Tibet Unconquered: An Epic Struggle for Freedom
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A fabled country in the far reaches of the Himalayas, Tibet looms large in the popular imagination. The original home of the Dalai Lama, one of the great spiritual leaders of our time, Tibetan Buddhism inspires millions worldwide with the twin values of wisdom and compassion. Yet the Chinese takeover six decades ago also shows another side of Tibet―that of a passionate symbol of freedom in the face of political oppression.
International sympathy has kept the Dalai Lama's appeals for autonomy on the world's political agenda, but in light of China's political and economic gains there is fear that Tibet is in danger of being forgotten by the world. As the Dalai Lama grows older, and the Chinese threaten to intervene in the selection of Tibet's next spiritual leader, many wonder if there is any hope for the Tibetan way of life, or if it is doomed to become a casualty of globalization.
In Tibet Unconquered East Asia expert Diane Wolff explores the status of Tibet over eight-hundred-years of history. From the Mongol invasion, to the emergence of the Dalai Lama, Wolff investigates the history of political and economic relations between China and Tibet. Looking to the long rule of Chinggis Khan as a model, she argues, that by thinking in regional terms both countries could usher in a new era of prosperity while maintaining their historical and cultural identities.
Wolff creates a forward-thinking blueprint for resolving the China and Tibet problem, grounded in the history of the region and the reality of today's political environment that, will guide both countries to peace.
at imperial expense, where they were guided by Chinese officials who instructed the “barbarians” in Chinese court etiquette. The visitors were completely under Chinese control. This system was a defense mechanism against the threat of the mounted warriors of the Asian steppes—the greatest cavalry in the medieval world. These were the tribal peoples who brought Chinese dynasties down: the Huns,8 the Turks,9 and, most dangerous of all, the Mongols. China’s relationship with the wild men of the
and this was the significance of being designated as principal wife: She held the reins of power, at least in the early years of empire before the foundation of a Chinese-style dynasty. Khubilai and Chabi were comfortable with the ceremonies and teachings of Tibetan Buddhism. The couple converted, and it seems to have been a sincere conversion. The Phagpa Lama became their teacher and spiritual advisor. Mahakala, the wrathful emanation of Avalokiteshvara (the Buddha of Infinite Compassion), was
Chinese territory and a very great proportion of its natural resources. To embrace greater China was to define China as a multi-ethnic empire, including all the nationalities that had been incorporated under Qing. This was the legacy left by Qing to both the Nationalists and the Communists. Both of them had to resolve China’s identity in a new way. Qing’s relationship with Tibet was never a direct administration, nor did it involve the establishment of a Chinese governmental bureaucracy. There
republics were to the north, India was to the south, China was to the east, Pakistan was to the southeast, and Iran was to the west. Oil, heroin, and religious extremism—coupled with border disputes—produced a volatile brew of politics, insurgency, and hot wars. Also involved were three nuclear powers, two of which had gone to the brink twice in the past decade. Modern communications incorporated a formerly remote part of the world into global chatter, for good and for ill. Modern weapons
the modernization of the old system has progressed along democratic lines, although the Dharamsala government is not a perfect democracy. The Dalai Lama has expressed his wish that it should be a complete democracy, without himself as an unelected head of government. The TGIE has a global media presence and uses the web to maintain contacts among the fifty or so communities of Tibetans spread all over the globe. A fifth Tibet is that of the Tibetan independence movement, various groups that see