A Forbidden City Connection to Tibet Revealed

September 14, 2010

Since the Western media is often critical of China and often exaggerates events in Tibet to make China look bad, I was surprised while reading The Last Secrets of the Forbidden City Head to the U.S. by Auston Ramzy.

I was surprised that evidence like this slipped past the Western media censors—sorry, in the West they are called editors.

The TIME piece was about an exhibit traveling to the United States with treasures from the Forbidden City that have not been seen since 1924.

I read, “Many of the 18th century objects that will be displayed are symbols of the emperor’s devout Buddhism. They include a hanging panel filed with niches that hold intricate figurines of Buddhas, deities and historical teachers from the Tibetan Buddhist sect to which [Emperor] Qianlong belonged.” See Buddhism in China

I didn’t know the powerful Qianlong Emperor followed the teachings of Buddhists from Tibet. There are four Buddhist sects in Tibet. The Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of one of the four, the Yellow Hat sect.

Why would the Qianlong Emperor belong to a Tibetan sect of Buddhism if Tibet were not considered part of China at the time? There is even evidence that Tibetan Buddhist monks traveled to the capital of China to serve the emperors.

I saw this as more evidence that proves China considered Tibet a vassal state or tributary.  In fact, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasty troops are known to have occupied Lhasa over the centuries.

I’ve written about primary evidence from the October 1912 National Geographic Magazine that described how the Imperial government in Beijing managed a difficult Tibet, and I’ve mentioned letters Sir Robert Hart wrote in the 19th century that also mention Tibet as part of China.

In 1890, a Convention between Great Britain and China was signed—more proof that China considered Tibet part of its realm and Great Britain agreed.

Yes, Tibet did declare freedom from China in 1913 soon after the Qing Dynasty collapsed and China fell into chaos and anarchy while warlords fought over the spoils.

The British Empire convinced Tibet to break from China. 

It is also a fact that in 1950, after World War II and the end of the rebellion between Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists and Chinese Communists that Mao invaded Tibet and reoccupied what the Chinese considered a breakaway province as mainland China still considers Taiwan.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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