lines of the ancient Han and Tang Dynasty conquest but also isolated the peoples of Tibet from their traditional allies among the other nomadic tribes more to the north.
Thus, although enormous in ambition and a great success, the taking of Mongolia and Xinjiang however, did not see this Great Strategic Conquest entirely completed. The enormous regions of the nation of Tibet were yet additional border regions where Manchu-Chinese Influence was established through proxies. In addition to being a traditional source of salt, tea and other coveted trading goods, the Tibetan were also crucial where the strategic resources of Grass were found in abundance and the raising of horses was a speciality of the nomadic people not of the lowland farmers.
Not in the last place, with the latest expansions of the Qing Empire the Chinese borders were long and extensive, spanning around Tibet through the 1200 kilometer Hexi Corridor and counting roughly another 2000 kilometers across the Taklamakan Desert to Kashgar. With the Regions North of Xinjiang (or also known as East Turkestan by then) under growing influence of the Russian Tzars, the Chinese might wish to have more control over the South, meaning Tibet. In a strictly military sense the Tibetan Plateaux was the local high-ground that dominated over all the western territories recently gained by the Qing Armies. Although the Tibetans were poor, and currently at peace, they were tough fighters who had done serious damage to Chinese and other Armies in the Past. There was a famous instance during the Tang Dynasty Era (618 AD - 907 AD) that was not yet forgotten.
As described in some more detail below: during the 18Th Centry, Manchu Emperors sent their troops into Tibet no less than four times. Although each consecutive time the Manchu were unable to uphold any lengthy occupation, upon their withdrawal they did install nominal "agents" known as Amban. In effect this copied a failed strategy followed by the earlier claimants to the "Heavenly Mandate" of China, the Mongolians, who also had appointed Mongolian administrators to keep watch on the Tibetans, levy taxes and the like. The new Manchu agents were dubbed the "Amban", and much alike their predecessors they were a nuisance to the Tibetans in general, however due to their small number and high dependence on Tibetan support, they were quickly enveloped and largely pacified. Nevertheless, they would remain present for the next 150 years before finally melting away with their Dynasty.
As the document by the Government of the Peoples Republic of China in the Section 'Tibet as an inseparable part of China' part of the document 'Tibet - The 'Roof of the World' , from the series China - Facts & Figures ; ISBN: 7-119-01259-2 / Z502 and Published by Beijing Foreign Language Press (BFL) in 1990 AD, Beijing has it : "In 1728 AD, the Qing Regime sent an Imperial Commissioner to be stationed in Tibet, and in 1751 AD the Tibetan local Government was established".
Especially the claim of the establishment of a local Government is ludicrous. Although Tibet remained in a sense a fragmented state, divided in loyalties between the various powerful Monasteries and their locations, there is no doubt that even as early a during the preceeding Mongolian Yuan Dynasty (1271 AD - 1368 AD), which also "ruled" Tibet, a centralized Government had existed already in what was known as the Capital City of Lhasa. (In fact; the first Central Government was established there by Tsongkhapa (life: (1357 AD - 1419 AD)) who began construction of the Potala Palace in Lhasa in the early 15Th Century thus reinforcing the claim of the City as Capital. Today even wikipedia wrongfully claims that the construction of the Potala Palace started in the 17Th Century under the guidance of Lozang Gyatso, the Great Fifth Dalai Lama, a time which however merely represents a second period of construction and considerable enlargement).
What is true os that in the year 1751 AD the Lamaist Kingdom of Tibet, threatened by China and other neighbors, relinquished ultimate Sovreignty to the Manchu Qing Empire, favoring China over encroaching others. Although Kings within their own Territory, the Lama's would henceforth receive their Recognition of their Titles as Religious Kings from the Chinese Emperor. Chinese administrators were sent into Qinghai (kokonor), Amdo and the capital of Tibet at Lhasa to collect (seasonal) taxes. Again however, the remoter their station, the more reliant they had to be on local Tibetans, their help and support. In effect therefor, the Manchu control over Tibet was doubtful and depended on the location and distance to the Chinese, now also Manchu homeland.
As the central Chinese Government and the Chinese Communist Party further claim in their 1990 published document is; "In 1793 AD, the Imperially Approved Regulations concerning Tibetan Affairs were issued. It stipulated that the Imperial Commissioner stationed in Tibet conduct Tibetan affairs together with Dalai (Lama) and Bainqen (Lama). Regulations concerning Government officials, the military, the administration of Justice, defense, public finance and so were also stipulated in explicit terms.
In the 1720's and 1790's the Qing Government used military force twice in Tibet. The first time it put down the rebellion of the Junggar Tribesmen from Mongolia and the second time it counter-attacked the incursion by the Ghurka's (red: entering from the rivalling Kingdom of Nepal) winning complete victory in both operations".
1904 BRITISH INVASION OF TIBET: YONGHUSBAND EXPEDITION:
The text then moves on to claim that:
"In 1888 AD and 1904 AD Britain sent troops directly to invade Tibet which the Tibetan People fought firmly against with their primitive weapons. Unfortunatly the struggle failed because of the corrupt Qing Government, although Tibet did not become a colony of the Imperialists."
The British 'expedition' into Tibet during 1903 AD and 1904 AD was an invasion of Tibet by British Indian forces (Ghurka's), as (western) historians generally see it, seeking to prevent the Russian Empire from interfering in Tibetan affairs and thus gaining a base in one of the buffer states surrounding British India, by reasoning similar to that which had led British forces into Afghanistan some twenty years before. Rumors had it that Tibet would be 'given' by the Qing Government to 'The Russians', one of the Imperialist Nations successfully encroaching on a mortally weakened China and competing with Britain in Central Asia, Tibet, Xinjiang, Mongolia and China.
Although not clearly defined as such by the British side at the time, the Manchu and Chinese within read it as an attempt to pry Tibet away from the dwindling influence of the Central Chinese Government formed by the Empress-Dowager Cixi and her (now despised) Clique of the terminal Qing Dynasty.
A Schematic Map of Historical Tibet, today Tibet Autonomous Region, Qinghai Province and a part of Sichuan province.
Included for reference are current International Borders, provincial borders, locations and names of main cities and towns, main rivers and lakes, mountains,importantTibetan-BuddhistMonasteries and other places of significance.
Further Reports link to More Photos and History & Backgrounds of each City, Town or Ethnic Community of Yugur, Dongxiang Tibetan, Lhoba, Kazakh, Mongol or others where available.
Today Tibet only exists as Tibet Autonomous Region of China. Tourist visits require an aditional visa !
Afterwards, while in Tibet the Dalai Lama began reorganizing his Tibetan government and both Guanxu and Cixi died, the Qing Dynasty now on its last legs, organized a military expedition which was sent into Tibet during the short summer of 1910 AD. Taken aback by the openly hostile actions the 13Th Dalai Lama once again left Tibet, this time fleeing to safety within Darjeeling in North-India and so again avoiding capture by the Qing Troops. In India the Dalai Lama was warmly welcomed by the British, with whom he established further friendly contacts.
In the next year, 1911, the Qing Dynasty was overthrown in the Xinhai Revolution forever sweeping Feudal Dynasties out of power in China. Corresponding with the demise of the Manchu Qing, Chinese officials (working for the fallen Manchu Government and no doubt to be handed down to the new Republican Government) were expelled from Tibetan Lands and by the end of 1912 AD the last Qing troops were escorted out of Tibet. Finally having gotten rid of a direct Chinese threat to his person and title, the 13Th Dalai Lama Thubten Gyatso returned to Lhasa in January of 1913 AD.
Although the Government of The (1st) Republic of China offered Chinese apologies for the Qing Dynasty military invasion, they once more insisted on the Dalai Lama's cooperation with the Chinese Government and so renewed vague Chinese claims to Tibet. Already having asserted de facto independence yearsearlier, the 13Th Dalai Lama declined, instead officially and publicly declaring Tibetan Independence shortly thereafter.
MapHistory - Schematic Asia - Russia China Britain Great Game 1900 AD
A Schematic Map of Historical East Asia at around the year 1900 AD and the turn into the 20Th Century.
Although the Manchu ruled Qing Dynasty Empire had previously conquered large parts of East Asia, including much of Korea, parts of current day Siberia, most of Mongolia, East Turkestan, Kyrgyz, Kazakh's and other tribal lands while subjecting Tibet to a subjugate role nominally ruled for its taxes but yet remote and inaccessible behind its mountainous walls, at the turn of the 20th Century the outer regions of the Qing Empire have been eroded away, much of the north and west increasingly under Russian control while in the south and along the coast Britons and others had fought their way into the Chinese Realm. Notably, Korea has been annexed by Japan and Tibet is shown as a de facto independent territory. Tibet will be invaded by Britain in 1904 AD and will declare Independence not long there after at the fall of the Manchu Dynasty and the end of Manchu rule over China but also Mongolia and Manchuria in 1911 AD. Other groups such as Mongolians, Kazakhe and Kyrgyz will likewise attempt to reestablish their National independence after the fall of the Manchu Empire.
During the British Invasion of Tibet, which is also known as the 'Younghusband Expedition' several unusual events occurred which (ethnic) Tibetan historians believe to prove that Tibet was independent of China. The Tibetan Independence case makers also asserts that the British made a good impression on the Tibetans by giving medical treatment to wounded Tibetan prisoners and giving them gifts before freeing them, and by paying local inhabitants well for supplies so that there was no true malignant intend behind the incursion(s).
On the other hand, the British expedition turned into a bloodbath, massacring Tibetans twice before reaching Lhasa.
Whatever the true circumstances, the British Incursions into Tibet had one important if not crucial lasting effect, that is, even though the relatively small British Army could not and did not establish British Colonial Rule over Tibet, in the process the attention of those in Government in China was completely refocused, under-pinning the importance of Tibet for China. Ever since, a process of re-assertion of historic influences in Tibet has taken place. And much more than that.
As for the 'Younghusband Expedition' ; today - in a deliberate attempt to alter history in favour of their own perceived National interests- current day Chinese historians tell of Tibetans opposing the British heroically out of loyalty not to Tibet, but to China (naturally this cannot be because at the time China was part of Manchurian Territory. If there was any loyalty there it would have been to Manchuria and the Manchurian Throne). They assert that the British troops looted and burned, and more im[portantly that the British interest in trade relations was a pretext for annexing Tibet, a step toward the ultimate goal of annexing all of China (Red: again a deliberate twisting of historic fact; The Manchu Qing Empire was far more than China alone (as shown above) and was by no means ruled by Han Chinese thus the term Chinese is misleading); but that the Tibetans destroyed the British forces, and that Younghusband escaped
only with a small retinue. In reality the Tibetans stood little chance against the industrial age military might of the British Army and were overrun.
The Chinese government has turned Gyantze Dzong near Gyantse in the (so called) "Tibet Autonomous Region" (which has no autonomy whatsoever and is ruled directly from Beijing with an iron fist), into an "Anti-British Museum" promoting these views, as well as other themes such as the brutal life endured by 'Tibetan serfs' who fiercely loved their 'Chinese mother country' (The tibetans did love their mother country but its was not named China as far as they were concerned).
What is completely ignored by the seemingly deliberately false document 'Tibet - The 'Roof of the World', section 'Tibet as an inseparable part of China', from the series China - Facts & Figures (ISBN: 7-119-01259-2 / Z502 and Published by Beijing Foreign Language Press (BFL) in 1990 AD, Beijing) is that after the British expedition of Tibet by Sir Francis Younghusband in early 1904 AD, the British left only after signing an agreement with the Tibetans. In this agreement, now known as the 1904 Lhasa Convention, the obviously still independently operating Tibetan Government agreed to a number of points. By far the most notable point was that independent Lhasa promised never to allow political or trade influence by any outside Nation other than Britain. This excluded not only Russia but also the Manchu Emperors in their Chinese Realm from any dealings with Tibet without consent from Britain.
Only shortly after the turmoil from the Younghusband Invasion had dissipated was faced with yet another political crisis. In the case, the 13Th Dalai Lama was once more forced from his Capital, this time fleeing northward to Urga (Ulaanbataar) in Mongolia, where he stayed for over a year while teaching Buddhist religion to the Mongolians and enjoying the hospitality of the rather depraved Bogd Khan, the Religious King of Mongolia (even there, he was not entirely free from Chinese influence).
Not much after the Dalai Lama temporarily left Tibet for better safety in Ulaanbataar, the Qing Dynasty immediately proclaimed the 13Th Dalai Lama deposed and again repeated its assertion of sovereignty over Tibet and made claims over Nepal and Bhutan as well (Tibet considered Bhutan part of its territory at that Time).
Somewhere in 1905/06 the 13Th Dalai Lama traveled to the Kumbum Monastery near Xining (the Capital of the current day Qinghai Province of the Peoples Republic of China) and from there on to the Qing Court at Beijing where he was granted an audience with Emperor Guangxu (by then held captive) and Empress Dowager Cixi. The Emperor tried to stress Tibet's subservient role, although according to popular sources (unconfirmed) the Dalai Lama refused to kowtow to him. The 13Th Dalai Lama stayed in Beijing until December of 1908 AD when he returned to Tibet, possibly feeling he had succesfully staved off the Chinese and their pressure this time.
Unbeknown to him however, at the same time as he was staying over in Beijing, his supposed new Allies, the British secretely signed a deal with the Qing Government which directly contradicted to 1904 Lhasa Covention. Most importantly and most relevant point in this treaty even today, is that Britain allowed the Manchu Government direct influence in Tibetan affairs without any previous agreement with Britain.
In 1907 Britain signed another additional Treaty with Russia which obliged both those Imperialist) Nations to only deal with Tibet through Manchu "China".
Although again, the Manchu Empire was not Chinese, at the time most westerners felt it was Chinese because the Manchu were only a small dominant minority among a sea of mostly nameless Han Chinese. Ignoring significant historical details, even today the Peoples Republic of China and the Communist Party of China attempt to lay claim to sovreignity over Tibet by pointing out that Britain agreed with the Manchu Government to let them have their way with Tibet. That the (Imperialist) Manchu Empire has long since disintegrated does not seem to matter to Chinese historians and politicians.