Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Battle of Chamdo maps and photos

(Click photo to enlarge)

Chinese map showing the Tibetan and Chinese 
military positions before Battle of Chamdo 
(October, 1950)
Chinese map showing progress of the Battle of Chamdo
(October 6 -24, 1950)

He Long checking  weapons and equipment before the Battle of Chamdo
PLA soldiers took an outh before matching into Tibet
PLA troop crossing Jisha River

Early Oct. 1950, a cavalry unit stationed in Kyekudo crossing
Tachu River on the way to fight the Battle of Chamdo
PLA troops advancing toward Chamdo
Front line headquarter of the 18th Army 
A PLA machine gun unit in the Battle of Chamdo
Robert Webster Ford, radio operator employed by Tibetan government,
being arrested by PLA  

Robert Webster Ford and Tibetan soldiers 
being arrested by PLA 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Eat the Buddha! Part IV-Documents issued by the central CCP leadership

Documents issued by the central CCP leadership

Arrangements on Organizing Grain-Raising Commando Teams
(July 8, 1935)

Commanders and Political Depts., All Group Armies:

  The following arrangements are issued regarding the organization of commando teams to bring Tibetans back home and delivery of grain to our hands:

1.      Units stationed in a certain area for one day can organize a commando team to go up the mountains searching for local nationality people and bringing them back home to deliver grain.

2.      The number of soldiers in a commando team can be from one platoon to one company. Sometimes civilian clothes or camouflage can be used. The company should select strong soldiers, equip them with enough firearms, and dispatch competent commanders, political people and propaganda teams to command and work with them.

3.      Commando teams need to be battle ready. Upon meeting Tibetan and Yi people, regardless of how many, men or women, old or young, commando teams should get them to talk with us (so we) can tell them our policies (original text uses the word “propaganda”), and persuade them to go home and sell us grain. If they do not listen, force should be used to bring them down with us and persuade them. If they resist or use force on us first, (we) should arrest them with force and bring them back to persuade them. If we meet barbarian fighters (“barbarian” is a word commonly used for non-Han people) who attack us, or block our way and kill our sick people left behind, the leader should be arrested and executed in order to scare the rest. However, (we) should not kill and wound too many people. Burning houses, dismantling Lamaist temples, tearing up scriptures and insulting religion are strictly forbidden. Violators should be seriously punished in public.

4.      When grain is found in the mountains that does not belong to local lords (tu si) or tribal chiefs, and there is nobody around, a decent amount of silver dollars or tea (try to use tea produced in Dokha and Zhuo Ke Ji?) should be left as payment. This method should be adopted particularly in Dokha. Where grain is found in residential areas with no one at home, certificates of grain purchase should be left.

5.      Ripe grain in the fields should be investigated and designated by grain-raising agencies to specific units for harvesting. Distribution should be on organized basis (meaning, distribution should go through the agency). Individual units are not allowed to harvest on their own. Harvesting unripe wheat is strictly forbidden.

6.      Each unit should do its best to find interpreters and guides in order to make contact with local nationality people. Political departments at each level should also designate people to learn ethnic languages.

7.      The General Political Department will be in charge of raising grain in Drokha area. The thirteenth Legion and the Fourth Front Army stationed in that area should organize commando teams following these regulations. Areas of activity of these troops will be designated by General Headquarters. The Ninth Legion in Danba, Barkham area, Cadres Regiment in Zhuo Ke Ji area, the Fifth Legion in Mao Gong area, the Fourth Front Army in its station areas should all conduct their work following these regulations, and report to their superiors on time.

Central Military Commission

Zhongguo gong chan dang. Min zu wen ti wen xian hui bian, 1921.7-1949.9. Beijing: Zhong gong zhong yang dang xiao chu ban she, 1991. (A Collection of Documents on Nationality Issues. Beijing, United Front Work Department Publishing House 1991, P. 294-295.)

CCP Central Committee 
To the People of Kham (康), Tsang (藏) and Xifan (西番)[1]
——Draft Programme of Tibetan National Revolutionary Struggle Movement
(June 1935)[2]

Dear People of Tibet and Xikang:

   Under the exploitation, oppression, plunder and slaughter of the British imperialists and Chinese war lords, Kham and Tsang have been steadily reduced to a British colony and killing ground of the Chinese war lords. People of Song (Sungchu) Li (Tashiling) Mao (Maowun), Tibet and Xikang are declining to the point of demise. Their life is getting poorer and poorer, their economy is sinking into bankruptcy and collapse. However, the ruling class of Kham and Tsang and the yamen of local lords all over are assisting the British imperialists and Chinese war lords in enslaving the Kham-Tsang nation and bringing about the subjugation of the nation and extinction of the race.[3]

The only way for people of Kham-Tsang to get out of this miserable situation is to take up the cause of the Chinese Soviet Red Army, that is, absolutely oppose imperialism, Chinese war lords and the ruling class of your country, and establish your own revolutionary government.

The CCP’s nationality policy is the opposite of  the Guo Min Dang imperialists. The nationality policy of the Guo Min Dang imperialists is precisely the policy of colonial slavery. The CCP’s nationality policy supports the liberation of all oppressed nations, therefore advocating complete national self-determination, establishing free and elected revolutionary governments, and actively assisting all revolutionary national movements.

I. British Imperialism and  War Lords of China are the Ruthless Enemies of the Kham-Tsang National Liberation Movement

   Since marching into Lhasa, the British imperialists finally overcame Dalai’s suspicion, and brought Tibet under British rule through the Dalai.  By their recent occupation of southern Tibet, the British dispatched troops penetrating deep into Lhasa, carrying out slaughter and repression. Most recently, British imperialism made use of the Kham-Tsang disputes, inciting Kham-Tsang people to kill each other, through its running dog (missing four characters) to send troops into Xikang, and occupied over 20 counties of Chamdo belonging to Xikang, attempting to force Xikang under British rule.

   The British imperialist invasion of Kham-Tsang started with violent conquest, followed by political, economic and cultural invasion and oppression.  The British imperialists purchase agricultural and animal products as industrial raw materials at low prices, and at the same time sell useless luxury goods to Kham-Tsang at high prices. In this way the Kham-Tsang people are more and more impoverished, meanwhile the Kham-Tsang ruling class is more and more greedy, and they step up their exploitation of the Kham-Tsang people in order to purchase luxury goods imported from Britain. As British capital penetrates deep into Kham-Tsang, monopolizing commerce and forcing the Tibetan economy into bankruptcy, the people’s life becomes more and more miserable.

   Therefore the Tibetan people’s resistance to British imperialism is getting stronger and stronger. In the face of the Kham-Tsang nation’s opposition, British imperialism either directly responds with armed attacks or repression through (missing two characters) Lamas and tu si  (chiefs, local lords).

   In response to the British invasion and occupation of Kham-Tsang, the Guo Min Dang war lords followed their consistent policy of selling-out. Besides handing over  Kham-Tsang to Great Britain, Guo Min Dang war lords Liu Wenhui and Deng Xihou milk the situation by slaughtering the (‘Fan’ or non-Chinese) people of the Song-Li-Mao regions in Xikang, plundering their land and property, and assisting the British imperialists in their rule of Kham-Tsang. The Guo Min Dang’s sell-out of Kham-Tsang and assistance to Great Britain in slaughtering and oppressing  (‘Fan’ or non-Chinese) people is the same as their selling out Manchuria, assisting the Japanese in slaughtering and oppressing people in the northeast and the Renwei people of  Manchuria-Mongolia.

People of Kham-Tsang and Song-Li-Mao regions! The disaster of the subjugation of the nation and extinction of the race is imminent!  The imperialists of the so-called “civilized” nations in the world take us to be half-civilized or uncivilized barbarians. They call us barbarians. They conquer us in order to exploit, oppress, whip and slaughter us as beasts of burden. To rescue oneself, to rescue the country and the nation, one must rise up unfalteringly to carry out national revolution. Only the revolutionary national movement can bring independence and freedom.

Whoever is unwilling to be slaves without a country should rise up in revolution, overthrow the British imperialists and war lords of China.  Liberation of the people of Kham-Tsang and Song-Li-Mao regions is up to you. When you yourselves unite without fear, you can destroy any powerful enemy. Anyone who joins (the cause of) overthrowing imperialism and the war lords of China should be united with their fellows.

People of Kham-Tsang and the Song-Li-Mao regions! Demanding national liberation, independence and freedom, you must rise up to overthrow British Imperialism and the war lords of China,  for these are the ruthless enemies of Kham-Tsang national liberation!

II. Confiscate the Property and Land of British Imperialists and the Yamen of Chinese War Lords in the Song-Li-Mao Regions

To overthrow the imperialist war lords’ rule of the Xi Fan nation, it is necessary to destroy their economic power in Kham-Tsang. As long as they hold this power they will continue to exploit Kham-Tsang people.  At the same time, this economic power obstructs Kham-Tsang people’s own economic development. Therefore it is necessary to declare:
1.      Confiscate and nationalize the banks, commercial agencies, transportation agencies and mines of imperialists and Chinese war lords in Kham-Tsang
2.      Confiscate property and houses of imperialists, Chinese war lords and Yamen bureaucrats. Distribute land to the people.
The only way to completely overthrow the power of the imperialist Guo Min Dang is to destroy the internal economic strength that these counter-revolutionary forces depend on.

III. Resolutely Combat Hidden Counter-Revolutionary Collaborators Within

  The British imperialists and war lords of China are able to rule Kham-Tsang and the Song-Li-Mao regions mainly through (missing two characters) Lamas and tu si  who assist them to enslave the people of these regions. They are willing traitors and running dogs. We must overthrow the rule of those who willingly act as the running dogs of imperialism. To achieve success, the Kham-Tsang national liberation movement must overthrow the right to rule of the old ruling (missing two characters) and abolish the chieftain system.

   At the same time, it must be declared that the collaborators’ and running dogs’ property and land will be distributed among the Kham-Tsang people.
   In the struggle, constant attention should be paid to prevent vacillation and treason. Those elements should be unfalteringly confronted and steadily purged from the national revolution.

IV. Kham-Tsang National Self-Determination and Establishing a People’s Revolutionary Government

The Kham-Tsang national liberation movement’s aim is to break away completely from Great Britain and China and be independent, practising national self-determination.  Only by splitting completely from Britain and China can the Kham-Tsang nation be truly independent and liberated.

Revolutionary government is built upon the guiding principle of completely opposing imperialism and the Guo Min Dang war lords, as well as the struggle against internal counter-revolutionaries.  The power of this government is established on the basis of that struggle. It must announce its revolutionary platform and specific measures to improve the life of the masses.

   This government is based on the masses of working people, but it will not exclude alliance with elements that truly oppose imperialism and the Guo Min Dang war lords.

V. Kham-Tsang People! Arm yourselves, Organize Guerrilla and Self-defence
Forces, and Join the Red Army of China 

   To win victory over heavily armed British imperialists, war lords of China and the native ruling class,  relying only on the power of unity and organization is not enough. It is necessary to have your own armed forces. For this reason, Kham-Tsang people must take up arms, organizing a red guerrilla self-defense force and people’s revolutionary army, so as to conduct armed struggle against counter-revolutionaries, to protect the masses, consolidate political power and suppress counter-revolutionary activities. At the same time it is necessary to take an active part in The Chinese Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army, in order to learn from the Red Army the experience and military techniques gained from the long civil war.

VI. Improve People’s Life, Implement Eight-Hour Work Shifts, Abolish all Exorbitant Taxes, Levies and Services, Abolish Slavery 

Under extremely cruel exploitation and oppression, Kham-Tsang people live in poverty and conditions fit for animals. Poverty is not because of one’s destiny, and one cannot improve the conditions of life by following religious doctrine. The reason that people live in poverty is because the old society is built upon an exploitative system of private ownership of property.  To transform the people’s life, the society based on this system must be destroyed.  Therefore, improvement of people’s life can only be acheived by continuing struggle against the old social system. The ruling class will not willingly give up their ruling rights, neither will they voluntarily improve the people’s life. Only the power of struggle by the masses can force the ruling class to give up or reduce their exploitation, until that exploitation is totally annihilated.  Therefore, every struggle by the Kham-Tsang people to improve their life helps the Kham-Tsang national liberation movement.

   In the face of popular demand, it is necessary to:
1.      Abolish all exorbitant taxes and levies.
2.      Distribute confiscated land to peasants and masses who have no land.
3.      Implement eight-hour workshifts for workers.
4.      Abolish corvee.
5.      Abolish slavery.

VII. Separation of Politics and Religion. People have freedom of Religion

Lamaism is deeply rooted in the minds of Kham-Tsang people. Doing no work, Lamas are parasites in society.  Lamaist temples usually function as organs of ruling power, owning large amounts of property and land.  Lamaism is used by imperialists, war lords of China and the native ruling class to maintain their rule.

To make it possible for the masses to participate in the struggle of their own will, religion and politics must be separated. People have freedom of religion, but at the same time,  the freedom to manage their own affairs. Religion must not interfere with politics.

VIII. Restrict Commercial Exploitation and the future of Revolution

Victory of the Kham-Tsang masses’ revolution will not eliminate exploitation, neither will it block the possibility of capitalist development. On the contrary, in the first stage after wiping out imperialism,  war lords of China and the native ruling class, there is the possibility of agricultural and commercial capitalism developing on a larger scale. Therefore, in the beginning such a possibility is not to be prevented. In order to raise people’s living standards, free commerce should be allowed, and exploitative taxation should be restricted.

Victory of the Kham-Tsang national revolution will bring about indigenous economic construction and rise in cultural level. By resolutely combating internal vacillation and treason, and helped by advanced proletarian countries or by the Chinese Soviet after its success in the important central cities, (Kham-Tsang people) can by-pass the capitalist path and transit directly into socialism.

IX. Raising the Kham-Tsang People’s Cultural Level, establishing schools using Kham-Tsang People’s own spoken and written language

Two kinds of oppression have prevented the Kham-Tsang people’s culture from developing. One is British imperialism, which forces English into Tibet with the aim of complete colonization. At the same time, the war lords of China also force Chinese language onto Xikang. The other is the Lamaist temples which monopolize all cultural activity, as only Lamas have the right to study. Therefore, the use of English and Chinese forcibly imposed by Britain and China must be opposed, and at the same time cultural agencies and schools should be established separately from Lamaist temples. Fan people should use their own spoken and written language to raise their cultural level and build their own schools. Everybody has the right to study in school.

X. Unite with Proletarian and Oppressed Nations and Unite with the Chinese Soviet

The Kham-Tsang national revolutionary movement is an inseparable part of the international proletarian revolutionary movement and oppressed people’s liberation movement. It is in particular an inseparable part of the Chinese Soviet movement. The  Kham-Tsang national liberation movement must be supported by the Chinese Soviet, and the victory of the Chinese Soviet will directly influence and help the Kham-Tsang nation’s liberation movement. Therefore, to achieve complete liberation the Kham-Tsang people must unite with proletarians and oppressed nations all over the world, and must unite with the Chinese Soviet.

People of the Song-Li-Mao regions of Kham-Tsang, the call we issue requires a strong organization. Organization is our power. Without organization no revolutionary demands can be realized. Therefore, to win victory for the Kham-Tsang national liberation movement and realize this call, (you) must have a party of the masses. Under the leadership of this party, (you) must struggle resolutely with counter-revolutionaries. In Kham-Tsang this party should be a people’s revolutionary party. The foundation of a people’s party is the broad laboring people and the most oppressed elements. The party can absorb other progressives who actively join the revolution. Around the people’s party there should be a wide range of mass organizations, for instance a Fan People’s Liberation Association, and other kinds of organizations such as anti-imperialism organizations, organizations opposing taxes and levies as well as other organizations suitable for the masses’ struggle.

People of Kham-Tsang! Rise up and organize your own party to lead a national revolution for the liberation of the Kham-Tsang nation.

Our slogans:
Down with imperialism and  Chinese war lords!
Long live Kham-Tsang national liberation!
Proletarians and Oppressed nations of the world, unite!

Documents from the Tawu division of the Ganzi Soviet, or Tibetan Peoples Republic (1936)

Decisions on Grain Supply Problem

1. In order to protect grain supply for the Tibetan (Boba, 波巴) masses, it is hereby announced that the grain taxes imposed by Chinese officials and war lords who extract grain without payment is abolished.

2. When the Red Army first arrived, many people stayed away from their homes due to the rumours and destruction created by counter-revolutionaries. The Red Army took some grain. Those who did not receive payment or IOU(借条)should be investigated and confirmed by each district government and their claims submitted to the government of the Special Zone Government (over-reporting is strictly forbidden and will be punished once it is found out). Certificates will be issued by the SZG . Payment will be deducted from grain tax in the future.

3. In order to meet the urgent needs of the masses and the Red Army, the following measures should be taken:

  (1). According to the amount of stored grain available, people should discuss and raise some grain to sell to the Red Army at a reasonable price.

  (2). Currently (the Red Army) is fighting in Dartsedo (康定),  and the Boba (波巴) masses should all help. It is decided that this SZG will lend the Red Army 3000 dan (180000 kg) of grain as war supply.  Those who have more grain should provide more, those who have no grain provide less. The following amount is the grain to be lent by each district:

Geshe District: 600 dan (石), Khangsar District: 650 dan, Mazur District: 450 dan, Bashab District: 600 dan, Mingzhen District: 500 dan, township: 200 dan.

Half of the above amount should be raised in 7 days from April 18th, the remaining amount should be completed in the following 7 days. Families with larger stocks should be urged to voluntarily donate war supplies.

  (3). (We) are against profiteering, stocking up grain for export, refusing to sell,  or raising prices to extract profit at a time when grain and seed are in demand.

  (4). People who have more grain should voluntarily share some of it as relief to those who have less or no grain. It can be done through goodwill, labour exchange or agreement to repay after the autumn harvest.

  (5). Grain shops can be set up by government or by joint venture with the masses. Surplus grain can be sold in public in the grain shops. Masses with available money can pool together to buy and sell grain or any kind of daily necessities. Government will provide effective protection.

 (6). Call back the pastoralists as soon as possible to re-start trade. All pastoralists can exchange butter, cheese and grain.

 (7). Begin spring ploughing quickly, plant more fast-growing foodcrops such as potato, napa cabbage, spinach etc.

Note: 1 dan = 60 kg.

Temporary Ordinance on Land

  1. Confiscate land belonging to Chinese officials, the Catholic church, local lords (?),  government, and land leased to tenant farmers, and re-distribute it to Tibetan (“Bopa”), Hui and Han people with little or no land.
  2. Return all the gold mines, medicine hills (hillsides where medicinal herbs are collected) and forests taken by Chinese officials, war lords, foreigners and imperialists to the Tibetan people.
  3. Land belonging to the Lamaist temples will not be confiscated. It should be leased  to Tibetan people at reduced rates. The government should convene meetings with local masses and Lamas to settle any disputes that arise.
  4. Confiscate land and property of the reactionary leaders and national traitors that threaten the independence of the Tibetan Peoples Republic, and redistribute it to the Tibetan Peoples Republic (“Boba Yidewa” = Tib: Bod pa’i sde ba).
  5.  The person who is given the land is the owner. Certificates of land ownership will be distributed by the government of the special district (a paper and printing fee of 10 cents will be charged). The person cultivating the land has no obligation to provide corvee labour or service.
  6. Land confiscated in the past for resisting oppression and exploitation by Chinese officials should be returned to the original owner. However, if it has been distributed to others, a fair solution ought to be found in consideration of the local situation and the opinion of the current owner.
  7. If the masses who have fled the oppression and exploitation of Chinese officials and the Nationalists return in the near future, their houses and land will be returned to them immediately. If they have left for a number of years and cannot be located, their land will be redistributed to the local people. The original owners will be given land on their return.
  8. Owners have the freedom to buy,  sell,  pawn and  lease their land. Tenants only pay rent,  and are not obliged to render other services. A cap will be set on lease fees, as a guarantee for tenants.
  9. In order to increase agricultural production,  special incentives will be given to local Tibetans to encourage them to cultivate empty land.  If it is government-owned land, it will belong to the person who brings it under cultivation. For privately owned hills and forests, a fee should be paid.
  10. Those given medicine hills (by the Peoples Government) have the right of ownership.  Others who collect medicinal plants there should pay a fee.
  11. Forests are distributed to the people of each district for common use. Hunting is free.
  12. Those given (water) mills (by the Peoples Government) have the right of ownership. Others using the mill should pay a fee.
 A foreman in charge of water distribution for irrigation should be elected by the local population. Repair of channels and ditches is the collective duty of the local people.

Temporary Ordinance on Tax

  1. Abolish all the  exorbitant taxes and levies previously  imposed by Chinese officials.
  2. In order to meet the administrative needs of the Boba Government and develop public services,  the following low-level tax is levied: 
A.     Grain Tax:
(1) Those whose yearly grain harvest is below 4 dan (240 kg) per person per year are exempted.
(2) Those whose yearly harvest is between 4 and 10 dan (240 – 600 kg), a tax of 5 sheng (1 sheng = 625 g) is levied for every dou (1 dou = 6.25 kg). (i.e., a 50% tax)
(3) Those whose yearly harvest is above 10 dan, a tax of 1 dou is levied for every dou of seed.
(4) One pays whatever grain one produces.

       B. Cattle Tax:
(1) Farm cattle (ploughing animals) are exempted from tax.
(2) Families that own less than 15 cows or bulls are exempted.
(3) From families that own between 15 and 50 yaks, a tax of 1 yak is levied, a tax of 1 yak out of every 20 yaks, or 1 jin (0.5 kg) of butter and 1 jin  of cheese per yak.
(4) From families that own 50 yaks or more, a tax of 1 yak out if every 15 yaks,
      or 2 jin of butter and two jin of cheese for every yak is levied.
(5) Families that own less than 20 sheep are exempted from tax.
(6) From families that own between 20 and 100 sheep, a tax of 1 sheep, 1 sheep skin for every 15 sheep, or 0.5 jin (c. 0.25 kg) wool per sheep is levied.
(7) From families that own 500 sheep and more, a tax of 1 sheep, two sheep skins for every 10 sheep, or 1 jin (0.5 kg) wool per sheep is levied.
C.     Slaughter Tax:
(1) A tax of two yuan is levied for every yak slaughtered;  a tax of 1 yuan is levied for every pig slaughtered; a tax of 1 cent is levied for every sheep slaughtered. No tax is levied on animals slaughtered for the celebration of marriages, funerals and holidays.

D.     Business Tax:
(1) In order to protect native industry and commerce, tax is exempted on native products such as XX, XX, XX (missing words) and products brought in from outside such as paper, grain and firearms.
(2) For toxic substances imported from outside (for example opium and cigarettes), a tax of 50%  is levied.
(3) Five (yuan) of tax is levied per Y100 of alcohol.
(4) One (Yuan) of tax is levied per Y100 of tea, wool and butter produced from cow and goat milk.

Temporary Ordinance on Lamas and Lamaist Temples

  1. Protect Lamas, Lamaist temples, scriptures and Buddhist images.
  2. Land belonging to Lamaist temples will not be confiscated. Land lease is allowed.
  3. People have freedom of religion.  No coercion (forcing people to believe in religion) is allowed. Lamas have the right to return to secular life, and qualify for land distribution.
  4. Lamaist temples are not allowed to interfere with government administration, but Lamas have the right to join the government as individuals.
  5. Lamas have the freedom to conduct religious services outside the temples, but payment must be on a voluntary basis.
  6. Lamas and Lamaist temples have the freedom of commerce, but are not allowed to use a large bucket (a grain measure bigger than official size) and small scales, or to exploit the people through loan sharking.
  7. Weapons belonging to Lamas and Lamaist temples must be registered with the government and licenses issued.
  8. Lamas are not allowed to demand free labour, cash or property for repairing temples and conducting religious activities. Government will not forbid voluntary contributions by the masses.
  9. Both monks and ordinary people are equal before the law. Lamas who break the law will also be punished. Only government has the right to enforce the law.
  10. Khenpos of Lamaist temples will be elected by all the monks in the temple, and all appointments submitted to the local government for central government approval.

Notice pasted on the door of the abbot’s quarters, Nyitso monastery, Tawu

Comrades from troops passing through,
   This house belongs to Lama  Fo Du Tu (Chinese transliteration of a Tibetan name). It is requested that troops passing through should not trespass into the house, or grab, damage or remove contents from the prayer hall.
    It is hereby requested that if anyone needs to utilize anything inside the house, approval from the owner is required. Borrowing by force is strictly forbidden. 

Chairman of Dawu Boba Government
Derong Zhang, Ronzhong
Vice-Chairman of Boba Government
Part II: Chinese sources
Part III: Tibetan sources 

Download full text
(Click File - Download as to select pdf format)

[1] Kham-Tsang refers to Xikang and central Tibet. The concept of a “Kham-Tsang nation” is otherwise unknown. The term Xifan (xi=west, fan=foreign country) was used to refer (but was not limited) to Tibetans living outside the territory ruled by the Lhasa government. Use of this term was discontinued after the 1949 revolution.

[2] The original document is not dated. Judging by the context, it was written after the realignment of the First and Fourth Front Army in mid-June.

[3] The term used is wang guo mie zhong:  “wang” meaning death, “guo” meaning country , “mie” meaning  extinction, “zhong” meaning seed, race, species. This was a term commonly used in the 1920s and 30s to refer to the conquest and assimilation of a distinct nation.  It is significant that the text speaks of “Chinese war lords” as opposed to “Han war lords”. The term used is zhong guo, normally translated as China, referring to the nation, not the Han people.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Eat the Buddha! Part III-Tibetan Sources

‘Wounds of three generations’: a history of Ngaba under Chinese Communism
published by Kirti monastery in exile 2010

the Long March

On June 26 1935 the Red Army reached Chu chen, overcoming Tibetan resistance with superior numbers and weapons.[1] The lHa steng monastery and its precious contents was destroyed. (This ancient monastery once had over 2000 monks. It was completely destroyed in the Cultural Revolution and only ruins and 2 Stupas remain now).

In 1935 the Red Army passed through dMu dge (毛尔盖), looting the Tibetan population and those killed and wounded were countless. The “dMu dge conference” was held there in August. After that the so-called Cuo Lujun army led by Zhu De and Zhang Guotao proceeded through Cog rtse, Kyom kyo ( 脚木足), Ja phug (茶堡) etc. wreaking plunder and havoc, and causing a terrible famine, as people were left with no supplies of grain and so on.

The Cog rtse ruler mounted resistance on several occasions, but was overcome and had to retreat to the high mountains as his kingdom was overrun. His palace was occupied by Mao Zedong and the Red Army general command.

The Red Army proceeded through mKhar sgo and lHa rgyal gling (刷经寺) to rNga ba. Under the command of the rMe’u rgyal po dPal mgon phrin las rab brtan, the minister mThu stobs, the commander Te’u te’u A sangs (he was executed in 1959), gYu rgyas rta ro and others mobilised all the forces of upper, middle and lower rNga ba, and took on the Red Army at the pass called Ro chu lung ba south of mTshan nyid monastery, at Thod pa ki li, Lab rtse’i chu khug, Glang ma’i thang shar, at lCags yus thang in sKya mgo and other places, in the course of which the rMe’u ru ma military commander rMe’u sgang tshags nor, the brother of A khu thabs mkhas, the 34th abbot of Ki rti monastery, Chu tshe mgo dmar and so on were killed, and minister mThu stobs was injured. Then the fighting went on sporadically, and for a few days they were able to hold out, but as more Communist troops started to catch up they were unable to hold them back any longer, and everyone, the farmers and the herders, and monks from all the monasteries fled to the high mountains carrying whatever they could, and remained there for the next four months. The Red Army went on to the main Ki rti monastery in Tsha kho, destroyed the Maitreya temple there, and tore down all the canvas paintings fixed to the walls in the assembly hall and elsewhere to use as seating, and all the moveable paintings too, destroying them all. They pulled the roofing off the dormitory buildings, using the beams and rafters as firewood.

Then they went on to A mchog mtshan nyid monastery, where they further wrought destruction of the buildings and looting of their sacred contents. The monks fled to an area called dGu khog, where they continued to hold their assemblies and classes, and the summer rains retreat also had to be held there that year. Reaching rNga ba, the Red Army destroyed the temples, assembly halls and dormitories of about 30 monasteries, sparing none. They wiped out all the property and grain supplies left in the villages.

The gDong ri Ki rti monastery and village lay along the way, so it suffered severe damage, to the buildings and their contents. At that time, the scholar ’Jam Blo bzang skal bzang and Nyob Blo bzang phun tshogs were in charge of the statues, books, Stupas and other precious contents of the monastery, and when they came back there they were seized by the soldiers and disappeared.

At that time, the Red Army commander Zhu De stationed himself in the assembly hall of the rNga ba ki rti monastery, and left something written on the wall there in Chinese and Tibetan, so that in 1958 they said (exceptionally) that the monastery could not be destroyed because it was “Zhu De’s residence”. But during the Cultural Revolution it was completely destroyed. When the rNga ba ki rti monks fled, they were pursued by Red soldiers, and sGo ’gab blo bsam and gSer sde rgya mtsho were killed on the side of the Rva ru pass.

Their names are remembered because they were among the respected senior monks, but many others were also killed. All those caught by the pursuers were killed. They pulled up all the floorboards in the assembly hall for firewood, and used every single canvas wall painting for tenting, seating, rain shelters and so on. Of the thousand prayer wheels around the monastery perimeter, only one survived, which the monks named ‘the rebel they spared’. Not a single statue was left undamaged, like the lifesize silver statue of Amitabha inside the Stupa that had its arms broken off. Not a single volume of scripture survived in the whole complex. All the copper urns (used to serve the monk assemblies) were used for shrapnel. So there was nowhere in the whole of rNga ba that was not plundered, looted and destroyed.

The 6 divisions of upper rNga ba tried to resist with hand-to-hand fighting, but were outnumbered and had to flee. Eight people including rDor shar’s dGe slong brother, bSod rgyam, Yi go and Sher rgyam were killed by Red soldiers. When they fled, dPon mo dPal chen don grub mtsho of the ruling rMe’u family had their palace, and all the grain and other property they could not carry, set on fire, saying that otherwise it would be captured by the Red Army and used to sustain them for a long time. Even some village houses were burned down in this way. They spent 4 months up in the mountains. While the Red Army was staying in rNga ba, Zhang Guotao defied the Party’s orders, and led his Cuo Lujun army through A ’khyam (下阿坝) and Rong wam (茸安) in lower rNga ba down to ’Bar khams, and after that the Tibetans started to return to their homes.[2]

But then in 1936, just like before, the no.2 and no.4 Fangmen armies made their way from dKar mdzes to ’Dzam thang, looting, burning and killing, and in the 6th month advanced into rNga ba. The rNga ba people, both farmers and herders, all put up resistance but were overwhelmed, and once more were obliged to leave their homes behind and take refuge in the mountains. The second time there were no major battles, but there were many terrible stories of homes being looted and destroyed. The first year they had fled before the harvest, and the second year they had no chance to plant many crops, and the Red Army stole whatever stores they had.

From the end of August 1935 until the autumn of 1936 the no.1, no.2  and no.4 Fangmen armies passed through Ban yul, dPal skyid (巴西), A skyid rong (阿西茸), Chos rje (求吉) and Bab bzo in (present day) mDzod dge county causing irreparable losses through looting and destruction, and killing many Tibetans. They held their dPal skyid conference at dPal skyid ban yis monastery in September that year, and looted and destroyed many monasteries and homes in the area.

Tibetans put up brave resistance to the Red Army at a historically famous defensive point in The bo (迭部), a defile called La rtse’i khog, and managed to block their advance. This was recorded in a book by the Long March veteran Hu Pingyun. Subsequently the Chinese government erected a memorial pillar at the spot, but it is not known how many Tibetans lost their lives there, or other details. When the Red Army marched through Zhing ra sde ba region of The bo, the population fled into the forest and the mountains, but some of the youths sprung an attack on them when they stopped there. They managed to kill quite a few soldiers armed just with knives, axes and spears, and captured a few alive, who they threw off the cliffs between Zhing ra sde ba and ’Og shod sde ba.

At sTag tshang lha mo and other monasteries in mDzod dge, the monks fled, and buried many of the statues and sacred objects from the monasteries in the forest, and the village people also fled in apprehension of the Red Army’s arrival, but the army never actually came there.
The ravages of the Long Marchers caused the first ever famine in the history of the mDo smad region, when people were forced to eat leaves, grass and charcoal to survive.

Kirti tshang dang ’brel ba’i ngag rgyun lo rgyus nyams myong rgan po’i gtam phreng
Interview no.1: Ja tshogs sprul sku Blo bzang don grub (1924-2001)
Kirti Jepa Datsang 2003

Oral accounts of the elders related to the history of the Kirti lineage/ interview with Jatsok Tulku Losang Dondrup

(p.25) “A khu ’Jam dbyangs used to tell me to concentrate on reading the scriptures, because there was nothing else for me to worry about. There was no problem of food, clothing and shelter. It didn’t used to be like this. We didn’t know if we would run out of Tsampa or of firewood. If there was enough of one, there was not enough of the other. Not only that, but when the Communists came on the Long March they destroyed our scriptures. We even reached the point of missing the (commonly) memorised texts. You don’t have any problems at all. So study the scriptures!
The Red Army came twice and attacked the monastery, and they destroyed sacred images and burned all the scriptures, so the scholar monks faced serious problems to get the books they needed. At that time, all the symbols of body (statues), speech (scriptures) and mind (Stupa-s etc) were destroyed, and only one of the many prayer wheels around the perimeter survived. The monks called it “the rebel they spared” (“Thos thar”).

Probably out of spite, during the Long March the Chinese soldiers did whatever bad things they could. In my house, we used to have a Co ne bka’ ’gyur. During the 13th Dalai Lama’s time a definitive edition was made, but before that there was probably none better than the Co ne edition...even the paper was special. The script was even more elegant than the Lhasa edition, with images of offering deities and all, it was a wonderful thing. We had long, medium and short Prajnaparamita scriptures written in a mixture of silver and gold. And there were many Tangka paintings in my shrine room. When we returned from Shor ma (place of refuge), not a single book was left in place. The Chinese had made a toilet by piling up a large quantity of books and placing wooden beams on top, and many pages had footprints in the middle and so on, so everyone got the idea that the Red Chinese were coming deliberately to smash sacred objects and extinguish Buddhism.

In the 2 years that the Red Army fought (in rNga ba), on earlier and later occasions, they severely disrupted the monks’ studies and material provisions. Most fled to Shor ma, and when they held assemblies, not everyone had even a cloak to wear. Thanks to the kindness of the then disciplinarian from (sTag tshang ) lha mo, A khu ’bring ba bsam gtan tshang, some monks had iron tea bowls and some had porcelain, but there were hardly any with their regular things?? They had no tea cauldron, so they borrowed one from mKhar mda’ dgon.

No serious damage was done to the economic condition of the country in general, tea services and offerings were better than before, probably because the common people realised how the monks were suffering. Coming down when it was too cold in the high mountains, even a structure without doors or windows seemed warm and cosy. They tried to maintain the teaching programme, assemblies and so on as before, thinking that this was the mercy of the three jewels, but anyway the Chinese caused major problems to the material conditions for the practice of religion. It was like that just in my household, and the situation all over rNga khog would be beyond accounting... (p.28)
Before the Communists came to full power in 1959, when I offered Mang ja (tea service) there were 1,700-1,800 participants within the monastery.

At the time of the Long March (1935-36) I was 9 and 10 years old, or maybe 11 and 12. There were two incursions in rNga yul, one coming from rNga stod going down, one from rNga smad going up. When they were coming up, soldiers went to block their way as soon as their approach became known, but there was no time to stop them, they say. The rMe’u rgyal po, queen etc, came while the monastery assembly was being held, to explain that (war was being waged) for the sake of (protecting) religion and for the wellbeing of the country. “We will see if we can block the Chinese advance, and think we can. But if not, we will have to flee to the mountains for refuge. The monks and the elders can make Puja. The villagers can fight. Monks who can return to their native villages should do so.  Those with no native community nearby should stick together. Whatever happens, a monk cannot even throw a stone at the Chinese, much less use a weapon. If we fight it is for the defence of religion, not just the country. Monks who do so would later face punishment when they return to their native area. Everyone should keep this in mind!” They said “Let’s see if we can beat them. Probably we can. To be killed is not the end.”

It seems they were outnumbered. At that time they had no big guns or anything, no automated weapons. The Tibetans had useless guns, for which they made the bullets themselves. They fled to mGo log, to Phyi ’brog, Khro kho, and upper and lower Rong mtshams, carrying whatever they could, and only after 5 or 6 months, when there was word that the Chinese had left, they returned home. When they fled to the mountains, the fields had been planted, but when they returned, the whole harvest was gone, (even) the leftovers were dry, it is said. That time, the Chinese army didn’t starve. The next year, the Chinese “came down” (into rNga ba from the north), and they fled again. Like the previous year, the Tibetan forces could not stop them and they came down. That time, we also went through upper rNga ba and fled to mGo log. As we were fleeing up the sunny side of the rNga valley, the Chinese army was coming down the shady side. They came  towards us in a dark swarm like a herd of Yak, down the far side of the valley. After a while, night fell, and there were huge fires. Later, when they had taken over the villages in the centre of rNga ba, they sent out pursuers, and there were battles with each group of pursuers.

When word came that the Chinese had left and we returned to our homes, there were 6 or 7 or 8 or 9 Chinese soldiers lying dead in every corner. After a while, you got used to it and no longer saw them as scary or repulsive. Some were all dried out. There were some stragglers, and some (Tibetans) threw stones at them, but others told them not to, for mercy’s sake. There were a few in our village, and they say one of them committed suicide (by jumping) in our well. They must have been driven to desperation by hunger. That time, of the thousand or more prayer wheels around the (Kirti) monastery perimeter, only one remained. The monks gave it the name “The one that got away”. Not a single statue was left. The arms of the silver Amitabha statue in the great Stupa had been broken off. Not a single intact volume of scripture remained in the entire complex. We had a copy of the Co ne bka’ ’gyur in our house, and that was gone too. That is how they carried on during that time.

Q. How long did the Red Army stay? Were householders still living in the villages during that time?

They stayed 3 or 4 months. When we fled to the mountains it was springtime, the time when (barley) shoots are growing. It is harvested when it has grown long enough to sway in the wind. They had taken all the cattle, leaving none. I was at least ten years old at the time. There were no householders in the villages, all had fled. There was a nun called “Jomo Chu ’thung ma” (‘the water drinking nun’) living in a hermitage on the mountain above our place. She was not able to flee, and she was not killed, but had been shot, and her shoulder broken. Those able to get away did so.

Q. Apart from destroying the sacred contents, what did they do to Kirti monastery? Were monks attacked or killed?

They didn’t actually burn down buildings. They set fire to the wooden floor of the assembly hall and there was extensive fire damage inside. Not a single wall painting (wall-mounted canvas sections) was left in the assembly hall. The pursuers who came up to the pastures had used the canvas to make tents, and as waterproof clothing. All the copper tea cauldrons had been smashed. It was said they used them to make bombs. They made elementary hand grenades, cast bronze with a hemp string tail, and there were all kinds, those that exploded and those that did not. It seems they were able to make elementary rifle bullets.

Yes, there were dead and wounded. sGo ’gab Blo bsam and gSer sde rgya mtsho, two monk brothers, were killed by pursuers on the side of the Ra ru pa’i lab rtse (pass). Those two were extremely dignified, with reddish shaved heads. They are known because the older monks remember them as important people, but many more must have been killed whose names are not known. The pursuers would kill any fugitives they caught. At that time the pursuing troops were so poor that they went on foot. They didn’t have cars or even mules, much less aircraft. There was extremely heavy rain that summer, so the pursuing troops didn’t get all that far.

Q. Is it a true story, about mKhan po bDud ’dul tshang meeting the Red Army on the road?

Yes. When mKhan po bDud ’dul tshang was passing through Gur skos mkhar nang, a narrow valley with two mouths, and met the Chinese, they were up in a little side valley. He was quite old too. He hid there with a group of people including A khu dkon me, Rig tshul, sKu tshab sGang chos brtson ’grus and Sangs rgyas. The Chinese were coming and going nearby, but never saw them. He said “Now we can’t stay in the monastery, but there is no need for me to go from here. I think this Phur ba of mine can handle a few Chinese”. He really did not fall into their hands.

gDong khu tshang fled to rNga gsib rong kha, and the Chinese pursued and arrested him. He was a bit lame in one leg, maybe because his tutor beat him as a child, and he was fat, and the soldiers beat him with their rifle butts as they led him along, and on the way, when he could no longer walk, they threw him in a pit. His nephew is the old Lama who is a little bit dumb. He came waving his arms and saying “Friends! Don’t do this! The A lags cannot walk further and has been left behind. So why are you going on? “You too should pretend you can’t walk, and they will leave you behind”, they told him. As soon as the old Lama did this, they beat him with their rifle butts, and after a few blows they left him be. His companions, Blo sher and so on, were all young monks. They brought them to Kirti monastery. At first it was like imprisonment. Then they started to send them out to gather dry dung for fuel. At first it was nearby, then further and further away, and eventually those two were able to get away. A lags gDong sku tshang was not pretending, he really could not walk. He loaded two bullets in a gun, pointed it at his chest and pulled the trigger twice, but the bullets wouldn’t fire.

Q. Was the great Stupa damaged at that time?

It wasn’t actually demolished, but they took all the sacred objects and left it gutted. I already mentioned the silver Amitabha. The central square platform of the dome that was filled with Tsatsa (clay votive tablets) was also smashed. They made piles of earth inside and outside the monastery so that the doors could no longer be opened, turning it into a fortification. It seems that there was a Chinese commander staying above the assembly hall, and they put up kind of battlements to make it impenetrable. On the upper floor of the assembly hall they painted a slogan with blue paint in a mixture of Chinese and Tibetan, in both scripts: ‘Sa chen po shis tsang nas’. Apparently it meant to say that they were on their way to take the whole country as far as lHa sa. I don’t know if that is true, but it was written in very crude letters on the upper storey (wall). It seems the general Zhu De was there at the time. He is supposed to have said “Last time when our Red Army came here, you all fled. But you left behind everything to eat and drink. We were in a bad way, so those things really helped us. Now I will repay that kindness. I will do whatever I can to help you.”

Q. Is it true that the rMe’u rgyal po’s palace was set on fire?

Yes, it was. The family themselves did it. There was a protector(?) It was when the chief’s mother was acting as leader. She must have requested a divination asking whether it would be good to set it on fire. In the end when they decided to do it, they went into the assembly hall and lit a butter lamp, not a big one, but it sent out a long, long flame. They took that as a sign, and set the building on fire.

Nga’i pha yul gyi ya nga ba’i lo rgyus (The tragedy of my homelandby Tenzin Pelbar
Dharmshala: Nartang publications (DIIR) 1994

In the summer of 1936, the ‘Red Workers and Peasants Army’ of the Chinese Communists reached dMu dge (Maoergai), near Zung chu (Songpan). Calling themselves “Liberators of the proletariat and destroyers of all systems of exploitation”, they stole large quantities of grain from Tibetan households in the area. This enraged the Tibetans, who fought against them. When the Red Army soldiers approached the village of dBo to in Chu nag lung, they were ambushed by the villagers, led by bKra shis ’bum, many were killed, and their Russian-made rifles captured. They sheltered in a defensible gully and continued fighting for a few days, then retreated. A few days later, the village was surrounded by 2000 Chinese soldiers, and they burned 27 village houses to the ground. They killed 118 Tibetans, including bKra shis’bum and his nephew rNam rgyal thar. The latter had seized two guns from the hands of the aggressors and was charging fearlessly up to the Chinese gun emplacement when he was shot down. Klu rgyal ’bum killed quite a few soldiers by firing out from a window on the middle storey of a three storey house, but the Chinese responded by throwing grenades, he was injured, and fell into their hands. Later, they tied his hands behind his back, hung him from a beam in one of the houses and lit a big fire under him, burning him alive for all to see. Nam mkha’ ’bum and his 12 family members, sKal bzang don grub and his 15 family members, and rGya mtsho rgyal and his 18 family members were all killed and their houses burned down, as were many others. Others who were surrounded by soldiers stabbed themselves with their own knives before they could be killed, and some women hung themselves in their houses. The soldiers bayonetted the villagers to death, A mes ’tsho and Gling sman ’tsho were run through nine times over. bKra shis ’bum, his parents, son and daughter, and wife Gling dar sman were all killed, leaving no family successor.

Part I: Eat the Buddha!
Part II: Chinese sources
Part IV: Documents issued by the central CCP Leadership

(Click File - Download as to select pdf format)

[1] The first of two ‘Soviet’s, or ‘Tibetan Peoples’ Republics’, was established at Chu chen (Ch; Dajin/ Jinchuan) in Gyalrong, although not until November 1935, when the 4th Front army was returning south to Sichuan. It lasted only until June 1936, when PLA troops left the region at the end of the Long March. See Foundation of two Peoples’ Republics during the Long March of the Red Army http://cpc.people.com.cn/GB/64162/64172/64915/5699869.html

[2] This was the version of events approved in the official history. Similarly, according to the Abbreviated histories of Dzogé’s Buddhist monasteries by the historical research unit of Dzogé county CPPCC, 1999 (p.365-6), it was in the great assembly hall of dPal skyid pad yul monastery (in the east of present day mDzod dge/ Ruorgai county), in September 1935, that Mao announced his troops’ departure for Gansu, dividing the two armies. It was there too that he composed and distributed his Address to Red Army fighters.