On May 23, China’s state-run Xinhua news agency ran a feature commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Seventeen Point Agreement, which resulted in Tibet’s subjugation to China.
The article, headlined “Tibet makes great strides in 70 years after peaceful liberation,” claims that since 1951, “the people of Tibet have broken free from the fetters of invading imperialism for good.”
It further claims that in March 1959, “democratic reform was launched in Tibet and feudal serfdom was finally abolished.”
The claim that China peacefully liberated Tibet in 1951 is false. Much of the language in the Xinhua article mirrors that of the Seventeen Point Agreement, which actually was signed under the threat of force.
Although Tibet’s status throughout history is hotly contested, its independence between 1911 and 1951 only came to an end with an invasion by China’s People's Liberation Army in October 1950.