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.