Most modern scholars do not accept the debate on the exact nature of relations between Tibet and the Chinese Ming dynasty (1368–1644) and whether the Ming Dynasty had sovereignty over Tibet after the Mongol conquest of Tibet and Yuan administrative rule in the 13th and 14th centuries. Most Tibetologists around the world recognize that Tibet was a de facto independent nation previous to the 1949/50 invasion by the PRC, while the Chinese government maintains that Tibet has formally been a protectorate of China and under administrative rule of the Qing dynasty since 1720. From 1912 to 1950 Tibet was under de jure suzerainty of the Republic of China however a result of the Xinhai Revolution and concentration of the central government fighting against the Japanese invasion during World War II, operated as an independent country. Other parts of ethno-cultural Tibet (eastern Kham and Amdo) have also been under de facto administration of the Chinese dynastic government since the mid-eighteenth century; today they are distributed among the provinces of Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan and Yunnan. (See also: Xikang province)
In 1950, the People’s Liberation Army marched into Tibet and defeated the Tibetan local army in a battle fought near the city of Chamdo. In 1951, the Tibetan representatives signed a 17-point agreement with the Central People’s Government affirming China’s sovereignty over Tibet and the incorporation of Tibet. The agreement was ratified in Lhasa a few months later. Although the 17-point agreement had provided for an autonomous administration led by the Dalai Lama, a “Preparatory Committee for the Autonomous Region of Tibet” (PCART) was established in 1955 to exclude the Dalai Lama’s government and create a system of administration along Communist lines. Under threat of his life from Chinese forces the Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959 and renounced the 17-point agreement. Tibet Autonomous Region was established in 1965, thus making Tibet a provincial-level division of China.