○The British enter the picture
In 1886 a British mission-the Macaulay mission- was assembled in Sikkim to enter Tibet.
No much for the invader, the British force led by Younghusband entered Lhasa. They were the first western troops ever to conquer Tibet in 1904 under the initiative of Lord Curzon.
China had no control over the Dalai lama, who ignored the admonition to meet with British envoy and fled to exile in Mongolia, fearing he would be compelled to sign an unfavorable agreement. From Mongolia, the Dalai Lama hoped to obtain the czar’s support against British.
→the Anglo-Tibet Convention of 1904
Because the amban had not signed the treaty( nor had the Chinese government approved it), unless London decided to forsake China’s views and make Tibet its dependency or accept its status as an independent country it had to secure Chinese consent to its gains. The contradiction inherent in Britain’s Tibet strategy was that while Great Britain had to deal directly with the Tibetan government to achieve its ends, it had to deal with China to legitimize them.
Fortunately for China, London’s China policy didn’t favor transforming Tibet into British dependency, let alone accept it as an independent nation, and the British promptly assuaged China by entering into negotiations to obtain its acceptance of the convention Younghasband had signed with Tibet. The resultant 1906 Anglo-Chinese Convention modified the 1904 accord( without the involvement of Tibet government), reaffirming China’s legitimate authority over its dependency Tibet.
At time when China was unable to exercise real power in Tibet, Britain unilaterally reaffirmed Tibet’s political subordination to China.
According to Anglo-Russian agreement in 1907, “ in conformity with the admitted principle of the suzerainty of China over Tibet, Great Britain and Russia engage not to enter negotiations with Tibet except through the intermediary of the Chinese government.
○The Chinese reaction
The Anglo-Chinese and Anglo-Russian conventions had reaffirmed that Tibet was a part of China, and the Qing court felt that it would be easier to control Tibet through the Dalai Lama than risk trying to replace him.
“We, the oppressed Tibetan, send you this message. Though in outward appearance all is well, yet within big worms are eating little worms. We have acted frankly, but yet they steal our heart. Troop have been sent into Tibet, thus causing great alarm. We have already sent a messenger to Calcutta to telegraph everything in detail. Please recall the Chinese officer and troops who recently arrived in Kam. If you do not do so, there will be rouble.”
→No one intervened, so as that army entered Lhasa in February 1910, the Dalai Lama again fled into exile, this time south to his former enemies in British India.
○The Simla Convention
While the Chinese army of 1910 occupied Tibet, the 13th Dalai Lama lived in Darjeeling,
India where he learned a great deal about modern politics, seeing first hand how an efficient and dedicated bureaucracy and army could rule a vast country.
In the aftermath of the fall of Qing dynasty, the 13th Dalai Lama returned to Lhasa and rejected the Yuan Shikai’s “reinstatement” telegram because he “intended to exercise both temporal and ecclesiastic rule in Tibet
but in1912 the Chinese republic headed by Yuan Shikai issued an edict that declared Tibet, Mongolia, Xinjiang on equal footing with the provinces of China proper and as a integral part of the republics.
The government of British India had found China a bad neighbor during the 1905-1911 period of direct Chinese power in Tibet.
Britain therefore sought to prevent the recurrence of direct Chinese control by creating a buffer state in Tibet. In 1913 with the intent of achieving that end, Britain pressured the new Chinese republican government to participate in a conference with itself and Tibet in Simla India.
Britain proposed that Tibet be accepted as a self-governing dominion nominally under China but with Chinese influence and power severely limited.
The final draft of Simla Convention therefore declared that Tibet would be autonomous from China, but also acknowledged Chinese suzerainty over Tibet.
Britain achieved exactly what it had sought-harmless buffer zone along India’s northern border in which its political interests were fulfilled and its commercial interests could develop.
In the end the new Chinese government repudiated a final border and refused to ratify the Simla Convention
Sir Henry McMahon was authorized to sign a bilateral note with Tibet bound each side to the terms of the unsigned Simla Convention.
It also obtained from Tibet a vast territory east of Bhutan(today’s Indian province of Arunachal Pradesh). Here we see the beginning of what we think of as the “bad friend syndrome”.
○the failure in the Tibetan attempts to modernize
Equating modernization with Western atheism and secularism, the conservatives believed that it would diminish the power and importance of Buddhism.
Key conservative officials therefore campaigned to convince the Dalai Lama that military officers were a threat to Buddhism and to his own power and authority.
The 13th Dalai Lama gutted the heart of reform program by demoting the entire group of promodernization officers and closing the English school. Overnight, Tibet lost its best chance to create a modern polity capable of coordinating international support for its dependent status and defending its territory
From 1913 when the Qing officials and troops left Tibet to the death of Dalai Lama in 1933, no Chinese officials or troops were permitted to reside in Tibet .
The Japanese invasion of China in 1937 saved Tibet from having to defend its de facto independence from China