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Four Galoins

The four Galoins of the Gashag government--Ngapoi Ngawang Jigmei, Siangar Chomei Dorje, Liushia Tubdain Tarpa, and Sangpo Cewang Rinzin (from left)--handled public affairs in their office in the Norbu Lingka (1957).
In 1751, the Qing court decided to make major reform in the administration of the local government of Tibet. It abolished the former position of Desi, and replaced it with Gashag or the local government of Tibet. The Qing court stipulated the Gashag should consist of four Galoins, comprising three monks and one layman, who were all third-ranked. The High Commissioners (Ambans) stationed by the Qing court would supervise the Tibetan affairs on behalf of the Central Government, enjoying equal standing with the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Erdeni, while the Galoins were subordinate. The place where the Galoins handled official business was called Gashag in Tibetan language; hence "Gashag" became the name of the local government of Tibet. The Tibetan local affairs administration system represented by the Galoin system was carried out until the end of the 1950s. Some upper-class officials of the Gashag staged an armed rebellion aiming to tear Tibet away from China, so the Gashag was dissolved by the Central Government.

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