Kunming, Lhasa, Chengdu, Berlin: Sources on Tibetan 20th Century History

Now that the minzu (ethnicity) question is so centrally on the table in China, it is a good time to be looking to the past, for roots of current disputes and opportunities to overcome that multifarious and often very wounded past. Just as the events in Kunming need to be embedded into their regional context, we also need to look to history.

By the Power of Goldstein | In preparing lectures for a Mao and Modern China course I am presently teaching at Leeds University, I was reviewing my notes about modern Tibet, specifically the entrance of the People’s Liberation Army into Lhasa and the period of accommodation prior to 1959.

Above all, I because very excited when I found out that Melvyn Goldstein’s Volume 3 of his monumental History of Modern Tibet was published in California this past November, 2013. It covers the years 1955-1957; an excerpt from the text can be found on the publisher’s website (via the link in this paragraph). To my knowledge, the book has not yet been reviewed in the standard journals, and there has been very little buzz about it, but it is surely deserving of any and all attention.

My previous posts on this website about Goldstein’s Volume 2 can be accessed here and here, inspired by scholars like Greg Youtz, a professor at Pacific Lutheran University who is an annual traveler to Tibet.

German Sources on pre-1951 Tibet | According to my Chengdu notes, in 1938-39, there were two SS expeditions into Tibet which included Ernst Schaefer; his colleague Bruno Berger was interested in head measurements. A film entitled Geheimnis Tibet based upon Schaefer’s footage was released in 1942.

In his chapter entitled “Tibetan Horizon: Tibet and the Cinema in the Early Twentieth Century,” (Imagining Tibet, pp. 91-110), scholar Peter H. Hansen describes some German cinematic fascination with Tibet in the 1930s.  A film entitled Möche Tänzer und Soldaten im Reich des Buddhas (1937; its title is rendered a bit strangely by Hansen), is available in Filchner Haus in Göttingen. Other German films on Tibet 1929 to 1935 are at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Hansen also located various German films on Tibet from all periods are at the Kunst und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal German Republic).

A couple of other potentially fascinating articles briefly cited by Hansen include:

Reinhard Greve, « Das Tibet-Bild der Nationalsozialiste » in Thierry Dodin and Heinz Raaether, eds., Mythos Tibet: Wahrnemungen, Projektionen, Phantasien (Cologne: Du Mont, 1997), pp. 104-113.

Reinhard Greve, „Tibetforschung im SS-Ahnenerbei,“ in Thomas Hauscheld, ed., Lebenslust und Fremdenfurcht. Ethnologie im Dritten Reich. (Frankfurt am Main: a.M. Shurkamp, 1995), pp. 168-189.

Hansen (p. 93) describes how Tibetan government officials were a bit horrified at a foreign film made in 1924 of “dancing lamas,” and were self-conscious of such portrayals of Tibetan exoticism to the outside world.  On the flip side, Hansen describes how the Austrian journeyman Heinrich Harrer showed a film in the Norbulinka to the Dalai Lama in 1950 about the Japanese surrender (p. 103), an encounter which binds together multiple narratives into a single dense event pregnant with symbolism.

Imagining Tibet | Among the films about Tibetan history in the 20th century, two should be mentioned: Annaud’s 7 Years in Tibet (1997) and Scorcese’s Kundun (also 1997)

One wonders how the directors would respond to the more factual arguments put forth by John Powers in  Imagining Tibet (p. 141?):

In 1990, Tibetans were 9th of the 56 Nationalities [in terms of population, totaling] 4.6 million. [This equals] .4% of total PRC population, and 5% of all ethnic minorities (Zhuang were #1 with 15.5 million)…In 2000, there were a total of 106.4 million minorities, making them 8.4% of the population, up slightly percentage wise from 8% in 1990.

The focus of Powers’ essay is on sexy, exoticized minorities. But if they are idolized, then we might ask, as Alfred Gell does, “What do idols see, when they look?” (Art and Agency: An Anthropological Theory [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998], p. 118).

Gould and the British Expertise | Sir Basil Gould was not just an important British diplomat active in and around Tibet, but also a linguist. He co-authored a book with Hugh Richardson, entitled Tibetan Word Book; Tibetan Sentances; Tibetan Syllables; Tibetan Verb Roots (Calcutta: Oxford University Press, 1943). This is precious expertise. Gould plays an important if small role in another project I’m presently working on with respect to a young Chinese Tibetologist and translator and his view of Lhasa in the quiet but critical years of 1945-1949.

Miscellaneous Sources | James Cooper, “Western and Japanese Visitors to Lhasa: 1900-1950,” The Tibet Journal Vol. 28, No. 4, pp. 91-94.

Isrun Engelhardt, ed. Tibet in 1938-39

_______________. “Tibetan Triangle” Asiatische Studien (2004).

________________. „Mishandled Mail: the Strange Case of the Reting Regent’s Letters to Hitler,“ Zentralasiatische Studien Vol. 37 (2008): 77-106.

Bruno Berger, Mit der deutschen Tibetexpedition Ernst Schaefer 1938/39 nach Lhasa (Wiesbaden, 1998).

Martin Braven, ed. Peter Aufshaiter’s Eight Years in Tibet. Bankok: 2002.

Gruenfelder, Alice. An den Lederriemen geknotete Seele. Erzaehler aus Tibet: Tashi Dawa, Alai, Sebo. Zurich: Unionsverlag, 1997.

Finally, the controversial Reting Rinpoche supposedly wrote two letters to Hitler which are in the Bundesarchiv — though these sources are not discussed in Goldstein’s Volume 1. According to Peter Hansen, Reting (who was instrumental in finding the 14th Dalai Lama in the mid-1930s) also is said to have taken photos with Schaefer. Given the fixation that some Chinese scholars and enthusiasts seem to possess for linking the current Dalai Lama with anything evil, but particularly the Nazis, perhaps this is something to keep an eye open for in the Chinese journal literature on Tibetan history.

33 Questions About the Cultural Revolution in Tibet

The key point of departure for today’s discussion is the text On the Cultural Revolution in Tibet: The Nyemo Incident of 1969, co-authored by Melvyn Goldstein (Case Western Reserve University), Ben Jiao (Tibet Academy of Social Sciences, Lhasa) and Tanzen Lhundrup (Beijing Tibetology Center).

The book was published by University of California Press in 2009; a free copy of Chapter 1 is provided here (opens as pdf.) by the press. All of the following questions refer to Chapter 1.

The following questions are intended primarily for discussion of the text by readers who are semi-familiar with the issues arising out of the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1951 and the flight of the Dalai Lama to India eight years later, in other words, intelligent undergraduates or reasonably-well informed readers.

1. On pages 3-4, Goldstein describes the orthodox Tibetan position on the Nyemo incident.  Why would the Tibetan government in exile, the Dalai Lama, or supporters of Tibetan indepenedence wish to see the Nyemo incident as a black-and-white case of Tibetan resistance to Chinese rule?

2. To what extent was the Nyemo incident a cry for religious freedom in Tibet?

3. What is a female medium? And what does the acceptance by Tibetan villagers of the nun Trinley Chodron’s posession by a holy Tibetan deity as medium say about the effectiveness of Chinese secular education in Tibet between 1959-1966?

4. More of a note than a question: Goldstein uses Tibetan terms for the rebel factions, but in English, Gyenlo, the most left-wing radical faction means red (in Chinese, it is known as the “rebel faction/造反派”); the Nyamdre faction simply means blue.

5. As far as historical sources go, what kind of problems do Goldstein’s oral histories — by far the largest repository of sources he has at his disposal —  present?  (pp. 7-8)

6. In 1966, when the Cultural Revolution begins, what is the response of the Party Committee of the Tibetan Autonomous Region?  For how long had the TAR been in existence?  If you were a radical Red Guard at the time, what might you have thought about the fact that Wang Qimei, who had been in leadership positions in Tibet since he arrived with the PLA 1951, was placed at the top of the Cultural Revolution committee in Tibet?

7. What is Zhang Guohua still doing in Tibet in 1966?  Given the tensions that he had had with conservative and reformist Tibetans in 1952, don’t you think he should have been back in Beijing?

8. Why, on page 12, do Zhang Guohua and his group go after journalists (of Tibet Daily/西藏日报) as their first target?  What are they worried about?

9.  How do the developments in Beijing in summer 1966 work against Zhang Guohua’s desire, in Goldstein’s words, “for the Cultural Revolution to be played out under the close scrutiny of the Regional Party Committee according to a carefully scripted score”? (p. 13) What historical conflict is Mao evoking when he compares Zhang and other’s actions to contain the Red Guards as an act of “white terror (baise kongbu / 白色恐怖”)?

10. How does Lin Biao’s terse call on 14 August 1966 to “smash the four olds” (破四旧), augmented by Jiang Qing at the Beijing Middle School the next day, portend negatively for, say, monasteries in Tibet?  (p. 14)

11. Why does Zhang Guohua, in spite of the fact that he had just led a meeting of 1400 people the prior week with the ostensible goal of furthering the Cultural Revolution, not want to allow the spread of Red Guards throughout Tibet?   (p. 15)

12. Would it be fair to say that by promoting the Cultural Revolution in Tibet, Mao effectively abandons his policy of “gradualism” on the plateau?  (p. 16)

13. Why might the return of ethnic Tibetan Red Guards from the Tibetan Nationality Institute in Xianyang (咸阳西藏民院) as well as Beijing have served as a galvanizing moment in the Cultural Revolution in Tibet? It may seem like a simple question, but where these students carriers of radicalism, or guardians of traditional Tibetan culture?

14. Why did the student leaders assume that CCP leaders in Tibet had ended the 1966 school year early? (p. 17)

15. Goldstein singles out the appearance of the 19 September 1966 big wall poster as a pivotal moment in the Cultural Revolution in Tibet.  Do you find it at all significant that this revolutionary act, easily the most significant anti-Party action in Tibet since the 1959 revolt, was done not by a Tibetan, but by a Han cadre?

16. Why is Ngabo such an easy and logical target for the Red Guards?  What is his response to his accusers?  Do you find it strange that Goldstein, who has spent so many years of his own career chronicling Ngabo’s unique place in contemporary history, spends only about a page dealing with this particular saga before shuttling Ngabo off to Beijing?

17. In early November 1966, a group of radical Han students called the Blazing Prairie Red Guard teams (燎原战斗团) arrive in Lhasa from Beijing.  What does it tell you about the domestic situation in China that even the order of Premier Zhou Enlai to keep non-Tibetan Red Guards out of Tibet is not honored?  Or is Zhou Enlai’s decree just for show, and actually part of the massive CCP conspiracy to eliminate Tibetan culture in total?

18. In response to the arrival of the “Blazing Prairie” group, the Regional Party Committee links up with some Tibetan Red Guards (known as the “Thousand Serf Fighters [农牧战; perhaps actually 农牧战士].  They form the group known as Nyamdre, and almost immediately a group splits off, attacks the Regional Party headquarters and calls themselves Gyenlo.  Do any of these alliances seem to be explicitly ethnic?  What does the dizzying speed and variablility of organizations, allegiances, and tactics, tell you about the growth of the Cultural Revolution in Tibet?

19. In December 1966, the Central Government’s drive to expel Han Red Guard groups from Lhasa and Tibet nearly succeeds, but is thwarted.  Who is behind the failure of the government to extract or otherwise “deport” the Han Red Guards?  (p. 21-22)

20. Page 23 contains an important meditation on the role of regional and local experience in Tibet.  On the one hand, Red Guards criticized Zhang Guohua for being a “local Emperor [土皇帝]” (e.g., a local despot, corrupt, abuser of power), but on the other hand, Zhang and his lieutenants stand up for the value of local experience in administering Tibet.  Who has the upper logical hand in this argument?  Who seems destined to win, and why?

21. Reading the mission statement of the Gyenlo Red Guards from late December 1966 (p. 24), it appears that the group is not only radical in its tactics, but radically utopian in its aims.  Do you think that Red Guards groups were bent not only on violence against existing power structures, but also seized by a utopian vision of a true communist society?  Why did they think they could accomplish this in Tibet of all places?

22. On page 25, the background of Nyamdre is described as having at its core a group committed to the “defense of Mao Zedong thought.”  What does it tell you about the contour and scope of the political debates in Lhasa in early 1967 that the two main factions are the “rebel” and the “Mao Zedong Thought” factions?  Why is there no third faction calling for a renewed Buddhism under communist control, or a Red Guard faction centered around that old magnet for Chinese power struggles, the Panchen Lama?

23. Woeser’s collection of Cultural Revolution testimonies indicate that the speed of communications across China was a major factor in the connecting of the Cultural Revolution in Tibet with actions in China proper.  On page 27, Goldstein describes how the “January Storm / 一月风暴”) violent takeover of the Party Committee by students in far-away Shanghai has almost immediate repercussions in Lhasa.    Why again is the newspaper the target of left-wing action?

24. Pages 29-30 contain as clear a statement as you are ever likely to see from Red Guard groups in Lhasa about why their loyalties are with Mao in Beijing, and not with the CCP machinery in Lhasa.  What is the problem with putting Mao in charge, at least nominally, in Tibet?  Does the 74-year-old Mao appear to be highly detail-oriented at this point of the struggle insofar as Tibet is concerned?

25. What kind of violence breaks out between the two main factions in Tibet during the “big debates” of February 1967?  Does this situation sound essentially like a civil war on the plateau?

26. Finally, on page 33, Goldstein explicitly raises the question of what the PLA was doing in Tibet, and their attitude toward the violence.  What do you think about the fact that the PLA occupies the Potala Palace in Lhasa, thus preventing its destruction, and is then acting as a “third force” in Tibet, mediating disputes when possible?  Why doesn’t the army simply re-invade Tibet in full and impose martial law in every city and village?

27. Gyenlo’s near-success in peeling away factions within the PLA into their struggle indicates the sway of that organization in Tibet in 1967.  However, by mid-1967, the PLA had moved to suppress Gyenlo.  Does this therefore mean that the PLA was acting during the Cultural Revolution to protect Tibetans from Han violence, or is that an incorrect statement?

28.

29.

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33.

33 Questions on The History of Modern Tibet

Here on Sinologistical Violoncellist, the subject of Tibet seems to be coming up with greater frequency, as it ought to.  After all, the Dalai Lama remains floating through the universe (and the halls of Congress, Richard Gere in tow) dropping rhetorical bombs on Beijing, and Zhongnanhai makes no bones about shutting off all avenues of dialog with the 14th reincarnation.

And thus, apropos of well, this, allow me to state that people who have not read (or are in the process of reading and attempting to digest) Melvyn Goldstein’s relatively new tome on the Chinese Communist Party’s policies in Tibet from 1951-1955 are really missing out.  I believe this is one of the most essential books that anyone can read, and should read, in order to understand the compromises that are both possible and historically relevant between the Chinese and Tibetan leadership, and the inherent conflict in their positions.

Thus, I bring you a few dozen questions (which, unlike most of the material on this blog, I encourage you to plagiarize and modify as you like):

Discussion Questions [by Adam Cathcart] re: Melvyn Goldstein, A History of Modern Tibet, Vol. 2: The Calm Before the Storm, 1951-1955 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007).

CHAPTER ONE – Chinese Perspectives

1. On pages 22-25, Goldstein lays out a set of points which are key to understanding the realistic conditions for CCP’s gradualist policy in Tibet.  I presently believe that the CCP were gradualist because they had to be.  Goldstein, on the other hand, never draws this explicit conclusion.  Why doesn’t Goldstein want to discuss more about the motives of the communist leaders?

2. In describing “United Front” (e.g., propaganda) work of the PLA, Goldstein describes Mao’s “carrot-stick” approach toward Tibet.  What are the carrots, and what are the sticks?  Absent the tens of thousands of troops bearing down on Chamdo, could Mao have gotten the Tibetan government to agree to anything?

CHAPTER TWO – Tibetan Perspectives

3. What is the 1914 Simla Convention and why does Prime Minister Nehru get on the phone about it during his meeting with the Tibetans (p. 45)?  Why isn’t India more supportive of the Tibetans in their hour of need?

4. In their first meeting with the new Chinese ambassador to India, Yuan Zhongxian, in September 1950, the Tibetans state that “there is no need to liberate Tibet from imperialism, because there are no British, American, or Guomindang imperialists in Tibet, and Tibet is ruled by the Dalai Lama (not a foreign power).”  Is this a true statement?  If so, then why does the CCP continue to insist that it is liberating Tibet from foreign imperialism?

CHAPTER FOUR – Dalai Lama to Yadong

5.   In Tibet’s appeal to the UN (pp. 90-91), China is pictured as immense and inherently aggressive.  In what ways is the memo’s ultimate suggestion – the dispatch of a UN fact-finding mission to Tibet – both a non-starter with the Chinese and a horrendously belated request for political recognition from the global community?

CHAPTER FIVE – The United States Intervenes

6. Why does Goldstein find it necessary to discuss China’s intervention in the Korean War in late 1950 (pp. 114-115)?  Is it possible that the connection between the war in Korea and the events in Tibet is actually much, much bigger than Goldstein implies? Or is the Korean War irrelevant to events on the Tibetan plateau at this time?

7. In point one “Against the Embassy Proposal,” the author describes how the goal of U.S. policy in China for the past several decades has been to support the “territorial integrity” of China (p. 116).  The Americans threw hundreds of thousands of troops and hundreds of millions of dollars into the Asian theater of World War II to support that policy and back up China’s right to exist.  Why would the Americans have considered throwing out all of that history and investment of blood and treasure in order to advocate a separation of Tibet from China?  Does the U.S. Executive Branch support China’s territorial integrity today?  Does the Chair of the House Committee on Foreign Relations, as she demands a consulate be set up in 2011 in Lhasa?

8.  What is the major problem with the American statement (p. 117) that “we should encourage….Tibet’s orientation toward the West rather than the East”?

9.  If it were possible to find enough information, the trip that never happened of “experienced explorer-scholar Schuyler Cammonn, University of Pennsylvania” to Tibet to spy out the situation in summer 1949 would be a fascinating and very publishable research paper topic (p. 119).  If anyone is interested in hunting down more information about this thread for a possible guest blog post on Sinologistical Violoncellist, please let me know.

10. In U.S. Ambassador to India Henderson’s secret letter to the Dalai Lama, he recommends that his Holiness go into exile in Ceylon (present-day Sri Lanka).  Why does Henderson recommend this course of action?  Why is this letter not a part of the Dalai Lama’s autobiography or his manga biography?

11. In the 1950s, is the Indian border city of Kalimpong really, as George Patterson called it, a “nest of spies”?

CHAPTER SIX “The Dalai Lama Returns to Lhasa”

12. At the three-day assembly and debate in Yadong, why are the Tibetan monks, including the abbots of the big three monasteries, nearly unanimous in demanding return the Dalai Lama’s return to Lhasa (p. 138)?  How would you characterize the strategy of the three big monasteries in the eight years (1951-1958) of cooperation with the CCP?

13. Namseling is hardcore, the main advocate of rejecting the agreement, and therefore of the idea of perpetuating the notion of a political and cultural Tibet in exile. Why does Namseling oppose China?  What is his particular view of the global role of the question of sovereignty in “keeping the flame of Tibetan independence alive”?   Does history change at all if Namseling wins this argument?

CHAPTER SEVEN – Initial Contacts and Strategies

1. Zhang Jingwu arrives in Lhasa on 8 August 1951.  Given that Mao had proclaimed the People’s Republic on 1 October 1949 (and with the republic, presumably, the victory of the CCP in civil war), doesn’t Zhang’s arrival in Lhasa seem awfully late?  If so, then what does Tibet’s later timetable for consolidation tell us about China’s sensitiveness about “territorial integrity”?

2. Note the pre-arrival stereotypes of the Han Chinese among Tibetans: many Tibetans thought the Chinese might be “devils” of some kind.  How are the imaginations of some Tibetans calmed, and others enflamed, by the appearance of actual Chinese in Lhasa?

3.  Why were songs especially important in Tibet’s political culture?  Hint: Because there were no newspapers in Lhasa before the Chinese showed up!

4. Who is Shelling, the source on pp. 171-172 for Zhang Jingwu’s appearance in Lhasa?  Hint: he’s my old housemate in Cleveland!  I was fortunate to live with linguistically talented and spiritually adept Tibetan aristocrats, via Dhramsala, when I was studying to become a Sinologistical Violoncellist in Cleveland in the late 1990s.

5. How does Lukhangwa fit into contemporary images of Tibet?  Which “side” in the contemporary context is more truthful?  Does Lukhangwa represent an incorrect approach among Tibetans toward relations with China?  Is there such a thing as Tibetan xenophobia, or would that phrase be politically incorrect?

6.  Would Tibet be better off had Sinified Tibetans like Lobsang Tashi been more assertive (p. 193)?

7. How does the fait accompli of the 17-Point Agreement make the sitsab even more hard-line in dealing with initial Chinese military officials in Tibet (p. 174)?

8. Chinese propagandists made promoted many positive images of Zhang’s first month in Lhasa.  In what ways was Zhang’s behavior toward the monasteries patterned after the Guomindang/Nationalist precendent in Tibet? And why, generally speaking, was there no open Sino-Tibetan disagreement in this period?

9. Why doesn’t Lukhangwa’s threat involving “the three jewels and karmic cause” scare the Chinese (p. 176)? Hint: It’s because the Chinese officials are atheists!

10. Would you attribute the first-ever growth of what we would recognize as “civil society” in Tibet to the Chinese pressure (pp. 177-179)?  Is it fair to say that the arrival of the CCP inaugurates a period of real political participation for Tibet’s non-official aristocrat class and others?  If so, doesn’t this render the CCP as a positive force in Tibet?

11.  What was Mao’s strategy with regards to the Dalai Lama?  Does it seem likely, given the reasonably reliable information on p. 179, that the CCP threat to kill the Dalai Lama – a message delivered via his brother from Qinghai (see also Manga Biography pp. 64-69) – is simply false?

12.  Were the communist leaders sincere in their desire to respect Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism (p. 180 ff.)?  Or was the policy merely a necessary short-term accommodation that preceded their true desire: to wipe out the religion and therefore the basic civilization of Tibet?

13.  In what ways is the CCP directive not to stir up class consciousness or attack landowners (p. 183) fundamentally at odds with concurrent political events in China at the time?  What would scholars like Julia Strauss or the author of Words Kill have to say about CCP policy in Tibet in comparison to that in China proper?

14.  In the early 1950s, the CCP leadership insisted that there be no specific timetable set up for Tibet’s fuller integration into the PRC.  In what ways does this strategy mirror Sun Tzu or Chairman Mao’s tactics as described in their respective texts Art of War and On Protracted War?  Does everything that important require a plan with a calendar? Or are flexible principles themselves sufficient grounds for acting efficiently and effectively?  Did the Tibetans fail in the 1950s because of a dearth of ancient and indiginous military texts and strategies?

15. In what way is Lukhangwa the real father of “the Tibetan Resistance”?  Can we speak of a “Lukhangwa model” of resistance today, or have times, tactics, and perspectives changed radically?  In what ways has his strategy failed the Tibetans, particularly in the impulsive and independent character of the resistance?

16. What do you think of Goldstein’s implicit assertion that Tibet weakened itself by truncating the modernizing influence of British-educated Tibetans from 1914-1933?  In what ways did Tibet’s “anti-imperialism” of the 1910s and 1920s – an outlook and violent activity for which the CCP lauds them still – paradoxically leave Tibet unreformed and thus open to Chinese allegations that they, the Chinese, are modernizing Tibet because the Tibetans are incapable of doing the job themselves?

17.  On pages 192-193, Goldstein describes the minor wave of Tibetan students who went to study in the interior of China at places like People’s University in Beijing.  While Goldstein seems to interpret this change positively (or at the very worst, as an anodyne development), Tibetan exiles have since depicted the associated actions as a form of “abduction” by the Chinese, part of a quasi-genocidal process of forced acculturation.  In the long run, why does this topic of Tibetans studying in China matter at all?  Shouldn’t we just be focused on what the Chinese are doing in Tibet itself?

18.  When it comes to Tibetans who admired Chinese modernization and culture in the early- and mid-1950s, the Dalai Lama needs also to be considered (pp. 200-205).  Didn’t these people understand that China was about to embark upon two massively destructive mass campaigns, known as the Great Leap Forward (1958-1961) and Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), which would be very harmful to Tibetans?  If the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Sinified elites had had better foresight, wouldn’t they have gone into exile in 1951 instead of giving the Chinese Communist Party a chance to demonstrate its moderate nature?  Conversely, what is the historical problem with criticizing the young Dalai Lama and others for pro-China tendencies in the mid-1950s?

19.  Of the partially-Sinified and conciliationist wing of the Tibetan elites, few are more influential in the long run than Ngabo.  Do you consider Ngabo a pragmatic patriot or a sell-out?

20.  When is a scholar going to write a historically accurate rap battle between Ngabo and the culturally conservative obstructionist Lukhangwa, giving each man a verse which pivot around a chorus which starts with “khasey dingsey,” which is the Tibetan phrase for “say what your feel and think?”

Brave, Yet Isolated: Cat Surveys Shigatse, The Old Haunts of the Panchen Lama; photo by Adam Cathcart