TODAY IN HISTORY
Welcome to some facts on what happened on this day in history.
China’s occupation of Tibet began nearly a decade before, in October 1950, when troops from its People’s Liberation Army (PLA) invaded the country, barely one year after the Communists gained full control of mainland China. The Tibetan government gave into Chinese pressure the following year, signing a treaty that ensured the power of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the country’s spiritual leader, over Tibet’s domestic affairs. Resistance to the Chinese occupation built steadily over the next several years, including a revolt in several areas of eastern Tibet in 1956. By December 1958, rebellion was simmering in Lhasa, the capital, and the PLA command threatened to bomb the city if order was not maintained.
The March 1959 uprising in Lhasa was triggered by fears of a plot to kidnap the Dalai Lama and take him to Beijing. When Chinese military officers invited His Holiness to visit the PLA headquarters for a theatrical performance and official tea, he was told he must come alone, and that no Tibetan military bodyguards or personnel would be allowed past the edges of the military camp. On March 10, 300,000 loyal Tibetans surrounded Norbulinka Palace, preventing the Dalai Lama from accepting the PLA’s invitation. By March 17, Chinese artillery was aimed at the palace, and the Dalai Lama was evacuated to neighboring India.
Fighting broke out in Lhasa two days later, with Tibetan rebels hopelessly outnumbered and outgunned. Early on March 21, the Chinese began shelling Norbulinka, slaughtering tens of thousands of men, women and children still camped outside. In the aftermath, the PLA cracked down on Tibetan resistance, executing the Dalai Lama’s guards and destroying Lhasa’s major monasteries along with thousands of their inhabitants.
China’s stranglehold on Tibet and its brutal suppression of separatist activity has continued in the decades following the unsuccessful uprising. Tens of thousands of Tibetans followed their leader to India, where the Dalai Lama has long maintained a government-in-exile in the foothills of the Himalayas.
Not only but also, these events happened …
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- 1865 William H. C. Whiting dies
- Cold War
- 1948 Strange death of Jan Masaryk
- 1993 Dr. David Gunn is murdered by anti-abortion activist
- 1906 Mine explosion kills 1,060 in France
- General Interest
- 1876 Speech transmitted by telephone
- 1945 The Firebombing of Tokyo continues
- 1969 Ray pleads guilty to King assassination
- 1997 The WB premieres its first hit show
- 1926 First Book-of-the-Month Club selection is published
- 1988 Disco sensation Andy Gibb dies at the age of 30
- Old West
- 1864 Montana vigilantes hang Jack Slade
- 1864 Lincoln signs Ulysses S. Grant’s commission to command the U.S. Army
- 2006 Cuba plays in World Baseball Classic
- Vietnam War
- 1970 Army captain charged with My Lai war crimes
- 1975 Communists surround Ban Me Thuot
- World War I
- 1917 Turkish troops begin evacuation of Baghdad
- World War II
- 1940 Sumner Welles makes a “peace proposal”
Clancy's comment: Always good to reflect on history, not that we ever seem to learn any lessons from it.