Here is a very interesting documentary by the BBC about Tibet in the 1930s and leading up the Chinese invasion of Tibet. It has a lot of very rare and amazing footage of the Dalai Lama and his family, festivals in Lhasa, and the Chinese occupation. It also includes commentary from the Dalai Lama, Samdhong Rinpoche, and others like the Dalai Lama’s sister-in-law.
Posts Tagged ‘History
Over at the Huffington Post, Jim Luce has an interesting post up asking “Can Both Sides Be Heard?”, in which he discusses what he’s learned in his attempt to get the Chinese perspective on Tibet.
This is an important topic and I applaud anyone’s efforts to learn about it. It seems that, all too often, we’re stuck with only one side of the story — here in the West we get one version, and people in China get basically the opposite. This is especially true for casual observers, who are often not even aware there is another side, but activists are not exempt, either. I remember, some years ago, when I was in college, I attended a meeting of my school’s “Students for a Free Tibet” chapter. It was the first meeting of the year, so most of the people present were newly involved and had a lot of questions about Tibet, which the club president answered at length and with passion. However, when a girl eventually asked him, “why does China want to rule Tibet?” he was stumped — he eventually just said, “I don’t know” and moved on to the next question. No matter how committed we are to a cause, if we can’t even take the time to understand what motivates the “other side”, how are we ever going to be savvy enough to do anything about it?
Here’s a really interesting blog that was sent to me from the great grandnephew of Captain Cecil Mainprise. The author has published the letters of Captain Cecil Mainprise who accompanied General Sir Francis Younghusband’s expedition to Tibet in 1903.
The letters give a very good first hand account of the British military encounters with the Tibetans and I look forward to reading the future postings of Captain Mainprise’s letters.
Mainprise was a captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps, commanding a Field Hospital on General Sir Francis Younghusband’s expedition to Tibet.
On his return from the expedition, he served in India and in France during the First World War. Thereafter he served in Salonika, Bulgaria and Afghanistan before returning to England to take over as Commandant of the Royal Army Medical College from 1924 to 1926.
In total Captain Mainprise wrote 50 letters home which traced the expedition’s progress into Tibet. Read this insider’s account on the day they were written some 105 years later. Final post is 18 November 2009.
See Site Here: Field Force to Lhasa 1903-04
Tsering Shakya is research chair in religion and contemporary society in Asia at the Institute for Asian Research, University of British Columbia. He is the author of The Dragon in the Land of Snows: A History of Modern Tibet since 1947 (Columbia University Press, 1999)
(This article was first published on 18 March 2009) http://www.opendemocracy.net/article/tibet-and-china-the-past-in-the-present#comment-499926
The Chinese government proclaimed in January 2009 that for the first time a festival called “Serf Liberation Day” is to be celebrated in Tibet, in commemoration of the events of 1959 when Chinese forces occupied Lhasa and established direct control over the country following the uprising of Tibetans against their encroaching rule.
The decision – a response to the widespread protests that engulfed the Tibetan plateau in March-April 2008 – was carefully crafted and presented as if it reflected the heartfelt sentiments of the Tibetan people. The announcement of this “liberation day” – 28 March 2009 – was made by the Tibetan members of the standing committee of the regional National People’s Congress in Lhasa, a body that represents China’s promise of autonomy to Tibetans but which in fact functions invariably as a conduit for the iteration of Chinese Communist Party directives rather than expressing local views.