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Tibet in 1959

The following images and text were published on "La Chine", No. 12, 1959 (French edition). This journal was published in China and translated in Western and Eastern languages to propagandize the achievements of the Chinese Government under Mao Zedong's leadership.

This month we have chosen to show you the way the Communist Party presented to the rest of the world the invasion of Tibet by the Chinese Army. Claiming they were "liberating" Tibet from its feudal bondage, the Chinese caused 1.2 million Tibetan deaths and destroyed most of the Tibetan cultural heritage. In 1950 the People's Liberation Army (PLA) entered the region and occupied eastern Tibet. The Dalai Lama reached an agreement with the Chinese that allowed the PLA to occupy the rest of Tibet but left the existing political, social and religious organizations intact. The agreement lasted until 1959, when a rebellion broke out. It was suppressed by the Chinese troops and the Dalai Lama fled to India.

"This is the most promising spring we'd ever had. Let's drink this barley beer that brings happiness and go to work!"

"The enthusiastic peasants of Tibet now work with an energy never known before.[...] After the suppression of the rebellions there's a new atmosphere in every region of Tibet."

"The market in Lhasa is very lively, but the prices are stable."

"The monasteries are protected and the religious activities of the lamas go on as before; children are back to school, factories and shops continue their usual activities."

"The grateful inhabitants of a region of Tibet offered this flag to the People's Liberation Army."

"The working masses desire a happy life... they ask for democratic reforms and denounce the slavery that caused all of their misery. To satisfy their need the Chinese Communist Party decided to do all is possible to carry through democratic reforms."


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