Pyi-daung-zu Bod-myan-mar Naing-ngan-daw/Union of Tibet





Head of State

Choekyi Gyaltsen (1951-1964), Phuntsok Wangyal (from 1964)

Ruling Party

Tibetan Democratic Youth League

Head of Government

Phuntsok Wangyal (1951-1964), Ngapoi Ngawang Jigme (from 1964)


Tibet, under British influence since 1903, was drawn closer into the British orbit by taking part in the pre-independence partition of the British Raj. In 1948, in an attempt to forestall the independence of India, the British authorities handed control over all Muslim-majority regions of the Raj to the Muslim League (these territories made up the future Pakistan), and allowed Nepal and Tibet to expand their territories at the expense of some of the smaller Princely States. Nepal annexed Sikkim, while Tibet annexed Bhutan.

The Tibetan monarch, the young Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, was under the influence both of Britain and of his German advisor, Heinrich Harrer. In 1950, Japan rallied a number of disaffected exiles from Tibet and from Burma to form a provisional Tibetan Government-in-Exile and, with the backing of this puppet regime, invaded Tibet in 1950. The Dalai Lama was overthrown and a republican regime installed, which immediately requested entry into the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere.

Amongst the key figures of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile were Choekyi Gyaltsen, a disaffected Tibetan noble, Ngapoi Ngawang Jigme, a defector from the Dalai Lama's armed forces and Aung San and Ba Maw, two Burmese exiles. The outstanding figure was Phuntsok Wangyal, a long-time opponent of both the Tibetan monarchy and the Chinese Nationalists who defected to the Japanese in 1948.

In addition to the territories traditionally ruled by the Dalai Lama, the new Tibetan Union includes substantial territories in what used to be western China, giving Tibet a border with Thailand.