Interaction with Prof. Hon-Shiang Lau on Tibet
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On 13 April 2018, The Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) hosted Prof. Hon-Shiang Lau, a research scholar of Chinese history, whose research findings have been well received in Taiwan and Belgium. Prof Lau gave a presentation on ‘How Tibet was never a part of China’ since antiquity. Dr. Arvind Gupta, Director VIF, presided over the meeting.

The underpinning theme of his presentation was that the China’s official authoritative and primary source document do not support the fact that Tibet was part of China. In his presentation, Prof. Lau expounded that China has time and again reiterated that Tibet has been a part of China since antiquity. Further, the Chinese textbooks state that during the Ming dynasty Tibet was part of China because they had a commanding officer there.

Prof. Lau referred to the historical records written in Chinese language by the Ming and Yuan dynasties to illustrate how Tibet was never part of China. Prof. Lau used examples from Ming Dynasty (1364-1644) to validate his argument. Citing evidence from the Chinese sources he mentioned that Tibet is listed as “foreign Foreigners” along with the whole bunch of other countries. In fact, Tibet is not mentioned even in national boundaries. The map of unification of the Ming Dynasty also does not show Tibet as a part of China. The Ming dynasty maps were further supported by the Qing Dynasty.

Further, Tibet used to give tribute or gifts to the Ming emperor as is mentioned in the Chinese sources in 1505 and again in 1515. The Ming used to refer to it as the “Monk” country. The first time when China sent a mission to Tibet, it was not for war but to invite a monk to China. The emperor sent his soldier/eunuch Liu-Yun for the mission for which Liu-Yun asked for ten years for the return trip; this indicates that he did not know where Tibet was. Also a very large tribute was sent by China with Lin-Yun for the monk, thus proving that giving and receiving tribute was a mutual practice and it does not denote sovereignty.

The first time China published a map which showed Tibet to be a part of China was in the year 1812. Until then maps did not show Tibet as part of China. Additionally, it was only in 1927 that Tibet is mentioned in Chinese official books (Republic of China era) as a part of China. These claims come in the wake of all round colonisation of Asia and China’s efforts to replicate it in its neighbourhood.

These sources which are accepted by the Chinese Government as being authentic clearly give strength to the argument that Tibet was not a part of China since antiquity.

Event Date: 
April 13, 2018