Anglo-Chinese Conventions of 1890 and 1893

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Contents

March 17, 1890

REGULATIONS REGARDING TRADE, COMMUNICATION AND PASTURAGE, TO BE APPENDED TO THE CONVENTION BETWEEN GREAT BRITAIN AND CHINA OF MARCH 17, 1890, RELATING TO SIKKIM AND TIBET

March 17, 1890

A TRADE mart shall be established at Yatung on the Tibetan side of the frontier, and shall be open to all British subjects for purposes of trade from the 1st day of May, 1894. The Government of India shall be free to send officers to reside at Yatung to watch the conditions of British trade at that mart.

British subjects trading at Yatung shall be at liberty to travel freely to anD fro between the frontier and Yatung, to reside at Yatung, and to rent houses and godowns for their own accommodation, and the storage of their goods. The Chinese Government undertake that suitable buildings for the above purposes shall be provided for British subjects, and also that a special and fitting residence shall be provided for the officer or officers appointed by the Government of India under Regulation I to reside at Yatung. British subjects shall be at liberty to sell their goods to whom so ever they please, to purchase native commodities in kind or in money, to hire transport of any kind, and in general to conduct their business transactions in conformity with local usage, and without any vexatious restrictions. Such British subjects shall receive efficient protection for their persons and property. At Lang-jo and Ta-chun, between the frontier and Yatung, where rest-houses have been built by the Tibetan authorities, British subjects can break their journey in consideration of a daily rent.

Import and export trade in the following articles:- arms, ammunition, military stores, salt, liquors, and intoxicating or narcotic drugs, may, at the option of either Government, be entirely prohibited, or permitted only on such conditions as either Government, on their own side, may think fit to impose.

Goods, other than goods of the descriptions enumerated in Regulation 3, entering Tibet from British India, across the Sikkim-Tibet frontier, or vice versa, whatever their origin, shall be exempt from duty for a period of five years, commencing from the date of the opening of Yatung to trade; but after the expiration of this term, if found desirable, a tariff may be mutually agreed upon and enforced. Indian tea may be imported into Tibet at a rate of duty not exceeding that at which Chinese tea is imported into England, but trade in Indian tea shall not be engaged in during the five years for which other commodities are exempt.

All goods on arrival at Yatung, whether from British India or from Tibet, must be reported at the Custom Station there for examination, and the report must give full particulars of the description, quantity, and value of the goods.

In the event of trade disputes arising between British and Chinese or Tibetan subjects in Tibet, they shall be inquired into and settled in personal conference by the Political Officer for Sikkim and the Chinese Frontier Officer. The object of personal conference being to ascertain facts and do justice, where there is a divergence of views, the law of the country to which the defendant belongs shall guide.

Dispatches from the Government of India to the Chinese Imperial Resident in Tibet shall be handed over by the Political officer for Sikkim to the Chinese Frontier Officer, who will forward them by special courier. Dispatches from the Chinese Imperial Resident in Tibet to the Government of India will be handed over by the Chinese Frontier Officer to the Political Officer for Sikkim, who will forward them as quickly as possible.

Dispatches between the Chinese and Indian officials must be treated with due respect, and couriers will be assisted in passing to and fro by the officers of each Government

After the expiration of one year from the date of the opening of Yatung, such Tibetans as continue to graze their cattle in Sikkim will be subject to such Regulations as the British Government may from time to time enact for the general conduct of grazing in Sikkim. Due notice will be given of such Regulations.

General Articles

In the event of disagreement between the Political Officer for Sikkim and the Chinese Frontier Officer, each official shall report the matter to his immediate superior, who in turn, if a settlement is not arrived at between them, shall refer such matter to their respective Governments for disposal.

After the lapse of five years from the date on which these Regulations shall come into force, and on six months’ notice given by either party, these Regulations shall be subject to revision by Commissioners appointed on both sides for purpose, who shall be empowered to decide on and adopt such amendments and extensions as experience shall prove to be desirable.

It having been stipulated that Joint Commissioners should be appointed by the British and Chinese Governments under Article VII of the settlement of the questions reserved under Articles IV, V, and VI of the said Convention; and the Commissioners thus appointed having met and discussed the questions referred to, namely, trade, communication, and pasturage, have been further appointed to sign the Agreement in nine Regulations and three General Articles now arrived at, and to declare that the said nine Regulations and the three General Articles form part of the Convention itself.

In witness whereof the respective Commissioners have hereto subscribed their names. Done in quadruplicate at Darjeeling, this 5th day of December, in the year 1893, corresponding with the Chinese date, the 28th day of the 10th moon of the 19th year of Kuang Hsu.

AW PAUL

British Commissioner.

Ho CHANG-JUNG,

JAMES H. HART,

Chinese Commissioners.

(The Tibetan Minister present at the negotiations in Darjeeling did not sign the Regulations).

December 5, 1893

AGREEMENT BETWEEN GREAT BRITAIN, CHINA AND TIBET AMENDING TRADE REGULATIONS IN TIBET

December 5, 1893

PREAMBLE

WHEREAS by Article I of the Convention between Great Britain and China on the 27th April, 1906, that is the 4th day of the 4th moon of the 32nd year of Kwang Hsu, it was provided that both the High Contracting Parties should engage to take at all times such steps as might be necessary to secure the due fulfilment of the terms specified in the Lhasa Convention of the 7th September, 1904, between Great Britain and Tibet, the text of which in English and Chinese was attached as an Annexe to the above-named Convention;

And whereas it was stipulated in Article III of the said Lhasa Convention that the question of the amendment of the Tibet Trade Regulations which were signed by the British and Chinese Commissioners on the 5th day of December, 1893 should be reserved for separate consideration, and whereas the amendment of these Regulations is now necessary;

His Majesty the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas, Emperor of India, and His Majesty the Emperor of the Chinese empire have for this purpose named as their Plenipotentiaries, that is to say:

His Majesty the King of Great Britain and Ireland and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas, Emperor of India: Mr. E.C. Wilton, C.M.G.;

His Majesty Emperor of the Chinese Empire: His Majesty’s Special Commissioner Chang Yin Tang;

And the High Authorities of Tibet have named as their fully authorized representative to act under the directions of Chang Tachen and take part in the negotiations, the Tsarong Shape, Wang Chuk Gyalpo.

And whereas Mr. E.C. Wilton and Chang Tachen have communicated to each other their respective full powers and have found them to be in good and true form and have found the authorization of the Tibetan Delegate to be also in good and true form, the following amended Regulations have been agreed upon:-

The Trade Regulations of 1893 shall remain in force in so far as they are not inconsistent with these Regulations.

The following places shall form, and be included within, the boundaries of the Gyantse mart:-

The line begins at the Chumig Dangsang (Chhu-Mig-Dangs-Sangs) northeast of the Gyantse Fort, and thence it runs in a curved line, passing behind the Pekor Chode (Dpal-Hkhor-Choos-Sde), down to Chag-Dong-Gang (Phyag-Gdong-Sgang); thence passing straight over the Nyan Chu, it reaches the Zamsa (Sam-Srag)

From the Zamsa the line continues to run, in a south-eastern direction, round to Lachi-To (Gla-Dkyii-Stod), embracing all the farms on its way, viz., the Lahong, the Hogtso (Hog-Mtsho), the Tong-Chung-Shi (Grong- Chhung-Gshis); and the Rabgang (Rab-Sgang), & c.

From Lachi-To the line runs to the Yutog (Gyu-Thog), and thence runs straight, passing through the whole area of Gamkar-Shi (Ragal-Mkhar- Gshis),to Chumig Dangsang.

As difficulty is experienced in obtaining suitable houses and godowns at some of the marts, it is agreed that British subjects may also lease lands for the building of houses and godowns at the marts, the locality for such building sites to be marked out specially at each mart by the Chinese and Tibetan authorities in consultation with the British Trade Agent. The British Trade Agents and British subjects shall not build houses and godowns except in such localities, and this arrangement shall not be held to prejudice in any way the administration of the Chinese and Tibetan local authorities over such localities, or the right of British subjects to rent houses and godowns outside such localities for their own accommodation and the storage of their goods. British Trade Agent to the Municipal Office at the mart for a permit to lease. The amount of rent, or the period or conditions of the lease, shall then be settled in a friendly way by the lease and the owner themselves. In the event of a disagreement between the owner and lessee as to the amount of rent or the period or condition or the lease, the case will be settled by the Chinese and Tibetan Authorities, in consultation with the British Trade Agent. No building is to be commenced by the lessee on a site before the municipal office has issued him a permit to build, but it is agreed that there shall be no vexatious delays in the issue of such permit.

The administration of the trade marts shall remain with the Tibetan Officers, under the Chinese Officers’ supervision and directions.

The Trade Agents at the marts and Frontier Officers shall be of suitable rank, and shall hold personal intercourse and correspondence one with another on terms of mutual respect and friendly treatment. Questions which cannot be decided by agreement between the Trade Agents and the Local Authorities shall be referred for settlement to the Government of India and the Tibetan High Authorities at Lhasa. The purport of a reference by the Government of India will be communicated to the Chinese Imperial Resident at Lhasa. Questions which cannot be decided by agreement between the Government of India and the Tibetan High Authorities at Lhasa shall, in accordance with the terms of Article I of the Peking Convention of 1906, be referred for settlement to the Governments of Great Britain and China.

In the event of disputes arising at the marts between British subjects and persons of Chinese and Tibetan nationalities, they shall be inquired into and settled in personal conferences between the British Trade Agent at the nearest mart and the Chinese and Tibetan Authorities of the Judicial Court at the mart, the object of personal conference being to ascertain facts and to do justice. Where there is a divergence of view the law of the country to which the defendant belongs shall guide. In any of such mixed cases, the Officer or Officers of the defendant’s nationality shall preside at the trial, the Officer or Officers of the plaintiff’s country merely attending to watch the course of the trial.

All questions in regard to rights, whether or property or person, arising between British subjects, shall be subject to the jurisdiction of the British Authorities.

British subjects who may commit any crime at the marts or on the routes to the marts shall be handed over by the local authorities to the British Trade Agent at the mart nearest to the scene of offence, to be tried and punished according to the laws of India, but such British subjects shall not be subjected by the local authorities to any ill-usage in excess of necessary restraint.

Chinese and Tibetan subjects, who may be guilty of any criminal act towards British subjects at the marts or on the routes thereto, shall be arrested and punished by the Chinese and Tibetan Authorities according to law.

Justice shall be equitably and impartially administered on both sides. Should it happen that Chinese or Tibetan subjects bring a criminal complaint against a British subject before the British Trade Agent, the Chinese or Tibetan Authorities shall have the right to send a representative, or representatives, to watch the course of trial in the British Trade Agent’s Court. Similarly, in cases in which a British subject has reason to complain of a Chinese or Tibetan subject in the Judicial Court at the mart, the British Trade Agent shall have the right to send a representative to the Judicial Court at the mart, the British Trade Agent shall have the right to send a representative to the Judicial Court to watch the course of trial.

The Tibetan Authorities, in obedience to the instructions of the Peking Government, having a strong desire to reform the judicial system of Tibet, and to bring it into accord with that of Western nations, Great Britain agrees to relinquish her rights of extra-territoriality in Tibet, whenever such rights are relinquished in China, and when she is satisfied that the state of the Tibetan laws and the arrangements for their administration and other considerations warrant her in so doing.

After the withdrawal of the British troops, all the rest-houses, eleven in number, built by Great Britain upon the routes leading from the Indian frontier to Gyantse, shall be taken over at original cost by China and rented to the Government of India at a fair rate. One-half of each rest-house will be reserved for the use of the British officials employed on the inspection and maintenance of the telegraph lines from the marts to the Indian frontier and for the storage of their materials, but the rest-houses shall otherwise be available for occupation by British, Chinese, and Tibetan officers of respectability who may proceed to and from the marts.

Great Britain is prepared to consider the transfer to China of the telegraph lines from the Indian frontier to Gyantse when telegraph lines from China reach that mart, and in the meantime Chinese and Tibetan messages will be duly received and transmitted by the line constructed by the Government of India.

In the meantime China shall be responsible for the due protection of the telegraph lines from the marts to the Indian frontier, and it is agreed that all persons damaging the lines or interfering in any way with them or with the officials engaged in the inspection or maintenance thereof shall at once be severely punished by the local authorities.

In law suits involving cases of debt on account of loans, commercial failure, and bankruptcy, the authorities concerned shall grant a hearing and take steps necessary to enforce payment; but, if the debtor plead poverty and be without means, the authorities concerned shall not be held responsible for the said debts, nor shall any public or official property be distrained upon in order to satisfy these debts.

The British Trade Agents at the various trade marts now or hereafter to be established in Tibet may make arrangements for the carriage and transmission of their posts to and from the frontier of India. The couriers employed in conveying these posts shall receive all possible assistance from the local authorities whose districts they traverse and shall be accorded the same protection as the persons employed in carrying the despatches of the Tibetan Authorities. When efficient arrangements have been made by the China in Tibet for a postal service, the question of the abolition of the Trade Agents’ couriers will be taken into consideration by Great Britain and China. No restrictions whatever shall be placed on the employment by British officers and traders of Chinese and Tibetan subjects in any lawful capacity. The persons so employed shall not be exposed to any kind of molestation or suffer any loss of civil rights to which they may be entitled as Tibetan subjects, but they shall not be exempted from all lawful taxation. If they be guilty of any criminal act, they shall be dealt with by the local authorities according to law without any attempt on the part of their employer to screen or conceal them.

British officers and subjects, as well as goods, proceeding to the trade marts, must adhere to the trade routes from the frontier of India. They shall not, without permission, proceed beyond the marts, or to Gartok from Yatung and Gyantse, or from Gartok to Yatung and Gyantse, by any route through the interior of Tibet, but natives of the Indian frontier, who have already by usage traded and resided in Tibet, elsewhere than at the marts shall be at liberty to continue their trade, in accordance with existing practice, but when so trading or residing they shall remain, as heretofore, amendable to the local jurisdiction.

In cases where officials or traders, en route to and from India or Tibet, are robbed of treasure or merchandise, public or private, they shall forthwith report to the Police officers, who shall take immediate measures to arrest the robbers and hand them to the Local Authorities. The Local Authorities shall bring them to instant trial, and shall also recover and restore the stolen property. But if the robbers flee to places out of the jurisdiction and influence of Tibet, and cannot be arrested, the Police and the Local Authorities shall not be held responsible for such losses.

For public safety, tanks or stores of kerosene oil or any other combustible or dangerous articles in bulk must be placed far away from inhabited places at the marts.

British or Indian merchants wishing to build such tanks or stores may not do so until, as provided in Regulation 2, they have made application for a suitable site.

British subjects shall be at liberty to deal in kind or in money, to sell their goods to whomsoever they please, to purchase native commodities from whomsoever they please, to hire transport of any kind, and to conduct in general their business transactions in conformity with local usage and without any vexatious restrictions or oppressive exactions whatever.

It being the duty of the Police and Local Authorities to afford efficient protection at all times to the persons and property of the British subjects at the marts, and along the routes to the marts, China engages to arrange effective police measures at the marts and along the routes to the marts. On due fulfilment of these arrangements, Great Britain undertakes to withdraw the Trade Agents’ guards at the marts and to station no troops in Tibet, so as to remove all cause for suspicion and disturbance among the inhabitants. The Chinese Authorities will not prevent the British Trade Agents holding personal intercourse and correspondence with the Tibetan officers and people. Tibetan subjects trading, travelling, or residing in India shall receive equal advantages to those accorded by this Regulation to British subjects in Tibet.

The present Regulations shall be in force for a period of ten years reckoned from the date of signature by the two Plenipotentiaries as well as by the Tibetan Delegate; but if no demand for revision be made by either side within six months after the end of the first ten years, then the Regulations shall remain in force for another ten years from the end of the first ten years; and so it shall be at the end of each successive ten years.

The English, Chinese, and Tibetan texts of the present Regulations have been carefully compared, and in the event of any question arising as to the interpretation of these Regulations, the sense as expressed in the English text shall be held to be the correct sense.

The ratifications of the present Regulations under the hand of His Majesty the King of Great Britain and Ireland, and of His Majesty the Emperor of the Chinese Empire, respectively, shall be exchanged at London and Peking within six months from the date of signature.

In witness whereof the two Plenipotentiaries and the Tibetan Delegate have singed and sealed the present Regulations.

Done in quadruplicate at Calcutta this 20th day of April, in the year of our Lord 1908, corresponding with the Chinese date, the 20th day of the 3rd moon of the 34th year of Kuang-Hsu.

E.C. WILTON

British Commissioner.

CHANG YIN TANG,

Chinese Special Commissioner.

WANG CHUK GYALPO

Tibetan Delegate

The Indian stand

PM Jawaharlal Nehru’s reservations

Sutirtho Patranobis | Letters show Nehru didn’t endorse British-era treaty with China on Sikkim border | Jul 04, 2017| Hindustan Times

Letter written in 1959 by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru is contrary to what China claims is India’s acceptance of the border along Sikkim and Bhutan.


Jawaharlal Nehru did not fully endorse the 1890 treaty between British India and China over the borders with Tibet and Sikkim, letters written by India’s first Prime Minister show.

In letters written to Premier Zhou Enlai, then arguably China’s second most powerful man after Communist party chief, Mao Zedong, in 1959, Nehru had given enough indications of the differences that that New Delhi had with Beijing on the boundary question in the mountainous tri-junction of China, Bhutan and India -- where the current standoff between Chinese and Indian militaries is going on.

On Monday, ministry of foreign affairs (MFA) spokesperson Geng Shuang cited the letter from Nehru to Enlai, written on March 22, 1959, that India’s protectorate state Sikkim’s border with China was confirmed by a treaty signed between China and Britain in 1890, and that the border was demarcated in 1895.

The treaty in question was the Convention between Great Britain and China relating to Sikkim and Tibet and signed between colonial Britain and China’s Qing dynasty in then-Calcutta in 1890.

Citing the treaty and another letter, Geng said: “On September 26, 1959, Nehru confirmed with Zhou that there was no dispute on the China-Sikkim border”.

That letter from Nehru to Zhou on September 26, actually, said more than what China is telling the world: broadly, India stood by the 1890 agreement only as far as northern Sikkim was concerned.

“This Convention of 1890 also defined the boundary between Sikkim and Tibet; and the boundary was later, in 1895, demarcated. There is thus no dispute regarding the boundary of Sikkim with the Tibet region. This clearly refers to northern Sikkim and not to the tri-junction which needed to be discussed with Bhutan and Sikkim and which is today the contentious area. And once more, let us not forget that the 1890 Treaty was an unequal treaty as Tibet, Sikkim and Bhutan were not involved,” Nehru wrote to Zhou in the letter, which has been accessed by the Hindustan Times.

But Nehru pointed out in the,”letter that boundaries of Sikkim and Bhutan needed to be included in the discussions.

“It is not clear to us what exactly is the implication of your (Premier Zhou) statement that the boundaries of Sikkim and Bhutan do not fall within the scope of the present discussion. In fact, Chinese maps show sizeable areas of Bhutan as part of Tibet,” Nehru wrote.

“Under treaty relationships with Bhutan the Government of India are the only competent authority to take up with other Governments matters concerning Bhutan’s external relations, and in fact we have taken up with your Government a number of matters on behalf of the Bhutan Government,” Nehru wrote.

“The rectification of errors in Chinese maps regarding the boundary of Bhutan with Tibet is therefore a matter which has to be discussed along with the boundary of India with the Tibet region of China in the same sector,” Nehru added.

India planned intrusion to impress US during Modi-Trump meeting: Chinese media on Sikkim standoff

Nehru’s letter seems to refer to northern Sikkim and not to the tri-junction which needed to be discussed with Bhutan and Sikkim and which today is the contentious area.

On Monday, spokesperson Geng said India had “betrayed” China’s trust on the boundary question.

“The India-China boundary in the Sikkim section is well demarcated. The action taken by India is a betrayal of the position taken by the Indian governments,” Geng said, adding that India needs to follow the treaty and pull back troops immediately from Doka La.

Doka La is located on the margins of the Doklam plateau, also known as Donglang in Chinese.

On Friday, the Indian government said New Delhi was “deeply concerned at the recent Chinese actions” of trying to construct a road at Doklam (Donglang), which is situated at the strategic tri-junction between India, China and Bhutan. China and Bhutan have an ongoing territorial dispute in the region.

Geng had also cited a letter from Nehru to Zhou dated March 22. Again, the full text – or the picture – wasn’t presented.

Nehru did mention the 1890 treaty and wrote: “The boundary of Sikkim, a protectorate of India, with the Tibet Region of China was defined in the Anglo-Chinese Convention 1890 and jointly demarcated on the ground in 1895.” Of course, in the September letter, he clearly talked about the differences.

What Geng didn’t mention was that Nehru talked about the McMahon line in Bhutan in the same letter.

“The McMahon Line -- as you are aware, the so-called McMahon Line runs eastwards from the eastern borders of Bhutan and defines the boundary of China on the one hand and on the India and Burma on the other. Contrary to what has been reported to you, this line was, in fact, drawn at a Tripartite Conference held at Simla in 1913-1914 between the Plenipotentiaries of the Governments of China, Tibet and India,” he wrote.

The then Indian PM added: “At the time of acceptance of the delineation of this frontier, Lonchen Shatra, the Tibetan Plenipotentiary, in letters exchanged, stated explicitly that he had received orders from Lhasa to agree to the boundary as marked on the map appended to the Convention.”

See also

Tibet: History, 1850-1949

Anglo-Chinese Conventions of 1890 and 1893

Convention between the United Kingdom and China respecting Tibet, 1906

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