CIA Support to Tibet in the 1950’s

“Tsering Shakya was born in Lhasa in 1959 and fled to India with his family after the Chinese invasion. Later he won a scholarship to study in Britain and graduated from London University, the School of Oriental and African Studies. He is currently a Fellow in Tibetan Studies there.”

Excerpts taken from The Dragon in the Land of Snows by Tsering Shakya:

-“In December 1955 President Eisenhower authorised the CIA to develop secret activities to undermine ‘international communism, which resulted in the establishment of underground, resistance and guerrilla groups. Under the tutelage of Allen Dulles, the fifties were ‘glory years’ for the CIA. While John Foster Dulles led the diplomatic initiatives to contain China, his brother was planning clandestine operation in Tibet.”

-“The Tibetan issue had propaganda appeal in the era of the Cold War: the Chinese actions were seen as evidence of the Communists’ desire for world dominations. Tibet was presented as a small nation fighting for the survival of its culture and way of life. It is unlikely that the US regarded Tibet as strategically important…The US objective was to destabilise the country, and it was for this reason that it abandoned diplomatic initiatives in favour of covert activities.”

-“Accounts of the CIA involvement in Tibet are often sensational and exaggerate the role of the CIA in the flight of the Dalai Lama from Lhasa. CIA activities remained on the periphery of Tibetan political concern. Although Chinese fear of US intervention was an important factor in the Chinese perception of the situation, it must be seen in the light of the bi-polar division of the world and the rhetoric of the time. It does not matter whether the CIA parachuted in a few agents or sent an entire regiment: from the Chinese point of view the American involvement in Tibet transformed the entire situation. It was no longer a question of revolt by some troublesome Tibetan but an international conspiracy to undermine the victory of he Communist Party in China…This may explain the ferocity of Chinese suppression of the Tibetan revolt.”

Posted by: Jigme32


4 thoughts on “CIA Support to Tibet in the 1950’s

  1. Dawa

    Tsering Shakya is now a professor at University of British Columbia and holds one of the prestigious Canada Research Chair.

    For more info on CIA involvement in Tibet, I suggest people read the book “Orphans of Cold War”, I cannot remember the author’s name right off the head.

    Did you finish the book?

  2. Jigme32

    No I’ve only read small sections of the book so far because I’ve been reading some other books that I have to return before going back to school.

  3. Tenzing

    If you get a chance, you should read Buddha’s Warriors by Mikel Dunham. “The Story of the CIA-Backed Tibetan Freedom Fighters, the Chinese Communist Invasion, and the Ultimate Fall of Tibet.”
    Even though I haven’t got the chance to read it, it had excellent reviews from the critics.

  4. yangchen ct

    I did a report on this back when I was 15, freshmen in highschool. Khampa warriors were very cool, the called themselves “4 rivers..something” I forgot : P But I read that they fought till the very bitter end.

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