Blessings From Beijing: Inside China’s Soft-Power War on Tibet

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Blessings From Beijing: Inside China’s Soft-Power War on Tibet
By Greg C. Bruno
University Press of New England, 2018
240 pp.

The title of this book alludes to a sarcastic comment made by the Dalai Lama in 2009 about Chinese eorts to suppress the Tibetan diaspora. “Totalitarian regimes sort of pressure everywhere, even in the United States,” he said. “I think India and Nepal are receiving some special blessing from Peking.” There are about 130,000 Tibetan exiles living in the Indian city of Dharamsala (the site of the Central Tibetan Administration’s headquarters) and elsewhere in South Asia, Europe, and the United States. China has directed relentless, if not very successful, propaganda at the exiled community, has used its economic leverage over Nepal to block the traditional route for emigration from Tibet to India, and has played diplomatic hardball in its efforts to isolate the Dalai Lama internationally. Yet internal divisions among Tibetan exiles are even more threatening than China’s repression. Young Tibetans who move to the West identify less strongly with Tibet, many exiles and residents of Tibet are growing impatient with the Dalai Lama’s peaceful “middle way,” and the community has no visible succession plan that could keep it together after its leader’s passing. The Dalai Lama’s host, India, wants to avoid unduly antagonizing China, so it gives the Tibetans a temporary status that is less secure than refugee status or citizenship, heightening the exiles’ sense of insecurity.

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