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Qing Dynasty (1644-1911)

09-21-2012 10:54 BJT

When the Qing Dynasty replaced the Ming Dynasty in 1644, it further strengthened administration over Tibet. In 1653 and 1713, the Qing emperors granted honorific titles to the 5th Dalai Lama and the 5th Bainqen Lama, henceforth officially establishing the titles of the Dalai Lama and the Bainqen Erdeni and their political and religious status in Tibet. The Dalai Lama ruled the bulk of areas from Lhasa while the Bainqen Erdeni ruled the remaining area of Tibet from Xigaze.

In 1719, Qing government troops were sent into Tibet to dispel the Zungar forces which had been entrenched in Lhasa for three years, and set out to reform Tibet's administrative system. The Qing emperor made a young Living Buddha of the Xikang area the 7th Dalai Lama and had him escorted into Tibet, and appointed four Tibetan officials renowned for meritorious service "Galoins" to handle Tibet's political affairs. From 1727, High commissioners were stationed in Tibet to supervise local administration on behalf of the central authorities. Officials were also assigned about this time to survey and delimit the borders between Tibet (i.e. Xizang) and Sichuan, Yunnan and Qinghai.

In order to perfect Tibet's administrative organizations, the Qing Dynasty on many occasions enacted "regulations" to rectify and reform old systems and establish new ones. The Authorized Regulations for the Better Governing of Tibet, promulgated in 1793, had 29 articles. Their major purport was:

The Qing government holds the power to confirm the reincarnation of all deceased high Living Buddhas of Tibet including the Dalai Lama and the Bainqen Erdeni. When the reincarnate boy has been found, his name will be written on a lot, which shall be put into a gold urn bestowed by the central government. The high commissioners will bring together appropriate high-ranking Living Buddhas to determine the authenticity of the reincarnate boy by drawing lots from the gold urn. (Both the gold urn and lots are still preserved in Lhasa.) The tonsure of the incarnate Living Buddha, his religious name, the choice of the master to initiate him into monkhood and his sutra instructor all have to be reported by the high commissioners to the imperial court for examination and approval. The central government will send high officials to supervise in person the installation ceremony for the new Dalai Lama and the new Bainqen Erdeni and also the ceremony for their taking over reins of government at coming of age.

The high commissioners will supervise the handling of Tibetan affairs on behalf of the central government, enjoying the equal standing with the Dalai Lama and the Bainqen Erdeni. All the Galoins and those below them are subordinates.

The ranks and numbers of Tibetan civil and military officials, and procedures for their promotion and replacement are stipulated. The highest-Ranking Tibetan officials including four Galoins and six Deboins are to be appointed by the central government. The annual salaries of the Galoins and Deboins will be paid by the central government.

A regular army of 3,000 will be organized in Tibet. The regulations stipulate ranks and numbers of military officials, the source of troop pay and provisions, plus weaponry and places where troops are to be stationed. In addition, some 1,400 troops will be transferred from the interior to stations in various localities of Tibet. Both Tibetan and Han troops are put under the command of officers sent by the central government.

A mint will be set up in Tibet along the lines established by those in the interior to make official money for circulation. On the two sides of the silver coinage the words "Qianlong Treasure" will be cast in the Han Chinese and Tibetan.

The annual financial receipts and expenditures of the Dalai Lama and the Bainqen Erdeni will be subject to checking by the high commissioners.

Tibet's taxation and corvee labor will be born by the whole society on an equal footing. Only those nobles and large monasteries who have made real contributions will enjoy preferential treatment and exemptions, but these must be examined and approved by the high commissioners and the Dalai Lama, who will issue them licences for this purpose.

Merchants from Nepal and Kashmir wanting to do business in Tibet must register. The registration book must be filed with the high commissioners for record. The appropriate officials will issue laissez-passers to them. Any foreigner applying to enter Lhasa must be examined for approval by the High Commissioner's Office. The high commissioners will issue laissez-passers to Tibetans who apply to go to Nepal or other places, and set the leaving and returning dates for them.

National boundary markers will be erected in a number of places where southwest Tibet borders on countries like India and Nepal. The high commissioners will make an annual tour in Tibet to inspect the defense arrangements of the troops stationed there and matters concerning border markers.

All foreign affairs involving Tibet will be left completely in the hands of the high commissioners. No Galoin is allowed to maintain correspondence with the outside, and all letters and alms received by the Dalai Lama and the Bainqen Erdeni from the outside must be submitted to the high commissioners for censorship and decision concerning a reply.

Criminal punishment will be reported to the high commissioners for examination and approval.

Between 1727, when the high commissionership was first established, and 1911, the year the Qing Dynasty was overthrown, the central government of the Qing Dynasty stationed more than 100 high commissioners in Tibet.

Editor:Zhang Hao |Source: Tibet.cn

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