TibetInfoPage
Die weiterführende Tibet-Informationsseite

 
 

Modern history of Tibet
 

An introductury bibliography
with book reports


è A History of Modern Tibet, 1913-1951
è History of Tibet since 1947

è The Snow Lion and the Dragon: China, Tibet, and the Dalai Lama

è 
è 
 
è HELP: Praktische Hinweise für Tibet-Reisen

 
 
 
 
 

History of Tibet 1913-1950 

A History of Modern Tibet, 1913-1951
The Demise of the Lamaist State

by Melvyn Goldstein

A must read history of Tibet

This book is a definitive history of Tibet covering a crucial period. Goldstein writes an extremely readable book. He covers a large time period using primary sources and interviews with the characters involved. He limits his analysis of the events and lets the readers examine the evidence. He gives evidence of the Tibetan government's faults as well as the abandonment of Tibet by the international community. This book is a must read for anyone trying to understand the current efforts of the Tibetan government in exile. 'Orphans of the Cold War: America and the Tibetan Struggle for Survival' by John Kenneth Knaus is also an excellent book that covers the US government's involvement with Tibet and gives extra insight to the information given by Goldstein. 

Janni Egbers (jegbers@stud.uni-goettingen.de) aus Göttingen , 26. Juni 1999 
Moderner Klassiker
Goldsteins nüchterne Sachlichkeit mag für viele Tibet-Fans schmerzhaft sein - für eine wissenschaftliche Beschäftigung mit dem Thema ist sie von großem Vorteil. Die geradezu unglaubliche Fülle von Daten, die Goldstein zusammengetragen hat, ist beeindruckend. Seine Interviews mit Augenzeugen, auf die er sich an vielen Stellen stützt, haben Wissen konserviert, das andernfalls in wenigen Jahren unrettbar verloren gewesen wäre. Trotz der enormen Datenmenge hat der Autor es geschafft, ein sehr flüssig und geradezu spannend zu lesendes Buch zu schreiben. Die Fotos der Personen und Orte lassen die Ereignisse um so lebendiger erscheinen. Einziger Kritikpunkt ist Goldsteins abschließende Bewertung der Gründe für die rasche Niederlage Tibets gegen China 1950/51 im Kapitel Conclusions. Meiner Meinung nach gibt er der inneren Zerrissenheit Tibets hier zuviel Raum, anstatt das geringe Interesse des Auslands an einer Bewahrung der tibetischen Unabhängigkeit in den Vordergrund zu stellen. Dennoch bietet das Buch hervorragende Voraussetzungen, zu dieser Frage eigene Schlußfolgerungen zu ziehen. Dieser moderne Klassiker ist ein Muß für alle, die sich für die neuere tibetische Geschichte interessieren. (Dies ist eine Amazon.de an der Uni-Studentenrezension.) 

Eine Leserin oder ein Leser aus MADRID,SPAIN , 26. April 1999 
LARGELY COMPREHENSIVE AND DESCIRIPTIVE JOB
I ENJOYED VERY MUCH READING THIS BOOK,GOING DEEP IN THE PECULIAR TRADITION AND UNIQUE WAY OF STATE RULING SYSTEM.A COUNTRY LARGELY IGNORED BY RECENT GENERATIONS IS CAREFULLY DESCRIBED AS WELL AS THE EUROPEANS AND CHINESE AMBITIONS REGARDING THE CONTROL OF THIS STRATEGIC TOP OF THE WORLD AND PACIFIC COUNTRY 

milfount@netonecom.net aus Reed City, Michigan , 30. Juni 1998 
Romantic visions of Shangri-La are shattered by this book.
If you ever cherished the illusion that Tibet was populated only by saints and holy men of impeccable judgement, the stories recounted in this history will demolish any such belief. Instead, you will develop a realistic appreciation for the achievements and handicaps of the Tibetan system in the first half of this century. This book will enable you to understand why Tibet could not remain independent from China. This is a troubling, fascinating book, full of invaluable historical detail which can be found nowhere else. It is only for those who like their truths unvarnished. Those with a genuine love of Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism will develop a maturer love of this extraordinary culture, and those whose notions of the country are based on legends of Shangri-La and Madame Blavatsky's "Great White Brotherhood" will never see Tibet the same way again. 
 


 

Buddhism in Contemporary Tibet: 

Religious Revival and Cultural Identity

von Melvyn C. Goldstein (Herausgeber), Matthew Kapstein (Herausgeber)

Rezensionen

Synopsis 
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 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. 
 
 
 

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Rezensionen bei amazon.de:
 

Informative and challenging academic analysis

Having read the preceding comments, I find myself in sympathy with all of them to a certain extent (some more than others). Goldstein and Kapstein's informative and challenging edited collection is precisely that - a collection, and includes viewpoints from a variety of academic researchers on Tibet. AS a result, it does not constitute the accepted 'word' on Tibet, nor in fact does it present ANY single viewpoint. Certainly, it does not deserve the accusations heaped on it by the first reviewer, but at the same time, the editors DO come to a particular view of Tibetan political consciousness that not everyone wouyld agree with. That view, if I might summerise, is roughly that the national identity generated around Tibetan Buddhism is not necessarily a prelude to full-blown Tibetan nationalism, and therefore that Tibetan Buddhism can be allowed to flourish by the Chinese authorities without it necessarily generating sympathy for the independence movement). Personally I do not agree with this perspective, and it is clear that the writers are attempting to produce an academic analysis which, as the Tibetan writer Tsering Shakya has recently argued for, cuts a path between the various absolute "black-or-white" political positions that surround the Tibet issue. At the same time, the authors take odds with the widespread view that ALL Buddhism in Tibet is forbidden, and argue that (thankfully) many Tibetans are capable of negotiating a meaningful Buddhist revival despite Chinese communist rule (the extent to which this holds true in the 2 years since this book was published is another issue). As a result, it IS possible to read this collection as proposing an analytical agenda which is not exactly "on-message" in terms of the position of certain pro-Tibet groups, but that is a LONG way from saying that it is Chinese political orthodoxy. 
 

Sammlung interessanter Feldforschungsberichte

Während sich im Westen die Ansicht breitgemacht hat, daß die "ursprüngliche" tibetische Kultur nur noch im Exil, insbesondere in Indien fortbestehe, gab es einen beklagenswerten Mangel an Studien über die aktuelle Situation in Tibet selbst. Die wenigen Arbeiten behandelten noch dazu vor allem den Aspekt der Unterdrückung, oder waren von Flüchtlingen im Rückblick auf das Erlebte und Erlittene geschrieben worden. Seit in den letzten Jahren wieder Feldforschungen in Tibet selbst zugelassen werden, bietet sich ein differenzierteres Bild. Zwar zeigt es sich, daß die religiöse Kultur Tibets einem gewaltsamen und radikalen Wandel unterzogen war, aber von einer Auslöschung kann nicht die Rede sein. Da die staatliche Unterstützung weggefallen ist, sind Klöster mehr denn je auf Spenden angewiesen. Das Kapitel über Drepung gibt hier einen interessanten Einblick in den "Haushalt" des einst größten Klosters der Welt. Überhaupt lebt das Buch davon, daß es sich mit sehr alltäglichen Phänomenen der untersuchten Institutionen beschäftigt. Diese Sammlung von Aufsätzen beweist, daß der Buddhismus in Tibet nicht ausgelöscht wurde, sondern lediglich neue Wege beschreiten muß. (Dies ist eine Amazon.de an der Uni-Studentenrezension.) 
 
 

Goldstein provides an informed and intellectual assesment.

I am surprised by a reader's comments regarding this book as being one of misinformation considering that Melvyn Goldstein is one of the (if not THE) foremost scholar on Tibetan buddhism in the country. One aspect of this book, and Dr. Goldstein's point of reference that must be kept in mind, is that Goldstein separates political Tibet from what he refers to as "ethnic Tibet". He is neither pro-communist China nor pro-political Tibet in his stance, but rather gives an educated and informed look at a political situation that, through a lack of reasonable compromise, has escalted to the point that the Dalai Lama will be forced to make some difficult choices in the next few years. This book outlines both the political and the ethnic situation in Tibet and explains how buddhism has played a major role in both. I feel if you want an informed and balanced view of the situation, than any of Goldstein's books would provide you with the necessary information to form an intelligent argument. 
 
 

Mind-opening, highly informative book on buddhism and Tibet

I write this, provoked by deeply narrowmindede, negative review from anonymous person in Miami. I'm a danish journalist, practicing buddhist through 25 years, finding this book extremely important, because it draws attention to the "real Tibetan buddhism" in Tibet today, where courageous and compassinate lamas (like Jigmed Phuntsok Rinpoche)is strugling to reinvoke and revitalize the rich and beautifull Tibetan tradition. The picture drawn in this book may not be fitting the preconcived ideas of romantic old Tibet or the easy standpoint of neglecting the hard and complex political conditions on the Top of the World in favour of support for the popular high lamas of the exile-community. That seems to be the reason why the book can provoke the kind of anger, expressed in the review from Miami. 
 

Informative and challenging academic analysis

Having read the preceding comments, I find myself in sympathy with all of them to a certain extent (some more than others). Goldstein and Kapstein's informative and challenging edited collection is precisely that - a collection, and includes viewpoints from a variety of academic researchers on Tibet. AS a result, it does not constitute the accepted 'word' on Tibet, nor in fact does it present ANY single viewpoint. Certainly, it does not deserve the accusations heaped on it by the first reviewer, but at the same time, the editors DO come to a particular view of Tibetan political consciousness that not everyone wouyld agree with. That view, if I might summerise, is roughly that the national identity generated around Tibetan Buddhism is not necessarily a prelude to full-blown Tibetan nationalism, and therefore that Tibetan Buddhism can be allowed to flourish by the Chinese authorities without it necessarily generating sympathy for the independence movement). Personally I do not agree with this perspective, and it is clear that the writers are attempting to produce an academic analysis which, as the Tibetan writer Tsering Shakya has recently argued for, cuts a path between the various absolute "black-or-white" political positions that surround the Tibet issue. At the same time, the authors take odds with the widespread view that ALL Buddhism in Tibet is forbidden, and argue that (thankfully) many Tibetans are capable of negotiating a meaningful Buddhist revival despite Chinese communist rule (the extent to which this holds true in the 2 years since this book was published is another issue). As a result, it IS possible to read this collection as proposing an analytical agenda which is not exactly "on-message" in terms of the position of certain pro-Tibet groups, but that is a LONG way from saying that it is Chinese political orthodoxy. 
 
 

Eine Leserin oder ein Leser aus Pennsylvania , 14. Februar 1999 
Goldstein provides an informed and intellectual assesment.
I am surprised by a reader's comments regarding this book as being one of misinformation considering that Melvyn Goldstein is one of the (if not THE) foremost scholar on Tibetan buddhism in the country. One aspect of this book, and Dr. Goldstein's point of reference that must be kept in mind, is that Goldstein separates political Tibet from what he refers to as "ethnic Tibet". He is neither pro-communist China nor pro-political Tibet in his stance, but rather gives an educated and informed look at a political situation that, through a lack of reasonable compromise, has escalted to the point that the Dalai Lama will be forced to make some difficult choices in the next few years. This book outlines both the political and the ethnic situation in Tibet and explains how buddhism has played a major role in both. I feel if you want an informed and balanced view of the situation, than any of Goldstein's books would provide you with the necessary information to form an intelligent argument. 

Eine Leserin oder ein Leser aus Copenhagen, Denmark , 1. Februar 1999 
Mind-opening, highly informative book on buddhism and Tibet
I write this, provoked by deeply narrowmindede, negative review from anonymous person in Miami. I'm a danish journalist, practicing buddhist through 25 years, finding this book extremely important, because it draws attention to the "real Tibetan buddhism" in Tibet today, where courageous and compassinate lamas (like Jigmed Phuntsok Rinpoche)is strugling to reinvoke and revitalize the rich and beautifull Tibetan tradition. The picture drawn in this book may not be fitting the preconcived ideas of romantic old Tibet or the easy standpoint of neglecting the hard and complex political conditions on the Top of the World in favour of support for the popular high lamas of the exile-community. That seems to be the reason why the book can provoke the kind of anger, expressed in the review from Miami. 

Eine Leserin oder ein Leser aus Miami, FL , 12. Dezember 1998 
this book is pro-Chinese propaganda
At first I was not aware of the author's point of view. He has spent extensive time in China and Tibet, and has witnessed many of the upheavels. However, I was amused at first at the innaccuracy of much of his information, and then became disappointed, as I realized that he rather strong anti-religious bias. This bias is not conducive to understanding any aspect of Tibetan life and culture. I would advise against reading this book unless you are curious of the official stance of the Chinese Communist Party. --Dieser Text bezieht sich auf die Taschenbuch-Ausgabe des Titels 
 

History of Tibet since 1947

The Dragon in the Land of Snows

von Tsering Shakya, Tsering Shakya 

http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/0231118147/andreasgruschke
by Me

Thanks to the decades-long efforts of the exiled Dalai Lama, the Tibetan demand for sovereignty is well known throughout the world today. Readers seeking a deeper understanding of the complex political relationships that obtain between China and Tibet, and between both countries and the rest of the world, now have a thoroughly documented, accessible guide in Tsering Shakya's Dragon in the Land of Snows. Though far from nonpartisan--Shakya, too, pleads the cause of Tibetan independence--the book covers much unfamiliar ground while attempting to understand China's persistent claims of rule. China is unlikely to give up Tibet willingly, he concludes, for to do so would entail loss of face for the nationalists who now rule in Beijing.

No other book offers as comprehensive a picture of modern Tibetan history, and Shakya's work contributes much to the debate over that sad nation's future. --Gregory McNamee 

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Rezensionen

Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 
Zahl der Rezensionen: 4

swaydtree aus San Diego, CA , 1. Juni 2000 
Great Research Book.
This book is a great resource for those that might be writting a paper on Tibet,I wouldn't recommend reading it from cover to cover however because Mr. Shakya's writting style leaves a lot to be desired, and the only real problem thati had with the book was with the last chapter devoted to the current Pachen Lama crisis, which i found frusturating because it deserves so much more & is too complex of an issue for the about three or four pages the author allowed it. Anyone interested in that area should definately read "hostage of Beijing. the abduction of the pachen lama" by giles van grasdorff. 

Pamela Logan aus Los Angeles , 9. Januar 2000 
an important contribution
Tsering Shakya's book is dispassionate and comprehensive. Instead of simply rehashing and remixing previously published work, it adds to existing accounts by incorporating interviews with first-hand witnesses among the Tibetan exile community (he apparently has not interviewed any Chinese witnesses, which is unfortunate but understandable). Although I have read widely on this subject before, I found much here that's new and not a little that's surprising. I'm sure Tsering Shakya is taking a lot of flack for writing this book. I hope he perseveres, because I believe that the cause of peace is best served by unbiased and unflinching accounts such as this one. 

Will Powers aus St. Paul, MN , 16. Dezember 1999 
Fine information, awful writing
The thoroughness of this history cannot be doubted. It is a fully detailed history of China's role in modern Tibet. On this point I must agree with all other reviewers. But someone has to point out that this book is horribly written and horribly edited. Names appear with variant spellings-even on the same page. Sentences begin & go no where. Poor writing & editing make this book a difficult read, particularly for non-scholars who may not be fully familiar with names and events. This book does no credit to an important university press in this regard. 

Eine Leserin oder ein Leser aus Outside Washington DC , 18. November 1999 
Must reading for those interested in Tibet.
This is the first serious attempt to examine the history of Sino-Tibetan relations from 1949 to the present. Before I read it, I had been told that it had upset people on both sides. Now I can see why. It pulls no punches, panders no propaganda, and plays no favorites. Though obviously sympathetic to the plight of the Tibetan people and unsparing in its criticism of Chinese rule, it peels back the layers of myth superimposed by both Chinese and Tibetan exiles to show the mistakes and foolishness on both sides. Shakya's explanation of the recent Panchen Lama imbroglio is clear and accurate. Overall, "must" reading for anyone seriously interested in the Tibet issue and Sino-Tibetan relations. 
 


 
ééé

The Snow Lion and the Dragon:

China, Tibet, and the Dalai Lama


by Melvyn Goldstein

Amazon.com 
Just the facts, Ma'am. Wouldn't it be nice if we could simply inspect the historical record and resolve the question of whether or not Tibet has traditionally been a part of China? Melvyn Goldstein, anthropologist and Tibet specialist, takes us in that direction in The Snow Lion and the Dragon. 

The results? Not so fast. Like a scientist analyzing experimental data, Goldstein walks us through centuries of unending political struggle and battles of conquest. He shows us that Tibet first came under Chinese suzerainty during the Mongolian era and then for almost 300 years during the Manchu era. For the most part, The Snow Lion and the Dragon succeeds as chronicle of the power plays of two governments vying for control of Tibet.

But when Goldstein speaks of the Chinese government, what does he mean by "Chinese"? Does he mean the Mongols when they controlled the territory we call China and the Manchus when they did? Were these legitimate Chinese governments? 

Although Goldstein is sincere in his objective methods, many questions such as these lurk behind the illusion objectivity. Ultimately, history is interpretation, and without admitting this, Goldstein lures the reader into a false sense of complacency. 

The Snow Lion and the Dragon is a helpful historical summary for anyone who wonders how the Tibet Question has played itself out from the beginning up until 1997, but for an adequate examination of historical subtleties surrounding the issue, we must continue to wait. --Brian Bruya 

Synopsis 
This study covers the history of Tibet, concentrating on the political and cultural negotiations over the status of Tibet from the turn of the century to the present. The author presents a reasoned compromise between China and Tibet, appealing to the USA to play an active diplomatic role. 
 
 
 

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Kundenrezensionen

Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 
Zahl der Rezensionen: 11

A reader from New York aus New York , 3. Oktober 1999 
A book that will broaden our minds about the Tibet issue.
There is no easy solution to an issue as complicated and intricate as the "Tibetan Problem". As much as I abhor the human right abuses in Tibet (which the author does too, apparently), I agree with Prof. Goldstein that the Chinese are really those who hold the trump card. I believe that if the exile government were to accept some sort of comprimise that will actually allow them to work INSIDE Tibet, their chance of achieving a genuine autonomy and preserving the Tibetan culture will be much enhanced, at least from a long term perspective. Important as the much publicized demographical change in Tibet is, one cannot neglect the elements of materialism that is continuously being brought into Tibet. As a friend of mine from China pointed out half mockingly, all that the communists have to do is to build more entertainment establishments to promote indulgence of sense pleasure among the younger generation. That in itself will be a huge blow to the preservation of a genuine Tibetan culture. Thirty years from now, if the exiled are still in exile, the situation will be grim. Time will be running out on a peaceful solution -- China will be substantially stronger, the nationalistic pride of an average Chinese will be stronger, the frustation of the Tibetans who support arm struggle will no more be contendable, and the Dalai Lama will probably no longer be there to represent a voice of peaceful struggle which will anyway have its credential debunked by then. As Prof. Goldstein pointed out, many opportunities for continuous negotiation had been squandered by misjudgement and misperception on both sides, I pray that when the door of negotiation is reopened, more subtantial results will be made. 

Eine Leserin oder ein Leser aus Ogden, Utah , 8. August 1999 
Goldstein makes clear the political realities of the Tibet Q
In our own time, Tibet has been a de facto province of China since 1951. Where was the moral character of the U.S Congress and the executive branch of our government when China began its pacification of Tibet? Goldstein gives the American public (at least those who bother to read serious work) a dose of morale corruption that our government lives by, and a sense of the complexity of international affairs, which we as a people, have always played a bit to lightly. 

Eine Leserin oder ein Leser aus St.Petersburg, Russia , 2. Mai 1999 
A very good survey.
The last review has completely misunderstood the book, and I think I need to point this out so future readers won't continue to misread it. The reviewer from Santa Fe has three arguemnts: 1) He says that Goldstein argues that because Tibet has been part of China it's a good reason to remain so, and that this is nonsense, 2) the reviewer states that 'Chinese sovereignty in the age of horses is one thing, in the age of the airplane and the TV another, and, 3) The reviewer argues that Goldstein glosses the 'cultural genocide'.

First, Goldstein never advocates the PRC's view that China should control Tibet. How the reader arrived at this conclusion doesn't surprise me. Anytime I have tried to explain the Chinese position people have confused it with mine (which is quite different, as is Goldstein's). Goldstein has tried to write a history of how the two sides have agreed, compromised, misunderstood each other and fought each other. The historical question has been taken seriously by the Tibetan Government in Exile (see Shakabpa's history, which takes the historical relations very seriously and relevant to the question of independence), the PRC and Western Nations. Because the players involved take it seriously, Goldstein must address this. 

Second, the age of the horse and the age of the TV isn't an argument. The Republic of Taiwan still claims Tibet, and the Dalai Lama has agreed to this claim (as Goldstein points out); not because the TV has been invented but because he has little choice. These questions will continue to be argued when Buicks and Volkswagons drive to the Moon.

Third, Goldstein does address the Tibetans' wish to preserve their culture (I find it distasteful that 'genocide' is tossed around so much these days; the whole world is being 'Americanized' and nobody [save the French, perhaps] has called it 'genocide'. Then again, it has a rhetorical ring that sets the liberal hounds straining at the leash...): Goldstein carefully explores China's despotic policy towards Tibetan culture in explaining why the Dalai Lama has moved towards compromise while others (say, his brother Thubtan Norbu) urge fighting. The Dalai Lama wishes to preserve his culture, so he must deal directly with the PRC. To think otherwise is to wish away a reality (something Buddhists are good at).

In the end, Goldstein is merely outlining what each side wants, and what he thinks the Dalai Lama should do to achieve his goals. The Tibet movement, though optimistic, is losing in the long run. Even if communism ended in China (and the Dalai Lama's laughable argument that communism has a half-life is being disproved in the former Soviet republics), the 900 million Han would still believe that Tibet is theirs. Only the utter collapse of China and a Tibetan revolution could grant independence. The question is, what can the friends of Tibet do to preserve Tibet's culture in the face of unlikely independence? I haven't heard a good idea yet, and time is running out. Maybe the reviewer in Santa Fe could start running guns from Kazakstan. --Dieser Text bezieht sich auf die Taschenbuch-Ausgabe des Titels 

Eine Leserin oder ein Leser aus Santa Fe, NM , 30. April 1999 
There's no such thing as "just the facts"
Although I don't doubt the author's sincerity in trying to analyze the Tibetan question objectively by looking at the facts, I think he failed to see that "the facts" aren't the whole truth. Arguing that because Tibet has historically been "part of China," that's a good reason for it to remain so, doesn't square with the undeniable cultural, ethnic, and religious differences between the two countries (consider the similar cases of Ireland and Israel, which likewise spent long periods of their history as part of something else). In addition, Chinese sovereignty means one thing in the age of horses, and quite another in the age of the airplane and TV. Finally, I think the author glosses over the patent attempts at cultural genocide by the Chinese: surely the Tibetan religious/political regime (which was an ad hoc solution in the first place) was in need of reform, but what course that takes should be for the Tibetans to decide; I find it hard to believe that the Chinese killed thousands of monks and nuns, and forced thousands of Tibetans into exile, out of purely humanitarian motives! The book is a nice try, but I found it ultimately unconvincing.

A book that will broaden our minds about the Tibet issue.
There is no easy solution to an issue as complicated and intricate as the "Tibetan Problem". As much as I abhor the human right abuses in Tibet (which the author does too, apparently), I agree with Prof. Goldstein that the Chinese are really those who hold the trump card. I believe that if the exile government were to accept some sort of comprimise that will actually allow them to work INSIDE Tibet, their chance of achieving a genuine autonomy and preserving the Tibetan culture will be much enhanced, at least from a long term perspective. Important as the much publicized demographical change in Tibet is, one cannot neglect the elements of materialism that is continuously being brought into Tibet. As a friend of mine from China pointed out half mockingly, all that the communists have to do is to build more entertainment establishments to promote indulgence of sense pleasure among the younger generation. That in itself will be a huge blow to the preservation of a genuine Tibetan culture. Thirty years from now, if the exiled are still in exile, the situation will be grim. Time will be running out on a peaceful solution -- China will be substantially stronger, the nationalistic pride of an average Chinese will be stronger, the frustation of the Tibetans who support arm struggle will no more be contendable, and the Dalai Lama will probably no longer be there to represent a voice of peaceful struggle which will anyway have its credential debunked by then. As Prof. Goldstein pointed out, many opportunities for continuous negotiation had been squandered by misjudgement and misperception on both sides, I pray that when the door of negotiation is reopened, more subtantial results will be made. 
 

Eine Leserin oder ein Leser aus Ogden, Utah , 8. August 1999 
Goldstein makes clear the political realities of the Tibet Q
In our own time, Tibet has been a de facto province of China since 1951. Where was the moral character of the U.S Congress and the executive branch of our government when China began its pacification of Tibet? Goldstein gives the American public (at least those who bother to read serious work) a dose of morale corruption that our government lives by, and a sense of the complexity of international affairs, which we as a people, have always played a bit to lightly. 

Eine Leserin oder ein Leser aus St.Petersburg, Russia , 2. Mai 1999 
A very good survey.
The last review has completely misunderstood the book, and I think I need to point this out so future readers won't continue to misread it. The reviewer from Santa Fe has three arguemnts: 1) He says that Goldstein argues that because Tibet has been part of China it's a good reason to remain so, and that this is nonsense, 2) the reviewer states that 'Chinese sovereignty in the age of horses is one thing, in the age of the airplane and the TV another, and, 3) The reviewer argues that Goldstein glosses the 'cultural genocide'.

First, Goldstein never advocates the PRC's view that China should control Tibet. How the reader arrived at this conclusion doesn't surprise me. Anytime I have tried to explain the Chinese position people have confused it with mine (which is quite different, as is Goldstein's). Goldstein has tried to write a history of how the two sides have agreed, compromised, misunderstood each other and fought each other. The historical question has been taken seriously by the Tibetan Government in Exile (see Shakabpa's history, which takes the historical relations very seriously and relevant to the question of independence), the PRC and Western Nations. Because the players involved take it seriously, Goldstein must address this. 

Second, the age of the horse and the age of the TV isn't an argument. The Republic of Taiwan still claims Tibet, and the Dalai Lama has agreed to this claim (as Goldstein points out); not because the TV has been invented but because he has little choice. These questions will continue to be argued when Buicks and Volkswagons drive to the Moon.

Third, Goldstein does address the Tibetans' wish to preserve their culture (I find it distasteful that 'genocide' is tossed around so much these days; the whole world is being 'Americanized' and nobody [save the French, perhaps] has called it 'genocide'. Then again, it has a rhetorical ring that sets the liberal hounds straining at the leash...): Goldstein carefully explores China's despotic policy towards Tibetan culture in explaining why the Dalai Lama has moved towards compromise while others (say, his brother Thubtan Norbu) urge fighting. The Dalai Lama wishes to preserve his culture, so he must deal directly with the PRC. To think otherwise is to wish away a reality (something Buddhists are good at).

In the end, Goldstein is merely outlining what each side wants, and what he thinks the Dalai Lama should do to achieve his goals. The Tibet movement, though optimistic, is losing in the long run. Even if communism ended in China (and the Dalai Lama's laughable argument that communism has a half-life is being disproved in the former Soviet republics), the 900 million Han would still believe that Tibet is theirs. Only the utter collapse of China and a Tibetan revolution could grant independence. The question is, what can the friends of Tibet do to preserve Tibet's culture in the face of unlikely independence? I haven't heard a good idea yet, and time is running out. Maybe the reviewer in Santa Fe could start running guns from Kazakstan. --Dieser Text bezieht sich auf die Taschenbuch-Ausgabe des Titels 

Eine Leserin oder ein Leser aus Santa Fe, NM , 30. April 1999 
There's no such thing as "just the facts"
Although I don't doubt the author's sincerity in trying to analyze the Tibetan question objectively by looking at the facts, I think he failed to see that "the facts" aren't the whole truth. Arguing that because Tibet has historically been "part of China," that's a good reason for it to remain so, doesn't square with the undeniable cultural, ethnic, and religious differences between the two countries (consider the similar cases of Ireland and Israel, which likewise spent long periods of their history as part of something else). In addition, Chinese sovereignty means one thing in the age of horses, and quite another in the age of the airplane and TV. Finally, I think the author glosses over the patent attempts at cultural genocide by the Chinese: surely the Tibetan religious/political regime (which was an ad hoc solution in the first place) was in need of reform, but what course that takes should be for the Tibetans to decide; I find it hard to believe that the Chinese killed thousands of monks and nuns, and forced thousands of Tibetans into exile, out of purely humanitarian motives! The book is a nice try, but I found it ultimately unconvincing. 

Eine Leserin oder ein Leser aus St.Petersburg, Russia , 19. März 1999 
An excellent survey of the "Tibet Question".
I have to take issue with a previous review. The reviewer questions first whether it is a genuine historical study, and second suggests the work has racist notions. To the first question, Goldstein cites historians (including, yes, E.Sperling) who are trained in both Tibetan and Chinese source material. Second, the reviewers claim that treating the Qing and Yuan Dynasties as different (than, say, the Ming) is racist, commenting, "Are America [sic] with black/native American/and [sic] Hispanic president [sic] and congress [a] legitimate American government?" This ignores of course the fact that the United States is a democracy while Qing and Yuan China were Chinas ruled by alien conquerors. Perhaps a small difference? Both the PRC and the Republic of China (Taiwan) claim the political boundries of the Qing State (except the PRC recognizes the Republic of Mongolia while the Republic of China does not); so we ask, is this a legitimate claim? Goldstein is interested in the claims of both the Tibetan Government in Exile and the PRC for Tibet, and he has written an excellent introduction. 

John Friday (jafriday@aol.com) aus Fredericksburg, VA, USA , 18. März 1999 
A thoughtful, well-written analysis of the Tibetan Question.
When Mao Zedong invaded Tibet in 1950 and incorporated it as an autonomous region within the People's Republic of China , he effectively ended twelve hundred years of Tibetan independence. The exile "government" of the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual and political leader, has been working since then to garner Western support for the restoration of independent Tibet, or at least a favorable set of conditions for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet. The Dalai Lama became the political leader of Tibet in 1642, when the Mongol emperor Gushri Khan made the fifth Dalai Lama the supreme authority in Tibet. This ensured that the Geluk Buddhist sect, which the Dalai Lama led, would become the preeminent sect in Tibet. Relations between Tibet and China fluctuated as the Qing emperors attempted several times to gain control pf Tibet. After the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1912, it appeared that Tibet would enjoy complete independence from its giant neighbor. Chiang Kaishek's nationalist government was too preoccupied with other internal and external matters to consolidate China's foothold in the mountainous country. The interwar years and World War Two brought interest from the West, particularly Great Britain and the United States. After the war, British relations with Tibet were filtered through the interests of a newly independent India. After Chiang's government fell to the Communists, the United States gave some covert support for Tibetan independence, but this support was insufficient and poorly coordinated. The Dalai Lama fled to India and set up an exile "government," trying simultaneously to reach an agreement with China for Tibetan autonomy and to generate Western support for Tibetan independence. Melvyn C. Goldstein, in The Snow Lion and the Dragon: China, Tibet, and the Dalai Lama, explores both the history of the conflict over Tibet, and the possibilities for the future of the region. Goldstein, a professor of anthropology at Case Western Reserve University and director of that university's center for research on Tibet, provides a thoughtful, well-written analysis of the factors involved in the "Tibetan Question." He maintains a impartial, unbiased perspective throughout the book, and explains why neither China nor Tibet is without a measure of validity for their claims. This is no mean feat, for the "contradictory claims and countercharges" of both Tibet and China "render a dispassionate and objective assessment of the conflict excruciatingly difficult, even for specialists"(x). Goldstein organizes the book into five main parts, each covering a particular period in Tibetan history. The first outlines the history of Tibet in relation to China and Mongolia from the seventh century to the fall of the Qing dynasty. The second part describes Tibet's relative independence during China's nationalist period. The third section examines the fate of Tibet after the rise of Mao Zedong, including the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1950 and the policies of Mao toward Tibet. The exile of the fourteenth Dalai Lama and his attempts to gain Western support for Tibetan independence continue into the fourth part, which covers the post-Mao era of the 1980s and 1990s. Finally, Goldstein poses questions about, and provides possible answers for, the future of Tibet. The book was completed before the death of the fourteenth Dalai Lama, and so may require a slight revision to update it.

Goldstein presents a surprisingly unbiased picture of the situation in Tibet. He uses various government and journalistic sources gathered from all sides of the Tibet Question, including myriad Chinese governmental policies and documents. His secondary sources include over sixty years of political, cultural and biographical studies concerning Tibet, China and the Dalai Lama. Dr. Goldstein is able to draw on his own field research in Tibet and China as well as his own extensive writing on the subject. It seems evident that Tibet will never achieve independence as long as China remains under Communist rule. Even if China manages to democratize in the future, it will be reluctant at best to relinquish control over Tibet. Many opportunities for a satisfactory end to the conflict have been missed or even sabotaged by each side of the issue. Dr. Goldstein has produced an engaging and worthy analysis of a conflict that, though it plays out in a remote and barely accessible corner of the world, has captured the attention and sympathy of many Westerners, especially in America. How the Tibet Question will finally be answered is unclear, but Dr. Goldstein's book allows the reader to better understand the historical and contemporary factors that will determine the outcome of this conflict. --Dieser Text bezieht sich auf die Taschenbuch-Ausgabe des Titels 

kdelage@lamere.net aus Maine, USA , 30. Juli 1998 
interesting reading for anyone interested in Tibet
I found this book highly interesting to read, it does not contain any of the dewey-eyed nostalgia of many books on Tibet. Instead the author takes a neutral and realistic stand on past and present day relations with China. As a supporter of full independence for Tibet, I did not find the book offensive to that viewpoint. Good reading ,give it a try! 

ltlee1@mindspring.com aus USA , 30. Mai 1998 
Author told an one-sided story
The author did a good job describing the interactions actions between modern China and Dalai Lamma. I, however, found his coverage using mostly tibetan materials wanting. His treatment of the hundreds of years of Tibetan history during the Ming dynasty with one sentence "By conferring titles on Tibetans already in power, the Ming emperors merely recognized political reality." and citing a certain E. Sperling also raise the question whether the book represents a genuine historical study. Furthermore, his treated the different dynasties as different countries also entails an racist point of view which was stated more explicitly by the Amazon.com reviewer: "Does he mean the Mongols when they controlled the territory we call China and the Manchus when they did? Were these legitimate Chinese governments?" A similar question of "Are America with black/native American/and Hispanic president and congress legitimate American governments?" would be unthinkable. 

Forest Zhang (zhangq@arches.uga.edu) aus Athens, GA , 7. April 1998 
a very useful yet too rarely seen factbook
This is a must for everyone who has interest in the Tibet issue and wants to talk about it. One who hasn't read it should just shut up his/her mouth, go to get this book, read it, and compare the HISTORICAL FACTS in this book to the stereotyped prejudice one has learnt from propaganda, hollywood blockbuster movies, or whatever. 

wenkai@earthlink.net aus New York , 30. März 1998 
A rare moment of objectivity in the Tibet debate
Amid the feverish torrent of propaganda being served up by Hollywood and the mainstream American press, Melvyn Goldstein's "The Snow Lion and the Dragon" offers a rare moment of sober analysis and objective reasoning. Dr Goldstein is the preeminent American scholar on Tibet, and "The Snow Lion" is his authoritative account of the forces and events that led up to the current conflict between leaders in Beijing and the Dalai Lama's supporters in Dharamsala. Tibetan independence activists will necessarily despise this book because of the empirical reality that it brings to a debate fueled by uninformed zealotry and passionate dogma. But those who are interested in gaining a real understanding of Tibet and the historical basis of its current dilemma are well-advised to read this succinct, thoroughly-research work.

leibos@sage.edu aus Albany, NY , 10. März 1998 
An Excellent Work on Tibet & China
Just read this wonderful book and found it very useful not only for the general reader but also for specialists in Asian Studies. Prof. Steven A. Leibo Ph.D. The Sage Colleges & H-ASIA 
 

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The Struggle for Modern Tibet

The Autobiography of Tashi Tsering

von Melvyn Goldstein, William Siebenschuh, Tashi Tsering 

Rezensionen

Synopsis 
An autobiography of Tashi Tsering, the Tibetan nationalist with a burning desire to reform and modernize the "old society". It covers his search for education in Tibet and his life in China, especially during the Cultural Revolution, when he was charged as an American spy and imprisoned. 
 
 

Eine Leserin oder ein Leser aus Prague, The Czech Republic , 13. Februar 1999 
Tibet--Not just the land of monks, nomads and Austrians!
Finally a book that treats Tibet as a nation and a people in history and not just a land of changeless Buddhism and nomads! The book was dropped quietly from the publisher/distributor Snow Lion after initial fan-fare when it was discovered that this Tibetan author, though fervently pro-Tibet, was equally fervent against the rule of the Dge-lugspa (the Dalai Lama's sect), and he describes in detail what he had to suffer as a member of the Dalai Lama's personal dance troup. Kudos to Tashi Tsering for telling his incredible story! --Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht mehr verfuegbare Ausgabe des Titels 

Eine Leserin oder ein Leser aus California , 31. Juli 1998 
Riveting
I finished reading this book in 3 consecutive nights. Fascinating account of a 10-year-old boy becoming a member of the Dalai Lama's personal dance troupe as a tax obligation; how the boy grew up, worked for the exiled noble Tibetan leadership, and eventually became a Red Guard--this is the first time I've learned that there are many Tibetan red guards during the Cultural Revolution, the reasons why these Tibetans try to better their old serf-noble society, and why they joined the misguided Cultural Revolution. At the end I can't help but feel utmost respect for Mr. Tsering. Even though he's made mistakes, he freely admits to them. The amount of trauma he has gone through in his life is beyond what many people can take, yet he perseveres. Now I fully support his goal: establishing schools in Tibet for the Tibetan children. Bravo, Mr. Tsering. I hope someday this life story will be made into a movie. It will be much more intelligent than 7 Years In Tibet. Instead! of a fluff story about the "dumb natives", here is one intelligent, complex Tibetan. --Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht mehr verfuegbare Ausgabe des Titels 

quase@pacbell.net aus Pacifica, Ca. U.S.A. , 11. Juli 1998 
This is a poignant autobiography of a non-Buddhist Tibetan.
Tashi Tsering was born a Tibetan peasant but realized early in life that he wanted an education and was able to attain this in India and America. As a young Tibetan patriot and idealist he went to China in the l960s believing that Communism could actually be a help to his country. Instead he spent many years of suffering and deprivation in Chinese jails and internal exile. Ultimately he was set free to open schools in Tibet. Fascinating to read, this book's broader lesson is about the interplay of power between the communists, the Tibetan peasants, and the Tibetan aristochracy (who want all power for themselves) and the Buddhist church hierarchy. --Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht mehr verfuegbare Ausgabe des Titels 
 


 
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Bei Fragen zu anderen Themenbereichen bezüglich Tibets und tibetischer Kultur versuchen wir  Ihnen auf den folgenden Seiten weiter zu helfen:
è Einführung in den tibetischen Buddhismus: Vom kleinen zum diamantenen Fahrzeug
è Geschichte (in Vorbereitung) 
è Politik und jüngere Geschichte (in Vorbereitung)
è Spezialthemen
è Tibet im 20. Jahrhundert
è Tibetischer Buddhismus

 

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