Legal Punishment in Tibet from Imperial Chinese Rule to Independence
On November 1st 1728, in a meadow on the banks of the Bamari canal, a short distance south-west of the Potala, seventeen Tibetans were put to death by executioners of the Manchu expeditionary force. Thirteen were decapitated and two high lamas were slowly strangled to death. The principal prisoners, two ministers of the kashag, Ngabo and Lumpa were put to death by the uniquely Chinese form of execution known as língchí (凌遲) sometimes translated as the “lingering death or “death of a thousand cuts” whereby the condemned person had small portions of the body methodically cut off with a knife over an extended period of time – perhaps even a few days – till he finally died. The term língchí derives from a classical description of leisurely walking up a mountain.
The citizens of Lhasa, who had been forced to witness this terrible event were profoundly traumatized by the spectacle – as it was meant to be – according to the historian Luciano Petech. To drive home this lesson in legal terror, all the relatives including children of the condemned were also executed. One Tibetan eyewitness, the official and scholar, Dokar Tsering Wangyal, wrote five years later, that even with the passage of time he still felt gloomy and disturbed in recalling the events. The Tibetan minister Phola was also deeply distressed by the spectacle, and in the following days made offerings and burnt butter lamps in the many temples of Lhasa for the spiritual welfare of those killed. In point of fact the executed ministers had been his adversaries in a civil war, which had provided the casus belli for the expeditionary force to march into Tibet and shore up the establishment of Imperial Chinese protectorate in Tibet.
This form of execution was used in China from roughly AD 900 to its official abolition in 1905. But in a recent study from Harvard University Press on língchí , the authors mention occurrences of língchí executions in Eastern Tibet as late as 1910, by Zhao Erfeng’s administration. Khampas claimed that Chinese soldiers “would bring slow death by slicing off a small part of the body at a time until the heart was reached and life ended”. The authors suggest that “ this could have been justified as military emergency.”
The Tibetan poet and blogger extraordinaire, Woeser, in a recent interview refuting official Chinese propaganda about “barbaric feudal serfdom” (invariably “proven” by exhibitions of torture instruments allegedly used in Tibet such as cages, shackles, neck pillory, stones, and knives used to dig out one’s eyeballs) said that “the most brutal torture instruments came from the inland – the imperial envoys from the Qing Dynasty brought them to Tibet.”
One of the more conspicuous of Chinese contributions in this regard was the mu jia (木枷) , which in most European writings on China is referred to as the cangue. It was similar to the pillory in the West, except that the board of the cangue was not fixed to a base, and had to be carried around by the prisoner. In Tibet it was known, appropriately enough, as gya-go or “Chinese door”, and was used widely by the Manchu Chinese administration. The cangue, in addition to being an effective restraint, was because of its weight, a most painful form of punishment. The traditional Tibetan method of restraining prisoners was with leg-irons (kang-chak). The American scholar William Rockhill noted that “The Chinese punishment of the cangue is now adopted throughout Tibet, the criminals wearing it also heavily chained. The cangue is called in Tibetan, tse-go.” The term tse-go is most probably Khampa.
Another form of judicial torture and punishment that was introduced to Tibet by the Chinese was the finger-press. This instrument was on display this year at the “50th Anniversary of Democratic Reforms in Tibet” Exhibition in Beijing along with other instruments of torture, and photographs “proving” the barbarity of old Tibet. But this allegedly Tibetan torture-instrument doesn’t even have a Tibetan name, while we find that very same finger-press in a Ming dynasty compendium of such articles.
But execution by decapitation (shatou 杀头), was the standard Chinese punishment for those who might defy them in Tibet. This punishment became especially prevalent around 1910 when the 13th Dalai Lama escaped to India and acts of defiance and rebellion began to take place against Imperial Chinese rule. According to an old monk who claimed to have witnessed an execution take place at the Chinese parade ground (jiaochang) in Shigatse, the condemned Tibetan had to get down on his knee while a Manchu soldier pulled his hair so that his neck was extended and readied for the big executioners sword (dadao 大刀).
The events of 1728 saw the creation of the office of the amban, or imperial residents in Lhasa. The first two ambans, Seng Ta-zing and Me Ta-zing (as Tibetan records refer to them) conducted a thorough reorganization of the military and administration in Tibet, and also appear to have introduced Chinese forms of judicial punishment – used alongside traditional Tibetan forms of punishment. But the Chinese punishments were clearly more effective in subduing Tibetans. Petech, in his history of early 18th century Tibet, concludes that Imperial power in Tibet was based, among other things, “on the terror inspired in the hearts of the Tibetan aristocracy by the bloody repression of 1728.”
The ambans also established a special security and inquisitional force, called the thuvin or thubin (probably a Manchu term) distinct from the traditional Tibetan constabulary, the korchakpa. Rebecca French, the scholar on Tibetan jurisprudence, writes that the thuvin were “said to have been clothed in Chinese dress and trained in physical punishment techniques by the Lhasa representative of the Chinese government (amban).” Sarat Chandra Das who travelled to Tibet in the late eighteen hundreds mentions that “At Lhasa nowadays, various Chinese tortures are used.”
But Chinese despotism and legal terror was probably experienced worst of all in Eastern Tibet, not only during the Manchu dynasty but also in the Republican era, and later, the War Lord period as well. Eric Teichman the English diplomat who arranged for the negotiations between the Tibetan and the Chinese army in Kham in 1918, quoting a European missionary, writes “There is no method of torture known that is not practiced in here on the Tibetans, slicing, skinning, boiling, tearing asunder, and all.”
I was going through an old National Geographic Magazine (September 1921 issue) about life in Eastern Tibet when I came across this photograph of a giant cauldron used in monasteries to make tea for the monk community. The caption read. “A cauldron which has been used by the Chinese for cooking Tibetans.” The article by Dr. Albert Shelton did not provide more information, but I came across a detailed account of this “cooking of Tibetans” in Shelton’s book Pioneering In Tibet. He had come across this gruesome cauldron in the district of Drayak. The Chinese colonel commanding the garrison in this place had captured some forty-five or fifty Tibetans, and had thought of making himself feared by the Tibetans. He had tied up three of them and placed them in the cauldron in cold water and slowly bought the water up to a boil. After they had been well cooked their bodies had been fed to animals. Shelton actually saw “the skeletons laying bare on the stones near by their flesh all having been eaten by the dog. Others had oil pored on them and had been burned alive. Others had their hands cut off and sent back a warning to those from whom they came. Others had been taken and, with yak hitched to each arm and each leg, had been torn in pieces.”
It should be made clear that the ancient Tibetan legal code, traditionally attributed to Songtsen Gampo, revised by the first Phagmotruba monarch and later revised by the fifth Dalai Lama and Desi Sangye Gyatso, did specify severe forms of capital punishment such as drowning and by being shot at with arrows, for capital crimes. But we are talking of ancient times here, when “traitors” were hung, drawn and quartered in London, heretics were burnt at the stake by the Inquisition in Italy and Spain, and by Calvin in Geneva, and “witches” tortured and hung in Massachussetts. Of course, condemned men were still slowly sliced to death in Imperial Beijing at the beginning of the 20th century.
The last recorded case in Tibet of drowning being carried out as a capital punishment was in 1884, when the Tibetan Parliament ordered the Sengchen Lama to be put to death by drowning because he had assisted the scholar and British agent, Sarat Chandra Das, to travel to Tibet. Other lesser punishments as amputation of the right hand and cutting the Achilles tendon of the feet for repeated offences were prescribed by the code, but later abolished throughout Tibet.
The business of cutting off of hands and amputating feet is one of the standard charges by the Chinese and their Western propagandists against the Dalai Lama and his government. Of course, no mention is ever made that such punishments, as well as the death penalty, were abolished in Tibet in 1913 – an enormously significant but so far overlooked (both by Beijing as well as Dharamshala) historical fact which we will discuss in detail further on. Chinese propaganda publications, films and exhibitions never fail to highlight photographs of old dismembered limbs, skull-caps, bone-ornaments and trumpets made of human thigh-bones trumpets, to prove their point. Readers may remember in the 1970s and 80s the accusation that the Dalai Lama had 108 virgins executed and their thigh-bones made into ritual instruments.
It is often not clear whether such cruel punishments inflicted during the period when Tibet was under the rule of Imperial China were those based on old Tibetan legal codes or actual Chinese punishments introduced to Tibet under Chinese rule? Cutting-off of limbs does fit nicely into a type of Chinese punishment called the Five Pains (wutongku 五痛苦?) invented by Li Si, a famous Legalist and a minister of the Qin dynasty, where the victim’s nose was cut off, followed by a hand and a foot. The victim was then castrated and finally cut in half in line across the waist. Li Si himself was ironically executed in this way in 208 BC.
But perhaps more important than establishing the origins of such punishments the crucial question should be under whose political rule – Tibet’s or China’s – were such cruel punishments inflicted on Tibetans? The question is significant as a principal “proof” of China’s claim for Tibet being an “inalienable part of China” is that Tibet was under Manchu rule from the 1700s to 1912.
It is hence quite telling that Beijing and its propagandists in the West, whenever bringing up the subject of “cruelty and barbarity” of the old Tibetan government and society, are invariably restricted to quoting from Europeans who traveled to Tibet before it became independent in 1912. Preferred writers are L.A. Waddell, Percival Landon, Edmund Candler and Captain WFT O’Conner, who, in addition to their pre-1912 vintage, accompanied the British invasion force of 1904, and who sought to justify that violent imperialist venture into Tibet by demonizing Tibetan society and institutions in much of their writings.
In the official statement issued by Beijing on March 2, 2009 for the commemoration of “Fifty Years of Democratic Reform in Tibet” they have a section “ Old Tibet — A Society of Feudal Serfdom under Theocracy” where the initial and extensive description of old Tibetan society is that by British journalist Edmund Candler who is matter-of-factly described as having “visited Tibet in 1904, and recorded the details of old Tibetan society”, He was actually a war correspondent for the Daily Mail and was “embedded” with the British expeditionary force. Furthermore he was badly injured by sword-wielding Tibetan militia men at the first conflict at Guru. So, far from being an impartial witness, he wasn’t even in Tibet for any significant length of time.
Tibetans were beginning to challenge Manchu rule during that period, but no matter how politically assertive they were becoming, they could not, of course, have instituted any changes in the administrative and legal system of Tibet until after the Chinese had been expelled. The Chinese system of torture and beheadings only ended in 1912 when the Chinese garrison in Lhasa finally surrendered, and the troops repatriated to India.
There is good evidence that the young 13th Dalai Lama and many of His officials not only desired to be free of Chinese political rule but also wanted to do away with Chinese laws and punishments in Tibet. In December 1893, the Tibet Trade Regulation Talks were held at Darjeeling between the British and the Chinese. Tibetans were deliberately excluded from the talks, but the kashag sent the minister Shatra to Darjeeling to keep an on the proceedings. The British regarded Shatra’s presence as insolence and apparently had him publicly humiliated, as I have detailed in another essay. L.A. Waddell was in Darjeeling at the time and interviewed Shatra on a number of occasions. In return Shatra asked Waddell to provide him a summary of British “criminal, police and civil codes” which he wanted to take back to Lhasa for “…the improvement of the government”. Wadell complied with this request and gave him translations of the general contents of the British/Indian legal system. According to Waddell, Shatra was much impressed with the practice of not compelling an accused person to testify against himself, and exclaimed “Why, we, following the Chinese, do the very opposite, for we torture the accused until he confesses to the crime!”
The first clear indication of the Dalai Lama’s enlightened intentions for his nation’s future came after his enthronement in 1895. The former regent Demo Rinpoche after relinquishing power began to plot with his two brothers, Norbu Tsering and Lobsang Dhonden, to murder the Dalai Lama. The plot was discovered and Demo and his two brothers arrested. An outraged National Assembly (tsongdu), called for the death penalty but the Dalai Lama rejected their decision declaring his opposition to capital punishment on Buddhist principles. Professor Melvyn Goldstein retails a rumour that Demo was secretly killed in prison. There is a possibility that an overzealous official could have done something like that, but there is no evidence beyond the rumour. Sir Charles Bell, in his biography of the Great Thirteenth, writes that the Dalai Lama told him that “… until the time of his flight to India he allowed no capital punishment in any circumstances.”
After His return from exile, on the eighth day of the fourth month of the water Ox Year (1913) the Great Thirteenth, in his declaration of independence, announced the ending of what we might now call “cruel and unusual” punishments – in addition to his earlier abolishment of the death penalty. The statement is quite specific. “Furthermore, the amputations of citizens’ limbs has been carried out as a form of punishment. Henceforth, such severe punishments are forbidden.” Copies of the proclamation were sent out throughout Tibet, and copies had to be maintained in the office of every district.
Charles Bell in his Tibet Past and Present provides, in the book’s index, three references for “Capital punishment abolished in Tibet”. Robert Byron, the noted British travel writer, art critic and historian, traveled to Tibet in the early thirties and observed matter of factly “Capital punishment was now abolished.” Even in such a remote part of Tibet as Zayul, Frank Kingdon-Ward, the plant-hunter, writes of a criminal case in 1937 where a government courier had been murdered, and that the district magistrate did not have the power to inflict the death penalty. Kingdon-Ward drew the conclusion that “…the modern Tibetan government, having abandoned the barbarous practice of mutilating criminals, in vogue twenty-five years ago, has swung to the other extreme, and is chary of inflicting the death penalty.”
William Montgomery McGovern, the American anthropologist who traveled to Lhasa in disguise in 1922 (and who was possibly an inspiration for the character of Indiana Jones) not only mentions the abolishment of capital punishment, but also notes the Dalai Lamas’ consideration that such punishments were inconsistent with Buddhism. He also writes that “legally the judges can now only inflict flogging or banishment for any crime, including murder. The Lhasa magistrates stated that these sentences were not sufficiently severe to deter other offenders, and expressed regret that the old system had been done away with.”
Charles Bell also noted that Nepal objected to the abolition of the death penalty in Tibet, as a few cases had come up where Tibetans who had murdered Nepalese subjects had received lesser sentences. A “high Tibetan official” told Bell that. “The Nepalese authorities demand that we shall put those Tibetan to death. So far we have not consented.” 
Alan Winnington, the left wing journalist who was the first European allowed into Tibet after its “liberation” by Communist China – when the legal system was still the traditional one – was informed by “the chief magistrate and mayor of Lhasa,” Gorkar Mepon that “no death sentences have been imposed in Tibet for some years”. Winnington discussed “lighter sentences” as amputation, but received an unexpected reply. “‘But such things have not been done in my memory.’ the Mepon insisted.”
Although there were shortcomings and occasional lapses in the implementation of the law, one must certainly describe its realization as monumental, certainly impressive. Tibet was one of the first countries in the world to end capital punishment. It is, of course, ongoing in the USA and Britain, and, it might be noted in Buddhist Sri Lanka and Thailand as well. In the latter country Buddhist sensibilities are supposedly assuaged by shooting the condemned man from behind a curtain. Japan still has the death penalty and Bhutan only abolished it in 2004.
Even the few instances when the Dalai Lama’s revolutionary legal decision was violated or contravened, serves to demonstrate the fullness of Tibetan commitment to the Great 13th’s ideals. In 1924 when a soldier died under punishment, Tsarong, the Commander in Chief of the Tibetan army, a man who had personally saved the Dalai Lama’s life, was demoted and permanently relieved of his military duties.
Not only is there no record of executions after 1913, but the one recorded case of a “cruel and unusual” punishment being officially inflicted serves to demonstrate how deeply the law had taken root in Tibetan life. Some years after the death of the 13th Dalai Lama, the official, Lungshar, attempted a violent coup d’état. On its failure many in the government wanted Lungshar executed but the old law stood in their way. So Lungshar was sentenced to the lesser punishment of having his eyes removed. The operation was badly botched. Such punishments had for so long fallen into desuetude that, according to even such a relatively anti-Tibetan academic as Melvin Goldstein, the class of people who in the past had carried out executions and such punishments found it very difficult to do so and they “…told the government that they were only able to do it because their parents had told them how it was done.”
Aside from this case there is virtually no record of “eye gouging” or amputations being carried out as a punishment in Tibet. Alan Winnington has no such cases in his book. Anna Louise Strong, China’s foremost American Communist propagandist, traveled through Tibet and wrote two books, but although she retails atrocity stories by the bushel she only has the same one photograph of a blind man in both her books. He is not named but Strong claims that he “was blinded by rebels for helping repair the PLA highway”. A Chinese propaganda pictorial published in 1981 also has a photograph of a “herdsman blinded by the rebels.” But so far I have not come across any photograph in Chinese propaganda material of anyone blinded as a legal punishment by the Tibetan government. Even the charge of “blinding by rebels” must be treated warily as no further detail of the victims or the crime, beside the picture captions, appear to exist anywhere.
What is always surprising in such propaganda exercises by China is the absolute lack of specificity in their claims of atrocities in old Tibet. Not only are the so called victims not named but even more surprisingly no names of the perpetrators – feudal lords or local magistrates – are ever mentioned. The Chinese have in their possession all the old Tibetan court records from the past. Yet as far as I know, not a single Tibetan aristocrat, official or magistrate has been specifically charged with eye gouging or cutting of anyone’s hands or legs . Thousands of Tibetans have been executed for counter-revolutionary and “splittist” crimes, but I have not heard or read of one Tibetan aristocrat or magistrate having been executed for those “cruel and barbaric” tortures and crimes described in Chinese propaganda. Even the instruments of torture so lovingly displayed in their museum-like settings lack any kind of provenance. There is no mention in the labels of the persons, prisons or courthouses from where these objects where acquired, or any mention of the period of their alleged use.
When all’s said and done Chinese propaganda about the “man-eating serf system” doesn’t amount to very much: the same old photographs of torture instruments (many of Chinese origin) and human thigh bones and skulls you could quite easily pick up in a curio or antique store in Kathmandu, New York, New Delhi and these days even in Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai, I would imagine.
This is not directly related, but I have to bring up (and deal with once and for all) a most outrageously fictitious charge that appears in nearly every Chinese propaganda publication I have come across. It is a photograph of a Tibetan man carrying another Tibetan piggyback. The caption reads “Carrying officials on their back – one of the many compulsory labour services extorted from the serfs.” First of all the man being carried is clearly not an official judging by his clothes. Secondly, the apparatchik in the Ministry of Truth in Beijing who dreamed this up did not seem to have realised that Tibetans were horsemen and Tibet, horse country. All Tibetans rode horses, including women, children, old people and high lamas. Only beggars and pilgrims walked, and the latter did so to increase the merit of their pilgrimage. Even the Dalai Lama rode a horse or sometimes a hornless yak (nalo) when he travelled. He had a palanquin (a gift from the Chinese Emperor), but it was only used in some formal processions in Lhasa. There were no other palanquins or sedan chairs in Tibet. Before 1912 the ambans rode about in official style palanquins, guanjiao (官轎), as did other Chinese officials in Tibet and Kham.
In fact some scholars attribute the remarkable military success of Zhao Erfeng in Eastern Tibet to the fact that unlike other Chinese mandarins who were tied to their palanquin and their opium pipe, he was a tough leader who shared his soldiers hardships. Eric Teichman writes of Zhao that “Unlike the somewhat effeminate and ease-loving Szechuanese, he disdained the sedan chair, and traveled all over Eastern Tibet on horse-back.”
Admirable as that was, it might be pointed out, again, that on the Tibetan side, everyone – the highest lamas, aristocrats, grandmothers, ladies even the governor-general of Eastern Tibet himself, rode a horse or walked.
The custom of using human beings to carry other humans is demonstrably a Chinese not a Tibetan one. Traditional transport in China was largely a matter of sedan-chairs, palanquins and rickshaws, all pulled or carried by poor Chinese coolies. Lao She’s famous novel Rickshaw (Lo Tuo Xiang Zi) provides a heart-rending account of the miserable life of one of these TB ridden, opium-smoking beasts of burden. Under Communist Chinese rule, a cousin of mine in Lhasa (with bad class background) was assigned to be a hand-cart (therka) puller. For over twenty years he hauled building materials, produce, and people all over the holy city, and still has the heavy calluses on his hands to prove it.
If we go through travelers accounts of Tibet written after 1913 and up to the Communist invasion, whether written by Europeans or even Chinese, reports of cruel punishments that featured in earlier narratives seem to have quite disappeared. Heinrich Harrer who had read most negative accounts by early English travelers, writes that “We never saw any punishments as cruel as this. As time has gone on the Tibetans seem to have become more lenient. I remember witnessing a public flogging which I thought was not severe enough.”
Charles Bell also mentions something to the effect that over time Tibetans had become more gentle and civilized, and hints here and there at the civilizing effect of contact with British India. Albert Shelton is more specific that it was the influence of English customs and laws that the Dalai Lama and Tibetan officials absorbed during their exile in Darjeeling, that had made them more humane and civilized. We can agree with Bell and Shelton, up to a point, but we must bear in mind that the British were hanging natives galore in India and elsewhere in the colonies. So the 13th Dalai Lama’s decision to renounce capital punishment could not really have been influenced by that particular model.
The Tibetan legal system, even after the 13th Dalai Lama’s reforms was admittedly imperfect, corrupt and many of the punishments it retained brutal. For instance the standard punishment in Tibet was flogging with a leather whip. It was not as cruel as the cat-o’ nine tails of the Royal navy (used in the navy and in British prisons till 1957) where sometimes steel balls or barbs of wire were added to the tips of the thongs to maximize the potential flogging injury.
Fatality was also minimized in Tibet as prisoners were whipped on the buttocks and not on the back. Nonetheless it was undeniably brutal by today’s standards, and I don’t think the practice can be defended, even if it was being carried out in Tibet before 1950, or that many countries in Africa and Asia still retain the punishment: including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Singapore, Malaysia, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and, of course, China – where the practice has been modernized with the use of electric batons.
Tibetan prisons were also definitely unpleasant places. But incarceration, other than during trial was not imposed in most of Tibet, because of the expense and problems it entailed. According to Woeser, there were two very small prisons in Lhasa, “They were only big enough for about 20 prisoners.” Another source on Tibetan jurisprudence also mentions that the Shol court prison in Lhasa only had space for “thirty to fifty men”, while the main city Nangtse-shak prison had only two holding rooms and a basement room, that probably could not hold over thirty people at most. Criminals were often restrained in leg shackles and allowed to roam the city, unsupervised, and beg for their living. More important political prisoners were banished to Western and Southern Tibet, as in the case of Kunphel la, Changlochen, Khyungram and others. Only in a few rare cases were political prisoners actually kept in Lhasa jails. Lungshar was imprisoned for four years and Gedun Chophel for three.
When Gedun Chophel was in the city prison he “…was given a separate room on an upper floor and was allowed to receive food and bedding from friends” according to Donald Lopez. He was then transferred to the Zhol prison. “ Although the physical conditions there were worse, he was given writing materials. He continued his work on the White Annals as and also wrote letters and poetry. After his release the government “provided him with rooms behind the Jokhang, above the Ministry of Agriculture, along with a stipend of money and grain, with the instruction that he resume work on the White Annals. He did not do so.” I do not mention this to play down the Tibetan government’s treatment of the great scholar, but to compare it with conditions in Chinese prisons. Has anyone written poetry or history in a laogai camp?
General amnesties were not uncommon in Tibet, when all prisoners were freed, the courts and prisons emptied out, cleaned and decorated with auspicious drawings done with whitewash. This would happen on the discovery of a new incarnation of the Dalai Lama, his enthronement or on the occasion of his obstacle (kag) years. It might also happen on the installation of a regent, or a period of national crisis or national celebration.
Communist propaganda about “horrible dungeons of the Potala filled with poisonous scorpions” are old wives tales. Lhasa prisons probably had some scorpions and spiders, as any dank place would. Lungshar complained about them to his son. A native of Lhasa, Tupten Khetsun, mentions in his memoirs, how a Chinese propaganda team went about photographing and filming a prison in Lhasa, filling it beforehand with skeletons and scorpions. “The Shol neighbourhood committee had children collect scorpions to use for the propaganda movie. But when they tried to film, the scorpions would not stay on top of the corpses where they had been placed and kept escaping into cracks into the walls, so they had to be held in place with invisible threads attached to their limbs.”
What Thupten Khetsun’s book also brings into perspective is how negligibly insignificant in size or iniquity Tibet’s traditional penal system was when compared to the gigantic prison and lagogai system that China created and maintains in Tibet (and in the PRC). In and around Lhasa alone we had, after 1959, such major prisons and holding areas as Silingpu, Tering, Norbulingka, Trapchi, Gutsa (I might have overlooked a couple) where thousands of prisoners were incarcerated and where in at least three, Tubten did time. Tubten also served in the forced labour camps (laogai) in Nachen and Powo-Tramo, where he and tens of thousand of Tibetan prisoners literally slaved away, and where many thousands died. We must also mention in Amdo and Kham, the giant laogai camps at Tsaidam, Ragnakhag in Minya, and Yakraphuk north of Dhartsedo. It goes without saying, of course, that we are talking about a system that is ongoing.
What is also ongoing under Communist Chinese rule is the barbaric cruelty, injustice and terror that Tibetans had to endure under Imperial Chinese rule – until we became independent in 1912.
1. Petech, Luciano. China and Tibet in the Early XVIIIth Century, E.G. Brill, Leiden, 1972, pg 149
2. Brook,Timothy. Bourgon, Jerome. Blue, Gregory. Death By a Thousand Cuts, Harvard University Press, 2008, pg 251
3. Zhang Nan, Voice of America, Mar 29, 2009, “Tibetan Writer Questions Beijing’s Version of Tibetan History”Source: VOA,29 March, 2009.
4. Rockhill, William. ed. Footnote in Sarat Chandra Das’s Journey to Lhasa and Central Tibet, 1902, pg 187
5. Wang Qi, ed. Sancai tuhui Illustrated compendium of the three powers [heaven, earth, humanity]. Nanking: wuyun xuan, 1609.
6. Conversation with Loten la, Dharamshala, November 1973.
7. Petech, pg196.
8. French, Rebecca. The Golden Yoke: The Legal Cosmology of Buddhist Tibet, Cornell University, Ithica, 1995, pg 260.
9. Das, Sarat Chandra. “Tibetan Jails and Criminal Punishment” Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, January to December 1894, Calcutta 1895. pg 5.
10. Teichman, Eric, Travels of a Consular Officer in Eastern Tibet, Cambridge University Press, London, 1922, pg 228
11. Shelton, Albert. “Life Among the People of Eastern Tibet”, National Geographic Magazine, September 1921, pg 325
12. Shelton, Albert. Pioneering In Tibet, Fleming H.Revell, New York, 1921, pg 93-94
13. “Full Text: Fifty Years of Democratic Reform in Tibet” http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-03/02/content_10928003_4.htm
14. Waddell, L.A., Lhasa And Its Mysteries, Methuen & Co., London, 1906, pg 48
15. Bell, Charles Portrait of a Dalai Lama, Wm.Collins, London, 1946, pg
16. Shakabpa, W.D. Tibet: A Political History, Yale, 1967, pg 248
17. Bell, Charles. Tibet Past and Present. London: Oxford University Press, 1924. See index: “Capital punishment abolished in Tibet, 142, 143, 236.”
18. Byron, Robert. First Russia then Tibet. London: Macmillan & Co., 1933. pg 204
19. Kingdon-Ward, Frank. In the Land of The Blue Poppies. New York: Modern Library, 2003. pg 222.
20. McGovern, William. To Lhasa in Disguise. New York: Century Co., 1924. pp. 388-389. pp. 388-389
21. Bell. Tibet Past and Present, pg. 236.
22. Winnington, Alan. Tibet: The Record of a Journey. London: Lawrence & Wishart Ltd., 1957. pg99.
23. Strong, Anna Louise, Tibetan Interviews, New World Press, Peking 1959 between pg 110-111.
Strong, Anna Louise, When Serfs Stood Up in Tibet, New World Press, Peking 1965, between pg 74-75
24.Jin Zhou, ed. Tibet No Longer Mediaeval, Foreign Language Press Beijing, pg 56.
25. Ibid. pg 56
26. Teichman, pg 36-37
27. French, Rebecca. The Golden Yoke: The Legal Cosmology of Buddhist Tibet, Cornell University, Ithica, 1995, pg 325
28. Lopez Jr., Donald S. The Madman’s Middle Way: Reflections on Reality of the Tibetan Monk Gendun Chopel, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2006, pg 43
29. Khetsun, Tubten.(translated by Matthew Akester) Memories of Life in Lhasa Under Chinese Rule, Columbia University Press, New York, 2007, pg 51-52