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）
——Draft Programme of Tibetan National Revolutionary Struggle Movement
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.
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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Those given medicine hills (by the Peoples Government) have the right of ownership. Others who collect medicinal plants there should pay a fee.
- Forests are distributed to the people of each district for common use. Hunting is free.
- 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
- Abolish all the exorbitant taxes and levies previously imposed by Chinese officials.
- 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
- Protect Lamas, Lamaist temples, scriptures and Buddhist images.
- Land belonging to Lamaist temples will not be confiscated. Land lease is allowed.
- 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.
- Lamaist temples are not allowed to interfere with government administration, but Lamas have the right to join the government as individuals.
- Lamas have the freedom to conduct religious services outside the temples, but payment must be on a voluntary basis.
- 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.
- Weapons belonging to Lamas and Lamaist temples must be registered with the government and licenses issued.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 I: Eat the Buddha!
Part I: Eat the Buddha!
Part II: Chinese sources
Part III: Tibetan sources
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Part III: Tibetan sources
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 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.
 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.
 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.