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Was the "1959 Tibetan uprising", sometimes called "1959 Tibetan rebellion" really an uprising/rebellion? Why is it called "uprising"?

"uprising" to me signifies something violent, but the events in Lhasa in 1959 started with artillery towards Tibetan protesters in an area that was controlled by the Tibetan government. There were very few attacks against PRC forces. It seems to me that it was for the most part resistance to China taking over full control of their county (Which they didn't have according to the 17 point agreement)?

It was connected to violent resistance in other parts of Tibet, but these didn't start in 1959.

Perhaps for Tibetans, it was when they stood up to China taking over their country? And this has then become "uprising" in English? (They are referring to the start of it as the "Tibetan Uprising Day")

(I am writing about this in my own language, and I am not sure what I should call it)

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    Seems to question the existing narrative without any justification. And a reference to an uncited authority "sometimes called" - by whom? in what context? What is the agenda/bias of those who use that term. Is there a formal definition of "uprising" or "rebellion"? Does the use of the term match the normative consensus? – Mark C. Wallace May 30 '19 at 12:47
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    Are you questioning the events or simply the use of the word 'uprising'? – Steve Bird May 30 '19 at 12:48
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    @MarkC.Wallace "uprising" to me signifies something violent, but the events in Lhasa in 1959 started with artillery towards Tibetan protesters in an area that was controlled by the Tibetan government. There were very few attacks against PRC forces. – Olav May 30 '19 at 13:31
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    Don't reply in comments. The sentence you've just typed in comments is fundamental to the question. If the Chinese government quelled the riot with artillery, then the Chinese government will naturally term it an uprising; they don't use artillery on things that are not uprisings. ipso facto. – Mark C. Wallace May 30 '19 at 13:35
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    I hear the term "violent uprising" or "armed uprising" in the news enough that it seems fairly certain there can be non-violent and/or unarmed ones. Two examples I could find with a quick search were this link and this book, both of which refer to the 2009 Iranian Election Protests as an "Uprising". – T.E.D. May 30 '19 at 21:16
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Although interested parties disagree in very fundamental questions, it seems that both of them agree in that it was an uprising. Tibetans in exile commemorate it in the Tibetan Uprising Day, the Dalai Lama refers to it as uprising, and for the Chinese government it was a reactionary uprising of the Tibetan elite (according to Wikipedia).

World history in the last century is full of incidents where the opposing parties extensively argued about if those were uprisings, peaceful demonstrations, peace-keeping operations, banditry acts, or anything else, and even nowadays there is an ongoing trial whose main point of contention is if a given event was an uprising or it wasn't. However, about the 1959 Tibetan uprising everybody involved says it was an uprising. Whether that uprising or its suppression were legitimated is another question without any agreed answer in the foreseeable future.

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  • I guess the Tibetans have their own term. Perhaps it is no better English translation? The last part of your answer refers to events in other parts of Tibet. I think here "resistance" could be a better word. (So there is a perhaps narrative that Chia were legitimate rules) – Olav May 30 '19 at 15:18
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    @Olav - Tibetans are likely to have their own Tibetan term to use when speaking in Tibetan, but it seems that even the Dalai Lama himself uses "Uprising" when speaking in English: fas.org/sgp/congress/2004/s031004.html . – Pere May 30 '19 at 16:39

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