Wang Lixiong and Woeser: A Way Out of China’s Ethnic Unrest?

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Woeser and Wang Lixiong are two of China’s best-known thinkers on the government’s policy toward ethnic minorities. With violence in Tibet and Xinjiang now almost a monthly occurrence, I met them at their apartment in Beijing to talk about the issue...

Beyond the Dalai Lama: An Interview with Woeser and Wang Lixiong

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
In recent months, China has been beset by growing ethnic violence. In Tibet, 125 people have set themselves on fire since the suppression of 2008 protests over the country’s ethnic policies. In the Muslim region of Xinjiang, there have been a series...

My Chinese Education

Tsering Woeser
New York Times
One Tibetan recounts how Beijing’s education system suffocates minority culture serving to unify the country under the rule of the dominant Han ethnic group. 

Twitter Acts Quickly on Suspect Pro-China Accounts

ANDREW JACOBS
New York Times
Just hours after The New York Times posted an article about bogus Twitter accounts dedicated to spreading pro-China propaganda—and a Tibetan advocacy group demanded that the company take action—Twitter appears to have hit the kill switch on a score...

Tibet Resists

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
Tsering Woeser was born in Lhasa in 1966, the daughter of a senior officer in the Chinese army. She became a passionate supporter of the Dalai Lama. When she was very young the family moved to Tibetan towns inside China proper. In school, only...

China to Let Indian Experts Monitor Brahmaputra in Tibet

Smriti Kak Ramachandran and Ananth...
Hindu
China has for the first time formally agreed to allow Indian hydrological experts to conduct study tours in Tibet to monitor the flows on the upper reaches of the Brahmaputra, according to a new agreement signed here on Monday during the visit of...

U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern Introduces New Bill on Tibet

Office of Congressman Jim McGovern
Mr. McGovern (MA-02) announced today that he has introduced HR 4851, The Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, in the House of Representatives.

Books

06.09.14

Voices from Tibet

Tsering Woeser and Wang Lixiong, Edited and Translated by Violet S. Law
Tsering Woeser and Wang Lixiong are widely regarded as the most eloquent, insightful writers on contemporary Tibet. Their reportage on the economic exploitation, environmental degradation, cultural destruction, and political subjugation that plague the increasingly Han Chinese-dominated Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) is as powerful as it is profound, ardent, and analytical in equal measure, and not in the least bit ideological. Voices from Tibet is a collection of essays and reportage in translation that captures the many facets of an unprecedented sea change wreaked by a rising China upon a scared land and its defenseless people. With the TAR in a virtual lockdown after the 2008 unrest, this book sheds important light on the simmering frustrations that touched off the unrest and Beijing’s stability über alles control tactics in its wake. The authors also interrogate longstanding assumptions about Tibetans’ political future. Woeser’s and Wang’s writings represent a rare Chinese view sympathetic to Tibetan causes, one that should resonate in many places confronting threats of cultural subjugation and economic domination by a non-indigenous power. —Hong Kong University Press {chop}

Environment

05.23.14

Killing Pika Won’t Save Tibetan Grasslands

from chinadialogue
A pest extermination campaign is under way on western China’s Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. But experts say there is no scientific basis for the killing of the pika, a small rabbit-like mammal, and warn that the campaign may throw the ecosystem further...

Tibet’s Enduring Defiance

Tsering Woeser
New York Times
Self-immolators seek to protest in the most extraordinary manner by suffering what ordinary people could not possibly bear.

Obama to Host Dalai Lama on Friday at White House

Josh Lederman
Associated Press
China urged Obama to immediately cancel the meeting, accusing him of letting the Buddhist monk use the White House as a podium to promote anti-Chinese activities.

Conversation

02.22.14

What Can the Dalai Lama’s White House Visit Actually Accomplish?

Isabel Hilton, Donald Clarke & more
On February 21, the Dalai Lama visited United States President Barack Obama in the White House over the objections of the Chinese government. Beijing labels the exiled spiritual leader a "wolf in sheep's clothing" who seeks to use...

After Winding Odyssey, Tibetan Texts Find Home

Sophie Beach
China Digital Times
An American scholar of Tibet has collected thousands of Tibetan language books and donated them to Chengdu’s Southwest University for Nationalities.

Local Government Threatens Severe Punishments for Families of Tibetan Self-Immolators

Patrick Boehler
South China Morning Post
A county in Sichuan province has issued guidelines aimed at punishing family members of Tibetans who have set themselves on fire to protest Chinese rule in their homeland.

Conversation

02.13.14

Are Ethnic Tensions on the Rise in China?

Enze Han, James Palmer & more
On December 31, President Xi Jinping appeared on CCTV and extended his “New Year’s wishes to Chinese of all ethnic groups.” On January 15, Beijing officials detained Ilham Tohti, a leading Uighur economist and subsequently accused him of “separtist...

Spanish Judge Orders Arrest of China's Former President Jiang Zemin

South China Morning Post
A Spanish judge seeks to arrest Jiang and four others for alleged genocide in Tibet under a ‘universal jurisdiction’ doctrine that can prosecute human rights cases which took place outside Spain.

China Tells Spain to Prevent Tibet-Related Lawsuits

Reuters
Two Tibetan support groups and a monk with Spanish nationality brought a case in Spain against former Chinese president Jiang Zemin and ex-prime minister Li Peng in 2006 over allegations they committed genocide in Tibet.

Books

01.16.14

Debating China

Nina Hachigian (Editor)
America and China are the two most powerful players in global affairs, and no relationship is more consequential. How they choose to cooperate and compete affects billions of lives. But U.S.-China relations are complex and often delicate, featuring a multitude of critical issues that America and China must navigate together. Missteps could spell catastrophe.In Debating China, Nina Hachigian pairs American and Chinese experts in collegial “letter exchanges” that illuminate this multi-dimensional and complex relationship. These fascinating conversations—written by highly respected scholars and former government officials from the U.S. and China—provide an invaluable dual perspective on such crucial issues as trade and investment, human rights, climate change, military dynamics, regional security in Asia, and the media, including the Internet. The engaging dialogue between American and Chinese experts gives readers an inside view of how both sides see the key challenges. Readers bear witness to the writers’ hopes and frustrations as they explore the politics, values, history, and strategic frameworks that inform their positions. This unique volume is perfect for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of U.S.-China relations today.—Oxford University Press{chop}{node, 4406, 4}

Sinica Podcast

12.03.13

One Journalist’s Journey through China

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
This week, Kaiser and Jeremy are pleased to be joined by Isabel Hilton, a longstanding British journalist whose youthful interest in China got her blacklisted by the British security services and the British Broadcasting Corporation and redirected...

China Denounces Spanish Court’s Tibet Case Against Ex-President

Reuters
China denounced on Monday a decision by a Spanish criminal court to indict former Chinese president Hu Jintao for genocide as part of an investigation into whether his government committed abuses in Tibet. 

A Wave of Self-Immolations Sweeps Tibet

Jeffrey Bartholet
New Yorker
What is the reason behind the self-immolations of more than 100 Tibetans since 2011–monks and nuns, farmers and nomads, adults and teenagers? Some hope the they gain the world’s attention, and bring pressure on China to rethink its Tibet...

Mixed Signals On China’s Policies in Tibet

Voice of America
Worshipping the Dalai Lama remains illegal in Tibetan areas of China, despite earlier reports of changes in China's policies in Lhasa and in some parts of neighboring Qinghai province.  ...

China Lifts 17-year Ban on Dalai Lama Photos at Tibet Monastery

Sui-Lee Wee
Reuters
Chinese officials have lifted a ban on Tibetan monks displaying photographs of the Dalai Lama at a prominent monastery, a rights group said on Thursday, an unexpected policy shift which could ease tensions in the restive region.

Conversation

04.25.13

Hollywood in China—What’s the Price of Admission?

Jonathan Landreth, Ying Zhu & more
Last week, DreamWorks Animation (DWA), the Hollywood studio behind the worldwide blockbuster Kung Fu Panda films, announced that it will cooperate with the China Film Group (CFG) on an animated feature called Tibet Code, an adventure story based on...

Tibet: The CIA’s Cancelled War

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
For much of the past century, U.S. relations with Tibet have been characterized by kowtowing to the Chinese and hollow good wishes for the Dalai Lama. As early as 1908, William Rockhill, a U.S. diplomat, advised the Thirteenth Dalai Lama that “close...

China to Tibetans: Stay Put

Robert Barnett
Atlantic
The Chinese Communist Party's repression of its Tibetan minority now extends, apparently, to travel. Few Tibetans have been issued passports since last spring. Beijing has yet to comment officially about this issue, but its approach to Tibet...

China Appoints New Tibet Governor, Hardline Policies to Remain

Ben Blanchard
Reuters
China named Losang Gyaltsen Tibet’s new governor, signalling the government won’t ease control of the Himalayan region.

Books

01.24.13

Shangri-La

Michael Yamashita
The legendary Chamagudao, the Tea Horse Road, winds through dizzying mountain passes, across famed rivers like the Mekong and the Yangtze, and past monasteries and meadows in a circuitous route from Sichuan and Yunnan provinces in western China to the Tibetan capital city of Lhasa. Actually a network of roads, trails, and highways, rather than one distinct route, the Chamagudao once stretched for almost 1400 miles (2350 km)—a conduit along which the historic trade between the mighty Chinese empire and the nomadic Tibetans linked remote villages and ethnic groups. The Chinese military needed strong horses for their wars against Mongol invaders from the north, and the fiercely religious Tibetans desired tea for sacred rituals and sustenance. Once tea was introduced into Tibet around the 10th century, demand for it grew. Tea soon became a staple for Tibetans, especially when combined with their other staple, yak butter. But with Tibet’s extreme temperatures and altitudes, tea cultivation on a large scale was impossible. This set the stage for the tea-horse trade, which, by the 11th century, flourished along the Chamagudao, continuing until the 1950s. But getting these prized commodities to their growing markets was no easy feat. To transport the tea over the mountains meant many months of hard and dangerous travel for the hundreds of porters.Today, as Chinese culture merges with and even absorbs Tibetan traditions, the Tea Horse Road is a relic of a vastly different time. The Chinese are rapidly paving dirt roads to make highways for cars and trucks. Soon there will be little evidence of this once vital trade route. Though horses are no longer a military imperative for the Chinese army, Tibet has a new commodity that is in much demand in China. A homely caterpillar infected by a parasitic fungus has replaced the horse trade in Tibet. The yartsa gombu is prized for its medicinal qualities. Now Tibetans nomads drive Land Cruisers and motorcycles instead of horses, thanks to the profits they make collecting and selling the miracle mushroom worth more than gold. So trade continues, even though relics of the tea-horse trade are becoming harder to find. Following the Chamagudao, this book is a rare intimate look into the changing world of Tibet—both ancient and modern, sacred and commonplace, the rarefied and the gritty—before the legends and mysteries of the Tea Horse road disappear into the Tibetan mist. —White Star {chop}

When Tibet Loved China

Isaac Stone Fish
Foreign Policy
Rare Cultural Revolution Era photos from the Land of Snows.

China's Motorways: Get Your Kicks on Route G6

The Economist
Economist
China is building a motorway across the Tibetan plateau. For some, reaching Lhasa by road is the ultimate dream.

Tibet Is Burning

Xu Zhiyong
New York Times
Over the last three years, close to 100 Tibetan monks and laypeople have set themselves on fire; 30 people did so between Nov. 4 and Dec. 3. The Chinese government is seeking to halt this wave of self-immolations by detaining...

Will China's New Leaders Change Tibet policy?

Martin Patience
BBC
Xi Zhongxun, father of China's new president, Xi Jinping, was a former leader known for a more conciliatory approach to Tibetans...

In China, Self-Immolations Continue as Party Congress Opens

Barbara Demick
Los Angeles Times
As China launched its 18th Communist Party congress on Thursday, a record number of Tibetans immolated themselves in a stark illustration of the internal tensions facing the country's new leadership.Over a 48...

Unwelcome at the Party

Wang Lixiong
New York Times
I don’t belong to a political party and have never felt that Communist Party meetings are any of my business. But my home is in Beijing. I am a writer, and Han Chinese. My wife, Woeser, is also a writer, and Tibetan. The other...

U.S. Rights Official Faults China on Tibetan Suppression

Nick Cumming-Bruce
New York Times
Navi Pillay says she's disturbed by reports of detentions, disappearances and the excessive use of force...

Seven Tibetan Self-Immolations Hit China in One Week

AFP
Agence France-Presse
Two Tibetans set themselves on fire protesting Beijing's hardline rule, a rights group said...

Environment

09.20.12

Desertification in Tibet’s Wetlands Threatens the Yellow River

from chinadialogue
The “kidneys” of the Tibetan plateau are failing.The Zoige Wetland National Nature Reserve, which sits on the northeastern fringe of western China’s Qinghai-Tibet plateau, contains the largest alpine peat wetlands in the world. It is also the...

Does China's Next Leader Have a Soft Spot for Tibet

Benjamin Kang Lim and Frank Jack Daniel
Reuters
Few people know what Xi, whose ascent to the leadership is likely to be approved at a Communist Party congress later this year, thinks of Tibet or the Dalai Lama. But his late father, Xi Zhongxun, a liberal-minded former vice premier, had a...

Tibetan Blogging: Tweets from the Plateau

Economist
In a recent posting on her blog, Tsering Woeser accused the authorities in Lhasa of carrying out racial segregation, welcoming Han Chinese visitors to the Tibetan capital but not Tibetans. “Has the world forgotten its boycott of governments that...

Environment

08.20.12

Tibetans Fight Tourism on Holy Lakes

from chinadialogue
Mining, dam construction, sand excavation, poaching, and grassland degradation are seriously damaging the Qinghai-Tibet plateau, the world’s most fragile ecosystem. But without a second thought, the tourism industry has joined their ranks. The only...

News from the Dalai Lama

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
“I told President Obama the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party are missing a part of the brain, the part that contains common sense,” the Dalai Lama said to me during our conversation in London in mid-June.But it can be put back in. I am hopeful...

Why the Dalai Lama is Hopeful

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
“I told President Obama the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party are missing a part of the brain, the part that contains common sense,” the Dalai Lama said to me during our conversation in London Wednesday.But it can be put back in. I am hopeful...

China’s Tibetan Theme Park

Richard Bernstein from New York Review of Books
In the international press, China’s tensions with Tibet are often traced to the Chinese invasion of 1950 and Tibet’s failed uprising of 1959. But for the Chinese themselves, the story goes back much further—at least to the reign of Kangxi, the Qing...

China’s ‘Liberation’ of Tibet: Rules of the Game

Robert Barnett from New York Review of Books
Much of the talk about Vice President Joe Biden’s four-day visit to China last week centered on the man who hosted him: Xi Jinping, expected to become the country’s next president in 2012. Biden’s office has said that the principal purposes of his...

Will There Be a ‘Duel of Dalai Lamas’?

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
On March 10 the Fourteenth Dalai Lama made front-page news throughout the world by saying,As early as the 1960s, I have repeatedly stressed that Tibetans need a leader, elected freely by the Tibetan people, to whom I can devolve power. Now, we have...

On the Sacred Mountain

Pico Iyer from New York Review of Books
A powerful, unexpected scene suddenly surfaces near the beginning of Colin Thubron’s characteristically beautiful, though uncharacteristically haunted, new book of travel. As he walks through the mountains of Nepal, toward the holy peak of Mount...

Reports

07.01.10

“I Saw It With My Own Eyes”

Sara Segal-Williams
Human Rights Watch
More than two years after protests—the largest and most sustained in decades—erupted across the Tibetan plateau in March 2008, the Chinese government has yet to explain the circumstances that led to dozens of clashes between protesters and police...

The Message from the Glaciers

Orville Schell from New York Review of Books
It was not so long ago that the parts of the globe covered permanently with ice and snow, the Arctic, Antarctic, and Greater Himalayas (“the abode of the snows” in Sanskrit), were viewed as distant, frigid climes of little consequence. Only the most...

Talking About Tibet: An Open Dialogue Between Chinese Citizens and the Dalai Lama

Perry Link from New York Review of Books
Following is an English translation of an Internet dialogue between the Dalai Lama and Chinese citizens that took place on May 21. The exchange was organized by Wang Lixiong, a Chinese intellectual known for his writing on Tibet and for theorizing...

‘A Hell on Earth’

Pico Iyer from New York Review of Books
“The situation inside Tibet is almost like a military occupation,” I heard the Dalai Lama tell an interviewer last November, when I spent a week traveling with him across Japan. “Everywhere. Everywhere, fear, terror. I cannot remain indifferent.”...

Reports

03.17.09

The Tibetan Policy Act of 2002: Background and Implementation

Kerry Dumbaugh
Peony Lui
Congressional Research Service
U.S. policy on Tibet is governed by the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 (TPA), enacted as part of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act of FY2003 (P.L. 107-228). In addition to establishing a number of U.S. principles with respect to human rights,...

How He Sees It Now

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
It is open season on the Dalai Lama and not just for Beijing, for whom he is “a monk in wolf’s clothing,” or for Rupert Murdoch, who dismissed him as a “very old political monk shuffling around in Gucci shoes.” During his trip to London in May, when...

Reports

07.01.08

China’s Forbidden Zones: Shutting the Media out of Tibet and Other “Sensitive” Stories

Human Rights Watch
This report focuses on the treatment of foreign journalists by the Chinese government. In the buildup to the Beijing 2008 Olympics, the authors contend, the Chinese government has tried to force foreign journalists to avoid sensitive issues. As a...

Reports

07.01.08

Appeasing China: Restricting the Rights of Tibetans in Nepal

Human Rights Watch
This report concerns human rights issues surrounding the suppression of Tibetan protesters in Nepal. Following a Chinese governmental crackdown in Tibet in 2008, many Tibetans in Nepal began to protest. Nepali authorities have harshly suppressed the...

Reports

06.30.08

Tibet: Problems, Prospects, and U.S. Policy

Kerry Dumbaugh
Peony Lui
Congressional Research Service
On March 10, 2008, a series of demonstrations began in Lhasa and other Tibetan regions of China to mark the 49th anniversary of an unsuccessful Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule in 1959. The demonstrations appeared to begin peacefully with small...

Reports

06.01.08

Tibet Autonomous Region: Access Denied

Amnesty International
This report, written in the aftermath of the widespread Tibetan unrest in Tibet and Tibetan regions of China in the spring of 2008, addresses the Chinese government with immediate demands. In cracking down on unrest, the Chinese government sealed...

Thunder from Tibet

Robert Barnett from New York Review of Books
1.Every so often, between the time a book leaves its publisher and the time it reaches its readers, events occur that change the ways it can be read. Such is the case with Pico Iyer’s account of the fourteenth Dalai Lama, the exiled leader of Tibet...

Twelve Suggestions for Dealing with the Tibetan Situation, by Some Chinese Intellectuals

Wang Lixiong from New York Review of Books
At present the one-sided propaganda of the official Chinese media is having the effect of stirring up inter-ethnic animosity and aggravating an already tense situation. This is extremely detrimental to the long-term goal of safeguarding national...

The Quiet Heroes of Tibet

Pankaj Mishra from New York Review of Books
Earlier this year, shortly before boarding the new Chinese train from Beijing to Lhasa, I met Woeser, a Tibetan poet and essayist (she uses only one name). Unusual among Tibetans in China, who tend to avoid talking to foreigners, she spoke frankly...