(10) Dagzha Comes to Power and the Razheng Event

The Living Buddha Razheng showed great respect and support for the Central Government in receiving Huang Musong and Wu Zhongxin during their stay in Tibet. When he became the Prince Regent, he managed to improve ties between the Central Government and the local government of Tibet. For this purpose, the British and the pro-British Tibetan separatists regarded him as the No.1 enemy to be eradicated.

The pro-British elements spread rumors before and after Wu Zhongxin's departure from Tibet that Razheng would die in three years if he did not resign as Prince Regent and return to sit in mediation, and that his ill fate would adversely affect the health of the 14th Dalai Lama. Razheng did plead to be allowed to resign to the Gaxag government toward the end of 1940, and suggested Sutra Teacher Dagzha Ngawang Sumrab, who maintained close ties with him, to replace him. When Razheng did quit, he intended to make a comeback some day. The Living Buddha Dagzha said he was advancing in years and could hold the post for only two or three years. By then, he said, the Living Buddha Razheng should resume his position as Prince Regent.

Razheng cabled the Nationalist Government reporting on his resignation on January 16, 1941. On February 18, Dagzha cabled the Commission for Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs reporting on his elevation. On April 17, the Executive Yuan issued a decree to the effect that this change be filed on record.

When Dagzha, old and selfish, came to power, he threw himself into the lap of the British. All the officials close to Razheng in various positions were removed. He appointed pro-British Soikang Wangqen Geleg as a Galoon official and Xagabba Wangqug Dedain as Zeboin official. He also placed many pro-British people to official posts. As a result, the local government of Tibet was almost totally controlled by pro-British elements.

Under the instigation of the British, the Gaxag government of Tibet set up the "foreign affairs bureau" in July 1942, and informed the Tibet Office of the Commission for Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs to contact the bureau from then on. This constituted a serious step towards treating China as a foreign country. The Nationalist Government rejected this right away, but the British Tibet Office quickly established ties with the Tibetan "bureau."

When talking about the role played by the illegal "foreign affairs bureau," Van Praag speaks highly of its move to expand "international relations" and bolsters his view by mentioning its work on Mongolia, the Soviet Union, Nepal, the United States, Britain, Bhutan, Sikkim and Japan. Knowledgeable readers, however, find something ridiculous in this. These so-called contacts were actually sporadic deals in religious, tourism and business affairs, and negotiations concerning the British invasion of Tibet. These contacts also took place in other border areas inhabited by ethnic groups in northeast China, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia and Guangxi. In some places, similar contacts were numerically more than in Tibet, which was comparatively more isolated from the outside world. "International relations" would be out of the question if an area was not recognized by foreign countries as a country and to whom they appointed ambassadors. The fact is that no country in the world acknowledged Tibet as an independent state and sent an ambassador there.

The Living Buddha Razheng, seeing the pro-British forces grow in strength in Tibet, felt upset and worried about the future. He went from his resident monastery of Razheng in 1944 to the Sera Monastery in Lhasa, where he raised the possibility of becoming the Prince Regent again. But Dagzha refused to talk about a handover of power, and Razheng returned in anger.

In May 1945, the Living Buddha Razheng was elected an executive member of the 6th Kuomintang central executive committee. Next year, he was elected a deputy to the National Assembly. The Gaxag government refused to let him go on the excuse that he was no longer the Prince Regent. Razheng asked Gyaiboin Cang Toinzhub Namgyai, a good friend and a Garze deputy to the National Assembly, to carry a letter warning the Central Government of Dagzha's move to collaborate with the British to undermine ties between the Han and the Tibetan. Razheng asked the Central Government to order Dagzha to resign.

When Hugh Richardson was informed of the news, he visited Prince Regent Dagzha in February 1947 and said that Razheng had sent people to demand that the Kuomintang send troops into Tibet, and the Kuomintang was prepared to give him this military support to become Prince Regent again, and planned an air raid on Lhasa. The fact is that the Kuomintang, immersed in a civil war, had no extra forces to send to Tibet. Moreover, as it was not in a position to cross the forbidden zone in the air over the Xikang-Tibet Plateau, how could Kuomintang aircraft bomb Lhasa?

Dagzha believed Hugh Richardson's lies, and immediately sent Soikang and some others at the head of Tibetan troops to escort Razheng to Lhasa. In the meantime, he arrested and murdered people supporting Razheng. When lamas with the Razheng Monastery rose in protest, Tibetan troops were sent to suppress them cruelly. Kampus Yexei Curchen and few others were the only persons to narrowly escape the barbarous suppression.

Lamas with the Sera Monastery, who were also on the side of Razheng, planned to rescue the Living Buddha in an ambush. When this failed, they planned armed resistance. Hugh Richardson and the Gaxag government decided on military attacks on the Sera Monastery. To aid the Tibetan troops, Reginald Fox, a British spy and radio operator, assisted the Gaxag government in setting up radios to direct the bombing of the Sera Monastery. The fighting lasted two weeks, and the Tibetan troops killed many Sera lamas.

When the Living Buddha Razheng was detained in Lhasa, Xagabba led his interrogation and torture. The pro-British elements finally had him murdered in jail in May. During this period, the Nationalist Government cabled Dagzha asking him to protect Razheng's life. Dagzha, however, turned a deaf ear to this advice, maintaining close contacts with Hugh Richardson and soliciting his advice.

The Razheng event featured a bloody suppression of patriotic forces by the British-instigated Tibetan separatists.

This event, which shocked the whole of Tibet, is not mentioned in Van Praag's book. As a major participant, Xagabba mentions it only briefly, but refrains from mentioning British involvement. What's more, Xagabba describes the murder of Razheng as a "sudden death," adding that no unusual signs were found to suggest he was murdered.

According to the Concise History of Tibet, Razheng "was poisoned to death by bad eggs of the Dagzha faction when he was ill" (Qabai Cedain Puncog and Norcham Wugyain: Concise History of Tibet, Vol.2, Tibetan edition, p.724). Even Hugh Richardson held that the former Prince Regent Razheng died in the Potala Prison. Although there was no official recognition, he was undoubtedly murdered. (Hugh Richardson [Britain]: Tibet and Its History, p.149, translated by Li Youyi). It is really a shame for Van Praag and Xagabba to ignore this murder case while talking glibly about "human rights"!