In the current debate on
First, however, a survey of the broader historical background is required. For many centuries
Consequently, as the Qianlong Emperor admitted, ‘Tibetan local affairs were left to the wilful actions of the Dalai Lama and the shapes [Kashag officials]. The Commissioners were not only unable to take charge, they were also kept uninformed. This reduced the post of the Residential Commissioner in
To some extent, however, this state of affairs was acceptable to both sides. In terms of state power, the Qing court retained the ability to occupy
A new period opened up between 1911 and 1949 when, with the Republic of China in turmoil,
Arguably, if the forms of oriental diplomacy could have been maintained, the some system of connectors might have been an acceptable solution to the problem of mediating between
Although the number of Chinese military and civilian personnel stationed in
The United Front line was followed not only in the areas under the administration of the Kashag government but also in Chamdo, where the PLA had established control. A People’s Liberation Committee of the Chamdo Area was set up, with seven Tibetans among its nine vice-chairmen. Apart from one CCP member, all of these were from local ruling families, as were the majority of the 35-member Committee. In the twelve subordinate zong or county-level Liberation Committees, there were 14 Han officials and 154 Tibetans, all from the elite. Chen Jingbo, director of the United Front Department of the CCP’s Tibetan Working Committee at the time, reported:
After the establishment of the Preparatory Committee for the Tibetan Autonomous Region in 1956, a large number of individuals from the local upper classes were appointed to various posts under the Committee. At the time, there were about 6,000 people that belonged to middle and upper classes (including major clan chiefs) in the whole region (among them, 205 were fourth-rank officials, 2,300 below fifth rank and 2,500 from religious circles). 2,163 of these were already assigned to posts and the remaining 3,400 are scheduled to receive various appointments by 1960.
The Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama were the paramount focus of the United Front. When in 1954 they were invited to attend the Assembly of the National People’s Congress in
Although the establishment of the military and administrative committee and the reorganization of the Tibetan troops were stipulated in the Agreement, you had fears, and so I instructed the comrades working in
Indeed, the reorganization of the Tibetan Army had not gone beyond the issue of new uniforms and conferring of PLA ranks by the time of the 1959 Rebellion, in which a considerable number of its troops and officers would play an active part.
The Rebellion and the Dalai’s flight
Historically, ‘Greater Tibet’ has rarely been under the control of the Kashag government, whose effective rule for the most part never extended beyond the current boundaries of the Tibetan Autonomous Region. The situation has persisted under the PRC. The latest available census figures, for 1990, show a majority of ethnic Tibetans (54.4 per cent) living in neighbouring provinces:
Table 1 Population distribution of ethnic Tibetans
Full results of the 2000 census have not yet been released.
As far as implementation of the United Front was concerned, however, the CCP in the fifties took a purely bureaucratic approach, rather than considering the Tibetan population as a cultural whole. While those living inside the Autonomous Region were exempted from radical reforms, Tibetans in Han-majority provinces were not. By 1956 the high tide of socialist construction—land redistribution, the creation of local CCP units, class-struggle organization and the battle against elites—was sweeping the Tibetan areas of Sichuan, Qinghai, Gansu and Yunnan. Work teams mobilized the masses, creating peasant unions; title deeds were burnt. With their traditional entitlements under threat, Tibetan landowners took the risk of initiating active revolts against the CCP, which soon spread throughout the region. There was fierce fighting in Kham as the PLA stepped in to put down the rebellion. Refugees from the four provinces—some 60,000, between 1956 and 1958—fled to Ü Tsang, or
Nevertheless, the initial reaction in
The situation in
United Front vs class struggle
Ultimately the tactic could be no more than an expedient measure. Support for the Communists would always come from the poorest layers, but the United Front was unable to provide these with any clear prospect. As one commentator put it:
The mass of Tibetans was steadfastly tied to the status quo without the slightest knowledge of, or experience of, any other way of life. Confused by the new ways offered by the Han, fearful of the Han who simultaneously urged ‘liberation’ of the serfs from the feudal masters while creating alliances with these master, they did not join their ‘liberators’ in large numbers.
At the same time, despite all the compromises and conciliatory gestures, the United Front would never win the good faith of the Tibetan elite, who saw it rather as a game of cat and mouse in which, sooner or later, the mouse would inevitably be killed. Gradually, Beijing realized that the United Front—one of its three ‘big magic weapons’—not only failed to guarantee the lamas’ loyalty but would not garner the support of the masses, either—the biggest magic weapon of all. And if Tibetan peasants could not be won away from their traditional deference, they would inevitably side with their local rulers in any uprising against the CCP;
There was ample evidence for this in the 1959 Tibetan Rebellion. The PLA initially demanded that the Kashag government punish the Khampa ‘bandits’ who had fled to Ü Tsang in 1956 and 57; in 1958 its own troops entered the TAR, travelling in 60-truck convoys through the hostile countryside.
The vast mass of lower-class Tibetans would have been genuine beneficiaries of the reforms, yet they rose against them. Why? Many perceived only one distinction: between themselves and the Han. The long history of deference to monastic authority and tribal leaders ensured that, when their masters raised the twin banners of religion and nationality, Tibetan workers and peasants would rally to them. The conclusion drawn in
As soon as the fighting in Lhasa came to an end, work teams composed of tens of thousands of military personnel and civilian cadres were sent to every village and rural area to launch ‘democratic reforms’ and to determine ‘class status’ among Tibetans as a whole. The first step was to induce the Tibetan masses to ‘vent their grievances’ and ‘find the roots of their misery’, asking questions such as, ‘Who is feeding whom?’ The work teams guided the discussions: ‘Why did generations of peasants suffer, while the owners of serfs lived in luxury from birth, with the best food and clothes?’; ‘Who was the Tibetan government protecting and serving?’; ‘Suffering was not predestined’. The goal was to convince the fatalistic Tibetans of the existence—and the injustice—of class exploitation. The new concept of classes was vividly depicted as fan shen, ‘flip the body over’: it turned previous criteria upside down. Now the poorer one was, the higher one’s social status. Work teams recruited a layer of activists from amongst the peasantry in order to expand their operations. This group became the backbone of the political regime at grassroots level. The majority of them had never received any education, so there was much controversy when they were installed in leading positions. The work teams countered this with discussions around the questions of ‘Who were the most educated in the old society?’, ‘Who understood the poor best?’, and ‘Would somebody help the poor in their fan shen if he had administrative experience but harboured evil intentions?’ Step by step, a loyal contingent of Party supporters was trained.
Winning over the poor required tangible benefits, which could only come from a redistribution of wealth. This would have a double effect: not only earning the CCP the gratitude of the impoverished masses, but destroying the elite’s capacity to initiate revolt. Monasteries had been used as military bases during the Rebellion—the monks taking up arms—and the PLA had bombed them as it established control. Mao now raised the slogan, ‘Lamas must go back home’. Monks and nuns were forcibly married, 97 per cent of monasteries were closed down, 93 per cent of their inmates—104,000 out of 110,000—dispersed, and monastic land was confiscated and redistributed among the poor. The property of all ruling-class participants in the Rebellion—some 73 per cent, or 462 out of the 634 chief households, according to the statistics of the time—was also seized and redistributed (those who had not rebelled being compensated when their land was nationalized). The CCP found it harder, however, to win allies among the peasantry in
One of the unique characteristics of traditional Tibetan society was that, despite a considerable degree of social and economic polarization, there was hardly any history of actual class confrontation. Conflict was generally between upper-class factions, or between Tibetans and other ethnic groups. What explains such an unusual degree of deference and obedience? The answer surely lies in the deeply rooted religious traditions of
A fear above all others
This was no easy matter. It would have been quite unfeasible simply to convert the Tibetans into atheists. If the highly evolved doctrines of the lamaist tradition are almost impossibly abstruse, the faith of the masses is far more comprehensible. The roots of their intense religiosity lie in the terrors of their natural environment—the explanation, surely, for the extraordinary proliferation of deities and monsters within Tibetan Buddhism, differentiating it from Indian and Chinese variants. Fear is the key factor. To find oneself in the harsh surroundings of the Tibetan plateau is to experience the mercilessness of nature, the arduous task of survival, the loneliness of the heart. Settlements on any scale could not subsist in most of the region, resulting in tiny human colonies that clung on in the face of the vast, raging forces of nature. Encountering, alone, this savage expanse of earth and sky inevitably produced a feeling of being overwhelmed by such preponderance, a terrifying sense of isolation and helplessness, repeated down the generations. Fear provoked awe, and awe gave rise to the totem of deities and monsters:
The Tibetans were living in a state of apprehension and anxiety. Every perturbation, either physical or spiritual, every illness, every susceptible or dangerous situation, would drive them to search feverishly for its causes, and for preventative measures.
But the search for solutions only reinforced the anxiety: the more thought and explanation was lavished upon it, the deeper it grew. Faced with a fear that they could neither escape nor conquer, Tibetans were in need of a larger fear, clearly defined and structured, one that exceeded all others and which, so long as one obeyed it totally, would keep at bay all the lesser fears, lifting the intolerable psychological burden.
Fear formed the core of the Tibetans’ spiritual world. Only by propitiating their terror, by offering sacrifices to it in complicated ceremonies, by worshipping and obeying it, could one feel safe and free, reassured by its vast dominion and tremendous power. Such a fear already possessed, at a certain level, the nature of divinity; the origins of the vast number of ferocious and terrifying objects worshipped in Tibetan religion—including those of the Bon shamanism that predated the eighth-century introduction of Buddhism from
Tibetan Buddhism exacts an exorbitant price from its followers. The hope of a better life hereafter demands a punishing regime of forbearance, asceticism and sacrifice in the present. Tibetans also have to contribute a considerable part of their personal wealth to religious activity—building monasteries, providing for monks and nuns, performing ceremonies, making pilgrimages and so forth. Under the Dalai Lama’s government, 92 per cent of the budget was devoted to religious expenditure. Even today, according to some estimates, the Tibetans pay about a third of their annual income to the monasteries. This was money that would not be transformed into productive investment nor used to improve the people’s lives. For over a thousands years, the sweat and toil of the Tibetans had gone to encrust the monasteries, while the governing monks formed an enormous parasitic social stratum. In the eighteenth century, according to Melvyn Goldstein’s estimate, about 13 per cent of the population were monks—in other words, around 26 per cent of Tibetan males. The Chinese scholar Li Anzhai, in his 1947 sample survey of the Gede area of Xikang, found that the proportion of monks reached as high as 33.25 per cent—the highest in the world. This unproductive layer was a heavy burden on Tibetan society, intensifying the existing shortage of labour. In addition, the celibacy lamaism enjoined contributed to the depletion of the population, one of the major problems in the region. Tibetan scholars themselves have attributed the decline of the Tufan dynasty to the effects of the religious system. In the ninth century Langdarma, last of the Tufan kings, tried to force the monks to resume the tasks of secular life in an effort to reverse the decline.
Rotation of the gods
The Tibetans’ submission to a religion that apparently runs contrary to their material interests becomes prefectly comprehensible in the context of their worship of fear. Faced with a choice between a short spell of suffering in this world followed by a blissful hereafter, or an eternity of torture, the peasants inevitably remained in thrall to the monks who held the keys to heaven. But if it is impossible for Tibetans to live without a god, their theology allows that the divinity himself may be replaced: the only prerequisite is that the new heavenly ruler must be more powerful than the old. What if a deity appeared who was not only more awe-inspiring, but who also told theTibetans that this life was everything, that their suffering was injustice, and that they should seek happiness in the here and now? Would they still be willing to deny their own human needs?
As to who had more actual power between the Dalai Lama and Mao Zedong, there could scarcely be any doubt. At the Battle of Chamdo in 1951 the crack troops of the Tibetan Army were totally overwhelmed by the PLA; the Dalai Lama had to take refuge in Yatung. In 1959, with tens of thousands of rebels demonstrating in the streets of
It is unlikely that
In lamaist philosophy, the rotation of deities meant the recreation of the universe: the dominion of this more powerful ruler would endure forever, the old one would be eternally damned. It was entirely rational, then, from the viewpoint of traditional Tibetan culture, to switch sides, submit to the new order and tear down the remnants of the old. Looking back at this process of ‘god creation’ during the Mao era, one can trace religious correspondences almost everywhere: supreme ideology versus faith; the ultimate goal of communism versus heaven; unconditional obedience to and worship of the teacher and leader versus God; political studies versus preaching, reforming one’s world outlook versus reforming one’s consciousness; self-criticism versus confession; strict Party discipline and sacrifice for the cause versus asceticism. If the actual ceremonies of Mao worship were slightly different, their spiritual essence was close enough to lamaism to make it an easy switch. To hang Mao’s picture in their cottages and bow to it daily, to recite his ‘highest instructions’ while clasping the Little Red Book, was not so far removed from the accustomed daily prayers and prostrations before the household image of the Dalai Lama.
As long as the need for a powerful deterrent force and for the corresponding placatory rituals was met, the actual religious content was far less important. The prayer-stone piles by the roadsides and on mountain passes were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, and stone or cement billboards with Mao’s quotations erected in their place: the peasants circled them when they passed by, just as they had with the prayer piles. In the traditional Ongkor festival at the start of the harvest season, they used to carry Buddhist images, chant scripts and sing Buddhist songs. During the Cultural Revolution, they carried Mao’s picture, recited his quotations and sung ‘The East is Red’. Historically, Chinese emperors had been seen in
Clearly, Mao might be a better choice for the peasantry, the Communist heaven preferable to the ‘paradise in the west’ and revolutionary organizations a substitute for monasteries—as long as the new rituals satisfied the ceremonial demands of their religion.
Destruction of the temples
The clearest manifestation of this rotation-of-the-gods in the minds of the Tibetan peasants was their active participation in levelling the very temples and monasteries they had once held most sacred. The Dalai camp and Western public opinion have always attributed this to Han Red Guards coming in from China proper; they have seen it as part of the CCP’s ‘carefully considered, well-planned and executed, comprehensive destruction’ of Tibetan religion. The truth is that, because of poor transportation and the huge distances involved, only a limited number of Han Red Guards actually reached
It is true that tension at the time was so high that no one dared voice any dissent; nevertheless, the rulers alone could not have created the sort of social atmosphere that then prevailed without the participation of the masses, who sometimes played a leading role. The authorities in
To point out that it was largely the Tibetans themselves who destroyed the monasteries and temples is not to exonerate the Han; but it does raise broader questions, beyond the issue of responsibility. Why did the Tibetans, who for centuries had regarded religion as the centre of their lives, smash the Buddhist statues with their own hands? How did they dare pull down the temples and use the timbers for their own homes? Why did they ravage the religious artifacts so recklessly, and why were they not afraid of retribution when they denounced the deities at the tops of their voices and abused the lamas they had so long obeyed? Surely these actions are evidence that, once they realized they could control their own fate, the Tibetan peasantry, in an unequivocally liberating gesture, cast off the spectre of the afterlife that had hung over them for so long and forcefully asserted that they would rather be men in this life than souls in the next.
The armed ‘revolt’ that occurred in 1969 and spread to over 40 counties has been dubbed the Second Tibetan Rebellion and was seen by the Dalai’s party as a continuation of the resistance of the fifties. In reality, the two were very different. During the earlier uprising, the peasants were fighting, in a sense, for the interests of the aristocracy. In 1969, they fought for their own. They did not want the pastures and livestock that had been redistributed among them from the old landowners to be appropriated by the people’s communes. At the time a few of these protests, provoked by the Cultural Revolution, were actually intensified into genuine ‘revolts’ by the authorities’ heavy-handedness. The turbulence was quickly quelled once they realized their mistake. In comparison with the factional rivalries and armed conflicts in other parts of
Redressing the wrongs
It hardly needs to be said that, as in other parts of
During the entire period from the Tenth Plenary Session of the Central Committee in 1962, which reintroduced the class-struggle theme, to Hu Yaobang’s inspection tour of Tibet in 1980, CCP policy had been based on the thesis that ‘the nationality question is in essence a class question’. Anyone unfamiliar with the political jargon of the time would have a hard time understanding this. The nation itself was of no significance—‘the workers have no motherland’; the essential distinction was that of class. There was thus no need to select leading cadres on a national or ethnic basis: as long as they were revolutionaries, they could lead the masses anywhere. To request leaders from one’s own community would be to commit the error of ‘narrow-minded nationalism’—tantamount to sabotaging the class camp. During the Cultural Revolution, the Revolutionary Committee—the highest political organ in
For the peasantry, the introduction of the People’s Communes—initiated in 1964, and covering 99 per cent of villages by 1975—meant an unprecedented degree of centralized control. If a Commune member wanted to get half a kilo of butter he had to report to his production team in advance and then work his way through a series of procedures involving team leaders, accountants and warehouse keepers. The remaining private elements of the economy were almost totally wiped out. Before 1966 there had been over 1,200 small retailers in
The process of ‘redressing the wrongs’ in
On March 14, 1980, Hu Yaobang presided over the first Tibetan Work Forum of the Central Committee Secretariat; its proposals were released to the whole Party under the title Central Committee Document Number Thirty One. Two months later, Hu made an inspection tour of
2. Tibetan farmers and herdsmen should be exempt from taxation and purchase quotas;
3. Ideologically oriented economic policies should be changed to practical ones, geared to local circumstances;
4. Central government’s financial allocations to
5. Tibetan culture should be strengthened;
6. Han cadres should step aside in favour of Tibetan ones.
This was a striking departure from both the Qing court’s Twenty-Nine Articles and the Seventeen-Point Agreement concluded in 1954, both of which had been intended to strengthen
The Six Proposals were unquestionably of benefit to
Among all the general and specific policies drawn up by the Central Committee and its various departments as well as all the documents, instructions and regulations issued nation wide, those that do not fit Tibet’s circumstances may not be carried out or may be implemented after modification by the leading organs of Tibetan party, administrative and mass organizations.’
Historically, the central government had always sought the absolute submission of the minority peoples of the borderlands. Now for the first time the authorities were, on their own initiative, urging the minorities to question their orders or even to resist them. In the past it would have been simply unimaginable that such a document could be issued to the whole Party. Hu made a further call at the mass Party Committee meeting:
Are all the secretaries at the level of county and above present here today? You should, according to the characteristics of your own areas, draft concrete laws, decrees and regulations to protect the special interests of your nationality. You really should do this. In the future we would criticize you if you still just copy indiscriminately the stuff from the Central Committee. Do not copy indiscriminately the experience of other places nor that of the Central Committee. Copying indiscriminately is only fit for lazybones.
While Hu’s speech did not touch directly on lifting the ban on religion, it put great stress on strengthening Tibetan culture, of which Buddhism was the core. Document Thirty One propounded the ‘comprehensive implementation of the religious policies’ and demanded ‘respect for people’s normal religious practices’. Following Hu’s speech, the TAR Party Committee and the regional government also issued decrees requiring the use of the Tibetan language in official documents and public speeches, and applying ‘competence in the Tibetan language as one of the major criteria for admission to school, employment and transferring one’s status to that of cadre, as well as for using, promoting and selecting cadres.’ Historically, dominant ethnic groups had always tried to force minorities to give up their own languages—Nationalist officials had even attempted to impose a Chinese-language exam on Tibetan ‘incarnates’ before they could accede to living Buddha status; it was commendable that the authorities now took measures to strengthen an indigenous tongue.
But the most significant of the Six Proposals was the insistence that Han cadres should step aside in favor of Tibetans. Hu argued that:
As the result of our discussion yesterday, in the next two or three years (in my opinion, two years is better), among state non-production cadres—here I am not talking about production cadres, who should be entirely Tibetans, but about non-production cadres, including teachers—Tibetan cadres should make up more than two thirds of the total. [Wan Li adds: I proposed an eight-to-two ratio the other day.] He was even more radical than I am and I also agree. He wants 80 per cent for Tibetan cadres and 20 per cent for Han cadres. [Wan Li: What I meant was an eight-to-two ratio for the county cadres. As for the prefecture cadres, it should be 100 per cent.]
This last proposal encountered great resistance from Han officials in the TAR but Hu’s instructions were: ‘Carry out the policy even if you do not understand; make decisions first and straighten out later’. Fifteen days later, the transfer plan was announced. The total Han population of the TAR stood at 122,400 at the time, of which 92,000—75 per cent—were scheduled to depart within the next two to three years. Among these were 21,000 Han cadres (of a total 55,000 TAR cadres, of whom 31,000 were Han) and 25,000 Han workers (of a total 80,000 TAR workers, of whom 40,000 were Han). The plan was later modified because the departure of so many trained Han workers brought many organizations in
The transfers vacated more than ten thousand cadre quotas and a similar number of ‘iron rice bowls’ in the state-owned enterprises; Tibetans were the beneficiaries of this. The implementation of new legislation on ‘Autonomous Rule in the Nationality Regions’ subsequently ensured that all key positions in the governing bodies were held by officials from the local region; Han officials could only hold deputy positions. Tibetan cadres thus not only comprised the statistical majority but also controlled most of the leading government positions, including the crucial departments of finance, public security and justice. By 1989, Tibetans accounted for 66.6 per cent of total cadres in the TAR, 72 per cent at provincial level and 68.4 per cent at prefectural level. All ‘number one’ administrative leaders at provincial and prefectural levels were Tibetans, as were the Party Secretaries in 63 out of the 75 counties. ‘Redressing the wrongs’ also brought tremendous improvements in living standards. In 1979 the average income of Tibetan farmers and herdsmen was 147 RMB; in 1990 it was 484 RMB and in 1994, 903.29 RMB. In 1992, the TAR’s total agriculture output was up 69.8 per cent from 1978—and 460 per cent up from its 1952 level. In the cities the improvement was even greater.
Under the new policy, religious practices in both the TAR and the Tibetan areas of the neighbouring provinces were revived to a level comparable to pre-1959—barring only the restoration of the old monastic economy and dissolution of the ‘unity of monastery and state’. The clergy were once again given special ‘United Front’ treatment; the number of monks and nuns increased to 46,400—2 per cent of the Tibetan population—by 1994.
Getting down from the shrine
From any point of view, Deng Xiaoping’s policy in the region was an open and enlightened one. For the Tibetans, the situation was the best in their history. These optimal conditions, however, saw an unprecedented outbreak of discord and social instability. On September 27, 1987— triggered by the Dalai Lama’s appearance before the US Congress six days earlier—
In secular terms, the Tibetans’ reaction to the liberalization of the eighties is hard to understand. Another form of analysis is required. Within the terms of Tibetan Buddhism, ‘redressing the wrongs’ destroyed the divine status Mao had been accorded. God did not make mistakes. Even if they could not understand his cruelty and his punishments, he would have his own reasons and did not need to explain—if he did, it would be incomprehensible anyway, like a book from heaven. God did not need to curry favour; he could order people do whatever he desired. More importantly, he would never admit to any errors. That would reduce him to the status of human. Once that happened, people could settle accounts over all the past cruelties, and demand even more admissions and compensation.
The Tibetans did not necessarily feel grateful, therefore, when they got government money for restoring the temples. On the contrary, they saw it as an admission that the holy buildings had been destroyed by the Han authorities—the standard account now among Tibetan exiles as well as in the West. If the money was to be a compensation for these crimes, no sum could be large enough to earn their praise. In the past, when a new god appeared and demanded they destroy the old religion, they had obeyed. Now, all of a sudden, after they had smashed the monasteries and temples to pieces, they were told that the new god did not exist. It was all an unfortunate mistake and the previous religion needed to be restored. It is not hard to imagine how they felt; and such a feeling could hardly be commuted into gratitude by government grants.
This was also one of the crucial factors in the strong rebound of traditional religion. To all who had once sided with the Great Han atheist and taken part in the destruction of the monasteries, the resurrection of the old religion connoted that they had betrayed their god and would face the most horrifying punishments. Terrified by what awaited them they tried, on the one hand, to explain that they had had no choice and, on the other, to ‘atone for their crimes’ through redoubled devotion and fanaticism towards the traditional religious regime. It was common to find that those working hardest to rebuild the temples were the very ones who had led the way in tearing them down. Some officials also tried to ‘wash off’ their guilt by playing up ethnonational sentiments, resisting instructions from their superiors, and discriminating against the Han.
Maoism had fractured the Tibetan national entity through class polarization. Freed from the control of their old masters, the peasants had been the foundation of the communist regime. Under Deng, the class-struggle line was abandoned, and the old aristocrats, clan chiefs and lamas once again were invited to the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. Lhalu Tsewang Dorje, commander of the Tibetan forces in the 1959 Rebellion, was released from prison in 1979 and is currently a Vice Chairman of the regional Political Consultative Conference; his wife is a member of its standing committee and his son is Deputy Director of the regional Nationality and Religions Bureau. Meanwhile, Tibetan ‘activists’ who were once in the vanguard of the ‘Rebellion suppression’, the ‘democratic reforms,’ the struggle against the landowners and the destruction of the monasteries have now been cast aside. The majority of them used to be production-brigade cadres in People’s Communes. With the Communes gone, they have lost their previous status and are reduced to ordinary farmers and herdsmen. Many of them languish in poverty, with no help for their old age. According to the Organization Department of the Tibetan Party Committee, the majority of previous ‘activists’ have sunk into this poverty-stricken stratum. Based on his survey on pastures in
All of the former wealthy class households are among those with the largest herds and most secure income. On the other hand, all of today’s poor are from households that were very poor in the old society. . . . The former commune cadre fall between these poles. . . In 1987, for example, ten households (18 per cent) received welfare from the county. . . . It is interesting to note that all ten households who received welfare in 1987 were poor in the old society.
On top of everything else, these ‘activists’ now also have to carry the burden of being seen as traitors to their nation, while their misfortune is perceived by others as well-deserved retribution.
The old rich have become rich again, and the poor have become poor. To the fatalistic Tibetans, this is an omen of God’s will. Consciously or unconsciously, many have already started to adjust their behaviour. A cadre with more than 20 years’ experience at grass-root level in the
Commercialization and superstition
Tibetan economic growth was over 10 per cent between 1991 and 1999—higher than in
The Han presence has become more variegated. Han cadres were resentful of Hu’s policy in the eighties: Tibetans gained a lot of ground in local life, and the Han felt marginalized; later, they turned their grudges against Zhao Ziyang, who blamed the 87–89 riots on ‘Han ultra-leftism’ in
But there has been a new influx of Han over the past decade. Some of these—prostitutes, cobblers, tailors, clock-repairers, vegetable farmers, grocers—have been drawn by the magnet of money-making. They are to be found along the highways, running small roadside restaurants; bidding for construction contracts; flocking to gold rushes; hunting rare species. Even Chinese beggars can make a living in
What headway has secularization made in twenty-first century
Only Mao succeeded in dissolving the religious and ethnic unity of the Tibetans, by introducing the element of class struggle. Renouncing this without creating any new ideology has left a vacuum that can only be filled by a combination of lamaist tradition and ethnic nationalism. Undeniably, the process of ‘redressing the wrongs’ brought many positive changes; but it has also entailed the abandonment of any countervailing project to that of the religious elite. The Mao era, however, cannot be reduplicated. On historical grounds as much as moral ones, the reforms had to take place. To solve the Tibetan question, a new way of thinking must be found.
( New Left Review )
 Lianyu zhuzang zougao [Tibetan Memoranda to the Emperor by Lian Yu],
 Lianyu, the last residential commissioner, noted plaintively in his memorandum: ‘There are one or two people in this humble servant’s office who could speak Tibetan; so far we have not met any Tibetans who could speak Chinese.’
 The Kashag was the highest executive body in
 Weizang tongzhi [
 The full text is given in Xizang tongshi: songshi baochuan [Tibetan History: A Chain of Precious Stones],
 Ding Shicun, Qingdai zhuzang dachen kao [A Study of the Qing Residential Commissioners to
Qingji chouzang zoudu [The Qing Court Correspondence on Tibetan Affairs], book 3: Zhang Yintang zoudu [Zhang Yintang’s Memoranda to the Throne], vol. 2, p. 17.
 Lianyu zhuzang zougao, pp. 47–8, 16.
 Charles Bell: reference? Place? Date?
 Chen Jingbo, ‘Xizang tongyi gongzuo de licheng’ [The Experience of the United-Front Work in
 Zhao Shenying, a reporter who entered Tibet with the 18th Army, describes their journey: ‘In the section where there had been a landslide in Bolong, the road-construction corps arranged a company of soldiers standing in a row, holding red flags, all along the 400 metre slope. At one area where landslides could occur at anyt time, the soldiers stood shoulder to shoulder, creating a wall of bodies to protect the Dalai Lama. When the convoy passed through the stone-strewn section of the landslide, Zhang Jingwu, the 50-year-old general and central government representative to
 Ji Youquan’s Xizang pingpan jishi [Factual Record of Rebellion Suppression in Tibet], Lhasa 1993, records Deng Xiaoping’s instruction to Xu Danlu, director of the liaison office of the Tibetan Working Committee: ‘You will be held responsible if a fly gets into the houses of the Dalai and Panchen Lamas.’
 Xinhua Yuebao [Xinhua monthly], February 1952, p. 11.
 Xizang Zizhiqu Dangshiziliao Zhengji Weiyuanhui comp., Xizang gemingshi [History of the Tibetan Revolution], Lhasa 1991, p. 103; Zhonggong Xizang dangshi dashiji [Chronicle of Events in the History of the CCP in Tibet]; Xizang gemingshi, p. 106; Zhao, Zhongyang, p. 126.
 Dalai Lama, Liuwang zhong de zizai—Dalai Lama zizhuan [Freedom in Exile: Autobiography of the Dalai Lama],
 A. Tom Grunfeld, Xiandai Xizang de dansheng [The Making of Modern Tibet],
 Making of Modern Tibet, p. 220.
 Xizang Zizhiqu Dangwei Xuanchuanbu comp., Zhongyang he zhongyang lingdao tongzhi guanyu
 Xizang de minzhu gaige [The Democratic Reforms in
 Of the 2,676 monasteries in
 Democratic Reforms in
 Democratic Reforms in
 Tu Qi, et al., Xizang he Menggu de zongjiao [The Religions of Tibet and
 Another peculiar feature of the Tibetan religion is that it is not only the demons that appear ferocious. The deities, too, are often green-faced, with long teeth and angry eyes, brandishing lethal weapons and trampling tortured bodies underfoot. In Chinese Buddhism, the Goddess of Mercy appears as a beautiful woman. In
 ‘Han Meng Zang duihua—minzu wenti zuotanhui’ jiyao [Summary of ‘Dialogue among the Han, Mongolians and Tibetans—A Forum on the Nationality Issues’, Beijing Zhichun [Beijing Spring], electronic edition no. 54.
 Melvyn C. Goldstein, A History of Modern
 Li Anzhai, Li Anzhai zangxue lunwen xuan [Selected Works on Tibetan Studies],
 Rapa Tseren and Lobu Tseren, ‘Zongjiao, lishi yu minzu jingshen’ [‘Religion, History and Spirit of Nationality’] in
 Pierre-Antoine Donnet, Xizang sheng yu si: xueyu de minzuzhuyi [
 In a propaganda document complied by the Ali military subarea of the Tibetan military region in 1975, there was an article praising the achievement of ‘rebellion suppression’ by a military unit in the
 Making of Modern Tibet, p. 277 ; Xizang Nongmuxueyuan Maliejiaoyanshi yu Xizang Zizhiqu Dangxiao Lilunyanjiushi, comp., Xizang dashi jilu 1949–1985 [Chronicle of Major Events in Tibet, 1949–1985], 1986, pp. 268, 288.
 Chronicle of Major Events, p. 390; Xizang zizhiqu zhongyao wenjian, p. 212.
 Speech by Guo Xilan at the Fifth Session of the Second Party Committee, June 3, 1980, in Xizang zizhiqu zhongyao wenjian, vol. 1, p. 97. The Tibetan population totaled 1,800,000 at the time.
 Xizang zizhiqu zhongyao wenjian, pp. 15-32.
 Xizang tongji nianjian 1994 [1994 Yearbook of Tibetan Statistics]
 Xizang zizhiqu zhongyao wenjian, pp. 3-4.
 Ibid., p. 21.
 Xizang zizhiqu guanche yijiubasi nian zhonggong zhongyang shujichu zhaokai de Xizang gongzuo zuotanhui jingshen wenjian xuanbian [Selected Documents on the Implementation of the Spirit of the Forum on Tibetan Work, held by the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the CCP in 1984], vol. 2, p. 89.
 Huang Musong wrote in his Tibetan diary, ‘I think in order for the government to reorganize the religion, it has to instruct the senior lama incarnates to study Chinese and pass the examinations when they grow up, and only then permit their succession. This is the key to governing (
 Xizang zizhiqu zhongyao wenjian, pp. 29-30.
 Ibid., 51. Dangdai Zhongguo Xizang renkou [The Tibetan Population in Contemporary China],
 Zhang Shirong, ‘Xizang shaoshu minzu ganbu duiwu hongguan guanli chutan [A Preliminary Exploration on the Macro-management of the Minority Cadres in
 Dangdai Zhongguo Xizang renkou, 342. Xizang tongji nianjian 1995 [1995 Yearbook of the Tibetan Statistics] Bejing p. 178; Song Yong, et al., Xizang jingjishehui fazhan jianmingshigao [Concise History of Tibetan Economic and Social Development],
 Xizang zizhiqu guanche, p. 20.
 Liu Wei, Xizang de jiaobusheng [The Sound of Tibet’s Footsteps],
 The People’s Daily’s reporter in
 Melvyn C. Goldstein, ‘Zhongguo gaigezhangce dui Xizangmuqu de yingxiang (The impact of