The leaders of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) who seized power in Beijing in 1949 viewed Tibet as Chinese territory. In this respect, they were no different from previous rulers of China. The chairman of the CCP, Mao Zedong, carefully devised a plan to re-annex Tibet, which had been effectively independent of China since 1911. The CCP's recent victory in the Chinese civil war gave Mao high confidence that he could reclaim Tibet without provoking outside intervention. Such a move not only would bring international political benefits but would also carry a symbolic meaning at home and thereby legitimize the rule of the CCP. Although Mao sent troops to Tibet, he also planned to rely on negotiations and coercive diplomacy. This article highlights the complicated relationships that emerged on the international scene as a result of China's actions in the early 1950s.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.