Authenticating Tibet: Answers to China’s 100 Questions
The land of Tibet-its people, culture, and religion-has long been both an object of contention and a source of fascination. Since 1959, Tibet has also been at the center of controversy when China’s "peaceful liberation" of the land of snows led to the Lhasa uprising and the Dalai Lama’s escape to India. Authenticating Tibet: Answers to China’s "100 Questions" offers clear and unbiased responses to a booklet published by the Chinese government in 1989, which sought to counter the criticism generated by the Dalai Lama and his followers and offer the PRC’s "truth" about Tibet and Tibetans. In Authenticating Tibet, international Tibet scholars provide historically accurate answers to 100 Questions and deal evenhandedly with both China’s "truth" about Tibet and that of the Dalai Lama and his followers. Designed for use by a general audience, the book is an accessible reference, free of the polemics that commonly surround the Tibet question. Although these experts refute many of the points asserted by China, they do not offer blanket endorsements for the claims made by the pro-Tibet movement. Instead, they provide an accurate, historically based assessment of Tibet’s past and its troubled present. (Amazon)
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University of California Press
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Review of Authenticating Tibet by Joanne Beaver
Authenticating Tibet: Answers to China's 100 Questions offers a great format to look at specific issues between Tibet and China. One can find specific issues based on interest and see the answer from the perspective of the Chinese official answer and then see scholarly analysis of the topic from different academics outside of China. Using the book as a reference to those topics allows the reader to pick and choose the items they may find most relevant. The caveat to approaching the book this way, however, is that the reader should read the foreward to have a clearer understanding of this approach.
The book’s approach helps to clarify China’s justification for its invasion of China and also helps the reader with insights into China’s rationalization with the damage from the Cultural Revolution. The format shows the Chinese explanation first followed by a scholar’s more detailed and complex answer to the issue. The approach allows the reader to see the complexities of the issue with much more nuance and insight than the Chinese propaganda.
The book provides a solid overview of the relationship between the Chinese and Tibetans. It also helps to show how the Chinese use propaganda to present their case for control of Tibet to the world.
This book is a thorough (some might say) exhaustive review of the history and current situation in Tibet. Because the Tibetan, Tibetan exiles, and Chinese government have such differing views on the history and placement of Tibet within a larger China, pains are taken by the authors to include and update several sources of information. This is probably the most impressive part of the book-the attempt to find an authentic view of Tibetan history and recent history. within the opposing narratives offered by several sides.
Many topics are examined and in a way that is accessible to many readers-the academic, the student, or anyone interested in reading and learning about Tibet today and the struggles that have led to the current situation. As a teacher, I would find this book useful as a reference. If students were doing any work on TIbet or China's "One road" initiative, this would be an excellent source. The format and organization lend itself to quick scanning or in-depth research, with a good list of references.
Tibet presents an excellent starting point to studying other conflicts in the world: Palestinian, Northern Ireland, Yemen, even our current political conflict in the US. This book could be helpful in getting started, understanding the completely divergent narratives presented by both sides, and at least becoming familiar with a future path-whether it is completely CHinese government driven or acceptible to Tibetans who live in Tibet.
Balanced treatment of Sino-Tibetan issues
Courses: AP World History, AP US History, Survey of World Religions elective
Warrior Run High School, Turbotville, PA
Authenticating Tibet: Answer to China’s 100 Questions edited by Anne-Marie Blondeau and Katia Buffetrille
is a 2008 publication in response to the Chinese publication 100 Questions about Tibet in which the Chinese propaganda text justifies its position on significant issues being debated by the pro-Chinese and pro-Tibetan camps. Topics addressed include human rights, religion, economics, population, policies toward the Dalai Lama, etc. An English translation was distributed by Chinese embassies in 1989. The original publication of Authenticating Tibet was printed in French in 2002 , addressing each of the Chinese 100 questions, using as objective resources as possible. The 2008 English language publication of Authenticating Tibet was an updated response to a updated 2001 Chinese publication of 100 Questions about Tibet.
Authenticating Tibet is a reference resource for anyone who would like to have a more complete understanding of the Chinese approach and viewpoints regarding Tibet, and the Tibetan communities perspectives, as well. Each question from 100 Questions about Tibet is addressed, first by providing excerpted original Chinese text, followed by a response from one or more expert contributors. The ten main sections within the book are: historical facts, human rights, policies toward the Dalai Lama, population, religious belief, right to autonomy, culture and education, economic development, livelihood of the people, and about the riots in Lhasa. Obviously, some of these topics and their related questions overlap with other sections of the text. The writers note these overlaps and provide references to the related questions if the reader would like to re-read or cross-reference related topics.
The seemingly objective approach of this text was appreciated, as the authors indicate that neither “side” was always completely correct or incorrect throughout, and both the Chinese and Tibetan position on the issues have been scrutinized. It appears to represent a much more balanced view than reading publications associated with the Chinese or Tibetan point of view. The authors use statistics, where appropriate and available, and reliable sources to provide as complete picture of the issues as possible. One feature, particularly useful to teachers and their students is the organization of the text. One can read the questions or sections related to a topic of focus, without necessarily needing to read the entire text. The ability to address specific issues, especially when there are so many, allows teachers to focus on those most relevant to their students. Another beneficial aspect to this text is wide range of topics addressed, rather than focusing solely on political or religious aspects of the Sino-Tibetan debate.
Tough read, valuable information
The purpose of this book is to provide a scholarly response to the Chinese published "100 Questions about Tibet" which seems to be racked with propaganda and skewed versions of historical accounts. As the reader follows Tibetan history from the 7th century through 2008, this approach is both helpful and cumbersome. On the one hand, each question is followed with a short summary of the original Chinese response published in the "100 Questions" book, followed by a nuanced answer from international Tibetan scholars. Many of these back-and-forth responses are informative and fascinating - reading the 2 varying dichotomies of perspective on issues related to Tibet are astonishing. However, particularly with respect to early Tibetan history, it is easy for the reader to get lost in the minutia of which central Asian tribe did what - it can be confusing. For someone with very little understanding of the issues pertaining to Tibet, this book is a great primer. Those who are already familiar with Sino-Tibetan issues might be more inclined to cherry pick a few questions here or there that might help enhance their understanding.
Authenticating Tibet: Answers to China's 100 Questions
This text is a comprehensive reference of the political, religious, cultural, and economic issues of Tibet. Beginning with the history of Tibet, the book is a compilation of in-depth responses to a 1989 Chinese publication entitled '100 Questions about Tibet.' The contributors present the reader with factual information while striving to offer an unbiased perspective on the multifaceted issues facing Tibet today. It is interesting to read the Chinese responses to the '100 Questions' and how the wording and language the Chinese use make them appear as benevolent benefactors to an oppressed Tibetan people. In the forward to the book, Donald Lopez makes a distinction between propaganda and scholarship. After reading the text, it is easy to differentiate between the two as it applies to the autonomous region of Tibet.
This book would be an excellent resource for high school students seeking an understanding of the complexities that face the Tibetan people. However, it is not an easy read and having some prior knowledge of Chinese history, particularly the Cultural Revolution, would be very beneficial.
Imaging Tibet Review
This book was written in response to the 1989 booklet that the Chinese government published, "100 Questions about Tibet" which sought to counter the negative image and criticism brought on the PRC by the Dalai Lama and those in exile. It is written by international scholars of Tibet and addresses each question and each answer given by the Chinese government, checking accuracy and giving factual information so that the reader can come to their own conclusion.
"Authenticating Tibet" answered many of the questions I had about the history of the situation in Tibet, including all aspects of the Chinese occupation. It highlights the falsehoods and misleading facts in the PRC's answers and explains much of their propaganda. It addresses the motivations for many of the policies of the Chinese government and how they relate to the Tibetan Buddhist religion and the Dalai Lama. It is organized in an interesting and cohesive manner with small segments for each question and response.
One note for the reader - Prior knowledge of the history of the Cultural Revolution is needed to in order to understand the references to this time.
Informative but requires prior knowledge
This book was created as a response to a Chinese publication about Sino-Tibetan relations entitled 100 Questions About Tibet. The answers (and the questions themselves) were quite obviously written in favor of the Chinese perspective of their territorial and cultural claims over the Tibetan state. The book itself consists of retorts from the perspective of Western scholars who study Tibetan history.
As a scholarly source I'm sure that it is valuable, but for me it was definitely not a page turner. One needs to have a good degree of background knowledge in Chinese, Central Asian, and Tibetan history to truly make sense of the author's arguments. For instance, on page 73, Sperling writes "When the Cultural Revolution broke out in 1966, Tibet was soon swept up in it. The ravages of the Cultural Revolution are sufficiently well known and there is no need to describe them in detail." For those with limited to no knowledge of the Cultural Revolution, the ensuing pages would not be particularly accessible.
I enjoyed that the book was broken up into small questions/sections, so that it could be used as reference material fairly quickly by an educator with a specific question about the Sino-Tibetan relationship.
An interesting view on China's view of Tibet
The book provides an interesting perspective of how the Chinese view Tibet. The book Authenticating Tibet: Answers to China’s 100 Questions gives the Chinese answer to each question and then a more impartial answer to the question from an academic scholar. I would definitely recommend this book to other teachers or anyone interested in learning more about Tibet from a mostly unbiased viewpoint. Excerpts from the book would work well in upper level high school courses. It was extremely interesting. I enjoyed learning the Chinese perspective but even more I loved the expert critique of the ideas/topic in question. It provided historical context to many of the situations to give a clearer understanding.
Authenticating Tibet: A look at the region of Tibet from the views of the Chinese government and scholars of the region.
Authenticating Tibet: Answers to China’s 100 Questions, edition by Ann-Marie Blondeau and Katia Buffetrille is a collection of questions related the region of Tibet in China. In the late 1980s and again in the early 2000s the Chinese government attempted to clarify/justify policies put on Tibet through responses to 100 questions. These questions were both written and responded to by the Chinese government and give the reader a government-accepted view of the region of Tibet. Blondeau and Buffetrille along with several other scholars provided unbiased background information after each question.
The collection of questions is subdivided into smaller sections addressing specific issues with the region of Tibet. The editors respond to each question with factual information. It is not always clear to the non-expert reader when the Chinese government is omitting information or pushing a political agenda, but with the commentary this becomes apparent. However, with nominal knowledge of the region, one can get a good overview of the social, economic, religious, and political situations in Tibet from this book. I would recommend this for anyone interested in the region of Tibet as well as the Chinese government’s public image. It would be appropriate for upper level high school students, although, it may be easier to examine in smaller chunks.