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III. The Proper Handling of the Demise of the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Erdeni as well as Their Reincarnations and Enthronement by the Central Government of China


During the period of the Republic of China, the demise and condolence-offering to the thirteenth Dalai Lama and the reincarnation, enthronement of the fourteenth Dalai Lama as well as the condolence-offering to the ninth Panchen Erdeni's demise and the reincarnation, enthronement of the tenth Panchen Erdeni were all the eye-catching important events in Tibetan affairs. The Central Government properly handlled all these matters. These demonstrated that the Central Government effectively exercised sovereign jurisdiction over Tibet.

1. The Condolence-Offering to the Thirteenth Dalai Lama's Demise and the Supervision over the Reincarnation, Enthronement of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama by the Central Governmet of China

The thirteenth Dalai Lama Tubten Gyatso passed away at Lhasa on December 17, 1933. The Silon and the Kashag telegraphed to the Central Government care of the Tibet Office in Nanjing on December 20, 1933. The telegram read: "His Holiness the Dalai Lama passed away at 7:30 p.m. on the 30th in the 12th month by Tibetan calendar. The affairs in Tibet will temporarily be charged by the Silon and the Kashag, hoping to keep your minds on your work and submit this message to the Central Government. Details will be notified by another telegram." On hearing the sad news, the Central Government promptly started to prepare for the related commendatory and comforting affairs. The Nationalist Government issued orders on December 21, 1933, granting the Dalai the posthumous title of "Great Master of Patriotism, Magnanimity, Benevolence and Sagacity." All the commendation ceremonies should be grand and given special favored treatment, The Executive Yuan should promptly order the department in charge and the commission concerned to make arrangements submitting for implementation to express the concern and solicitude by the party and the state to think of an absent friend who is far away and commend the virtuous person." The Central Government sent Deputy Chief of the General Staff Huang Musong as special envoy to offer condolence on the Dalai's death. He was responsible for title-granting and condolence activities. Huang Musong was accorded grand reception when he reached Lhasa. The four Kalons of the Kashag called on him together, On September 23, 1934, Huang Musong presided over the title-granting ceremony and paid homage to the demise of the Dalai Lama in the morning. There were several hundred of clerical and secular officials from the Silon and other lower officials who joined the extremely grand ceremony. The Gyigyab Khenpo received the jade album and jade seal on behalf of the Dalai Lama. On October 1, 1934, the ceremony of offering condolence on the Dalai's death was also held in the mousing hall at the Potala Palace. During his stay at Lhasa, Huang had talks with the Tibetan local government high-ranking officials many times and exchanged views concerning the relations between Tibet and the Central Government. Though the two sides did not reach unanimous agreement on all matters, yet common consensus was reached on the question of "Tibet is the Chinese territory". When Huang Musong left Tibet, Liu Puchen and Chiang Zhiyu were left behind to stay in Tibet permanently. The relations between the Tibet region and the Central Government were further strengthened.

After the discovery of the thirteenth Dalai Lama's reincarnate soul boy, the Tibetan regent Rating Hutuktu sent a telegram to the Central Government on December 12, 1938, saying that "on the occasion of lot-drawing from the gold urn ceremony when the three soul boys arrive at Lhasa, the Central Government should send representatives to participate in the ceremony so as to make it more dependable and pleased by the people far and wide." The Central Government attached great importance to this request. The Nationalist Government issued an order on December 28, 1938, saying that "The Chairman of the Commission for Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Wu Zhongxin would be sent to preside over the fourteenth Dalai Lama's reincarnation togather with Rating Hutuktu." Wu Zhongxin and his party arrived at Lhasa on January 15, 1940 and were accorded a warm reception. On January 26, 1940, Rating applied for approval about the exemption of lot-drawing from the gold urn to the Dalai Lama's reincarnate soul boy Lhamo Dondup. Wu Zhongxin transmitted the application to the Central Government for approval. In the meantime, he went to the Norbu Lingkha Park to examine the soul boy. On January 31, Chiang Kaishek, Chairman of the Executive Yuan, applied the Nationalist Government for issuing an order to the effect that Lhamo Dondup was approved to succeed the thirteenth Dalai as the fourteenth Dalai Lama. On February 5, the Nationalist Government of China issued an order, saying that "Lhamo Dondup,the soul boy from Qinghai, is very intelligent and exceptional extraordinary. It is proved through investigation that he is the reincarnate of the thirteenth Dalai Lama and should promptly be exempted from lot-drawing, thereby ratified to succeed as the fourteenth Dalai Lama." And the Central Government appropriated 400,000 yuan as the expenses for the enthronement ceremony. On the eve of holding enthronement ceremony, there broke out a tea-cup storm due to the seating of Wu Zhongxin. The Kashag planned to arrange the seat of Wu Zhongxin the same as the Silon or Rating. It was sternly refuted by Wu Zhongxin, stating that he was representing the Central Government. His seating should follow the old practice of the Qing Dynasty, namely, to sit side by side with the Dalai Lama to embody the authority and position of the Central Government. The Tibetan authorities agreed to act accordingly. During the duration of his stay in Tibet, Wu Zhongxin decided through consultation with the Tibetan local government to set up "the Office of the Commission for Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs in Lhasa". The relations between Tibet and the Central Government thus furthered, Wu Zhongxin and his entourage were accorded a grand send-off ceremony by the Tibetan local-government when they left Lhasa. According to practice the Tibetan social government sent Ngawang Gyaltsen leaving for Chongqing soon afterwards to express thanks to the Central Government as well as to express the strong aspirations of the Tibetan populace to support the war against Japan and for national salvation.

2. The Condolence-Offering to the Demise of the Ninth Panchen Erdeni and the Supervision over the Reincarnation, Enthronement of the Tenth Panchen Lama by the Central Government

The ninth Panchen passed away at Yushu (Jyekundo), Qinghai Province on December 1, 1937. The Central Government expressed utmost concern to the demise of the Panchen Lama. The Central Government issued an order to grant posthumous title of "great Master of Sagacity, Infinite Wisdom, Defender of the Nation and Propagation of the Doctrine" to the late Panchen on December 22, 1937, and sent Dai Chuanxian, Chairman of the Examination Yuan to offer condolence on the Panchen's death at Ganze. On February 4, 1941, the Great Master Panchen's hearse was transported to the Tashilhunpo Monastery. Up to then the Great Master Panchen's remains could eternally be enshrined there.

After eight long years' search for the reincarnate soul boy of the Panchen, Li Zongren, the acting President of the Nationalist Government issued an order to approve Gongpo Tseten to succeed as the tenth Panchen Erdeni on June 2, 1949. On August 10, the Nationalist Government sent Guan Jiyu, Chairman of the Commission for Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs as the special envoy to supervise the enthronement ceremony of the tenth Panchen and granted him the gold seal and gifts. After the enthronement ceremony the tenth Panchen Erdeni sent a telegram of thanks to Acting President Li Zongren, saying that "The Panchen Erdenis have received state favors for generations and the utmost munificence. We are grateful for Your Excellency's issuing formal decree to approve the succession of the ninth Panchen's legally constituted authority. We are indebted to the sending of special envoy Guan Jiyu and deputy special envoy Ma Bufang to Qinghai to supervise over the enthronement and also gratefu1 to the title-granting and the generous gifts. After acknowledging the receipt of the above-mentioned presents, we are deeply grateful to the Central Government. The enthronement ceremony was held at the Kumbum Monastery in compliance with the instructions on August 10, 1949. Henceforth, in the days to come I can only pour out all my sincerity to the Central Government in the spirit of the successive Panchens and the consistent will to protect all living creatures. We are duty-bound to exert all our efforts in the future so as to repay the boundless virtue and kindness of the central Government."

It is thus clearly seen from the above-mentioned historical facts about the Dalai Lamas and the Panchen Lamas that the Tibetan local government reported all the important Tibetan matters to the Central Government and dealt with together with the central special representatives after obtaining the approval of the Central Government. AIl these fully embodied the effective sovereign jurisdiction over Tibet by the Central Government. These historical facts brook no denial and distortion.

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