China Perspectives 2009/3


The Deadlock in Tibet

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China Perspectives 2009/3

Special Feature

The Tibet Protests of Spring, 2008 Page 6

Robert Barnett

Preliminary assessment of 95 of the 150 or more protests in Tibetan areas in the spring of 2008 suggests that they were far more widespread than during previous unrest, and also that there was greater involvement of laypeople, farmers, nomads, and students than in the past. It argues that the struggle in China and elsewhere over representation of the unrest has been dominated by the question of violence, with little attention paid to policy questions and social issues. This paper outlines the basic concepts that underlie that debate and summarises the historical factors that might have led to protest.

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Tibet and China: The Interpretation of History Since 1950 Page 25

Elliot Sperling

This article examines the way Tibet’s history and its relations with China have been interpreted and described in China since 1950. While China has long claimed that Tibet became part of China in the thirteenth century under the Yuan Dynasty, much evidence shows that this interpretation is a twentieth century construction. A more assertive Chinese position holds that historical China consists of the territory of the Qing Dynasty at its height, and that all within those boundaries have been uniquely part of China since ancient times, well before the Yuan era, and indeedsince before the beginning of recorded history.

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The Political Economy of Boomerang Aid in China’s Tibet Page 38

Andrew Martin Fischer

This article examines how rapid growth in the Tibetan areas of West China since the mid-1990s has been a key factor exacerbating the unresolved contestations of Chinese rule in these areas. Amidst the continued political disempowerment of Tibetan locals, Beijing has used recent development strategies to channel massive amounts of subsidies through the government itself or through Chinese corporations based outside the Tibetan areas, thereby accentuating the already highly-externalised orientation of the local economy. These processes offer important insight into the recent explosion of tensions.

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The “Socialist New Villages” in the Tibetan Autonomous Region: Reshaping the rural landscape and controlling its inhabitants Page 56

Françoise Robin

The intention behind the establishment of the “socialist new villages” in the Tibet Autonomous Region (2006-2010) is to relocate 50 to 80 percent of the rural inhabitants, whose farming and pastoral practices are considered “backward” and “unscientific.“ In theory, this policy is aimed at bringing about a “hygienic” and “entrepreneurial” countryside. There is little doubt that this vast social project, which has been little studied up to now, will have far-ranging repercussions on rural life in Tibet.

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Far from Harmonious: The Chinese Authorities’ Handling of the 2008 Tibet Crisis Page 66

Michel Bonnin

The Tibet crisis tainted the success of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The handling of the crisis showed the CCP’s rigid denial of genuine dialogue and compromise and adherence to a formula of repression and economic growth. Current leaders are enmeshed in this policy, but a new generation might well seek out policies more in tune with the quest for ”harmony” at home and ”peaceful rise” on the world scene.

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Roadmap of Tibetan Independence Page 74

Wang Lixiong

Wang Lixiong published his “Roadmap of Tibetan Independence“ on the Internet in November 2008, after a relative easing of tensions following the spring uprising and just after the conclusion of the Beijing Olympic Games.(1) It offers his interpretation of the Tibet issue with a novel analytical approach that he formulated after the Tibetan protests. His original view of the Tibet crisis takes into account its deeper causes and charts a path towards Tibetan independence. “Roadmap“ consists of three parts: 1) The March Incident in Tibet is a Watershed, 2) The difficulties of an imperial system of government, and 3) The Road to Tibetan Independence. The first part has been translated into English by Kong Lingxi and disseminated widely on the Internet.(2) It therefore seemed important to publish the second part, which is more relevant to understanding the author’s views as it contains a detailed analysis of the nature of bureaucratic institutions and details the system’s failings. In order to give a general idea of what Wang’s text has to say, a summary of the first part precedes the translation. The third part, not translated here, presents Wang’s vision of different scenarios for achieving independence, which he believes can only come about through massive violence and bloodshed. TibetInfoNet reported on 13 June 2009 that Wang was in Dharamsala for a twomonth visit organised by the Association of Tibetan writers.(3) (Lara Maconi, translated by N. Jayaram)

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China in the Face of Economic Crisis Page 80

Valérie Niquet

This article considers whether China can emerge from the global economic crisis with its current policies vindicated and its social order intact. Or will the Chinese development model fail to cope? Will the socio-economic situation and the ever-present, deeply held fear of turmoil force Beijing to resort to whipping up nationalism and adopting an aggressive economic and political stance abroad?

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Comparative Reflections on Hong Kong and Indian Cinema: Identity, Diaspora, and Cosmopolitanism Page 87

Camille Deprez

Much research on contemporary Asian cinema is focused within national boundaries or takes an outright international approach, with few comparative studies. Historic and cinematographic similarities between Hong Kong and India since the 1980s allow for a consideration of identity deconstruction and reconstruction in diaspora as seen in some of their films. The notion of vagueness becomes crucial to a nuanced view of the tendency either to withdraw into one’s community or turn cosmopolitan.

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Current Affairs

Tibet, Nationalism, and Modernity: Two Chinese Contributions Page 98

Sebastian Veg

China Analysis – New Reforms to the Health System – Hu Jintao and the People’s Liberation Army Page 108

Candice Tran DaiMathieu Duchâtel

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