China's claim to Tibet

China's invasion of Tibet, in spite of how Tan Pheck Swee feels about it, is more akin to a case of simple colonialism than of imperialism.

The history of China relationship to Tibet dates from ancient times. Tibet has been an integral of China since the 13th century.

The Tufans are one branch of the Xi Qiang (West Qiang) tribes who have founded a kingdom in Xizang (Tibet) the recorded history of which began only around Tang time in early seventh century. Up until this time, they consisted of some one hundred and fifty separate tribes who constantly quarrelled among themselves and sought mediation periodically from succeeding courts of the Middle Kingdom (Zhongguo) since the Han dynasty (B.C. 206-220 A.D.)

Tufan zanpu (Tibetan king) Qizonglong Zan sent to the Tang court in 641, an emissary named Ludong Zan to ask for the hand of a Tang princess in marriage, a ritual gesture of a tributary vassal state. Two years earlier still, in 639, thirteenth year of the reign of Virtuous Vision of Genesis Emperor (Taizong), Tufan zanpu Qizonglong Zan had already sent sixteen thousand taels of gold (1 tael = 1.33 ounces) to the Genesis Emperor as a sign of the zanpu's honorable intentions. Subsequently, Ludong Zan arrived in 641 with an additional marriage gift of five thousand more taels of gold.

Princess Wencheng, a hastily adopted daughter of the Genesis Emperor, from among the daughters of one of his twenty-one brothers, was given in marriage in the same year to seventy-three-year-old Tufan zanpu Qizonglong Zan, after her aging suitor paid an additional final marriage gift of five times the weight of his young bride in gold. Princess Wencheng was at the time sixteen years old.

The ceremony in which the hand of Princess Wencheng was formally requested in marriage would be memorialized by famous Tang painter, Yan Liben, (c. 600-673), in a painting entitled peculiarly as: Sedan Chair Portrait (Bulian Tu), on view in modern time in Beijing Palace Art Museum. Not only does the name of the princess not appear in the title, she was not even portrayed in person in the painting. It is a reflection of how unimportant the bride is in the whole negotiated affair.

The painting shows Li Shimin, Genesis Emperor (Taizong), being carried on a sedan sofa by six court-ladies, while two other ladies carrying large overhead fans with long stems, and one carrying a red, round parasol of silk, ten-foot-high, shading the Genesis Emperor's head. The ladies are shown identically dressed, each with loose, flowing silk robe, v-neck collar with high waistband, long-sleeved, cream-color top, and floor-length skirt of red and light green broad stripes below the high waistband. A long, light-green silk scarf drapes over the shoulders and is tugged neatly under the high waistband. Princess Wencheng is nowhere in sight.

Facing the emperor's entourage is a bearded Tang protocol officer, standing at attention, in a calf-length red robe, with black belt, black hat, black pants and black boots of up-turned to