On this date (8th day, first month, Tibetan year of the water ox), His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama asserted independence of Tibet after returning to Lhasa following three years of exile in India. [The year of declaration of Tibetan independence was mistakenly believed to be 1912 by many.] In the third and fourth paragraphs of the Tibetan Proclamation of Independence, His Holiness stated:
…During the time of Genghis Khan and Altan Khan of the Mongols, the Ming dynasty of the Chinese, and the Ch’ing Dynasty of the Manchus, Tibet and China cooperated on the basis of benefactor and priest relationship. A few years ago, the Chinese authorities in Szechuan and Yunnan endeavored to colonize our territory. They brought large numbers of troops into central Tibet on the pretext of policing the trade marts. I, therefore, left Lhasa with my ministers for the Indo-Tibetan border, hoping to clarify to the Manchu emperor by wire that the existing relationship between Tibet and China had been that of patron and priest and had not been based on the subordination of one to the other. There was no other choice for me but to cross the border, because Chinese troops were following with the intention of taking me alive or dead.
On my arrival in India, I dispatched several telegrams to the Emperor; but his reply to my demands was delayed by corrupt officials at Peking. Meanwhile, the Manchu empire collapsed. The Tibetans were encouraged to expel the Chinese from central Tibet. I, too, returned safely to my rightful and sacred country, and I am now in the course of driving out the remnants of Chinese troops from DoKham in Eastern Tibet. Now, the Chinese intention of colonizing Tibet under the patron-priest relationship has faded like a rainbow in the sky….
The Thirteenth Dalai Lama started international relations, introduced modern postal and telegraph services and, despite the turbulent period in which he ruled, introduced measures to modernize Tibet. On December 17, 1933 he passed away.
The following year a Chinese mission arrived in Lhasa to offer condolences, but in fact they tried to settle the Sino-Tibetan border issue. After the chief delegate left, another Chinese delegate remained to continue discussions. The Chinese delegation was permitted to remain in Lhasa on the same footing as the Nepalese and Indian representatives until it was expelled in 1949.