Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/171

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TACHIENLU

chienlu is in the principality of the King of Chala, whose palace is one of the two or three noteworthy buildings in the place, and the Tibetan population of some seven hundred families, not counting the lamas, is directly under his authority. But there is a power behind the throne, and the town is really governed by the Chinese officials, for it is the key to the country to the west, and the Imperial Government has long been awake to the importance of controlling the great trade and military road to Lhasa. What the effect of the Revolution will be upon the relations of China and Tibet remains to be seen. Already Chao Erh Feng, the man who as Warden of the Marches had made Chinese rule more of a reality in Lhasa than ever before, has fallen a victim to Manchu weakness; hated by Chinese and Tibetan alike, he met his death at the hands of a rebellious soldiery in January, 1912.

Between Tachienlu and Lhasa lie many hundred miles of barren, windswept plateaus and perilous mountain passes. There are, I believe, at least ten of these passes higher than Mont Blanc. Connection between the two places is over one of the most difficult mountain roads in the world, yet it was by this route that the Chinese finally conquered Tibet in the eighteenth century, and to-day most of the trade goes the same way. Those who deny the Chinese all soldierly qualities must have forgotten their achieve-