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The Deadlock in Tibet

Tibet and China: The Interpretation of History Since 1950

Elliot Sperling


This article examines the way Tibet’s history and its relations with China have been interpreted and described in China since 1950. While China has long claimed that Tibet became part of China in the thirteenth century under the Yuan Dynasty, much evidence shows that this interpretation is a twentieth century construction. A more assertive Chinese position holds that historical China consists of the territory of the Qing Dynasty at its height, and that all within those boundaries have been uniquely part of China since ancient times, well before the Yuan era, and indeed since before the beginning of recorded history.

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Electronic reference

Elliot Sperling, “Tibet and China: The Interpretation of History Since 1950”China Perspectives [Online], 2009/3 | 2009, Online since 01 September 2012, connection on 26 May 2024. URL:; DOI:

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About the author

Elliot Sperling

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The text and other elements (illustrations, imported files) are “All rights reserved”, unless otherwise stated.

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