Public Zone 公開區 => Bookwyrm 書蟲天地 => Topic started by: chin on 08 March 2021, 06:09:17

Title: Books on Tibet
Post by: chin on 08 March 2021, 06:09:17
I just finished reading in one sitting   "Behind the Smile" by Maxime Vivas (

It's a short book that confirmed many of my impressions from my visit to Tibet in 2004 (,22.0.html) and to Bhutan in 2013 (,852.0.html)

If one day Tibet were to be rule by the Dalai Lama again, it's won't be "democratic", it won't be "secular". It's pretty clear in the constitution published by the Tibetan government in exile (e.g. see Art 19 & 36, see attached pdf downloaded from their official website.)

I am bookmarking some further readings here...
- My Land and My People, Dalai's autobiography in 1962
- Tibet, Tibet by Patrick French
- Unveiling Lhasa by Edmund Candler
- The Timely Rain: Travels in New Tibet

The further reading are older books, as I suspect many recent books are tainted by ideologies and propaganda by the likes of NED/RWB etc...
Title: Re: Books on Tibet
Post by: chin on 08 March 2021, 06:13:20
BTW the Appendix A of Vivas' book makes a good quick 5-min reading of Tibet's historical relationship with the Middle Kingdom throughout many dynasties to now.
Title: Tibet, Tibet by Patrick French
Post by: chin on 14 March 2021, 05:10:02
I learned of the book Tibet, Tibet from reading Behind the Smile, where Vivas used the words "anti-China" to describe French.

I found French's narration very honest. He deeply cared about things Tibet, possibly anti-China, but not grossing over fabrications and stretched claims by the Tibet government-in-exile. Examples,

- Like the absurd claim of independence for the "greater Tibet" area that covers half of China and historically never administered by the government in Lhasa.

- He also called out the false claim of 1.2 million Tibetans killed in the 1959 upraising. After granted access the Tibet government-in-exile's own records, he found the tally of the 1.2 million unsubstantiated and with repeated overlapping counts. The most ludicrous being only 23,364 on the dead list were women, thus implying the rest 1.1m dead were all men - comprising pretty much the whole Tibetan male population at the time.

By French's own record and narration, he also confirm Vivas theme that Dalai Lama being two faced - charming laughing to Westerners, and "forbidding old-fashioned father reprimanding his children" manner to his own people. (Probably like when the Dalai Lama spoke about the Shugden in this video? at time stamp 3:15

Throughout his travel in Tibet in around 1999, French got to meet many Tibetans and recorded their stories. Virtually all the hardship stories post-1959 evolved around the Cultural Revolution - a unmistakably dark, sad, chaotic chapter in modern Chinese history. The senseless destructions were applied in the whole country, and should not be seem as solely directed at the Tibetans.

At the end of his travel upon returning to London, French stepped down as a director of the Free Tibet Campaign, because he "could no longer view things with the necessary simplicity to be part of a political campaign." He's sense was that the Tibetans need to work within the Chinese system for a realistic hope for the future. (This comment, BTW, echos well of what's happening in Hong Kong now - that only when One Country is secured, then we can have good Two Systems.)

It has been more than 20 years since Patrick French's travel in Tibet, and more than 16 years since my own, I wonder what's Tibet like now. Recently I read that GDP of the Tibet Autonomous Region has grown six folds from about 250 billion RMB to about 1500 billion RMB. Has poverty be eradicated? and how much of the newly created wealth been distilled down? kids still begging from tourists?