Following the upheavals of the Cultural Revolution, the People's Republic of China gradually permitted the renewal of religious activity. Tibetans, whose traditional religious and cultural institutions had been decimated during the preceding two decades, took advantage of the decisions of 1978 to begin a Buddhist renewal that is one of the most extensive and dramatic examples of religious revitalization in contemporary China. The nature of that revival is the focus of this book. Four leading specialists in Tibetan anthropology and religion conducted case studies in the Tibet autonomous region and among the Tibetans of Sichuan and Qinghai provinces. There they observed the revival of the Buddhist heritage in monastic communities and among laypersons at popular pilgrimages and festivals. Demonstrating how that revival must contend with tensions between the Chinese state and aspirations for greater Tibetan autonomy, the authors discuss ways that Tibetan Buddhists are restructuring their religion through a complex process of social, political, and economic adaptation. Buddhism has long been the main source of Tibetans' pride in their culture and country. These essays reveal the vibrancy of that ancient religion in contemporary Tibet and also the problems that religion and Tibetan culture in general are facing in a radically altered world.
This beautifully illustrated book offers the first inside view of how the breakup of the Soviet bloc has affected this farthest republic and its nomadic peoples. The first Western scholars to be given permission to conduct fieldwork in Mongolia, Melvyn Goldstein and Cynthia Beall lived among a community of herders to study how they were adapting to Mongolia's transition to democracy and a market economy. Weathering temperatures below zero, living in the nomads' ger, drinking suteytsai (milk-tea), eating bordzig (a pastry made from wheat dough) and pieces of solid fat (a Mongolian delicacy), Goldstein and Beall studied the seasonal migrations and traditional lifestyle of the nomads. They also watched as a herders' collective under the Marxist-Leninist system made the difficult transition to a shareholding company through the government's privatization reforms. The book's magnificent photographs and accompanying text introduce us to a proud people undergoing enormous change as their country emerges from years under communism. The Changing World of Mongolia's Nomads promises an engaging read for anyone interested in nomads, Mongolia, East and Central Asia, and the transformation of the Soviet Union.
The "Tibetan Question," the nature of Tibet's political status vis-à-vis China, has been the subject of often bitterly competing views while the facts of the issue have not been fully accessible to interested observers. While one faction has argued that Tibet was, in the main, historically independent until it was conquered by the Chinese Communists in 1951 and incorporated into the new Chinese state, the other faction views Tibet as a traditional part of China that split away at the instigation of the British after the fall of the Manchu Dynasty and was later dutifully reunited with "New China" in 1951. In contrast, this comprehensive study of modern Tibetan history presents a detailed, non-partisan account of the demise of the Lamaist state. Drawing on a wealth of British, American, and Indian diplomatic records; first-hand-historical accounts written by Tibetan participants; and extensive interviews with former Tibetan officials, monastic leaders, soldiers, and traders, Goldstein meticulously examines what happened and why. He balances the traditional focus on international relations with an innovative emphasis on the intricate web of internal affairs and events that produced the fall of Tibet. Scholars and students of Asian history will find this work an invaluable resource and interested readers will appreciate the clear explanation of highly polemicized, and often confusing, historical events.
It is not possible to fully understand contemporary politics between China and the Dalai Lama without understanding what happened--and why--during the 1950s. In a book that continues the story of Tibet's history that he began in his acclaimed A History of Modern Tibet, 1913-1951: The Demise of the Lamaist State, Melvyn C. Goldstein critically revises our understanding of that key period in midcentury. This authoritative account utilizes new archival material, including never before seen documents, and extensive interviews with Tibetans, including the Dalai Lama, and with Chinese officials. Goldstein furnishes fascinating and sometimes surprising portraits of these major players as he deftly unravels the fateful intertwining of Tibetan and Chinese politics against the backdrop of the Korean War, the tenuous Sino-Soviet alliance, and American cold war policy.
It is not possible to fully understand contemporary politics between China and the Dalai Lama without understanding what happened in the 1950’s. The third volume in Melvyn Goldstein's History of Modern Tibet series, The Calm before the Storm, examines the critical years of 1955 through 1957. During this period, the Preparatory Committee for a Tibet Autonomous Region was inaugurated in Lhasa, and a major Tibetan uprising occurred in Sichuan Province. Jenkhentsisum, a Tibetan anti-communist émigré group, emerged as an important player with secret links to Indian Intelligence, the Dalai Lama’s Lord Chamberlain, the United States, and Taiwan. And in Tibet, Fan Ming, the acting head of the CCP’s office in Lhasa, launched the "Great Expansion,” which recruited many thousands of Han Cadres to Lhasa in preparation for beginning democratic reforms, only to be stopped decisively by Mao Zedong’s "Great Contraction” which sent them back to China and ended talk of reforms in Tibet for the foreseeable future. In Volume III, Goldstein draws on never-before seen Chinese government documents, published and unpublished memoirs and diaries, and invaluable in-depth interviews with important Chinese and Tibetan participants (including the Dalai Lama) to offer a new level of insight into the events and principal players of the time. Goldstein corrects factual errors and misleading stereotypes in the history, and uncovers heretofore unknown information on the period to reveal in depth a nuanced portrait of Sino-Tibetan relations that goes far beyond anything previously imagined.
The New Tibetan-English Dictionary of Modern Tibetan surpasses existing dictionaries in both scope and comprehensiveness. Containing more than 80,000 lexical items used in political, social, economic, literary, and scientific discourse, this invaluable sourcebook includes the tens of thousands of new words that have been coined or that have come into use since Tibet was incorporated into the People's Republic of China in 1951. The dictionary lists lexical items characteristic of the special written genre that was used by Tibetan government officials up to 1959 as well as new terminology used in the Tibetan exile communities in South Asia. It contains both the core lexical terminology used in everyday life and standard modern writing and many proverbs and sayings that appear frequently in contemporary literary materials. The entries provide spoken pronunciation and thousands of illustrative sentences.
For sixteen months between June 1986 and June 1988, Melvyn Goldstein and Cynthia Beall lived in Tibet studying a community of roughly three hundred Tibetan nomads at altitudes above 16,000 feet in yak-hair tents, weathering temperatures which reached thirty to forty degrees below zero, drinking butter-salt tea, and eating 'tsampa'...popped and ground barley ...and mutton. This copiously illustrated book is a fascinating account of these remarkable people, of their traditional way of life and their continuing struggle for cultural survival. In a world where indigenous peoples and their environments are vanishing at alarming rates, the survival of this way of life represents an unexpected and heartening victory for humanity.
Among the conflicts to break out during the Cultural Revolution in Tibet, the most famous took place in the summer of 1969 in Nyemo, a county to the south and west of Lhasa. In this incident, hundreds of villagers formed a mob led by a young nun who was said to be possessed by a deity associated with the famous warrior-king Gesar. In their rampage the mob attacked, mutilated, and killed county officials and local villagers as well as People's Liberation Army troops. This groundbreaking book, the first on the Cultural Revolution in Tibet, revisits the Nyemo Incident, which has long been romanticized as the epitome of Tibetan nationalist resistance against China. Melvyn C. Goldstein, Ben Jiao, and Tanzen Lhundrup demonstrate that far from being a spontaneous battle for independence, this violent event was actually part of a struggle between rival revolutionary groups and was not ethnically based. On the Cultural Revolution in Tibet proffers a sober assessment of human malleability and challenges the tendency to view every sign of unrest in Tibet in ethno-nationalist terms.
Tensions over the "Tibet Question"—the political status of Tibet—are escalating every day. The Dalai Lama has gained broad international sympathy in his appeals for autonomy from China, yet the Chinese government maintains a hard-line position against it. What is the history of the conflict? Can the two sides come to an acceptable compromise? In this thoughtful analysis, distinguished professor and longtime Tibet analyst Melvyn C. Goldstein presents a balanced and accessible view of the conflict and a proposal for the future.
This captivating autobiography by a Tibetan educator and former political prisoner is full of twists and turns. Born in 1929 in a Tibetan village, Tsering developed a strong dislike of his country's theocratic ruling elite. As a 13-year-old member of the Dalai Lama's personal dance troupe, he was frequently whipped or beaten by teachers for minor infractions. A heterosexual, he escaped by becoming a drombo, or homosexual passive partner and sex-toy, for a well-connected monk. After studying at the University of Washington, he returned to Chinese-occupied Tibet in 1964, convinced that Tibet could become a modernized society based on socialist, egalitarian principles only through cooperation with the Chinese. Denounced as a 'counterrevolutionary' during Mao's Cultural Revolution, he was arrested in 1967 and spent six years in prison or doing forced labor in China. Officially exonerated in 1978, Tsering became a professor of English at Tibet University in Lhasa. He now raises funds to build schools in Tibet's villages, emphasizing Tibetan language and culture.
This is the as-told-to political autobiography of Phüntso Wangye (Phünwang), one of the most important Tibetan revolutionary figures of the twentieth century. Phünwang began his activism in school, where he founded a secret Tibetan Communist Party. He was expelled in 1940, and for the next nine years he worked to organize a guerrilla uprising against the Chinese who controlled his homeland. In 1949, he merged his Tibetan Communist Party with Mao's Chinese Communist Party. He played an important role in the party's administrative organization in Lhasa and was the translator for the young Dalai Lama during his famous 1954-55 meetings with Mao Zedong. In the 1950s, Phünwang was the highest-ranking Tibetan official within the Communist Party in Tibet. Though he was fluent in Chinese, comfortable with Chinese culture, and devoted to socialism and the Communist Party, Phünwang's deep commitment to the welfare of Tibetans made him suspect to powerful Han colleagues. In 1958 he was secretly detained; three years later, he was imprisoned in solitary confinement in Beijing's equivalent of the Bastille for the next eighteen years. Informed by vivid firsthand accounts of the relations between the Dalai Lama, the Nationalist Chinese government, and the People's Republic of China, this absorbing chronicle illuminates one of the world's most tragic and dangerous ethnic conflicts at the same time that it relates the fascinating details of a stormy life spent in the quest for a new Tibet.