When China did not claim what is today's Arunachal Pradesh
During this particular meeting which was held at Delhi (not Simla) on January 12, 1914, the Tibetans and the Chinese representatives presented their views on their common border.
It was the follow-up of extensive discussions between Sir Charles Bell, the Assistant of Sir Henry McMahon, the Indian Foreign Secretary and the plenipotentiaries of Tibet and China.
Today, Beijing would like to believe that this Conference never took place, but it did (see the picture above).
The three plenipotentiaries sat on the table as equals, China has also forgotten this ‘detail’.
I am posting here only the Chinese description of its borders with Tibet and India. it shows that Ivan Chen, the Chinese plenipotentiary has clearly little to offer in terms of proofs of ‘ownership’, while still claiming large chunks of Tibetan in Eastern Tibet; the Tibetans were far better prepared and could document their claims much better (see my website for the long Tibetan statements and the 90 attached documents).
The main discussion of the Conference was around the Sino-Tibetan border in Kham province of Tibet. In their statement, the Chinese representative nowhere claimed that the entire plateau, till what is today Xinjiang, belonged to China.
There is also no trace of claim of Tawang area or India’s entire North-East (later NEFA).
The only area close to the Indian border which is mentioned is Zayul.
The Chinese statement says:
Zayul is divided into two parts, the upper and the lower, both of which are outside the pale of the Tibetan control and are inhabited by independent and barbarous tribes called Miris, Abors, and Mishmis.
On the approach of the Chinese army at the place in 1911, the Chiefs of Zayul tendered their submission to His late Excellency Chao Erh Feng [Zhao Erfeng], and he then took effective occupation of it, as evidence of which he caused seals of office to be issued to the Chiefs and placed it under the administration of Szechuan (Sichuan). It is now called Cha-yu Hien.
The truth is the Zhao Erfeng, known as ‘Butcher Zhao’ for his cruelty, conducted an expedition along the Lohit river till a place called Menilkrai, near Walong.
He planted a pillar and left.
On November 19, 1913, the Secretary of State sanctioned what the Bristish called a ‘promenade’ in the area.
TPM O’Callaghan, the Assistant Political Officer (APO) in Sadiya was in charge; he was accompanied by an escort of the 1/8th Gurkha Rifles led by Major C Stansfeld and Lt. HR Haringlon.
The British officers visited Rima in Tibet at the invitation of the Tibetan authorities, and cordial relations were established.
On May 6, 1914, Sir Archdale Earle, the Chief Commissioner of Assam writes:
Mr. O’Callaghan’s report confirms the information in the possession of the Chief Commissioner that there are at present no Chinese troops anywhere in the neighbourhood of Rima. It urges nevertheless the importance of carrying the Lohit Valley road to our frontier, and of establishing a post as near the frontier as is practicable at the earliest possible date. This view is shared by the Chief Commissioner, but he realises that, for reasons which will presently be stalled, it will probably be found advisable to move slowly in the coming cold weather. He thinks, however, and he trusts that the Government of India will agree in this view, that the impossibility of recognising a Chinese boundary in the neighbourhood of Menilkrai has been finally established, and he regards Mr O’Callaghan’s action in removing the boundary posts as thoroughly justified.
The APO had found Chinese markers at Menilkrai, just below Walong. One set dated from 1910 and new markers had been placed in 1912 by the Chinese troops. O’Callaghan removed the markers, repositioned them upstream, near Kahao, just south of the McMahon Line.
O’Callaghan confirms that a post needed to be established at Walong:
I am more than ever convinced of the necessity of the finishing of the road to our frontier and the opening of a post as near our frontier as soon as possible. From Walong to Rima, there is no difficulty in road making and the Lohit Valley road already constructed and open up to Mankum only required continuation to Manglor flat, a distance of less than 30 miles, to make the opening and rationing of the post a practicable scheme. I trust it will be clearly realised that a small force, operating from Walong, could occupy Rima and hold the Rong Chu and Zayul Valleys in 24-30 hours and, vice versa, a force moving from Rima can unopposed be in position on Menilkrai flat within 36 hours and effectually prevent any advance up the Lohit Valley. Should delay be made, it is not impossible that in the years to come it may take much more than the resources which the Local Administration will have at its immediate command, to assert our legitimate rights and claims, which the ready completion of the already sanctioned but uncompleted scheme for the Lohit Valley will confirm.
The APO studied the “the immense cost rationing the post”, but after he made some enquiries, he was “satisfied that within a few years the majority of the rice and other items required for the supplies can be procured locally, either grown or purchased.”
This was unfortunately not enough to convince Delhi at that time, but the India-Tibet border was clearly defined between Kahao (near Kibuthu) and Rima as marked the following year by McMahon on his map.
Ivan Chen did not make any claim on what is today Tawang district.
It is clearly an afterthought. At the end of 1959, Beijing reacted to the escape to the Dalai Lama in India and started wild claims.
Lonchen Shatra the Tibetan Plenipotentiary resumed nicely the situation in his statement:
Therefore unlawful encroachment, like a large insect swallowing up a small one, or in other words asserting ‘might is right’ — an uncivilised method — it is hoped, will not be permitted, and that lawful rights will be respected and the lawful owner will be allowed to enjoy peaceful possession.
Unfortunately, a century later, unlawful encroachments are still permitted.
It is worth reading the Tibetan description of the border with China supported by 90 historical documents.
Here are extracts of the Proceedings the Third Meeting of the Conference (the Chinese views on their borders with Tibet)
Present :-Sir Henry McMahon, G.C.V.O., K.C.I.E., C.S.I., British Plenipotentiary and staff.
Monsieur Ivan Chen, Chinese Plenipotentiary and staff.
Kusho Lonchen Shatra, Tibetan Plenipotentiary and staff.
The Plenipotentiaries took their seats at 11 A.M.
Sir Henry McMahon said that the meeting had been called in order that the Chinese and Tibetan Plenipotentiaries might have an opportunity of laying on the table statements of the evidence in regard to the respective frontiers claimed by them.
The Lonchen Shatra said that he regretted he had not been able to complete the translation of all the appendices to his statement as he had only one translator, who was in bad health, but the translation of the remaining appendices was being pushed on as fast as possible.
Monsieur Ivan Chen said that since the last meeting of the Conference at Simla, there had been several informal meetings at the last of which it had been arranged that he and his Tibetan Colleague should submit the cases dealing with their respective territorial claims for Sir Henry McMahon’s consideration and decision, after the communication of which they would refer to their respective Governments. He accordingly laid his case on the table for consideration.
The Chinese and Tibetan Plenipotentiaries then exchanged copies of their cases.
Sir Henry McMahon said that he would now proceed to consider the cases and communicate his conclusions to his colleagues as quickly as possible.
The Lonchen Shatra raised the question of the custody of the original Tibetan documents of which translations formed enclosures of the Tibetan case. The originals of these documents were produced and shown to the Conference. Sir Henry McMahon and Monsieur Ivan Chen agreed that in view of the great bulk of these documents they should remain in the custody of the Tibetan Plenipotentiary from whom they could be obtained for reference when required.
The Conference rose at 11.25 A.M.
T. G. B. WAUGH,
Acting Secretary to the Conference.
A. H. McMAHON,
Enclosure No. 1.
Chinese Statement on limits of Tibet
At the informal meetings on the question of the limits of Tibet on the 5th, the 11th, the 12th, and the 15th of December last, the Chinese Plenipotentiary stated the claims of the Government of the Republic of China to Giamda and all the places east of it, and also gave reasons with which the Chinese Government put forward such claims.
At the last informal meeting on the 19th of the same month, the Chinese Plenipotentiary, being of the opinion that almost no progress had been made, suggested that he and the Tibetan Plenipotentiary should each submit a statement to the full Conference for the consideration of the British Plenipotentiary, who would in due course of time inform them of the result of his consideration, when they will be given time to consider it and telegraph to their respective Home Authorities on the matter. This mode of procedure was then agreed to unanimously.
Under these circumstances the Chinese Plenipotentiary begs to submit the following statement:
I. What are the claims of the Chinese Government in regard to the question of the limits of Tibet?
The Chinese Government claim to have Giamda and all the places east of it, viz., Jyade, Dam, Zayul, Chiamdo (Chamdo), Enta, Markham, Puyul (Poyul), Pemakoi–chen (Pemakoe), Darge (Derge), Lhojong (Lho Dzong), Shobando, and Tenk’e.
II. What rights are the claims of the Chinese Government based upon?
The Chinese Government derive their rights from the historic connections of all those places with China and from what is called in International Law “effective occupation ”, evidences of which are given below.
Giamda, Lhojong and Shobando.
Giamda has returned to its allegiance towards China, since 1909, together with Rivoudze, Lhojong and Shobando. During that year, a punitive expedition was sent from Szechuan to Tibet under the command of His late Excellency Chao Erh Feng for the murder of the Chinese Amban Fung Chuan, and as soon as the Chinese army arrived, the native chiefs of all these places tendered their submission to His Excellency Chao, and in 1910 it was settled between him and the Tibetan Authorities that Giamda should be the boundary line between China and Tibet.
This settlement was reported to the Manchu Emperor Hsuan Tung and sanctioned by Imperial Rescript. On the 25th of May 1913, the President of the Republic of China issued a Mandate ordaining that the territorial limit of Szechuan (Sichuan) shall be the same as it has existed in the last days of the Manchu dynasty but no Chinese garrison shall cross to the west of Giamda.
Jyade lies in the valley of the Kara Ussou and is called the thirty-nine “tutze” of Nak Tchou. It is under the control of the Chinese Deputy Amban of Lhasa, called Yeeching Chang-King. Dam is in the same position. A tax, called Kung Ma Nin or horse tax, is levied and collected every year by the Yeeching Chang-King, and its total amount is only about 391$ odd. Under the Yeeching Chang-King, there are Chinese officials, such as Kushanta, Tsuling, Yilling and Yaokeyao and five hundred soldiers in time of peace. The latter are all recruited locally.
When Colonel Younghusband stopped at Kampajong (Kampa Dzong) with his expedition in 1903-04, the Chinese Amban at Lhasa wished to meet him on the frontier, but he was prevented from carrying out his wishes by the Tibetans refusing to supply him with necessary transport. And when he turned to the authorities of Jyade and Dam for transport, they were quite ready to supply it because they were at liberty to do so.
When Tibetans are travelling about, they have to pay a certain toll, in crossing a river, but the people of Jyade and Dam are exempted from paying such a toll and others, if they can produce certificates from the Yeeching Chang-King certifying that the holders of the certificates are natives of Jyade or Dam.
This shows Jyade and Dam have nothing to do with Tibet at all and are absolutely beyond the jurisdiction of Tibet.
In “Mysterious Tibet” by Sir Thomas Holdich, a well-known authority on Tibet, pages 184-85, he says that “Rockhill’s Tibetan escort had returned to Lhasa as he was now under direct Chinese jurisdiction in the province of Jyade. This Chinese province extends from east to west over two hundred miles and more of country, with a probable breadth of sixty or seventy miles, touching, to the north, the Dangla and its branches and, to the south, bordering on Lhasa governed provinces! Its people have in the oldest times preferred the Binbo religion (a form of devil worship or Lhamanism which has at one time or another prevailed over most parts of Asia) a creed not tolerated in the kingdom of Lhasa which tried for a long time to crush it out of these regions.”
Furthermore all Tibetans can only receive their official appointments from the Chinese Amban on the recommendation of the Tibetan Kab-lon, but the official appointments in Jyade and Dam are made by the Amban on the recommendation of the Yeeching Chang-king.
It is also well known that Tibetans are not at liberty to settle anywhere they like in Jyade and Dam, and that the people of Jyade and Dam call themselves by the name of Gyashokpa, or, in other words, that they claim that they are of Chinese race and do not belong to the Tangut stock.
By what is stated in the above it is incontestably established that Jyade and Dam have been long administered by China as a Chinese province and Tibet has not the least claim to them.
Chiamdo, Gartok-Markham, Draya.
In Tibet there are four principalities which are directly under the Chinese control. These are Draya and Chiamdo on the east. Tashilumpo and Sakya Kongma to the south-east of Tashilumpo.
The Commander-in-Chief of Yunnan was formerly stationed in Chiamdo, and it was in the beginning of the reign of Yung Cheng that the administration of this place was transferred to the authorities of Szechuan.
There are Chinese civil and military officials in charge of the local revenue and the Chinese garrison. It is the same case with En-ta.
Poyul has never belonged to Tibet. It is a country inhabited by lawless herdsmen, and in the southern part of it there is a large number of Chinese settling there, with the result that there is now a thriving trade in blankets, baskets, silver and iron works, red pepper, and remarkably fine flour. Poyul is practically independent and Tibet has never been able to exercise any influence over the place. It surrendered its submission to China in 1909, and in the winter of that year Chinese officials were appointed to govern the place by His late Excellency Chao Erh Feng who was at that time stationed in Chiamdo.
This place is situated in the north-east of Chiamdo. It is under a ”tutzi” whose head-quarters are in Kenching which has been instituted as a Chinese district and is now called Teh Hwa Chow.
III. With regard to the Tibetan claims in regard to the question of the limits of Tibet, the Chinese Plenipotentiary further begs to submit the following statement as a reply to them.
Batang, Litang, Nyarong, etc.
These places are all east of the range of Ning Tsin Shan and have been under Chinese administration since the early period of the reign of Yung Cheng. About one hundred miles west from Batang there is a boundary pillar bearing Chinese inscriptions which state that east of this range it is Chinese territory while west of it it is Tibetan. This was however the demarcation of the boundaries between China and Tibet for that time only, for after the death of Emperor Young Cheng, the Emperor Kien Lung, successor of Yung Cheng, formally annexed Tibet in 1720 and since then Tibet has been under Chinese sovereignty and the whole of Tibet cannot be otherwise considered than Chinese territory.
In order to show the effective occupation of these places, a Bill, passed in 1912 by the House of Senators of the National Assembly in Peking to constitute them as the eighth division of the Parliamentary election districts of Szechuan, is herewith appended.
Kokonor or Ching-hai (Qinghai)
The Kokonor regions were taken by Chinese, in the time of Yung Cheng (in about 1700) from Lopotsangdantsin, the great grandson of Gushi Khan, on account of his intrigues with the Sungarians for compassing a conquest of Tibet. The Chinese victorious army was under the command of Nien Ken Yao and Yo Tsung Ki, two well-known generals in the military history of China, and the conquest of Kokonor or Ching-hai is fully recorded in Chinese official records such as Pin-Ding-Ching hai-Fong-Liao, Shen-Wu-Si-Ching-ki( ).
Since this conquest the Kokonor regions have been under Chinese administration, at the head of which is the Chinese Amban whose head-quarters are at Siningfu. In the time of Yung Cheng an Imperial Edict was issued ordaining that “not more than two hundred lama monasteries shall be built in Kokonor, and that each monastery shall contain no more than two hundred lamas”.
The Kokonor regions are divided into twenty-nine banners under the leadership of Khoshoit, ( ) Choros, ( ) Khoit, ( ) Turgut, () Khalkha, ( ) and Tsahannomen, ( ). Under Khoshoit there are twenty-one banners; under Choros and Khoit, one banner each; under Turgut, four banners; under Khalkha, one banner; and under Tsahannomen, one banner.
The leader of each banner is either a prince of the second class or a duke, and they are all under the control of the Chinese Amban at Siningfu who in addition to these banners has the following tribes under his administration :-
(1) The Gyakp ( ) tribe and the Kongpo ( ) tribe in the region between U and Khamo ( ).
(2) The Gyaldo ( ) tribe in the region between Chien Tsang ( ) and Hou Tsang ( ).
(3) The Djak ( ) tribe in the south-west of Tsang.
(4) The Koshot ( ) tribe in the region between Hou Tsang and Lhari. ( ).
(5) The Gyppo tribe, ( ) the Gyldin tribe, ( ) in the north of Lhari.
More details about Chinghai or Kokonor can be given on referring to the Chinese official records called Ta-Ching-Hui-Tsin and Ta-Ching-Yi-Tung-Tze ( ).
January 12th, 1914.