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Tibetan-Chinese War In Kham

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Chapter Summary

In 1916, Chinese forces came into contact with Tibetan troops in Kham, foreshadowing the larger conflict that would follow. As China was able to extend its influence into the border areas, Tibetan monasteries and lay people experienced ever greater oppression and dislocation. For centuries, eastern Tibetans, particularly in Kham, had enjoyed quite comprehensive autonomy from both China and Lhasa. This chapter identifies exceptions to this pattern. It later cites a 1918 letter from Dergé monks and laity praising "the noble activities of the Tibetan government, Ganden Podrang," a positive disposition that people in eastern Tibet frequently had not felt in the past. It suggests a close relationship between Dergé and the Lhasa government, with the former turning to the Dalai Lama's government for help in resolving a succession dispute. Ganden Podrang also provided monastic subsidies and undertook other reforms.

Keywords: Chinese forces; Dalai Lama; Dergé monks; Ganden Podrang; Kham; Lhasa; Tibetan troops; Tibetan-Chinese war



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