Map of Tibet under PR China

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Tibet

 54 China
N 32° 10′ 32.2032″ W 88° 59′ 21.3288″
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Tibet under the People's Republic of China, 1949-1999, showing the year and types of territorial sub-divisions

Ethno-cultural Tibet is very extensive. When Chinese officials speak of "Tibet", they mean only the territory administered as the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) of China. But the Dalai Lama's Government in Lhasa, and subsequently the exile Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamshala (India) have always claimed authority over a much larger area, as this map shows. Tibetans throughout this area continue to protest against Chinese rule.

The Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR)

yellow

on the map of Tibet.

The Tibet (Xizang, in Chinese) Autonomous Region includes Tibet's traditional provinces of U-Tsang and western parts of Kham. The creation of TAR in 1965 marked the beginning of the full integration of Tibet into the People's Republic of China under the provisions for regional autonomy set out in the Chinese Constitution. These regions had previously (1956-1965) been administered through the Preparatory Committee of the Autonomous Region of Tibet in recognition of the exceptional circumstances created in 1950 by China's invasion and its takeover of the Lhasa regime.

Qinghai Province

red

on the map of Tibet.

Much of the region that Tibetans call Amdo was claimed by the Kuomintang prior to 1949 as the Chinese province of Qinghai, but real control over the region lay in the hands of a succession of warlords. Communist China established control over the province after 1949.

Qinghai includes 6 autonomous prefectures:

Haibei Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Huangnan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Yulshul (Yushu, in Chinese) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Golog (or Guoluo) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and Haixi Mongol and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.

Kanlho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (Gansu Province)

violet

on the map of Tibet.

Parts of eastern Kham were reorganised in the 1950s as Kanlho (Gannan, in Chinese) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (zhou) in Gansu province of China.

Bairi Tibetan Autonomous County (Gansu Province)

blue

on the map of Tibet.

Other parts of eastern Amdo are administered as Bairi (or Pari or Tenzhu; Tianzhu in Chinese) Tibetan Autonomous County, a subdivision of prefecture-level city of Wuwei in Gansu Province of China.

Ngapa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture (Szechuan Province)

light blue

on the map of Tibet.

Other parts of eastern Amdo were re-organised as Ngawa (or Ngapa; Aba, in Chinese ) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture in Szechuan province of China.

Karze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (Szechuan Province)

green

on the map of Tibet.

Parts of eastern Kham were re-organised as Karze (Kanze; Ganzi in Chinese ) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Szechuan province of China.

The Daxue Mountains mark the eastern rim of the Tibetan Plateau and are mostly located in Karze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. They include Gongga Shan (Mt Gongga, Minya Konka) - at 7556m the highest peak east of the Himalaya. They also include Mount Edgar (E Gongga), 6618m - for several years a mountaineering "last great challenge."

Dechen Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (Szechuan Province)

green

on the map of Tibet.

Other Parts of eastern Kham were re-organised as Dechen (Deqin in Chinese ) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Yunnan province of China.

Mili Tibetan Autonomous County (Szechuan Province)

purple

on the map of Tibet.

Mili, administered more or less independently from local monasteries until 1950, is now administered as Mili (Muli, in Chinese) Tibetan Autonomous County. It is a subdivision of Liangshan prefecture of Sichuan province of China.

One Tibet

Protest and resistance against Chinese rule continues across the whole of Tibet. So does repression by the Chinese authorities. People from the whole of Tibet continue to flee across international borders to seek refuge.

Writing about Tibet

Much of the mountaineering literature dealing with Tibet outside TAR makes no mention of Tibet. This is misleading for readers and lets down Tibetans who suffer torture, imprisonment or death to assert their Tibetan identity and call for freedom and/or independence for Tibet. Don't do it.

So if you are writing about Mount Gongga (Minya Konka), for example:

Don't say "Mount Gongga, in China."

Don't say "Mount Gongga, in Szechuan Province."

Really Don't say "Mount Gongga, one of the finest peaks in China outside Tibet."

Do say "Mount Gongga, in eastern Tibet."

Do say "Mount Gongga, in Karze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of China's Szechuan Province."

There could be other variations. But you get the idea.

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