23 May 1951

Tibetans sign the Seventeen Point Agreement with China.

Seventeen Point Agreement
Seventeen-Point Plan Chinese 1.jpg
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese中央人民政府和西藏地方政府關於和平解放西藏辦法的協議
Simplified Chinese中央人民政府和西藏地方政府关于和平解放西藏办法的协议
Agreement of the Central People's Government and the Local Government of Tibet on Measures for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet
Traditional Chinese十七條協議
Simplified Chinese十七条协议
Tibetan name
Tibetanབོད་ཞི་བས་བཅིངས་འགྲོལ་འབྱུང་ཐབས་སྐོར་གྱི་གྲོས་མཐུན་དོན་ཚན་བཅུ་བདུན་

The Seventeen Point Agreement, also called the Agreement of the Central People's Government and the Local Government of Tibet on Measures for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet, or the Seventeen Point Agreement for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet for short, is the document by which the delegates of the 14th Dalai Lama, sovereign of the de facto state of Tibet, reached an agreement in 1951 with the Central People's Government of the newly established People's Republic of China on affirming Chinese sovereignty over Tibet.

Chinese sources regard the document as a legal contract that was mutually welcomed by both governments as well as by the Tibetan people. The Central Tibetan Administration which was formed after 1960 and international law expert Eckart Klein consider it invalid and as having been signed under duress.[1][2] However, Ngapoi Ngawang Jigme, head of the Tibetan Delegation to the Beijing Peace Negotiations, reports that there was no duress involved when he signed the agreement.[3]

The United States informed the Dalai Lama in 1951 that in order to receive assistance and support from the United States, he must depart from Tibet and publicly disavow "agreements concluded under duress" between the representatives of Tibet and China.[4] In 2012, Dalai Lama mentioned the Seventeen Point Agreement was signed in the spirit of one country, two systems.[5][6]

Lead-up

The People's Liberation Army crossed the Jinsha River on 6 or 7 October 1950 and defeated the Tibetan army by 19 October.[7][8] Instead of continuing with the military campaign, China asked Tibet to send representatives to Beijing to negotiate an agreement. The Dalai Lama believes the draft agreement was written by China, and Tibetan representatives were not allowed to suggest any alterations. China did not allow the Tibetan representatives to communicate with the Tibetan government in Lhasa. The Tibetan delegation was not authorized by Lhasa to sign, but ultimately submitted to pressure from the Chinese to sign anyway, using seals which had been specifically made for the purpose.[9]

Agreement

The seventeen points

  1. The Tibetan people shall unite and drive out imperialist aggressive forces from Tibet; the Tibetan people shall return to the family of the Motherland the People's Republic of China (PRC).
  2. The local government of Tibet shall actively assist the People's Liberation Army (PLA) to enter Tibet and consolidate the national defenses.
  3. In accordance with the policy towards nationalities laid down in the Common Programme of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the Tibetan people have the right of exercising national regional autonomy under the unified leadership of the Central People's Government (CPG) of the PRC.
  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 Ngoerhtehni shall be maintained.
  6. By the established status, functions and powers of the Dalai Lama and of the Panchen Ngoerhtehni are meant the status, functions and powers of the thirteenth Dalai Lama and the ninth Panchen Ngoerhtehni when they had friendly and amicable relations with each other.
  7. The policy of freedom of religious belief laid down in the common programme 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 reorganised step by step into the PLA and become a part of the defence force of the PRC.
  9. The spoken and written language and school education of the Tibetan nationality 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 relating to various reforms in Tibet, there will be no compulsion on the part of the central authorities. The local government of Tibet shall 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-imperialists and pro-Kuomintang (KMT) officials resolutely sever relations with imperialism and the KMT and do not engage in sabotage or resistance, they may continue to hold office irrespective of their past.
  13. The PLA 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 needle or thread from the people.
  14. The CPG shall have centralised handling of all external affairs of the area of Tibet; and there will be peaceful co-existence with neighbouring 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 CPG shall set up a Military and Administrative Committee and a Military Area HQ in Tibet and – apart from the personnel sent there by the CPG – 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 various principal monasteries; the name list shall be set forth after consultation between the representatives designated by the CPG and various quarters concerned and shall be submitted to the CPG for appointment.
  16. Funds needed by the military and Administrative Committee, the Military Area HQ and the PLA entering Tibet shall be provided by the CPG. The local government of Tibet should assist the PLA in the purchase and transport of food, fodder and other daily necessities.
  17. This agreement shall come into force immediately after signature and seals are affixed to it.

Negotiations

The Tibetan delegation initially objected to point #1's reference to "imperialist aggressive forces from Tibet", but later conceded that there might be such forces operating that they were not aware of. Points #2 and #3 were queried for the meaning of "local government", although the meaning of "national regional autonomy" was not discussed, since the Tibetan delegation assumed that things would go on as before. Ngapoi's delegation tried to remove the guarantees of the power for the Panchen Lama in points #5 and #6, but the Chinese delegation countered that the Panchen Lama and the Dalai Lama should be treated in the same manner; either both have their power guaranteed, or neither does. The Tibetans conceded the point. Fundamental disagreements about point #8, the disbandment of the Tibetan army, resulted in a promise to renegotiate the issue later. The most contentious point was #15, concerning the establishment of a military and administrative committee, since Tibetan delegation felt that it contradicted point #11 about the local Tibetan government conducting reforms on its own. Most of the other points were accepted without comment, or with minor translation adjustments. In order to avoid embarrassment for the Chinese delegation, accommodations to the Tibetan delegation about issues like the maintenance of the Tibetan army were to be concluded subsequently in separate, secret agreements.[10]

Signing of the agreement

The agreement was signed by Ngapoi Ngawang Jigme, who advocated Tibetan acquiescence to China, and sealed in Beijing on 23 May 1951 and confirmed by the government in Tibet a few months later.[11] In addition, the following letter purportedly written by the Dalai Lama indicating his acceptance was also sent to Beijing in the form of a telegram on 24 October:

"The Tibet Local Government as well as the ecclesiastic and secular people unanimously support this agreement, and under the leadership of Chairman Mao and the Central People's Government, will actively support the People's Liberation Army in Tibet to consolidate national defence, drive out imperialist influences from Tibet and safeguard the unification of the territory and the sovereignty of the Motherland."[12]

According to the Tibetan government-in-exile, some members of the Tibetan Cabinet (Kashag), for example, Tibetan Prime Minister Lukhangwa, never accepted the agreement.[13] But the National Assembly of Tibet, "while recognizing the extenuating circumstances under which the delegates had to sign the 'agreement', asked the government to accept the 'agreement'...the Kashag told Zhang Jingwu that it would radio its acceptance of the 'agreement'."[14]

Signatories

The Tibetan signings.

Signed and sealed by delegates of the Central People's Government with full powers: Chief Delegate:

  • Li Wei-han (Chairman of the Commission of Nationalities Affairs);

Delegates:

Delegates with full powers of the Local Government of Tibet:

Delegates:

  • Dzasak Khemey Sonam Wangdi, Khentrung Thuptan Tenthar, Khenchung Thuptan Lekmuun Rimshi, Samposey Tenzin Thondup

The Tibetan delegates, two officials from Dromo and two from Lhasa, were chosen by the Dalai Lama to accompany Ngapoi Ngawang Jigme.[15]

Full text of the agreement

Seventeen-Point Plan Chinese 1.jpgSeventeen-Point Plan Chinese 2.jpgSeventeen-Point Plan Chinese 3.jpgSeventeen-Point Plan Chinese 4 2.jpgSeventeen-Point Plan Chinese 5.jpgSeventeen-Point Plan Chinese 6.jpgSeventeen-Point Plan Chinese 7.jpgSeventeen-Point Plan Chinese 8.jpgSeventeen-Point Plan Chinese 9.jpg
Full text of the Seventeen Point Agreement (Chinese)
Seventeen-Point Plan Tibetan 0.jpgSeventeen-Point Plan Tibetan 2.jpgSeventeen-Point Plan Tibetan 3.jpgSeventeen-Point Plan Tibetan 4.jpgSeventeen-Point Plan Tibetan 5.jpgSeventeen-Point Plan Tibetan 6.jpgSeventeen-Point Plan Tibetan 7.jpgSeventeen-Point Plan Tibetan 8.jpg
Full text of the Seventeen Point Agreement (Tibetan)

Repudiation of the agreement

The signing of the Seventeen-Point agreement was later contested as invalid in the Tibetan exile community, who charged that the Tibet delegates were forced to sign under duress and that the Chinese allegedly used forged Tibetan government seals. The exile community and their supporters continue to assert that the Tibetan representatives were not allowed to suggest any alterations and that the Chinese government did not allow the Tibetan representatives to communicate with Lhasa.[9]

However, Tibetologist Melvyn Goldstein, who interviewed at least two negotiators and the only interpreter (the Dalai Lama's brother-in-law) from the Tibetan side, provides a different account:

The Chinese did make new seals for the Tibetans, but these were just personal seals with each delegate's name carved on them. Other than this, there were no forged government seals. Part of the confusion derives from the fact that Ngabo had in his possession the seal of the governor of Eastern Tibet but chose not to use it. That seal, however, was not the official seal of the Tibetan government, so not using it did not lessen the validity of the agreement. In his autobiography, the Dalai Lama states that the Tibetan delegates claimed they were forced 'under duress' to sign the agreement...
Their feeling of duress derives from the general Chinese threat to use military force again in Central Tibet if an agreement was not concluded. However, according to international law, this does not invalidate an agreement. So long as there is no physical violence against the signatories, an agreement is valid. However, the validity of the agreement is premised on the signatories' full authority to finalize an agreement, and this, as we saw was clearly not the case. So in this sense, the Dalai Lama actually had grounds to disavow it.[16]

And, as a Tibetan negotiator recalled, instances indeed exist when the Tibetan delegates, with the Dalai Lama's authorization,[17] were free to suggest alteration.[18]

On the path that was leading him into exile in India, the 14th Dalai Lama arrived 26 March 1959 at Lhuntse Dzong where he repudiated the "17-point Agreement" as having been "thrust upon Tibetan Government and people by the threat of arms"[14] and reaffirmed his government as the only legitimate representative of Tibet.[15][19] On 20 June 1959, at a press conference convened at Mussoorie, the 14th Dalai Lama repudiated the agreement once more. He explained that, "since China herself had broken the terms of her own 'Agreement', there could no longer be any legal basis for recognising it."[15]

In his essay Hidden Tibet: History of Independence and Occupation published by the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives at Dharamsala, writes that the Agreement had critical defects.[20] The use of newly made personal seals instead of official governmental seals was not legal. The Tibetan delegates exceeded their authority by signing the Agreement without the approval from the Dalai Lama and the Kashag. The preamble to the Agreement contained ideological cliches that do not correspond to reality. The Chinese Government ordered PLA soldiers that entered Tibet to command the "local" government to send their people for negotiations with the centre; the contracting parties acknowledged this in the Preamble and Point 2, so the agreement was signed under a military threat. The Agreement was drawn up in such a way that a number of terms were ambiguous and allowed for different interpretations by the Chinese and the Tibetans. It also contains some internal contradictions.[20]

See also

References

Citations

  1. ^ Powers 2004, pp. 116–7
  2. ^ Klein, Eckart. "Tibet’s Status Under International Law". Tibet-Forum., Vol. 2; 1995.
  3. ^ 罗勇[need quotation to verify] (2017). "西藏和平解放进程中的阿沛". 阿沛等在信中说:“目前进行和谈是个时机,共产党确无强迫命令的想法和作法,一切可以心平气和地进行商谈决定。”CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ Melvyn C. Goldstein (August 2007). A History of Modern Tibet, Volume 2: The Calm Before the Storm: 1951–1955. University of California Press. pp. 232–. ISBN 978-0-520-24941-7. Your Holiness will understand, of course, that the readiness of the United States to render you the assistance and support outlined above is conditional upon your departure from Tibet, upon your public disavowal of agreements concluded under duress between the representatives of Tibet and those of the Chinese Communist aggression.
  5. ^ His Holiness speaks to Chinese students in Rochester, MN April 23, 2012
  6. ^ Dalai Lama Speaks to Chinese Students in MN (1 of 3) May 5, 2012
  7. ^ Shakya 1999 pp. 32–45.
  8. ^ Goldstein 1997 p. 45
  9. ^ a b Powers 2004, pp. 113–6
  10. ^ Goldstein, Melvyn C (1989). A History of Modern Tibet, 1913–1951: The Demise of the Lamaist State. University of California Press. pp. 765–769.
  11. ^ Goldstein 1989, pp. 812–813
  12. ^ Shakya 1999 p. 90
  13. ^ In 1952 Lukhangwa told Chinese Representative Zhang Jingwu "It was absurd to refer to the terms of the Seventeen-Point Agreement. Our people did not accept the agreement and the Chinese themselves had repeatedly broken the terms of it. Their army was still in occupation of eastern Tibet; the area had not been returned to the government of Tibet, as it should have been." My Land and My People, Dalai Lama, New York, 1992, p.95
  14. ^ a b "The 17-Point Agreement" The full story as revealed by the Tibetans and Chinese who were involved Archived 28 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ a b c Dalai Lama, Freedom in Exile Harper San Francisco, 1991.[page needed]
  16. ^ Goldstein, Melvyn C., A History of Modern Tibet (Vol 2): A Calm before the Storm: 1951–1959, 2007, pp. 106–107
  17. ^ Goldstein, Melvyn C., A History of Modern Tibet (Vol 2): A Calm before the Storm: 1951–1959, 2007, p. 96
  18. ^ Goldstein, Melvyn C., A History of Modern Tibet (Vol 2): A Calm before the Storm: 1951–1959, 2007, pp. 101–102
  19. ^ Michel Peissel, "The Cavaliers of Kham, the secret war in Tibet" London: Heinemann 1972, and Boston: Little, Brown & Co. 1973
  20. ^ a b Kuzmin, S.L. Hidden Tibet: History of Independence and Occupation. Dharamsala, LTWA, 2011, pp. 184–187.

Sources

  • Goldstein, Melvyn C. A History of Modern Tibet, 1913–1951: The Demise of the Lamaist State (1989) University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-06140-8
  • Powers, John. History as Propaganda: Tibetan Exiles versus the People's Republic of China (2004) Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-517426-7
  • Shakya, Tsering. The Dragon In The Land Of Snows (1999) Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-11814-7

External links

23 May 1911

The New York Public Library is opened.

The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, commonly known as the Main Branch or the New York Public Library, is the flagship building in the New York Public Library system and a landmark in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. The branch, one of four research libraries in the library system, contains nine separate divisions. The structure contains four stories open to the public. The main entrance steps are at Fifth Avenue at its intersection with East 41st Street. As of 2015, the branch contains an estimated 2.5 million volumes in its stacks.

The Main Branch was built after the New York Public Library was formed as a combination of two libraries in the late 1890s. The site, along Fifth Avenue between 40th and 42nd Streets, is located directly east of Bryant Park, on the site of the Croton Reservoir. The architectural firm Carrère and Hastings constructed the structure in the Beaux-Arts style, and the structure opened on May 23, 1911. The marble facade of the building contains ornate detailing, and the Fifth Avenue entrance is flanked by a pair of stone lions that serve as the library’s icon. The interior of the building contains the Main Reading Room, a space measuring 78 by 297 feet with a 52-foot-high ceiling; a Public Catalog Room; and various reading rooms, offices, and art exhibitions.

The Main Branch was originally called the Central Building and was later known as the Humanities and Social Science Center. The Main Branch became popular after its opening, and saw 4 million annual visitors by the 1920s. It formerly contained a circulating library, though the circulating division of the Main Branch moved to the nearby Mid-Manhattan Library in the 1970s. Additional space for the library’s stacks constructed under adjacent Bryant Park was added in 1991, and the branch’s Main Reading Room was restored in 1998. A major restoration from 2007 to 2011 was underwritten by a $100 million gift from philanthropist Stephen A. Schwarzman, for whom the branch was subsequently renamed. Since 2018, the branch has been undergoing an additional expansion that is expected to be completed in 2021.

The building was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1965, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places the following year. It was made a New York City designated landmark in 1967, though parts of the interior were separately listed as New York City designated landmarks in 1974 and 2017.

The Main Branch has been featured in many television shows, including Seinfeld and Sex and the City, as well as films such as The Wiz in 1978, Ghostbusters in 1984, and The Day After Tomorrow in 2004.

23 May 2006

The Alaskan volcano, Mount Cleveland erupts.

Eruptions from Mount Cleveland are generally vulcanian and strombolian in nature, characterized by short explosive ash clouds sometimes accompanied by a’a flows, lava fountains, pyroclastic flows, ash and steam emissions, lava dome growth, and the ejection of breadcrust bombs. Hot springs were reportedly found on the volcano in the 1800s, and persistent fumarolic activity was observed in the 1980s and 1990s. Mount Cleveland is a site of persistent steam emissions and thermal anomalies that represent constant background activity. During 2011, a summit lava dome formed, by continuous intrusion of magma at the summit. Late in 2011, nearly 6 explosions demolished the dome. In June 2012, another small dome was observed.

Little is known about Cleveland’s early eruptive history as its remoteness makes it a difficult area to investigate, and discrepancies in names have caused confusion between events there and those on nearby Carlisle. Even today, not all possible events are confirmed as eruptions by the Alaska Volcano Observatory, and many are listed as “possible.” In observed history, Mount Cleveland may have first erupted in 1744; the first confirmed eruption occurred in 1828. The volcano erupted again in 1836, 1893, 1897, 1929, 1932, and 1938.

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Mount Cleveland erupted more recently in 1951, 1953, 1954, 1975, 1984 through 1987, 1989, 1994, and 1997. The volcano has received more focused attention in recent times due to its increased activity: it erupted in 2001, 2005, three times in 2006, 2007, three times in 2009, and twice in 2010. Of these, the most significant eruption was the 2001 eruption, which produced a 12 km high ash plume. This plume dispersed 120 to 150 km 75 to 93 mi across Alaska, an unusual distance that allowed detailed satellite observations to be made. Nikolski and the surrounding region was the site of several hours of ashfall, represented in satellite imagery as areas of discolored snow.This eruption significantly disrupted air traffic in the area.

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23 May 1995

The first version of the Java programming language is released.

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At the time the total number of people working on Java was less than 30. This team would shape the future in the next decade and no one had any idea as to what was in store. From running an unmanned vehicle on Mars to serving as the operating environment of most consumer electronics, e.g. cable set-top boxes, VCRs, toasters and PDAs, Java has come a long way from its inception. Let’s see how it all began.

In December of 1990, a project was initiated behind closed doors with the aim to create a programming tool that could render obsolete the C and C++ programming languages. Engineer Patrick Naughton had become extremely frustrated with the state of Sun’s C++ and C APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) and tools. While he was considering to move towards NeXT, he was offered a chance to work on new technology and the Stealth Project was started, a secret nobody but he knew.

This Stealth Project was later named the Green Project when James Gosling and Mike Sheridan joined Patrick. As the Green Project teethed, the prospects of the project started becoming clearer to the engineers working on it. No longer did it aim to create a new language far superior to the present ones, but it aimed to target devices other than the computer.

Staffed at 13 people, they began work in a small office on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, California. This team came to be called the Green Team henceforth in time. The project they underwent was chartered by Sun Microsystems to anticipate and plan for the “next wave” in computing. For the team, this meant at least one significant trend, that of the convergence of digitally controlled consumer devices and computers.