Pointing to old imperial records, Beijing claims that Chinese sovereignty over Tibet dates back centuries, though these claims have been disputed by some historians and Tibetan nationalists. In 1950, Chinese troops invaded the rugged plateau region, overrunning the outmatched Tibetan army and compelling the then Tibetan government to sign the 17-Point Agreement, which affirmed China's sovereignty over Tibet while also granting the region a degree of autonomy. Some members of the Tibetan Cabinet, however, claimed not to have accepted the agreement. A violent crackdown in 1959 on Tibetan dissidents saw the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet flee to India and repudiate the document as having been forced on his people. The Dalai Lama has spent more than half a century since in exile calling on China to grant his homeland greater freedoms.
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