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Policy Studies 7

The Tibet-China Conflict:


History and Polemics
Elliot Sperling

East-West Center
Washington
Policy Studies
A Publication of the East-West Center Washington

Editor: Dr. Muthiah Alagappa


The aim of Policy Studies is to present scholarly analysis of key contemporary domestic
and international political, economic, and strategic issues affecting Asia in a policy rel-
evant manner. Written for the policy community, academics, journalists, and the
informed public, the peer-reviewed publications in this series will provide new policy
insights and perspectives based on extensive fieldwork and rigorous scholarship.
Each publication in the series presents a 15,000 to 25,000 investigation of a single
topic. Often publications in this series will appear in conjunction with East-West
Center research projects; stand-alone investigations of pertinent issues will also appear
in the series.
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Submissions may take the form of a proposal or completed manuscript.
Proposal. A three to five page proposal should indicate the issue, problem, or puzzle to
be analyzed, its policy significance, the novel perspective to be provided, and date by
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proposals to determine their suitability for the series. The manuscript when completed
will be peer-reviewed in line with the double blind process.
Complete Manuscript. Submission of complete manuscript should be accompanied by a
two page abstract that sets out the issue, problem, or puzzle analyzed, its policy signifi-
cance, and the novel perspective provided by the paper. The editor and two relevant
experts will review the abstract. If considered suitable for the series, the manuscript will
be peer reviewed in line with the double blind process.
Submissions must be original and not published elsewhere. The East-West Center
Washington will have copyright over material published in the series.
A CV indicating relevant qualifications and publications should accompany submissions.
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Manuscripts should be typed and double-spaced. Citations should be inserted in the
text with notes double-spaced at the end. The manuscript should be accompanied by a
completed bibliography. All artwork should be camera ready. Authors should refrain
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Policy Studies stylesheet, available from the series’ editorial office. Submissions should
be sent to:

Editor, Policy Studies


East-West Center Washington
1819 L Street NW, Suite 200
Washington, D.C. 20036

Submissions can also be forwarded by Email to


Publications@EastWestCenterWashington.org
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4HE1UESTIONOF4IBETS(ISTORICAL3TATUS 
%VOLUTIONOFTHE#HINESE0OSITION 
0REVAILING#HINESE6IEWOF4IBETS(ISTORICAL3TATUS 
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0ROJECT)NFORMATION4HE$YNAMICSAND-ANAGEMENTOF
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PARTIES TO THE 4IBET #HINA CONmICT 'IVEN THE POLARIZATION THAT HAS
CHARACTERIZEDTHISISSUEFORDECADES ITISSURPRISINGTHATLITTLEHASBEENDONE
TO ANALYZE OR AT LEAST DISENTANGLE THE STRANDS OF HISTORICAL ARGUMENTATION
THATTHEPARTIESHAVEBEENUSING4HISPAPERATTEMPTSTODOTHISBYRELYING
AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE ON THE KEY ASSERTIONS AS THEY HAVE BEEN FRAMED IN
#HINESE AND 4IBETAN SOURCES #HINESE AND 4IBETAN LANGUAGE MATERIALS
DEALINGWITHTHEHISTORICALSTATUSOF4IBETAREOFTENMOREDETAILEDANDBETTER
DOCUMENTED ANDHEWMORECLOSELYTHEN%NGLISH LANGUAGEMATERIALSDOTO
THETHINKINGOFTHEPEOPLEMOSTDIRECTLYCONCERNEDWITHANDAFFECTEDBY
THE4IBET #HINACONmICT
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PARTIESDRAWNINTOITOVERTHEPASTCENTURY#HINAMAINTAINSTHAT4IBETISAN
INALIENABLEPARTOF#HINA4IBETANSMAINTAINTHAT4IBETHASHISTORICALLYBEEN
ANINDEPENDENTCOUNTRY)NREALITY THECONmICTOVER4IBETSSTATUSHASBEENA
CONmICTOVERHISTORY7HEN#HINESEWRITERSANDPOLITICALlGURESASSERTTHAT
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ONTHEBASISOFHISTORY!SONEOF#HINASMOREWELL KNOWNSPOKESMENONCE
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4IBETSHISTORICALSTATUSSTANDUPAGAINSTTHEHISTORICALRECORDASREmECTEDIN
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CENTURIESOFPOPULARCONSENSUSAREACTUALLYVERYRECENTCONSTRUCTIONSOFTEN
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SUBORDINATIONISITSELFARATHERRECENTCONSTRUCTION!MPLEEVIDENCESHOWS
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WITHEMPERORSOFSEVERALDYNASTIES SOMETIMESUNDERCONDITIONSINWHICH
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TIMESUNDERCONDITIONSINWHICH4IBETWASINDEPENDENT4HEPRIEST PATRON
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INRECENTDECADESONASTHEDATEOF4IBETSINVASIONISANATTEMPTTO
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INJUSTICEOF4IBETSCONTEMPORARYSTATUS9ETLITTLEHASBEENDONETOANALYZE
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PARTIESHAVEUSEDFORWELLOVERHALFACENTURYNOW)NATTEMPTINGTODOJUST
THAT THISPAPEREXAMINESSOMEOFTHEMAJORASSERTIONSMADEBY4IBETANAND
#HINESEWRITERSINSUPPORTOFTHEPROPOSITIONSTHAT4IBETWASHISTORICALLY
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THEFOLLOWINGPAGESASTHEYAREFRAMEDIN#HINESEAND4IBETAN5SINGTHOSE
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4IBETAN LANGUAGEMATERIALSONTHEISSUEAREOFTENMOREDETAILEDANDBETTER
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POSITIONS SAID TO BE REmECTIVE OF CENTURIES OF
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BROADLYMISCONSTRUEDBYBOTHSIDES
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HAS BEEN AN hINTEGRALv PART OF #HINA SINCE THE THIRTEENTH CENTURY TOOK
SHAPEONLYINTHETWENTIETHCENTURY3IMILARLY WEWILLSEETHATTHE4IBETAN
CONCEPTOFAhPRIEST PATRONvRELATIONSHIPGOVERNING3INO 4IBETANRELATIONS
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4HE4IBET #HINA#ONmICT 

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ONEFORMORANOTHERFORWELLOVERACENTURY ANDNOTSIMPLYFOR#HINESE
AND4IBETANS4HE"RITISHRULERSOF)NDIAINTHELATENINETEENTHANDEARLY
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THE IMPOTENCE OF THE DECLINING 1ING DYNASTY n IN 4IBET
CONCLUDEDTHATITSAUTHORITYTHEREWASWHOLLYWITHOUTSUBSTANCE%ARLYIN
 ,ORD #URZON THEN VICEROY OF )NDIA CHARACTERIZED4IBETAN REFUSALS
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SUBSEQUENT%NGLISH LANGUAGELITERATUREON4IBETSHISTORYANDSTATUS
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MAINTAINEDBECAUSEOFITSCONVENIENCETOBOTHPARTIESx!SAMATTER
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ARMEDMEN
4HE STATUS OF 4IBET HAS BEEN AT THE CORE OF THE 4IBET ISSUE FOR ALL
PARTIES DRAWN INTO IT OVER THE PAST CENTURY 2EGARDLESS OF THIRD PARTY
PRONOUNCEMENTS HOWEVER THECOREOFTHECONmICTHASBEENTHEPOSITIONS
HELD BY 4IBET AND #HINA 4HE HEART OF #HINAS POSITION HAS REMAINED
ESSENTIALLY STEADY 4IBET IS AN INALIENABLE PART OF #HINA !T THE SAME
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)NREALITY THECONmICTOVER4IBETSSTATUSHASBEENACONmICTOVERHISTORY
4HIS IS NOT TO SAY THAT THE ENTIRE4IBET ISSUE IS REDUCABLE TO A HISTORICAL
DISPUTE 1UESTIONS OF DEMOGRAPHY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CULTURAL AND
HUMANRIGHTS ETC AREIMPORTANTPARTSOFTHE4IBETISSUE7HEN#HINESE
WRITERSANDPOLITICALlGURESASSERTTHAT4IBETISAPARTOF#HINA HOWEVER
THEYDOSONOTONTHEBASISOF#HINESERULEBEINGGOODRULEALTHOUGHTHEY
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THE MATTER SUCCINCTLY h@)S4IBET AFTER ALL A PART OF #HINA (ISTORY SAYS
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4IBETS STATUS WITH THE HISTORICAL RECORD THE  PAGE TOME CONSISTS OF
ALMOSTNOTHINGBUTANNOTATEDEXTRACTSFROM#HINESEHISTORICALSOURCESAND
DOCUMENTS4HECLEARFOUNDATIONFOR#HINESEASSERTIONSOF4IBETSSTATUSAS
APARTOF#HINAISTHEHISTORICALRECORD4IBETANSWHOADVOCATETHEJUSTICEOF
4IBETANINDEPENDENCEDOSOALSOONTHEBASISOFHISTORY ALTHOUGHTHEYALSO
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IN MANY #HINESE POLEMICS AND STATEMENTS ABOUT4IBET h!S IS KNOWN TO
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DAY POSITIONS ON4IBETS STATUS BASED THOUGH THEY ARE ON INTERPRETATIONS
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QUESTION7AS4IBETHISTORICALLYAPARTOF#HINA
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!S SHOULD BECOME CLEAR IN THE PAGES THAT FOLLOW AN EXAMINATION OF
THE HISTORY BEARING ON THAT QUESTION FORCES ONE TO ENGAGE WITH CERTAIN
CULTURALANDPOLITICALFACTORSASWELL#ERTAINLY IFALLTHATWERENEEDEDTO
RESOLVE MATTERS WERE AN UNBIASED EXAMINATION OF THE HISTORICAL RECORD
THE ISSUE WOULD LONG SINCE HAVE BEEN RESOLVED TO THE SATISFACTION OF ALL
"UTALAS SUCHISNOTTHECASE FORTHEQUESTIONOF4IBETDOESNOTSTANDIN
ISOLATION)NDEED TOQUESTIONTHELEGITIMACYOF4IBETSINCORPORATIONINTO
THE02#ISTOQUESTIONTHELEGITIMACYOFTHEIDEA
OFTHE#HINESESTATEASCONSTRUCTEDBYTHE#HINESE 4IBETSHISTORYHAS
#OMMUNIST0ARTYITISTORAISEQUESTIONSAGAINST
THE CULTURAL AND POLITICAL NATIONALISM THAT HAS
BECOMEAFUNDAMENTAL
BEENFOSTEREDWITHINTHE02#ANDTHATHASTAKEN ANDEXISTENTIALISSUE
ROOT BOTH INSIDE AND OUTSIDE OFlCIAL PARTY AND
GOVERNMENTALCIRCLES4HESEARENOSMALLMATTERS
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4HESERIOUSIMPLICATIONSCOUCHEDINANYDOUBTS BEARINGONTHEMODERN
ABOUT THE HISTORICAL VALIDITY OF 4IBETS PLACE IN
THE 02# ARE A PRIMARY CAUSE FOR THE VOCIFEROUS
IDENTITYOF#HINA
REACTIONSFROM#HINESEWRITERSTOSUCHQUESTIONS
4IBETSHISTORYHASBECOMEAFUNDAMENTALANDEXISTENTIALISSUE ONETHATHAS
SIGNIlCANTBEARINGONTHEMODERNIDENTITYOF#HINA
4HIS PAPER WILL EXAMINE POSITIONS ADOPTED ON THE DIFFERENT SIDES OF
THEDIVIDEOVER4IBET)TWILLSETOUTSOMEOFTHEBASICARGUMENTSMADEBY
#HINESEWRITERSANDPOLEMICISTS INOFlCIALANDSEMI OFlCIALPUBLICATIONS
)T WILL EXAMINE WHAT A VARIETY OF 4IBETAN AND PRO 4IBETAN WRITERS AND
lGURES POSIT AS THE HISTORICAL CASE FOR4IBET !DDITIONALLY IT WILL DISCUSS
SOMEELEMENTSOFTHEHISTORICALRECORDAPARTFROMTHEARGUMENTSADVANCED
BYADVOCATESOFONEORTHEOTHERSIDE&INALLY ITWILLEXPLORETHESIGNIlCANCE
ANDIMPLICATIONSOFTHEDEBATEWITHINALARGERCONTEXT
4HE%VOLUTIONOFTHE#HINESE0OSITION
!S STATED ABOVE THE PRIMARY BATTLEGROUND FOR THE ARGUMENT OVER4IBETS
STATUS IS HISTORY AND THAT HISTORY IS OFTEN PRESENTED FROM THE #HINESE
PERSPECTIVEASSELF EVIDENTLY SUPPORTIVE OF #HINESE ASSERTIONS !RGUMENTS
HAVEBEENMADEFORATLEASTACENTURYABOUT4IBETSSTATUSASAPARTOF#HINA
!LTHOUGH BRIEF ASSERTIONS OF THE RIGHTNESS OF 4IBETS PLACE WITHIN #HINA
CAN BE TRACED BACK THIS FAR HOWEVER A RELATIVELY INTENSE DOCUMENTARY
CASE HAS BEEN PRESENTED BY #HINA ONLY OVER THE LAST TWO DECADES WITH
THEPUBLICATIONOFSEVERALCOLLECTIONSOFDOCUMENTSMEANTTOBUTTRESSAND
 %LLIOTT3PERLING

CLEARLYPROVETHEPOINT
)N THE TWILIGHT OF IMPERIAL DYNASTIC RULE IN #HINA THE SUBJECTION OF
4IBET TO THE 1ING DYNASTY WAS STILL RECOGNIZED BY ALL PARTIES IN FORM IF
NOT IN SUBSTANCE4HE ACTUAL NATURE OF4IBETS TIE TO THE 1ING HOWEVER
WAS SUBJECT TO DIFFERENT INTERPRETATIONS AND AS MIGHT BE EXPECTED THIS
IMPRECISIONMADE4IBETACONTINUINGISSUEIN1INGRELATIONSWITH"RITAIN
AND2USSIA"RITISHOFlCIALSANDWRITERSTENDEDTOREFERCONSISTENTLYTO1ING
DOMINANCE AS A FORM OF hSUZERAINTY v A TERM WHOSE VAGUENESS CAME TO
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FRONTIERS AND ELIMINATE ANY POSSIBILITY OF THREATS OR CONCERNS EMANATING
FROM4IBET)NEFFECT THISREQUIREDPLACING4IBETATLEASTWITHINTHEORBITOF
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 THE #HINESE DELEGATION CAME WITH A CLEAR STATEMENT OF WHAT IT HELD
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4HE4IBET #HINA#ONmICT 

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4IBET WAS SUBJECT TO #HINA )N THE SECOND FROM THE THIRTEENTH CENTURY
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OF#HINADURINGTHEERAOF-ONGOLRULEˆASTATUSITHASMAINTAINEDUNTIL
THEPRESENT
4O SHORE UP THIS POSITION #HINA BEGAN PUBLISHING A GROWING
NUMBER OF BOOKS AND ARTICLES SUPPORTING IT FROM THE EARLY S ON
4HE DOCUMENTARY COLLECTIONS MENTIONED EARLIER HAVE BEEN PARTICULARLY
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DETAILEDDESCRIPTIONOF4IBETSHISTORICALPLACEWITHIN#HINATHANANYTHING
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4HE0REVAILING#HINESE6IEWOF4IBETS(ISTORICAL3TATUS
4HE CONTEMPORARY DESCRIPTION OF 4IBETS ASSIMILATION INTO #HINA AS AN
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#HINESE "ASIBA Զ৸֣ n THE NEPHEW OF 3A SKYA PANDITA  
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-ONGOL EMPEROR 1UBILAI 1AȖAN AND WAS AWARDED APPROPRIATE TITLES lRST
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? ?
TRANSITIONHADNOEFFECT THETITLEDHARMARAJA#HFAWANGऄ‫׆‬4IBCHOS
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MUCH AS THE 9UAN DID !T THE SAME TIME THERE
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?
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TO OBSERVE STEPS IN ITS DEVELOPMENT 4HUS AS FAR AS 02# OBSERVERS ARE
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CENTURIES
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NAMESOFTHEVARIOUSPOSSIBLECANDIDATESFORRECOGNITIONASTHEINCARNATE
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 %LLIOT3PERLING

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ANINDEMNITY ORIGINALLYIMPOSEDON4IBETBUTLATER INTHERENEGOTIATION
WITHTHE1ING SHOULDEREDBY#HINA
7ITHINTHEGENERALNARRATIVEOF4IBETANHISTORYPREVALENTINTHE02#
THE FALL OF THE 1ING DID NOT AFFECT THE STATUS OF4IBET4HE 2EPUBLIC OF
#HINA WHICH WAS PROCLAIMED AT THE TIME RETAINED SOVEREIGNTY OVER ALL
THE REALMS OF THE FORMER IMPERIAL DYNASTY AND IN NO WAY RELINQUISHED
ANY CLAIM TO 4IBET .EVERTHELESS #HINESE WRITERS NOTE THE 2EPUBLICAN
PERIOD WAS ONE IN WHICH THERE WERE DISTINCT DISAGREEMENTS BETWEEN THE
4IBETANGOVERNMENTANDTHE#HINESECENTRALGOVERNMENT DIFFERENCESTHAT
WEREEXACERBATEDBY"RITISHMACHINATIONSAIMEDATDETACHING4IBETFROM
#HINA3TILL THEREWEREPATRIOTICELEMENTSWITHINTHE4IBETANGOVERNMENT
INCLUDINGBOTHTHETHIRTEENTH$ALAI,AMAANDTHENINTH0ANCHEN,AMA
WHO WERE CONCERNED ABOUT THE UNITY OF #HINA 4HE #HINESE CENTRAL
GOVERNMENTSEVERALTIMESSENTOFlCIALSTOMEETANDDISCUSSTHERELATIONSHIP
BETWEENITSELFANDTHE4IBETANLOCALGOVERNMENT)NDEED THE$ALAI,AMA
INDICATEDTHATHEHOPEDTOIMPROVETHOSERELATIONS(OWEVERTHEREWERE
SOME FACTIONS IN THE4IBETAN LOCAL GOVERNMENT WHO WERE SWAYED BY THE
"RITISHANDWHO UPUNTILTHE0EACEFUL,IBERATIONOF4IBET WERECONVINCED
THAT THEY COULD SEPARATE4IBET FROM #HINA4HESE DREAMS PROVED EMPTY
AND4IBETWASlNALLYREUNITEDWITH#HINAIN
4HE4IBET #HINA#ONmICT 

4HE%VOLUTIONOFTHE4IBETAN0OSITION
7HATCONSTITUTESTHE4IBETANNARRATIVEOF3INO 4IBETANRELATIONSIS FRANKLY
FARLESSDETAILED THOUGHALSOLESSHOMOGENEOUSTHANTHE#HINESENARRATIVE
GIVENTHATTHEREHASNOTBEENAHIGHLYCENTRALIZED
EFFORT IN 4IBETAN EXILE SOCIETY TO DELINEATE THE THEPOINTINTIMEAT
DETAILS OF4IBETS RELATIONSHIP TO #HINA )NDEED
EVEN SOMETHING AS BASIC AS THE POINT IN TIME AT WHICH4IBETlNALLYFELL
WHICH4IBET lNALLY FELL UNDER 02# DOMINATION UNDER02#DOMINATION
HAS DIFFERED IN VARIOUS ACCOUNTS -ANY OF THE
SEAMSSTILLSHOWINTHECASETHAT4IBETANSINEXILE HASDIFFEREDINVARIOUS
HAVE CONSTRUCTED FOR4IBETAN INDEPENDENCEˆAS ACCOUNTS
THEYDOWITHTHE#HINESECASE
-UCH OF THE 4IBETAN ADVOCACY ON THE SUBJECT OF 4IBETS HISTORICAL
STATUSISSTRIKING BOTHFORTHEPREPONDERANCEOF%NGLISH LANGUAGESOURCE
MATERIALSUSEDASTHEBASISFORITSARGUMENTS ANDFORTHEEXTENTTOWHICH
4IBETANSDEALINGWITHTHEISSUEPRODUCETHEIRARGUMENTSIN%NGLISH4HIS
USEOF%NGLISHISNOTUNIVERSAL HOWEVERTHELARGEHISTORICALACCOUNTOF4IBET
BY2TSIS DPON:HWA SGAB PA$BANG PHYUGBDE LDANDREWEXTENSIVELYON
4IBETANHISTORICALSOURCES MANYQUITERAREATTHETIMEITWASWRITTEN9ET
EVENTHATACCOUNTWASORIGINALLYPUBLISHEDINASHORTENED%NGLISHVERSION
YEARSBEFORETHEFULLERTWO VOLUME4IBETANTEXTAPPEARED)NMOSTOTHER
WRITINGSON4IBETSSTATUSCOMINGFROMTHE4IBETANSIDE THEPREDOMINANCE
OF %NGLISH IS A PRODUCT OF LOCATIONˆTHE HAPPENSTANCE OF EXILE IN )NDIA
WHERE %NGLISH IS THE ESTABLISHED LANGUAGE OF MODERN SCHOLARSHIP AND
RESEARCH )T HAS MEANT HOWEVER THAT 4IBETAN SOURCE MATERIALS FORM A
MORE MEAGER PART OF THE EVIDENTIARY CASE MADE BY 4IBETAN EXILES )N
COMPARISON #HINESEWRITERSMAKEAMPLEUSEOF#HINESESOURCEMATERIALS
INTHEIRASSERTIONS4HEYMAKEUSEOF4IBETANSOURCESASWELL ALBEITOFTEN
INTRANSLATION
4HISLACKOF4IBETAN LANGUAGESOURCESREmECTSITSELFINTHETENOROFTHE
DISCUSSIONONTHE4IBETANSIDE7HEREASPRESENT DAY#HINESEWRITERSEVINCEA
DESIRETOPROFFERACASETHATHASTHEAIROFSCIENTIlCEXACTITUDEINTERMSOFDATES
ANDEVENTS STRIVING FOREXAMPLE TOPLACE4IBETSINCORPORATIONINTO#HINA
INTHE9UANPERIOD THE4IBETANVIEWHASOFTENSEEMEDUNCLEARANDCENTERED
AROUNDLESS TANGIBLENOTIONS4HEREISNOSMALLAMOUNTOFIRONYATTACHED
TOTHIS FORTHE4IBETANDELEGATIONTOTHE3IMLACONFERENCEOFnIS
WELLKNOWNFORHAVINGATTENDEDARMEDWITHSUBSTANTIVE4IBETANLITERARYAND
ARCHIVALEVIDENCECONCERNINGBOTH4IBETSSTATUSANDITSBOUNDARIES
 %LLIOT3PERLING

)NSUBSEQUENTYEARS HOWEVER AVAGUENESSSETIN WITHREGARDTOBOTH


DELINEATING4IBETSSTATUSINTERNATIONALLYANDSTRUCTURINGITSDEALINGSWITH
PRE #HINA!RECURRINGELEMENTTHATISSTILLANIMPORTANTPARTOFTHE
CASE4IBETANSHAVEBEENMAKINGISWHATISCONVENTIONALLYTERMEDIN%NGLISH
THEhPRIEST PATRONvRELATIONSHIPIN4IBETAN MCHOD YON !SWEWILLSEE FOR
MANY4IBETANWRITERSTHEENTIRERELATIONSHIPOF4IBETTO#HINAHINGESON
THISCONCEPT ONESOSPECIlCTOTHE4IBETAN"UDDHISTWORLD SOTHEYSAY THAT
ITISDIFlCULTTORELATEITTO7ESTERNNOTIONSOFSOVEREIGNAUTHORITY
!SJUSTNOTED THE4IBETANDELEGATIONCAMETO3IMLAINnWITH
ARESEARCHEDSTATEMENTABOUTTHEEXTENTOF4IBETSTERRITORIESANDFRONTIERS
4HEREWASNOHESITANCYINTHEIRASSERTIONSTHAT4IBETWASACOUNTRYSEPARATE
FROM #HINA !S TO WHETHER IT HAD BEEN A VASSAL STATE OR NOT UNDER THE
1ING THE4IBETANREPRESENTATIVE INASTATEMENTDATED/CTOBER 
CONTENDED THAT h4IBET AND #HINA HAVE NEVER BEEN UNDER EACH OTHER
AND WILL NEVER ASSOCIATE WITH EACH OTHER IN ;THE= FUTUREv4HE #HINESE
REPRESENTATIVERESPONDEDWITHHISOWNSTATEMENTON/CTOBER PROPOSING
A SETTLEMENT THAT WOULD REQUIRE AGREEMENT hTHAT4IBET FORMS AN INTEGRAL
PART OF THE TERRITORY OF 2EPUBLIC OF #HINAv4HE MEANING OF hINTEGRAL
PARTvISSOMEWHATCOLOREDBYTHECONCESSIONS#HINAWASWILLINGTOMAKE
4IBETWOULDNOTBECONVERTEDINTOA#HINESEPROVINCEANDWOULDCONDUCT
ITSFOREIGNANDMILITARYAFFAIRSUNDER#HINESEGUIDANCE
)NTHE4IBETANSTATEMENTONEALSOlNDSREFERENCETOTHEPRIEST PATRON
RELATIONSHIPASTHEUNIQUEBASISFORHISTORICALRELATIONSBETWEEN4IBETAND
#HINA
4HERELATIONSBETWEENTHE-ANCHU%MPERORANDTHE0ROTECTOR $ALAI
,AMATHElFTH BECAMELIKETHATOFTHEDISCIPLETOWARDSTHETEACHER
4HESOLEAIMOFTHETHEN'OVERNMENTOF#HINABEINGTOEARNMERITS
FORTHISANDTHENEXTLIFE THEYHELPEDANDHONOUREDTHESUCCESSIVE
$ALAI,AMASANDTREATEDTHEMONKSOFALLTHEMONASTERIESWITHRESPECT
4HUSFRIENDSHIPUNITEDTHETWOCOUNTRIESLIKETHEMEMBERSOFTHESAME
FAMILY4HE4IBETANSTOOKNONOTICEOFTHEIRBOUNDARYWITH#HINAFOR
THEYTHOUGHTTHATTHEACTIONSOFTHELATTERWEREALLMEANTFORTHEGOOD
OF4IBET
4HISCONCEPT THAT4IBETSTIESTOTHE1INGWEREESSENTIALLYOFAPRIEST
PATRON NATURE IS ALLUDED TO IN THE DESPERATE CABLE SENT BY THE 4IBETAN
GOVERNMENT TO THE 5NITED .ATIONS ON .OVEMBER   FOLLOWING
THEENTRYOF#HINAS0EOPLES,IBERATION!RMY0,! INTOTHEAREAOFTHE
4HE4IBET #HINA#ONmICT 

4IBETAN0LATEAUUNDERTHEJURISDICTIONOFTHE$ALAI,AMASGOVERNMENT
4HE#HINESE HOWEVER INTHEIRNATURALURGEFOREXPANSION HAVE
WHOLLYMISCONSTRUEDTHESIGNIlCANCEOFTHETIMEOFFRIENDSHIPAND
INTER DEPENDENCETHATEXISTEDBETWEEN#HINAAND4IBETASBETWEEN
NEIGHBOURS4OTHEM#HINAWASSUZERAINAND4IBETAVASSAL3TATE)TIS
THISWHICHlRSTAROUSEDLEGITIMATEAPPREHENSIONINTHEMINDOF4IBET
REGARDING#HINASDESIGNSONITSINDEPENDENTSTATUS
&ORCENTURIESTHEPRIEST PATRONRELATIONSHIPHASBEENAREALINSTITUTION
IN4IBETANHISTORY LINKINGSECULARRULERSWITH4IBETANHIERARCHS"UTIN
SOME ITERATIONS SUCH AS THOSE JUST CITED THE ARGUMENT ESSENTIALLY TURNS
ONANACCEPTANCEOFTHEPOSITIONTHAT4IBETSRELATIONSHIPTOTHEDYNASTIC
STATESTHATRULED#HINAWASNOTONEOFSOVEREIGNPOWERRULINGOVER4IBETS
TERRITORY AND PEOPLE BUT RATHER A SIMPLE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN EMPERORS
ANDTHE4IBETANLAMASWHOGUIDEDANDINSTRUCTEDTHEM$URING#HINAS
2EPUBLICAN PERIOD WHEN THE $ALAI ,AMAS GOVERNMENT DID EXERCISE
INDEPENDENT RULE AND AUTHORITY OVER 4IBET THE $ALAI ,AMA ON AT LEAST
ONEOCCASIONPROPOSEDTOTHE#HINESEGOVERNMENTTHATTHEPRIEST PATRON
RELATIONSHIPBETHEBASISFORRESOLVINGTHE4IBETISSUE
4HE4IBETANGOVERNMENTDIDNOTOTHERWISEPAYMUCHATTENTIONTOTHE
HISTORICAL CASE FOR4IBETS INDEPENDENCE NOR DID IT EXPEND MUCH ENERGY
IN ASSERTING IT IN ANY DETAIL UNTIL THE CRISIS OF  0RIOR TO THAT TIME
THE4IBETANGOVERNMENTHADMADESOMEDEMONSTRATIONSOFTHEPRACTICAL
REALITY OF 4IBETAN INDEPENDENCE BUT A STRUCTURED HISTORICALLY GROUNDED
ARGUMENTBEYONDTHEPOSITIONPRESENTEDATTHE3IMLACONFERENCEWASNOT
PUTFORWARD7ITH4IBETANACQUIESCENCETOTHE3EVENTEEN 0OINT!GREEMENT
OF 4IBETFORMALLYBECAMEPARTOFTHE0EOPLES2EPUBLICOF#HINAAND
THEQUESTIONOFITSHISTORICALSTATUSESSENTIALLYFELLDORMANT
/NLYWITHTHEEVENTSOFDID4IBETANSRETURNTOPUTTINGTOGETHERA
HISTORICALDEFENSEOF4IBETSSTATUSASANINDEPENDENTSTATE!SALREADYNOTED
DUEINPARTTOTHECIRCUMSTANCESOFEXILE THATDEFENSEISMULTIFARIOUS AT
TIMESINCONSISTENT ANDOFTENMOREREmECTIVEOF7ESTERNIDEASANDACCOUNTS
OF4IBETTHANOFINDIGENOUS4IBETANEVIDENCEANDDOCUMENTS
!FTER WHENTHE$ALAI,AMABEGANTOCONSTITUTEAGOVERNMENT
INEXILE THEREWASANURGENTNEEDTOMAKEANAPPROACHTOTHE5./N
3EPTEMBER  THE$ALAI,AMAADDRESSEDALETTERTOTHE5.SECRETARY
GENERAL LAYINGOUTANARGUMENTFOR4IBETANINDEPENDENCE
)ANDMY'OVERNMENTWISHTOEMPHASIZETHAT4IBETWASASOVEREIGN
 %LLIOT3PERLING

STATEATTHETIMEWHENHERTERRITORIALINTEGRITYWASVIOLATEDBYTHE
#HINESE!RMIESIN)NSUPPORTOFTHISCONTENTIONTHE'OVERNMENT
OF4IBETURGETHEFOLLOWING
&IRST NOPOWERORAUTHORITYWASEXERCISEDBYTHE'OVERNMENTOF
#HINAINOROVER4IBETSINCETHE$ECLARATIONOF)NDEPENDENCEBYTHE
TH$ALAI,AMAIN
!LLOTHERPOINTSMADEINTHELETTERALSORELATETOEVENTSOFTHETWENTIETH
CENTURY SUCHAS4IBETSNEUTRALITYIN7ORLD7AR))ANDTHECONTENTIONTHAT
THE ABILITY OF4IBETAN DELEGATES TO TRAVEL TO VARIOUS COUNTRIES ON4IBETAN
PASSPORTSINTHESCONSTITUTEDRECOGNITIONOF4IBETSSOVEREIGNSTATUS
4HELACKOFREFERENCETOANY4IBETANDOCUMENTSISINDICATIVEOFTHEFACTTHAT
THE4IBETANGOVERNMENT INAPPROACHINGTHE5.AFTER SOUGHTOUT
ANDWORKEDWITHSEVERALNON 4IBETANADVISERSANDMADEMUCHUSEOFTHE
WORKOFTHE)NTERNATIONAL#OMMISSIONOF*URISTS WHICHPUBLISHEDITSlRST
REPORTON4IBETIN
7ITH THE SUPPRESSION OF THE 4IBETAN UPRISING OF  CONTACT
BETWEENTHE#HINESEGOVERNMENTANDTHE$ALAI,AMASGOVERNMENT NOW
A4IBETANGOVERNMENT IN EXILE EFFECTIVELYCEASED4HEHISTORICALSTATUSOF
4IBETWASDEALTWITHBYTHE4IBETANGOVERNMENTASPARTOFITSINTERNATIONAL
REPRESENTATION MORE OR LESS ALONG THE LINES OF ARGUMENTATION ALREADY
DESCRIBED4HEREWASNOREALENGAGEMENTWITH#HINESEARGUMENTSFORSOME
DECADES4IBETAN PRONOUNCEMENTS ON THE CASE FOR4IBETAN INDEPENDENCE
4IBETANPRONOUNCEMENTS REmECTED AN EMPHASIS ON TWENTIETH CENTURY
EVENTS AS ALREADY MENTIONED OR ON EVIDENCE
ONTHECASEFOR4IBETAN FROM 7ESTERN SOURCES (UGH 2ICHARDSON WHO
HADHELPEDTHE4IBETANSINTHEIRDEALINGSWITHTHE
INDEPENDENCEREmECTED
5.AFTER PRODUCEDAHISTORYOF4IBETTHAT
ANEMPHASISON STRESSEDTHECASEALONGSIMILARLINES-OREOVER HE
TWENTIETH CENTURYEVENTS WASAMONGTHOSEWHOHELPEDINTERPRETTHEPRIEST
PATRONRELATIONSHIPFOR7ESTERNREADERSINAWAY
THATCAMETOBEREPEATEDANDECHOEDINLATERWRITINGS3TATINGTHATTHISWAS
AhPURELY#ENTRAL!SIANCONCEPT vHENOTED
)TISANELASTICANDmEXIBLEIDEAANDNOTTOBERENDEREDINTHECUT
AND DRIEDTERMSOFMODERNWESTERNPOLITICS4HEREISINITNOPRECISE
DElNITIONOFTHESUPREMACYOFONEORTHESUBORDINATIONOFTHEOTHER
ANDTHEPRACTICALMEANINGOFTHERELATIONSHIPCANONLYBEINTERPRETEDIN
THELIGHTOFTHEFACTSOFTHEMOMENT
4HE4IBET #HINA#ONmICT 

)N THE SAME YEAR THAT 2ICHARDSONS HISTORY APPEARED THE $ALAI
,AMA PUBLISHED AN %NGLISH LANGUAGE AUTOBIOGRAPHY THAT ALSO LAMENTED
THE INABILITY OF 7ESTERN LEXICONS TO ADEQUATELY REmECT THE NATURE OF THIS
RELATIONSHIP
3UZERAINTYISAVAGUEANDANCIENTTERM0ERHAPSITWASTHENEAREST
WESTERNPOLITICALTERMTODESCRIBETHERELATIONSBETWEEN4IBETAND#HINA
FROMTOBUTSTILL ITWASVERYINACCURATE ANDTHEUSEOF
ITHASMISLEDWHOLEGENERATIONSOFWESTERNSTATESMEN)TDIDNOTTAKE
INTOACCOUNTTHERECIPROCALSPIRITUALRELATIONSHIP ORRECOGNIZETHATTHE
RELATIONSHIPWASAPERSONALMATTERBETWEENTHE$ALAI,AMASANDTHE
-ANCHU%MPERORS4HEREAREMANYSUCHANCIENTEASTERNRELATIONSHIPS
WHICHCANNOTBEDESCRIBEDINREADY MADEWESTERNPOLITICALTERMS
2TSIS DPON :HWA SGAB PAˆWHOSE HISTORY OF 4IBET DREW FROM A
WIDERANGEOF4IBETANSOURCESˆALSOREINFORCEDTHE4IBETANPOSITIONTHAT
THE PRIEST PATRON RELATIONSHIP WAS SOMETHING SO SPECIlC TO4IBET THAT ITS
SIGNIlCANCE WAS CLOSE TO IMPOSSIBLE FOR 7ESTERNERS TO APPRECIATE (IS
ORIGINALTEXTIN4IBETANISWORTHQUOTINGONTHISSUBJECT
4AKINGTOGETHERTHETWOEDICTS ONEPRESENTEDBY;THE-ONGOLPRINCE=
'ODAN1ANTO3A SKYAPANDITA ANDONEBY1UBILAI1ANTO0HAGS PA

RIN PO CHE THElRSTRESEMBLESONEGIVENBYALORDTOASUBJECT WHILE
THELATTERISLIKEONEOFFEREDBYAPATRONTOALAMA4HATISEXACTLYHOW
WE%ASTERNPEOPLESWOULDCONSIDERIT4HELAMAACTSANDTEACHESIN
AWAYTHATSPREADSTHEDOCTRINESOFTHEDHARMAANDBRINGSPEACETO
BEINGS4HEPATRONMUSTATTENDTOTHElNANCIALREQUISITESSOTHATTHIS
MAYCONTINUEINTHELONGTERM4HUSWECANDESCRIBETHE0RIEST 0ATRON
RELATIONSHIPBETWEEN4IBETAND-ONGOLIAASHAVINGEXISTEDALONGTHESE
LINES(OWEVER THISCANNOTBEEXPLAINEDACCORDINGTO7ESTERNFORMS
OFPOLITICALBEHAVIOR)F7ESTERNERSSERIOUSLYANALYZETHEACCOUNTABOVE
;IE THEAUTHORSACCOUNTOFTHERELATIONSHIPBETWEEN0HAGS PAAND
1UBILAI= THENTHE1ANSPROFESSINGTHATHEWOULDNOTGOAGAINSTTHE
WISHESOF0HAGS PARIN PO CHEWASANEXPLICITRECOGNITIONTHAT0HAGS
PAWASTHEHIGHESTPOWERIN4IBET3IMILARLY THEMANNERINWHICHTHE
1ANREQUESTEDTHEDHARMAOFHIM SHOWEDHIMRESPECT REQUESTEDHIS
TEACHINGSWHENHECONQUERED3OUTHERN#HINA OFFEREDHIMASEALAND
HIGHTITLES ACCOMPANIEDHIMENROUTETO! MDO ANDCARRIEDOUTA
;CENSUS=INVESTIGATIONIN4IBETBECAUSEITWASTHECOMMANDOFTHELAMA
ALLREVEALNOTJUSTTHATTHETWOCOUNTRIESENGAGEDINMUTUALCOOPERATION
 %LLIOT3PERLING

ANDSHOWEDTHEHIGHESTRESPECTTOEACHOTHER BUTALSOTHATNEITHERONE
WASSUBORDINATETOTHEOTHER4HUS ONTHEBASISOFTHIS0RIEST 0ATRON
RELATIONSHIP ;WESEETHAT=UPTHROUGHTHEENDOFTHE1INGOR-ANCHU
ERAIN THE)RON 0IG9EAROFTHETHRAB BYUNG THEREEXISTED
BETWEEN4IBETAND#HINAACTIVITIESCOMMENSURATEWITHAMUTUAL0RIEST
0ATRONRELATIONSHIPASDESCRIBEDABOVE
!LMOSTNONEOFTHOSEWHOAPPROACHEDTHEQUESTIONOF4IBETSSTATUS
FROM THE 4IBETAN SIDE DEALT WITH THE SORT OF INSTITUTIONAL ISSUESˆTHE
STRUCTURES OF 1ING AUTHORITY IN 4IBET THE RULES AND OFlCES FOR DEALING
WITH4IBETTHATPERTAINEDINEARLIERDYNASTIESˆTHATAREANOTICEABLEPARTOF
#HINESESTUDIESANDPOLEMICS)NEFFECT TAKINGTHEIRLEADFROM:HWA SGAB
PA THE CONSENSUS DEVELOPED THAT THE PRIEST PATRON RELATIONSHIP WAS THE
PRIMARYINSTITUTIONALSTRUCTUREFORUNDERSTANDINGTHEHISTORICALRELATIONSHIP
BETWEEN4IBETAND#HINA)NTHES THE4IBETANGOVERNMENT IN EXILE
TURNEDTOALONGTIME4IBETSUPPORTER -ICHAEL#VAN7ALTVAN0RAAG A
LAWYERWITHADEGREEININTERNATIONALLAW TOPROVIDEAFUNDAMENTALLEGAL
CASEFOR4IBET ONETHATALSOTOOKINTOACCOUNT4IBETSHISTORICALRELATIONS
WITH #HINA4HE BOOK HE EVENTUALLY PRODUCED 4HE 3TATUS OF4IBET WAS
STRONGLY SUPPORTED BY THE 4IBETAN GOVERNMENT IN EXILE WHICH HAD IT
TRANSLATED INTO 4IBETAN AND VAN 7ALT BECAME THE EXILE GOVERNMENTS
ADVISERONRELEVANTLEGALISSUES!SSUCH HISBOOK ASMUCHASANYTHING
ELSE EFFECTIVELYCAMETOREPRESENTTHEOFlCIAL4IBETANEXILEPOSITION
4HE3TATUSOF4IBETGAVEGREATWEIGHT NOTSURPRISINGLY TOTHENEEDTO
UNDERSTANDTHATSTATUSTHROUGHTHELENSOFTHEPRIEST PATRONRELATIONSHIP
REFERREDTOTHROUGHOUTASh#Hš YšNv4IBMCHOD YON 7ESEEONCEMORE
INTHISACCOUNTANINSISTENCETHATTHERELATIONSHIPCOULDNOTBEADEQUATELY
CONTAINEDWITHINCONVENTIONALINTERNATIONALLEGALTERMINOLOGY!CCORDING
TOVAN7ALT
4HISRELATIONSHIPFORMEDTHEBASISFORTHEFUTUREUNIQUERELATIONNOT
ONLYBETWEENTHE9UAN%MPERORSANDTHE4IBETAN3AKYA,AMASBUTALSO
INMORERECENTHISTORY BETWEENTHE-ANCHU%MPERORSANDTHE$ALAI
,AMAS
x;4=HERELIGIOUS#Hš YšNRELATIONSHIPCANNOTBECATEGORIZEDOR
DElNEDADEQUATELYINCURRENTINTERNATIONALLEGALTERMSANDMUSTBE
REGARDEDASASUIGENERISRELATIONSHIPx
4HECONCLUSIONTHATMUSTBEREACHED THEREFORE ISTHAT-ANCHU
4IBETANRELATIONSINTHEEIGHTEENTHCENTURY WHILEFORMALLYANDSOLELY
4HE4IBET #HINA#ONmICT 

;EMPHASISADDED=BASEDONTHE#Hš YšNRELATIONSHIP INCLUDEDFEATURES


PRIMARILYCHARACTERISTICOFPROTECTORATEARRANGEMENTSˆTHOUGHTHEY
WEREOFTENCONCEIVEDINTERMSOFTRIBUTARYRELATIONSBYTHE1INGCOURT
!STHEFORMALSOURCEOFGOVERNMENTREMAINEDIN4IBETAS4IBETWASNOT
CONQUEREDORANNEXEDBYTHE%MPERORBUT RATHER WASTAKENUNDERHIS
PROTECTIONANDASTHENATUREOF-ANCHUINTERFERENCEIN4IBETANAFFAIRS
SPECIlCALLYITSFOREIGNAFFAIRS DIDNOTDIFFERFROMTHATCHARACTERISTIC
OFPROTECTORATERELATIONSHIPSANDTHEEXTENTOFACTUALINTERFERENCEWAS
LIMITEDANDBYNOMEANSCONTINUOUS THE3TATEOF4IBETNEVERCEASEDTO
EXIST4HEEXERCISEOFSOVEREIGNTYBYTHE4IBETANSWASRESTRICTEDBYTHE
-ANCHUINVOLVEMENTINTHEAFFAIRSOF4IBET BUTTHATDIDNOTRESULTIN
THEEXTINCTIONOFTHEINDEPENDENT3TATE WHICHCONTINUEDTOPOSSESSTHE
ESSENTIALATTRIBUTESOFSTATEHOOD
4HEBASIC4IBETANPOSITIONONTHEHISTORICALSTATUSOF4IBETTHATISLAID
OUTHEREHASPRETTYMUCHBEENMAINTAINEDINTACTBY4IBETANSINEXILE4WO
YEARS BEFORE THE PUBLICATION OF 4HE 3TATUS OF4IBET VAN 7ALT AUTHORED A
PAMPHLETFORTHE4IBETANGOVERNMENT IN EXILETHATPUTITRATHERSUCCINCTLY
ATTHEOUTSETh4IBETEXISTEDASANINDEPENDENTSTATEFORALMOSTTWOTHOUSAND
YEARS BEFORE THE COMMUNIST #HINESE TROOPS INVADED AND OCCUPIED THE
COUNTRYv4HE HISTORICAL ARGUMENT ADVANCED BY MANY4IBETANS IN EXILE
CONTINUESTOMAINTAINTHAT4IBETHADALWAYSBEENINDEPENDENT UNTIL#HINA
MARCHEDININTHEMIDDLEOFTHETWENTIETHCENTURY!STUDYOF4IBETS
RELATIONSWITHTHE1INGPUBLISHEDBYTHE$EPARTMENTOF3ECURITYOFTHE
4IBETANGOVERNMENT IN EXILECONCLUDED h4HEESSENCEOFANANALYSISOFTHE
ACTUAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN4IBET AND THE -ANCHUS lNDS THAT4IBET DID
NOTBELONGTOTHE-ANCHUSANDTHESITUATIONIN4IBETWASNOTONEOFACTUAL
-ANCHUADMINISTRATIONv
/NE OF THE ONLY INSTITUTIONAL INNOVATIONS OF THE 1ING THAT IS REALLY
ADDRESSEDBY4IBETANWRITERSANDCOMMENTATORSHASBEENTHERECOGNITIONOF
INCARNATIONSTHROUGHASYSTEMOFDRAWINGLOTSFROMTHE'OLDEN5RN WHICH
WAS IMPOSED AS PART OF THE  MEASURES INSTITUTED TO REFORM 4IBETAN
AFFAIRS)TISEFFECTIVELYDISMISSED WITH:HWA SGAB PASAYINGTHATINCHOOSING
THE$ALAI,AMASINTHEFOLLOWINGDECADESITWASEITHERNOTUSED ORAPRETENSE
WASMADEOFHAVINGUSEDIT6AN7ALT INTURN MAINTAINSTHATTHEEDICT
ORDERINGTHEUSEOFTHE'OLDEN5RNWASVIRTUALLYWITHOUTEFFECT
)NESSENCE THEN 4IBETANEXILEWRITERSGENERALLYDONOTDEALWITHTHE
INSTITUTIONALSTRUCTURESOR INDEED THEINSTITUTIONALRECORDSOFTHEDYNASTIC
STATES CREATED IN #HINA 4HUS THEY DESCRIBE 4IBETS RELATIONS WITH THE
 %LLIOT3PERLING

-ONGOLS AND WITH THE 9UAN COURT FROM THE SOLE PERSPECTIVE OF THE 3A
SKYA PASECTSINTERACTIONSWITH-ONGOLRULERS4IBETANDEALINGSWITHTHE
SUCCEEDING-INGDYNASTYAREGIVENONLYGLANCINGNOTICEATBEST%ARLY1ING
RELATIONSWITH4IBETAREDESCRIBEDINTHEMANNERJUSTRECOUNTEDˆIE FROM
THE STANDPOINT OF THE PRIEST PATRON RELATIONSHIP EXEMPLIlED LARGELY BY
-ANCHUINTERESTINTHE$ALAI,AMAS
4HEONEMINOREXCEPTIONTOTHEGENERALVIEWOF3INO 4IBETANRELATIONS
IS REPRESENTED BY THE SMALL BOOKLET ON THE SUBJECT AUTHORED BY 4ASHI
4SERING AND PUBLISHED IN  BY THE $EPARTMENT OF )NFORMATION AND
)NTERNATIONAL2ELATIONSOFTHE4IBETANGOVERNMENT IN EXILE4ASHI4SERING
ACKNOWLEDGESTHEREALITYOFTHE-ONGOLOCCUPATIONOF4IBET SEEINGITAS
COMMENSURATEWITHTHESITUATIONTHATPREVAILEDINOTHERCOUNTRIESUNDER
-ONGOLDOMINATION"UTHESTATESTHATTHE-ONGOLSDIDNOTMAKE4IBET
APARTOF#HINAPROPER(EALSOELABORATESONTHENATUREOF-ING 4IBETAN
RELATIONS NOTINGTHATTHEREWASNO-INGDOMINATIONOVER4IBET(EIS
ALSOMORENUANCEDTHANOTHER4IBETANWRITERSABOUTTHE1ING
4HUSWHILETHE4IBETANSVIEWEDTHERELATIONSHIPWITHTHE-ANCHUSAS
ONEOFPRIESTANDPATRON THE-ANCHUVIEWEDITASONEOFVASSALAND
OVERLORD(OWEVERITMAYBEDESCRIBED ITWASAWEAKANDCEREMONIAL
RELATIONSHIPTHROUGHOUTITSDURATION

4HE0REVAILING4IBETAN6IEWOF4IBETS(ISTORICAL3TATUS
7RITINGSFROMTHE4IBETANSIDEDOINDEEDTENDTOEMPHASIZETHELACKOF
EFFECTIVE 1ING AUTHORITY IN4IBET REGARDLESS OF THE ACTUAL ADMINISTRATIVE
STRUCTURESINPLACE4HEYPOINTTOTHEINABILITYOFTHE1INGTOEFFECTIVELY
INTERVENE IN SEVERAL CRISES INCLUDING THE 9OUNGHUSBAND EXPEDITION THE
 "RITISHMARCHON,HASA ANDAVARIETYOFINTERNAL4IBETANPOLITICAL
CONmICTS)NTHISANDSOMEOTHERRESPECTS THE4IBETANNARRATIVEHEWSCLOSELY
TO THE VIEWS OF EARLIER "RITISH WRITERS FOR WHOM THE 1ING HOLD ON4IBET
SEEMEDTENUOUSANDLOOMEDLARGELYASANIMPEDIMENTTOLEGITIMATE"RITISH
DEALINGSWITH4IBET#URZONSREMARKS CITEDATTHEBEGINNINGOFTHISPAPER
CONSTITUTETHEMOSTWELL KNOWNEXAMPLEOFTHATPOINTOFVIEW
)N ADDITION ALMOST ALL WHO WRITE FROM THE4IBETAN EXILE PERSPECTIVE
ADDUCE THE THIRTEENTH $ALAI ,AMAS DECLARATION OF 4IBETS INDEPENDENCE
FROM #HINA MADE IN  AS YET ONE MORE ITEM BOLSTERING THE CASE
FOR 4IBETAN INDEPENDENCE 4HEY ALSO PLACE SOME STRESS ON SUBSEQUENT
DEVELOPMENTSTHATTHEYVIEWASDEMONSTRATIVEOF4IBETSINDEPENDENTSTATUS
4HE4IBET #HINA#ONmICT 

OVERTHENEXTSEVERALDECADES4HESEINCLUDE4IBETSCONTACTSWITHSEVERAL
FOREIGNCOUNTRIESANDPARTICULARLYTHEVISITSOF4IBETANDELEGATIONSTOSEVERAL
COUNTRIESINTHEAFTERMATHOF7ORLD7AR)) USING4IBETANPAPERSASTHEIR
OFlCIALTRAVELDOCUMENTS
)N THE CURRENT 4IBETAN NARRATIVE 4IBETS INDEPENDENCE WAS VIOLATED
WHEN #HINA INVADED 4IBET IN  4HIS DATE WAS lXED ONLY OVER THE
COURSEOFTHES HOWEVER0REVIOUSLY #HINAWASSAIDTOHAVEINVADED
4IBETIN IE ATTHETIMETHE0EOPLES,IBERATION!RMYATTACKEDACROSS
THELINESEPARATINGTHOSEPARTSOFTHE4IBETAN0LATEAUUNDERTHEJURISDICTION
OF THE $ALAI ,AMAS GOVERNMENT FROM THE 4IBETAN TERRITORIES THAT WERE
UNDER#HINESECONTROLASPROVINCESORPARTSOFPROVINCES4HUSWElNDTHE
$ALAI,AMA INTHELETTERHEWROTETOTHE5.SECRETARY GENERALIN
STATINGTHATTHETERRITORIALINTEGRITYOF4IBETWASVIOLATEDIN4HISWAS
ALSOTHEDATETHATAPPEAREDINMOSTCOMMENTARIESONTHE4IBETISSUE4HE
$ALAI,AMAREPEATEDTHISINHISlRSTAUTOBIOGRAPHYhFROMUNTILTHE
FATEFUL YEAR OF  4IBET ENJOYED COMPLETE DE FACTO INDEPENDENCE OF
ANYOTHERNATIONv ANDALSOINANOTHERLETTERTOTHESECRETARY GENERALIN
h"ETWEENANDTHEREWASNOTEVENASEMBLANCEOF#HINESE
AUTHORITYIN4IBETx!STHEHEADOFTHE4IBETAN
'OVERNMENT)SAYTHATWHATHAPPENEDON/CTOBER )NTHECURRENT4IBETAN
  WAS A mAGRANT ACT OF AGGRESSION ON THE NARRATIVE 4IBETS
PARTOF#HINAAGAINSTMYCOUNTRYv4HISDATEFOR
THE0,!SINVASIONOF4IBETCAMETOBEGENERALLY INDEPENDENCEWAS
ACCEPTEDOUTSIDETHE02# THOUGHHEREANDTHERE VIOLATEDWHEN#HINA
ASCANBESEENBELOW THEDATEOFHASEVEN
BEEN GIVEN IMPLYING THAT IT WAS THE #HINESE INVADED4IBETIN
SUPPRESSIONOFTHE4IBETANREVOLTANDABOLITIONOF
THE$ALAI,AMASGOVERNMENTTHATCONSTITUTEDTHEREALBREAKWITH4IBETS
EARLIERSTATUS
!SSERTIONSANDTHE(ISTORICAL2ECORD
(OWACCURATEARETHECLAIMSTHATHAVEBEENUSEDTOBUILDTHECORECASESTHAT
HAVEBEENMADEABOUTTHESTATUSOF4IBET)TSHOULDALREADYBEOBVIOUSTHAT
MANY OF THESE CLAIMS HAVE FAR SHORTER PEDIGREES SO TO SPEAK THAN MANY
MIGHTIMAGINESIMPLYFROMLOOKINGATTHEMOSTRECENTELUCIDATIONSOFTHE
CASESFOR4IBETSSTATUSASEITHERAPARTOF#HINAORANINDEPENDENTSTATE
4HEY ARE RELATIVELY RECENT CONSTRUCTS4HIS IS NOT TO DISMISS THEM OUT OF
HAND BUTITIMPOSESTHETASK WHEREPOSSIBLE OFMEASURINGTHESECLAIMS
 %LLIOT3PERLING

AND VIEWS AGAINST EXTANT SOURCE MATERIALS AND EARLIER INTERPRETATIONS OF
4IBETSRELATIONSHIPTO#HINA
!TTHEOUTSETWEHAVEINTERPRETATIONSTHATHAVEFORMEDOVERTHECOURSE
OFTHELASTCENTURYBUTTHATPURPORTTOPRESENTAVIEWTHATDEVELOPEDMUCH
EARLIER7ECANSTARTMOSTCONVENIENTLYWITHTHEBASICPREMISEINTHE#HINESE
ARGUMENTTHENOTIONTHAT4IBETBECAMEANINTEGRALPARTOF#HINADURING
THEPERIODOF-ONGOLRULE7HATISMOSTSTRIKINGISTHATONEDOESNOTlND
THISINTERPRETATIONATALLINTHECENTURIESOF#HINESEHISTORIOGRAPHYTHATLAY
BETWEENTHE9UANPERIODANDTHEESTABLISHMENTOFTHE02#4HISISNOTTO
DENYTHEREALITYOF-ONGOLDOMINATIONOF4IBET BUTTHATDOMINATIONIS
SOMETHINGQUITEDIFFERENTFROM4IBETSBEINGAPARTOF#HINA
/FlCIAL #HINESE HISTORIOGRAPHY HAS RECORDED OVER THE COURSE OF
SEVERAL DYNASTIES THE SHAPE OF #HINA4HE GEOGRAPHIC RANGE OF THE STATE
ISDELINEATEDQUITECLEARLYINTHECHAPTERSONGEOGRAPHYDILIZHI‫چ‬෻‫ ݳ‬
INTHERESPECTIVEOFlCIALDYNASTICHISTORIES!ND4IBETISSIMPLYNOTFOUND
WITHINTHE#HINESESTATEDURINGTHE9UAN!SARESULT THEREISSOMETHING
QUITEINTERESTINGABOUTASSERTIONSREGARDING4IBETSINCORPORATIONINTO9UAN
#HINATHEREISNOAGREEMENTASTOWHENTHISHAPPENED4HEWHITE
PAPER PUBLISHED BY THE )NFORMATION /FlCE OF THE 3TATE #OUNCIL OF THE
02# DATED IT TO AFTER THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE
4IBETISSIMPLYNOTFOUND 9UAN CENTRAL GOVERNMENT THE SAME DOCUMENT
WITHINTHE#HINESESTATE DATES THE ESTABLISHMENT OF CENTRALIZED9UAN RULE
TO   ! VOLUME BROUGHT OUT UNDER THE
DURINGTHE9UAN AUSPICES OF THE 0ROPAGANDA $EPARTMENT OF THE
4IBET !UTONOMOUS 2EGION 0ARTY #OMMITTEE
8IZANG ZIZHIQU DANGWEI XUANCHUANBU 㽔㮤㞿⊐ए‫ྩܯ‬ᅸӵ䚽 PUT IT
SOMEWHATDIFFERENTLY
)NTHE-ONGOL1ANATEDESIGNATED9UANASTHETITLEOFTHEIRSTATE
ANDESTABLISHEDACENTRALPOLITICALAUTHORITYFORTHEGREATUNITYOF
ALLOF#HINASREGIONSANDNATIONALITIES4HE4IBETREGIONBECAMEAN
ADMINISTRATIVEAREAUNDERTHEDIRECTCONTROLOFTHECENTRALGOVERNMENT
OF#HINAS9UAN$YNASTY
!NDINANOTHERSTUDYOF4IBETSHISTORYWEREAD
4HEIMPLEMENTATIONOF9UANRULEANDADMINISTRATIONOF4IBETSTARTED
APPROXIMATELYINTHEMID THIRTEENTHCENTURY)N1UBILAIMOVED
HISCAPITALTO"EIJINGANDINTHESAMEYEARESTABLISHEDTHE:ONGZHIYUAN
WITHINTHECENTRALGOVERNMENT4HEFULLNAMEOFTHE:ONGZHIYUANISTHE
4HE4IBET #HINA#ONmICT 

3HIJIAO:ONGZHIYUANh3UPREME#ONTROL#OMMISSIONFOR"UDDHISMv
ANDITSESTABLISHMENTWASWHOLLYAPRODUCTOFTHEUNIQUEINGENUITYOF
THE-ONGOLRULERS)TWASANOFlCEWITHADOUBLEFUNCTION TOHANDLE
THERESPONSIBILITYFORMANAGING"UDDHISTAFFAIRSFORTHEWHOLECOUNTRY
INCLUDINGTHE(ANREGIONSAND TODIRECTLYGOVERNTHE4IBETAN
NATIONALITYAREAS
4HERE IS A DEGREE OF VAGUENESS IN MANY #HINESE COMMENTS ON THE
QUESTION OF 4IBETS INCORPORATION INTO #HINA DURING THE 9UAN AND
INDEEDTHEWHOLEQUESTIONOF-ONGOLRULEOVER4IBETISCOMPLEX!SONE
STUDY OF4IBETS STATUS SAYS hA GENERAL OUTLINE OF THE ACTUAL RULE AND FULL
ADMINISTRATION OF THE4IBETAN AREA BY THE CENTRAL AUTHORITY OF THE 9UAN
$YNASTY INVOLVES HISTORICAL FACTS THAT ARE TOO NUMEROUS TO MENTION AND
CANNOT BE SET OUT HERE ONE BY ONEv !S A RESULT MOST #HINESE SOURCES
PRESENT A NARRATIVE OF ONLY THE BASIC EVENTS IN THE EVOLUTION OF 4IBETS
DOMINATIONBYTHE-ONGOLSANDBYTHE9UANDYNASTY"UTTHEFACTREMAINS
THATBEINGSUBJECTTOTHE9UANAS4IBETINDEEDWAS ISNOTIPSOFACTOTHE
SAMETHINGASBEINGAPARTOF#HINA4HEANALYSESTHATHAVECOMEOUTOF
THE02#AREUNIFORMINNOTENTERTAININGTHEPOSSIBILITYTHATTHE9UANWAS
ANEMPIREWITHCONSTITUENTELEMENTSTHATWERENOTINTEGRALPARTSOF#HINA
)N CONTRAST THE INTERPRETATIONS OF 9UAN HISTORY PRODUCED OUTSIDE #HINA
OVERWHELMINGLY VIEW THE SITUATION AS ONE OF A -ONGOL %MPIRE 1UBILAI
1AȖAN FORINSTANCE CLEARLYPRESENTEDHIMSELFASTHERULEROFSUCH7ITHIN
THISCONTEXT THEN THEREISNOFORMALACTORINCIDENTTHATAPPENDED4IBET
TOTHE#HINESEPORTIONOFTHEEMPIRE!NDWHENTHE9UANCOLLAPSEDAND
THE -ING WROTE THE PREVIOUS DYNASTYS HISTORY THE OFlCIAL GEOGRAPHICAL
DESCRIPTIONOFTHE9UANNATURALLYOMITTED4IBETAS#HINESETERRITORY
3EVERALWORKSPRODUCEDIN#HINADO HOWEVER ENGAGEEXPLICITLYWITH
THE POSITIONS OF :HWA SGAB PA AND VAN 7ALT !ND HERE THEY ARE ON
lRMERGROUND FORTHEPRIEST PATRONRELATIONSHIP INVOKEDASIFTODENYA
RELATIONSHIPOFPOLITICALSUBORDINATION PRESENTSLESSTHANAFULLPICTUREOF
4IBETS HISTORICAL RELATIONSHIP WITH #HINA4HE PRIEST PATRON RELATIONSHIP
HASBEENAFEATUREOF4IBETANPOLITICALANDRELIGIOUSLIFEFORCENTURIES)THAS
EXISTED UNDER A VARIETY OF CIRCUMSTANCES THAT LINKED4IBETAN CLERICS WITH
BOTHINTERNALANDEXTERNALRULERSANDPOWERS4HEPRIEST PATRONRELATIONSHIP
HASBEENPRESENTDURINGPERIODSINWHICH4IBETWASSUBORDINATETOSECULAR
POWERSACTINGASRELIGIOUSPATRONSEG 1UBILAI1AȖAN ASWELLASDURING
PERIODSINWHICHTHOSEPOWERSHADNOREALPOLITICALAUTHORITYIN4IBETˆ
INDEED SUCHWASTHECASEWITHTHEDYNASTYTHATSUCCEEDEDTHE9UAN THE
 %LLIOT3PERLING

-INGDYNASTY
4HEGENERALOPINIONEVINCEDINMOSTMODERN#HINESEACCOUNTSOF4IBET
DURINGTHE-INGIS ASALREADYMENTIONED THATTHE-INGSIMPLYMAINTAINED
THESYSTEMTHATHADBEENESTABLISHEDBYTHE9UANFORTHEADMINISTRATIONOF
4IBET WITH SOME MODIlCATIONS )N PART THIS MEANT THE GRANTING OF TITLES
TO IMPORTANT4IBETAN lGURES SO AS TO MAINTAIN A HIERARCHICAL SYSTEM OF
RANKING)NADDITION MUCHASTHE9UANHADESTABLISHEDVARIOUSOFlCESFOR
ADMINISTERING4IBETANAFFAIRS SOTOO #HINESECOMMENTATORSNOTE DIDTHE
-INGESTABLISHOFlCESFORHANDLING4IBETANAFFAIRS4HEADMINISTRATIONOF
4IBETUNDERTHE-INGISDESCRIBEDINONEVOLUMEASFOLLOWS
!TTHEBEGINNINGOFTHE-ING$YNASTY THE8IANBRANCHREGIONAL
MILITARYCOMMISSIONWASESTABLISHEDAT(EZHOUTOGOVERNTHE4IBETAN
AREASOFTHEWHOLECOUNTRY!FTERWARDSTHISWASCHANGEDANDTHEREWERE
ESTABLISHEDA-DO KHAMSBRANCHREGIONALMILITARYCOMMISSIONAND
AN$BUS 'TSANGBRANCHREGIONALMILITARYCOMMISSION DIVIDINGUP
THEADMINISTRATIONOFTHE4IBETANAREASx4HE-DO KHAMSBRANCH
REGIONALMILITARYCOMMISSIONWASCENTEREDAROUND8INING IN1INGHAI
ANDGOVERNEDTHE! MDO4IBETANREGIONx4HESPHEREOFGOVERNING
AUTHORITYOFTHE$BUS 'TSANGBRANCHREGIONALMILITARYCOMMISSION
ENCOMPASSEDTHEGREATERPARTOFPRESENT DAY4IBET
4HIS DESCRIPTION MORE OR LESS REmECTS WHAT IS DEPICTED IN THE RELEVANT
#HINESE RECORDS PARTICULARLY THE -ING SHILU IN AN ENTRY FOR !UGUST
  )N THIS ENTRY THERE IS AN INTERESTING PASSAGE RECOUNTING THE
ELEVATION OF A #HINESE OFlCIAL 7EI :HENG ଁ‫  إ‬FROM THE POSITION OF
COMMANDER #H ZHIHUISHI ਐཀࠌ OF THE (EZHOU ࣾ‫ ڠ‬GUARD TO THAT
OF REGIONAL MILITARY COMMISSIONER #H DUZHIHUISHI ຟਐཀࠌ  (E WAS
NOWTHEHIGHESTRANKINGOFlCIALIN(EZHOUAND WEARETOLD GIVENGENERAL
GOVERNING AUTHORITY OVER (EZHOU -DO +HAMS AND $BUS 'TSANGˆIE
ALLOF4IBET4HEIMPORTOFTHISISCONSIDERABLE IFONEISTOASSUMETHATTHE
-INGDYNASTYCONTINUEDTODOMINATE4IBETASTHE9UANHAD FORTHISMAKES
7EI:HENGTHEMOSTPOWERFULPOLITICALlGUREIN4IBETATTHEBEGINNINGOF
THE-ING APROPOSITIONTHATIS ONITSFACE FARCICAL7EI:HENGISWHOLLY
UNKNOWN IN4IBETAN HISTORICAL LITERATURE -ORE TO THE POINT THE OFlCES
BEARINGTHENAMESOF-DO +HAMSAND$BUS 'TSANGWERENOTESTABLISHED
IN4IBETPROPERBUTREMAINEDINTHEBORDERREGIONSAROUND(EZHOUAND
8INING۫ኑ4HEYWERENOTINANYWAYAPARTOFTHEACTUALPOLITICALPOWER
STRUCTUREOF4IBET
4HE4IBET #HINA#ONmICT 

3IMILARLYEXAGGERATEDISTHESIGNIlCANCEOFTHETITLESTHATWEREGRANTED
TO 4IBETANS BY THE -ING 4HESE TITLES WHICH HAVE ALREADY BEEN NOTED
ABOVE WEREHONORSTHATCONVEYEDPRESTIGEANDRECOGNITION BUTTHEYDID
NOTCONFERPOLITICALAUTHORITY)NPOINTOFFACT THEGRANTOFTITLESIN#HINA
TOFOREIGNERSWASNOTUNUSUALITWASAWELL KNOWNTOOLOFSTATECRAFT"UT
INTHECASEOFTHREE4IBETANHIERARCHSWHOWEREACCORDEDTHETITLEFAWANG
? ?
ORDHARMARAJA #HINESECOMMENTATORSESSENTIALLYPRESENTTHEBESTOWALOF
THESETITLESASBOTHAMARKOF#HINESESOVEREIGNTYANDAPOLITICALMEASURE
BYWHICHTHE-INGEXERTEDCONTROLOVER4IBETAN"UDDHISM4HESETHREE
FAWANG WERE HONORED AS SUCH BECAUSE THEY TRAVELED TO THE -ING COURT
WHERE THEY PERFORMED RITES AND CONFERRED INITIATIONS UPON THE EMPEROR
SPECIlCALLY -ING#HENGZUࣔ‫ګ‬లAND-ING8UANZONGࣔ৙ࡲ 4HUS
THEIRPRESTIGEANDPOSITIONSWEREESTABLISHEDWELLBEFORETHEYEVERWENTTO
#HINA,ESTTHEREBEANYDOUBTABOUTTHEAUTHORITYOFTHE-INGCOURTIN
THESEMATTERS THEREISTHEAFOREMENTIONEDCASEOF4SONG KHA PA"LO BZANG
GRAGS PA ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT lGURES OF
THEPERIOD)NVITEDTOTHECOURTOF#HENGZU HE 4HESETITLESxWERE
SIMPLY REFUSED TO GO AND SENT A DISCIPLE INSTEAD HONORSTHATCONVEYED
WHOLATERBECAMEONEOFTHETHREEFAWANG 
!S FOR THE LESSER TITLES AWARDED 4IBETANS PRESTIGEANDRECOGNITION
DURING THE -ING MANY OF THESE WERE GIVEN TO BUTTHEYDIDNOTCONFER
lGURES ACTIVE ALONG THE -ING 4IBETAN FRONTIER
"UT OTHERS WERE AWARDED TO lGURES INSIDE4IBET POLITICALAUTHORITY
WHOWERESTILLNOTSUBORDINATETOTHE-INGCOURT
4HERE IS NO INDICATION AT ALL IN4IBETAN SOURCESˆOR IN #HINESE SOURCES
FOR THAT MATTERˆTHAT ANY OF THOSE INSIDE 4IBET EXERTED POWER OR ACTED
ON BEHALF OF THE -ING COURT "LUNTLY PUT THERE WAS NO -ING POLITICAL
AUTHORITY OVER 4IBETˆNO ORDINANCES LAWS TAXES ETC IMPOSED INSIDE
4IBETBYTHE-ING
)FTHESUBSTANTIVESIGNIlCANCEOFTHESE-INGSTRUCTURESISMISREPRESENTED
IN #HINESE WRITINGS THE 1ING INSTITUTION OF THE 'OLDEN 5RN IS NOT
ACCORDEDITSTRUEIMPORTIN4IBETANWRITINGS!SWEHAVESEEN THEUSEOF
THEURNWASIMPOSEDINTHEWAKEOFTHE'URKHAWARWITH4IBETATTHEEND
OFTHEEIGHTEENTHCENTURY4HE1INGHADSLOWLYTAKENONANINCREASINGLY
DOMINANTROLEIN4IBET SOMUCHSOTHATBYTHEENDOFTHEEIGHTEENTHCENTURY
THESUBORDINATEPLACEOF4IBETWITHINTHE1ING%MPIREWASBEYONDDISPUTE
4HEMEMOIRSOFONEOFTHE4IBETANMINISTERSINVOLVEDINTHE'URKHAWAR
AND IMPLICATED IN ITS ESCALATION ARE TELLING 3UMMONED TO "EIJING FOR AN
 %LLIOT3PERLING

INQUEST HEMAKESCLEARINHISOWNACCOUNTTHEFACTHEWASUNAMBIGUOUSLY
? ?
ASUBJECTOFTHE1INGEMPERORWHOMHEDESCRIBESAShTHEDHARMARAJA LORD
OFALLBELOWHEAVENANDABOVEEARTHTHE-A¶JUSR | eEMPEROR)TISSIMPLYNOT
POSSIBLETOCHALK1ING 4IBETANRELATIONSUPTOAPRIEST PATRONRELATIONSHIP
ONAPERSONALLEVELWITHNOELEMENTOFPOLITICALSUBORDINATION
4HE USE OF THE 'OLDEN 5RN IS PARTICULARLY CONTENTIOUS BECAUSE IT
REPRESENTSTHEINTRUSIONOF1INGAUTHORITYINTOTHESELECTIONOFIMPORTANT
LAMAS MOST PROMINENTLY THE $ALAI ,AMAS .EVERTHELESS IT IS CLEAR FROM
4IBETANSOURCESTHATITSUSEWASREQUIREDFORSOMETIME ATLEAST)NTHE
EARLY NINETEENTH CENTURY A SURVEY OF ALL CONTEMPORARY INCARNATIONS WAS
COMPILED THAT SPECIlED WHICH ONES HAD ACTUALLY BEEN SELECTED BY MEANS
OFTHE'OLDEN5RN4HESURVEYLISTMAKESITCLEARTHATTHE'OLDEN5RN
WASNOTLIMITEDTOTHE$ALAI,AMAANDTHE0ANCHEN,AMA4HEFOURTEENTH
+ARMA PA 4HEG MCHOG RDO RJE IS ALSO NOTED AS HAVING BEEN CHOSEN
THROUGHITSUSE4HERECANBELITTLEDOUBTTHATTHE1INGHADTHEAUTHORITY
TOIMPOSETHEUSEOFTHE'OLDEN5RN.ORCANTHEREBEANYDOUBTABOUT
THE REAL AUTHORITY IN 4IBETAN AFFAIRS EXERTED BY THE OFlCES AND OFlCIALS
THAT THE 1ING POSTED IN4IBET )T IS OF COURSE TRUE THAT FOR MOST OF THE
NINETEENTHCENTURY1INGAUTHORITYTHEREWASWEAK"UTTHATAUTHORITYWAS
STILLACKNOWLEDGEDBYTHE$ALAI,AMASGOVERNMENTUNTIL WHENTHE
THIRTEENTH$ALAI,AMADECLARED4IBETTOBEFREEOF#HINA
)TSHOULDBECLEARTHATMUCHOFWHATISCLAIMEDBYBOTHSIDESINTHE
4IBET #HINACONmICTCOMESDOWNTORATHERRECENTCONSTRUCTIONSOFHISTORY
"EARING THIS IN MIND IT MAY BE USEFUL TO LOOK FURTHER AT SOME OF THESE
CONSTRUCTIONSWITHINTHECONTEXTOFTHELARGERISSUESTHATTHEYBOTHRESPOND
TOANDREmECT!GLANCEATFOUROFTHEMOREOBVIOUSINSTANCESINWHICHTHE
HISTORICALRECORDISATVARIANCEWITHCURRENTASSERTIONSOUGHTTOILLUSTRATETO
SOMEEXTENTTHEFACTORSATWORK4HESEHAVELARGELYBEENEXAMINEDABOVE
BUTADDITIONALCOMMENTSABOUTTHEMASTHEYAPPEARSETAGAINSTOTHERISSUES
OFCULTURE POLITICS ORIDENTITYSHOULDSHEDMORELIGHTONTHEWAYINWHICH
THEYHAVEBECOMESUCHCONSIDERABLEIMPEDIMENTSTOATTEMPTSATDEALING
WITHTHEISSUEOF4IBETSSTATUS
)NTEGRAL0ARTOF#HINAOR6ASSAL3TATE
.OTONLYISTHENOTIONTHAT4IBETHASBEENANINTEGRALPARTOF#HINASINCE
THE9UANDYNASTYATWENTIETH CENTURYIDEA INTOTHESTHEPREDOMINANT
VIEWWASTHAT4IBETSRELATIONSWITHLATEIMPERIAL#HINAWEREBESTDESCRIBED
AS THOSE OF A VASSAL SOMETHING QUITE OPPOSITE TO AN INTEGRAL PART OF A
COUNTRY!SWEHAVEALREADYSEEN #HINESEWRITERS WELLINTOTHEEARLYYEARS
4HE4IBET #HINA#ONmICT 

OFTHE02# SAWTHEFULLIMPLEMENTATIONOF#HINESESOVEREIGNTYIN4IBET
COMINGONLYAFTERTHE'URKHAWAR4HISISSTARKLYDIFFERENTFROMWHATHAS
NOWBECOMERECEIVEDWISDOMINTHE02# NAMELYTHAT4IBETSPLACEASAN
INTEGRALPARTOF#HINADATESTOTHE9UAN-OREOVER EVENWHENSPEAKING
OF THE 1ING PERIOD AND 4IBETS STATUS UNDER THE 1ING THE TERMS USED
BY THESE EARLIER WRITERS CANNOT BE SAID TO POINT TO SOMETHING hINTEGRALv
TOTHE#HINESESTATE2ATHER THEYPOINTTOA4IBETTHATISATRIBUTARYORA
DEPENDENCYˆIE SOMETHINGTHATCANNOTBECALLEDhINTEGRALv4HISISNOT
TO SAY THAT4IBET WAS NOT SUBJECT TO THE 1ING OR THAT THE INTERNATIONAL
COMMUNITYDURINGTHE1INGPERIODDIDNOTACCEPTTHATFACT"UTTHE1ING
STATEINITSDAYWASVIEWEDASANEMPIRE ASINDEEDITWASANEMPIRE!ND
THE TERMS THAT WE SEE BEING USED TO CHARACTERIZE4IBET WITHIN THE 1ING
REALMSARETERMSTHATSPEAKOFAPARTOFANEMPIRE NOTANhINTEGRALvPART
OF#HINA4HE1INGRULERSMAINTAINEDSOMEVERYCLEARBOUNDARIESBETWEEN
THEIRRULEOF#HINAONTHEONEHANDANDTHEIRRULEOFREGIONSSUCHAS4IBET
OR-ONGOLIAONTHEOTHER)NDEED BOTHREGIONSFELLUNDERTHEJURISDICTION
OF THE ,IFANYUAN ⧛㮾䰷 COMMONLY TRANSLATED AS h#OURT OF #OLONIAL
!FFAIRSv ABUREAUTHATALSOHANDLED1INGRELATIONSWITH2USSIAINTOTHE
NINETEENTH CENTURY 7HEN :HAO %RFENG ᎓ዿ᠆ THE LAST MAJOR 1ING
OFlCIAL DEALING WITH4IBETAN AFFAIRS TOOK UP THE MILITARY PACIlCATION OF
THEEASTERN3INO 4IBETANBORDERLANDS HEDESCRIBEDHISENTERPRISETHEREAS
ACOLONIALONE COMPARABLETOTHOSEOFTHE"RITISH &RENCH *APANESE AND
!MERICANSIN!SIAAND!FRICA
4HETERMSUSEDTODESCRIBE4IBETUNDERTHE1INGFANBANGᢋ߶ FANSHU
ᢋ᥆ ETC AREGENERALLYTRANSLATEDAShVASSALSTATEvORSOMETHINGSIMILAR
! RECENT ARTICLE MAINTAINS THAT FANSHU ARE NOT LIKE OTHER TRIBUTE PAYING
REGIONSINTHATTHEFORMERFALLUNDERTHEFULLSOVEREIGNADMINISTRATIONOF
#HINA BUTTHATISNOTTHEPOINTTHOUGHANIMPERIALPOWERCANEXERCISE
FULLSOVEREIGNRULEOVERASUBJECTCOUNTRY THISINITSELFDOESNOTMAKETHAT
COUNTRYANINALIENABLEORINTEGRALPARTOFTHEIMPERIALCOUNTRY
3ETTINGASIDETHEISSUEOFFANSHU HOWEVER ITISSTILLMANIFESTLYCLEAR
THAT#HINESEWRITERSHAVECOMETOVIEWPRE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY4IBETAS
lRMLYUNDER#HINESESOVEREIGNTYONLYDURINGTHELASTlVEDECADES4HIS
CHANGE HAS BEEN PART OF A LARGER ENTERPRISE OF DElNING #HINA AND THE
#HINESE PEOPLE IN A NEW WAY ONE IN WHICH ELEMENTS OF PAST IMPERIAL
DOMINATION HAVE BEEN SUPPRESSED AND PREVIOUSLY SUBJECT PEOPLES lTTED
INTOTHECATEGORYOFhNATIONALMINORITYv)NTHECASEOF4IBET WHERETHE
HISTORICALMEMORYENCOMPASSESASENSEOFNATIONHOODANDAKNOWLEDGE
 %LLIOT3PERLING

OFATIMEWHEN4IBETANSPRESIDEDOVERA4IBETANSTATE ADMINISTEREDBYA
4IBETAN BUREAUCRACY USING4IBETAN LANGUAGE ADMINISTRATIVE DOCUMENTS
ANDTOOLS THEPERSISTENCEOFTENSIONSISNOTSURPRISING4HECATEGORYOF
hNATIONAL MINORITYv ULTIMATELY REDUCES4IBETANS TO A PAR WITH A VARIETY
OFOTHERGROUPS MANYNUMBERINGJUSTTENSOFTHOUSANDSORFEWER AND
HAVING NO SIMILAR NATIONAL HISTORY OR CONSCIOUSNESS 9ET THIS DElNITION
OF THE #HINESE NATION HAS BEEN CREATED AND SUCCESSFULLY INCULCATED IN
THEGENERALPOPULATIONOFTHE02#.OW REGARDLESSOFPASTHISTORY MOST
#HINESE DO INDEED FEEL THAT 4IBET BELONGS TO #HINA AND HAS BEEN AN
INSEPARABLE PART OF THE COUNTRY SINCE ANCIENT
#HINESEWRITERSHAVE TIMES
COMETOVIEWPRE 4HISCULTURALSENSEOFWHATISRIGHTLY#HINAS
ISALSOBOUNDUPWITHTHENOTIONTHATANYATTEMPT
EIGHTEENTH CENTURY4IBET TO SEPARATE 4IBET FROM #HINA IS ULTIMATELY THE
ASlRMLYUNDER#HINESE RESULT OF FOREIGN MACHINATIONS OR INCITEMENT
DERIVED FROM EARLIER IMPERIALIST POLICIES THAT
SOVEREIGNTYONLYDURING SOUGHTTODIVIDEUP#HINA4HESENSEOFPOPULAR
THELASTlVEDECADES GRIEVANCE THIS PLAYS ON HAS COMMONLY BEEN
MARSHALED IN BOOKS AND ESSAYS POINTING TO THE
IMPERIALIST PROVENANCE OF 4IBETAN INDEPENDENCE )NDEED THE #HINESE
RESPONSETONON #HINESEWRITERSANDSCHOLARSWHOSEE4IBETASPOSSESSING
A HISTORICAL IDENTITY SEPARATE FROM #HINA HAS BEEN TO TAR THEM WITH THE
COLONIALISTLABEL"UTTHEFACTIS 4IBETWASHISTORICALLYNOTAPARTOF#HINA
RATHER 4IBETSSUBORDINATERELATIONSHIPTOTHE1INGISMOREAPTLYDESCRIBED
WITH THE FEUDAL TERMINOLOGY OF VASSALAGE THAT #HINESE WRITERS PREVIOUSLY
USEDFORIT
4HE0RIEST 0ATRON2ELATIONSHIP
4HEPRIEST PATRONRELATIONSHIPCOEXISTEDWITH4IBETSPOLITICALSUBORDINATION
TO THE 9UAN AND THE 1ING 4HERE IS SIMPLY NOTHING TO SUBSTANTIATE THE
NOTION THAT THE PRIEST PATRON RELATIONSHIP EXCLUDED POLITICAL DOMINATION
)TEXISTED ASWEHAVESEEN BETWEEN4IBETANHIERARCHSANDEMPERORSOFTHE
9UAN -ING AND1INGDYNASTIES INCLUDINGPERIODSINWHICHTHE-INGAND
1ING DID NOT EXERCISE AUTHORITY OVER4IBET .EVERTHELESS IT HAS BECOME
COMMONFOR4IBETANEXILECOMMENTATORSTOSEETHERELATIONSHIPASUNIQUELY
PERSONALANDIDEASOF4IBETSSUBORDINATIONTO9UANOR-INGEMPERORSASA
MISUNDERSTANDINGOFTHATFACT
(ERE TOO WEHAVEACULTURALNOTIONATWORKASANATIONALIDEAISDElNED
ANEW)NTHISCASETHEPROCESSISACOMPLEXONE INVOLVINGINPART4IBETAN
4HE4IBET #HINA#ONmICT 

INTERACTIONWITHTHE7ESTANDTHEASSIMILATIONOFMODERNIDEASABOUT4IBET
ASANEXCEPTIONALREALMOFAUNIQUELYRELIGIOUSCULTURE/NESEESTHISIDEA
DEVELOPINGTHROUGHANINCREASINGDE EMPHASIS AMONGTHEEXILELEADERSHIP
ONTHEhNATIONALvASPECTSOFWHATHADONCEBEEN
A MOVEMENT FOR INDEPENDENCE AND THAT TO BE 4HEREISSIMPLYNOTHING
HONEST REMAINS AS SUCH AMONG MOST 4IBETAN TOSUBSTANTIATETHE
EXILES AND ACTIVISTS  !T THE HIGHER LEVELS OF THE
4IBETANGOVERNMENT IN EXILEITHASDEVOLVEDINTO NOTIONTHATTHEPRIEST
AMOVEMENTFORCULTURALPRESERVATION!SIFTAKING PATRONRELATIONSHIP
ACUEFROM7ESTERNFANTASIESOF4IBETASTHEPLACE
WHEREINALLISCENTEREDAROUNDSPIRITUALPURSUITS EXCLUDEDPOLITICAL
THE4IBETANEXILEAUTHORITIESAREINCREASINGLYGIVEN DOMINATION
TO SPEAKING OF4IBET LARGELY AS A GLOBAL RELIGIOUS
ANDSPIRITUALRESOURCE FORWHICHINDEPENDENCEASANATIONISUNIMPORTANT
4HEPRESENTEXILEPRIMEMINISTER 3AMDHONG2INPOCHE TOLDTHE.EW9ORK
4IMESASMUCHIN*ULY!SARESULT ONEENCOUNTERSANINCREASINGLY
MUDDLED VIEW OF THE NATURE OF 3INO 4IBETAN RELATIONS IN SOME QUARTERS
OF THE 4IBETAN EXILE LEADERSHIP !GAINST THIS BACKGROUND THE IMPETUS TO
MAKE RELIGION THE OVERWHELMING CORE OF4IBETS IDENTITYˆAGAIN PARTIALLY
INRESPONSETONON 4IBETANEXPECTATIONSˆWOULDSEEMTOHAVEFOSTEREDAN
INABILITYINSOMEQUARTERSTOUNDERSTANDTHEHARDPOLITICALFACTSOF4IBETS
TIESWITHTHE9UANAND1INGCOURTS
4HE'OLDEN5RN
4HE'OLDEN5RNWASUSEDTOSELECT4IBETANINCARNATIONSDURINGTHE1ING
BUT ITS INVOCATION IN THE RECOGNITION OF CONTEMPORARY INCARNATIONS IS A
SELECTIVE RESPONSE TO POLITICAL EXIGENCIES )N SPITE OF EXILE INTERPRETATIONS
TOTHECONTRARY THE'OLDEN5RNLOTTERYWASUSEDIN4IBETINTHECASESOFA
NUMBEROFINCARNATIONS"UTITSREVIVALASAPRESENT DAYDEVICECANNOTBE
SEENASANYTHINGBUTCYNICAL4HEUSEOFTHE'OLDEN5RNWASNOTCONSTANT
BY THE LATE 1ING AND IT SUBSEQUENTLY FELL INTO DISUSE )T WAS AFTER ALL A
1INGDEVICEIMPOSEDONTHE4IBETAN"UDDHISTAUTHORITIES/NECANNOTBUT
NOTE SOMEWHATWRYLY THATAFTERALMOSTACENTURYOFRHETORICONTHEPART
OFBOTHTHE2EPUBLICANANDTHE3OCIALISTGOVERNMENTSOF#HINADEPICTING
THEPOLICIESOFTHE1INGUPPERSTRATAASDIVISIVEANDOPPRESSIVETOWARDTHE
BORDERLANDORMINORITYPEOPLES THE02#HASCHOSENTORESURRECTTHISONE
PARTICULAR1INGINSTITUTION SPECIlCALLYWITHREGARDTOTHERECOGNITIONOF
THE0ANCHEN,AMA MAINTAININGTHATITISABSOLUTELYNECESSARYINCHOOSING
AN INCARNATION )T GOES WITHOUT SAYING THAT THERE HAS NOT BEEN A RUSH
 %LLIOT3PERLING

TO RESTORE ANY OTHER 1ING INSTITUTIONS ACROSS MODERN #HINA "UT GIVEN
WHATWEKNOWABOUTTHEUSEOFTHE'OLDEN5RN ITISINTERESTINGTONOTE
THAT ALTHOUGH THE FOURTEENTH +ARMA PA WAS RECOGNIZED THROUGH THE USE
OFTHE'OLDEN5RNATTHEBEGINNINGOFTHENINETEENTHCENTURY ALLREPORTS
OF THE RECOGNITION AND ENTHRONEMENT OF THE SEVENTEENTH +ARMA PA IN
 INDICATE THAT THIS WAS NOT THE CASE WITH HIM4HE REVIVED USE OF
THE'OLDEN5RNISMEANTTOIMPARTLEGITIMACYTO
;THE'OLDEN5RNS= 02#CONTROLOVERTHEINCARNATIONOFHIGHLAMAS
BYCREATINGTHEPERCEPTIONOFHISTORICALCONTINUITY
REVIVALASAPRESENT DAY WITH A PARTICULAR EYE TO 02# SUPERVISION OF THE
DEVICECANNOTBESEENAS RECOGNITIONOFTHE$ALAI,AMASNEXTINCARNATION
4HE USE OF THE 'OLDEN 5RN IS ONE OF THE FEW
ANYTHINGBUTCYNICAL ELEMENTS OF IMPERIAL DYNASTIC RULE THAT CAN BE
CALLEDONTOREINFORCETHEMODERN#HINESENOTION
THAT#HINASCENTRALGOVERNMENTSENJOYEDPRIMACYIN4IBETANAFFAIRSFROM
THE9UANPERIODUPTOTHEPRESENT4HENOTIONTHAT4IBETSOMEHOWWARRANTS
THERESTORATIONOFTHISELEMENTOF1INGRULEISBESTVIEWEDASPARTOFALARGER
STRUGGLETOBRINGHISTORYANDHISTORICALPRECEDENTTOBEARONTHELEGITIMACY
OF02#POLICIESANDRULEIN4IBETTODAY
4HE)NVASION1UESTION OR7HAT#ONSTITUTES4IBET
4IBETWASNOTINVADEDBY#HINAIN NORWERE4IBETANSIGNORANTOF
THE NAME OF THEIR COUNTRY4HESE LAST TWO POINTSˆPURPOSELY PHRASED SO
ASTORAISEEYEBROWSˆARECONNECTEDONCEMOREWITHTHEATTEMPTTODElNE
ASPECIlCVISIONOFANATION4HEYAREUSEFULINPOINTINGOUTTHEDEGREEOF
AMBIGUITY CONTRADICTION AND EVEN STRAINED ILLOGICAL INVENTION THAT GOES
INTOSUCHANENTERPRISE
4HE lRST POINT RELATES TO THE IDEA OF WHAT4IBET IS EXACTLY7E HAVE
ALREADY NOTED THAT IN  WHEN THE 0,! ATTACKED ACROSS THE FRONTIER
SEPARATING THE TERRITORIES UNDER THE $ALAI ,AMAS JURISDICTION FROM OTHER
PARTSOFTHE4IBETAN0LATEAU THE4IBETANGOVERNMENTCLAIMEDTHAT#HINA
HADLAUNCHEDANINVASIONOF4IBET/NLYINTHESWASITDECIDEDTO
SET  AS THE YEAR OF THE INVASION4HE REASON VERY OBVIOUSLY WAS TO
ASSERTAPOLITICALCLAIMTOALLOFTHECONTIGUOUSTERRITORIESONTHE4IBETAN
0LATEAUINHABITEDBY4IBETANS4HISELICITSTHENATURALQUESTIONOFWHYTHE
4IBETANGOVERNMENTDIDNOTMAKETHECLAIMOFINVASIONIN/NEIS
HARDPRESSEDTOIMAGINE4IBETSBEINGINVADEDINWHILEITSPOPULATION
REMAINEDOBLIVIOUSOFTHEEVENT)NFACT THETERRITORIESINVOLVEDGENERALLY
SPEAKING THE 4IBETAN INHABITED REGIONS OUTSIDE THE MODERN 4IBET
4HE4IBET #HINA#ONmICT 

!UTONOMOUS2EGION HADBEENREMOVEDBYTHE1INGFROMTHEJURISDICTION
OFTHE4IBETANGOVERNMENTINTHEEARLYEIGHTEENTHCENTURY)NTHElRSTHALF
OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY THEY HAD BECOME PARTS OF #HINESE PROVINCES
SOMETHINGTHE1INGHADNOTDONEWITHTHEM ANDWEREGENERALLYUNDER
THEDOMINATIONOFPROVINCIALWARLORDS4HETIESOFCULTURE LANGUAGE AND
RELIGION BETWEEN THESE AREAS AND ,HASA REMAINED LARGELY UNIMPEDED
)NDEED THE PRESENT $ALAI ,AMA AND THE PREVIOUS 0ANCHEN ,AMA WERE
BOTHBORNINTHESEREGIONS4HUS ANACCOMMODATIONWITHTHISSITUATIONOF
DIVIDEDPOLITICALREGIMESONTHE4IBETAN0LATEAUWASINPLACE-ANYPEOPLE
INTHE4IBETANGOVERNMENTWERELARGELYIGNORANTOFWHATTHEIMPLICATIONS
OF THIS WERE IN TERMS OF MODERN NATIONALIST ASPIRATIONS #LEARLY IT WAS
THE COMING TO TERMS WITH THAT SENTIMENT IN THE AFTERMATH OF  THAT
DISABUSEDCERTAINlGURESINTHEEXILECOMMUNITYOFTHEVIABILITYOFA4IBET
WITHIMPRECISEBORDERSANDSTATUS
%SSENTIALLY THE VAGARIES OF THE SITUATION ON THE 4IBETAN 0LATEAU
BEFORE  WERE SUCH THAT THE 4IBETAN GOVERNMENT ACCOMMODATED AN
ARRANGEMENTWITH#HINESEPROVINCIALPOWERSINWHICHMUCHWASINFORMAL
ANDLEFTUNARTICULATEDINOFlCIALAGREEMENTS4HE4IBETANGOVERNMENTHAD
LONGBEENACCUSTOMEDTOTHISSTATEOFAFFAIRSANDDISCRETIONWASOFTENPART
OFIT.OTTHATTHE4IBETANGOVERNMENTHADWRITTENOFFTHEEASTERNPORTIONS
OF THE 4IBETAN 0LATEAU THEIR STATUS HAD BEEN PART OF THE BRIEF BROUGHT
BY THE 4IBETAN DELEGATION AT THE 3IMLA CONFERENCE AND EARLIER DECADES
HADSEENSERIOUSCONmICTTHERE"UTTHEREWASNOURGENTSENSETHAT4IBET
HADBEENINVADEDWHEN IN CIVILANDMILITARYOFlCIALSOFTHE02#
REPLACEDTHERULERSINTHEAREAWHOHADBEENPARTOFTHE#HINESE2EPUBLICAN
PRESENCETHERE3OOBTUSEWASTHE4IBETANGOVERNMENTINTHOSEYEARSABOUT
QUESTIONS OF SOVEREIGNTY THAT IT HAD EVEN BEEN ABLE TO PERSUADE SOME IN
,HASATHATITSSIGNINGOFTHE3EVENTEEN 0OINT!GREEMENTINSTILLLEFT
4IBETINDEPENDENT4HUSTHEREWASNOCLAIMOFAINVASIONUNTILTHE
S EVENTHOUGHTHEBACKBONEOFTHEUPRISINGCOMPRISED4IBETANS
FROMTHEVERYAREASINQUESTIONTHOSETHATLAYOUTSIDETHEJURISDICTIONOF
THE$ALAI,AMASGOVERNMENT CERTAINLYONECANNOTDISPUTETHEIRIDENTITY
AS4IBETANS
)NDUECOURSETHE4IBETANGOVERNMENT IN EXILEBEGANTOBACKTRACKIN
ORDERTOBUILDAVISIONOF4IBETTHATREmECTEDTHENEWSENSEOFNATIONALISM
THATGREWOUTOFTHEREVOLTANDTHEYEARSOFEXILETHATFOLLOWED9ETA
PAMPHLETON4IBETSSTATUSPUBLISHEDBYTHE$ALAI,AMAS.EW$ELHIOFlCE
NOTLONGAFTERTHEUPRISINGGAVEASTHEDATEOFTHEINVASION
 %LLIOT3PERLING

7HEN REPRINTED IN  THE DATE HAD BEEN CHANGED TO  4HE
INTRODUCTION BY THE4IBETAN GOVERNMENT IN EXILES /FlCE OF )NFORMATION
AND)NTERNATIONAL2ELATIONSTOTHESURVEYOF3INO
4IBETANGOVERNMENT 4IBETANRELATIONSBY4ASHI4SERINGSPEAKSOFhTHE
ACCOMMODATEDAN #HINESEINVASIONANDOCCUPATIONIN vWITH
hINVASIONANDvWHITEDOUT
ARRANGEMENTWITH )F THIS SHOWS SOME RATHER SLOPPY STITCHING
#HINESEPROVINCIAL IN THE 4IBETAN CONSTRUCTION OF WHAT 4IBET IS
THEINCLUSIONOF4IBETWITHINTHE#HINESEVISION
POWERSINWHICHMUCH OF #HINA HAS ALSO PRODUCED SOME BIZARRE TWISTS
WASINFORMALANDLEFT OFLOGIC/NESUCHTWISTRELATESTOLANGUAGEAND
STEMSFROMTHESAMEMOTIVATIONTHATISATWORKIN
UNARTICULATEDINOFlCIAL THE#HINESEREVISIONOFTHETERM(ANዧ∞ ˆA
AGREEMENTS SYNONYM FOR #HINESE NOW MARSHALED IN ORDER
THATh#HINESE vANOTHERWISEETHNO LINGUISTICALLY
SPECIlC DESIGNATION CAN BE APPLIED TO -ONGOLS 4IBETANS AND OTHER
NATIONALMINORITIES4HE4IBETANLANGUAGEHASNEVERTREATEDTHETERMFOR
#HINA 2GYA NAG ASMEANINGANYTHINGOTHERTHANTHECOUNTRYNEIGHBORING
4IBETTOTHEEAST)TSlELDOFMEANINGDOESNOTENCOMPASS4IBET MUCHAS
THE4IBETAN NAME FOR4IBET "OD DOES NOT ENCOMPASS #HINA !N ARTICLE
FROM #HINAS 4IBET PUBLISHED IN  TO COMMEMORATE THE SIGNING
OF THE 3EVENTEEN 0OINT !GREEMENT DESCRIBED SOME OF THE TRANSLATION
PROBLEMS THAT AROSE DURING THE AGREEMENTS NEGOTIATION )T CONTAINED A
TELLING COMMENT h)N ;THE=4IBETAN LANGUAGE THERE WAS NO WORD WHICH
MEANT @#HINAv 4HE AUTHOR WHO WORKED AS A TRANSLATOR DURING THE
NEGOTIATIONS THEN NOTES THAT THE #HINESE NAME FOR #HINA HAD TO BE
TRANSLITERATEDTOPROVIDEAUSABLETERM)NEFFECT SINCETHE#HINESEPOSITION
WASTHAT4IBETHADBEENANINTEGRALPARTOF#HINAFORCENTURIES THEONLY
POSSIBLEINTERPRETATIONFORTHISANECDOTE IFONETAKESITATFACEVALUE ISTHAT
THEAUTHORCONSIDERED4IBETANSTOBEIGNORANTOFTHENAMEOFTHEIROWN
COUNTRY/FCOURSETHATIGNORANCEISANINVENTIONWHATTHE4IBETANSWERE
UNAWAREOFWASTHEBEGINNINGOFAPROCESSOFMOLDINGANDMANIPULATINGA
NEW4IBETANIDENTITY
"UTTHISPROCESSWASPARTOFTHECONSTRUCTIONOF#HINAANDTHE#HINESE
IDENTITY"ECAUSEOFTHEAUTHORITARIANUNDERPINNINGSOFTHATCONSTRUCTION
QUESTIONS ABOUT THE VALIDITY OF THE HISTORICAL CASE BEHIND 4IBETS
INCORPORATION IN THE 02# BECOME FRAUGHT WITH EXISTENTIAL OVERTONES )F
4IBETISPRESENTEDASANhINTEGRALvPARTOF#HINA THEIMPLICATIONSFORTHE
4HE4IBET #HINA#ONmICT 

INTEGRITYOFA#HINASOCONSTRUCTEDAREFUNDAMENTALONCETHELEGITIMACY
OF THAT POSITION IS UNDERMINED4HUS THE SIMPLE REALIZATION THAT CERTAIN
ELEMENTS IN THE CONTEMPORARY VISION OF #HINA ARE MODERN CONTRIVANCES
ANDHARDLYALEGACYHANDEDDOWNFROMTIMEIMMEMORIALHASVERYSERIOUS
RAMIlCATIONS/NEMIGHTCARRYTHETHOUGHTFURTHERCALLINGTHISVISIONINTO
QUESTIONALSORAISESISSUESABOUTTHEPOLITICALSTRUCTURESTHATDERIVEFROMA
lXEDNOTIONOF#HINAANDTHE#HINESEIDENTITYINITSOWNWAYTHISRAISES
ISSUES ABOUT A GOVERNMENT THAT STAKES SO MUCH OF ITS LEGITIMACY ON ITS
PERCEIVEDABILITYTODELIVERASPECIlCVISIONOF#HINA
#ONCLUSION
4HE HISTORICAL STATUS OF4IBET IS HARDLY A SMALL MATTER OF CLARIFYING SOME
TEXTUAL MISUNDERSTANDINGS WERE THAT THE CASE THIS PAPER MIGHT INDEED
BE WELCOME TO ALL PARTIES 4HE ISSUE HAS A RESONANCE WELL BEYOND THAT
THEPOSITIONSOFTHEPARTIESTOTHE4IBETISSUEAREIMBUEDWITHQUESTIONS
OF POLITICAL AND NATIONAL IDENTITY AND GROUNDED IN DECADES OF POLEMICAL
DIPLOMATIC ANDMILITARYSTRUGGLE4HEFACTSASESTABLISHEDBYRECOURSETO
THE HISTORICAL RECORD ARE WONT TO BE SUBJECT TO DIVERGENT INTERPRETATIONS
SOME ELEMENTS ARE EMPHASIZED OTHERS IGNORED 7HY THEN ACKNOWLEDGE
THESEFACTS
&ORONETHING THEREISTHESHEERNECESSITYˆANDNATURALIMPETUSˆTO
KNOWASMUCHASCANBEKNOWNOFTHEPATHTHATHASLEADTOTHECURRENT
SITUATION4HISUNDERSTANDINGISCENTRALTOANYATTEMPTTOGAINCONTROLOVER
THEISSUEEVENIFTHEPARTIESTOITHAVEDIFFERENTVIEWSOFTHEHISTORICALFACTS
WESTILLNEEDTOKNOWWHATTHOSEFACTSARE ASWELLASTHEMANNERINWHICH
THEYAREBEINGDISPUTED
4HENTHEREISTHEREALITYTHATTHEFUNDAMENTALPLACEOFHISTORYINTHE
4IBETISSUEISNOTSOMETHINGIMPOSEDBYOUTSIDEPARTIES%VENTHOUGHTHE
$ALAI,AMAANDHISEXILEGOVERNMENTAPPEARQUITEATEASEWITHACCEPTING
4IBETASAPARTOF#HINA THE02#HASPOINTEDLYACCUSEDTHE$ALAI,AMA
OF DUPLICITY STATING THAT HIS UNWILLINGNESS TO RECOGNIZE 4IBET AS HAVING
BEEN AN INTEGRAL PART OF #HINA FOR CENTURIES RENDERS HIS ACQUIESCENCE
UNACCEPTABLE4HECENTRALITYOFHISTORYINTHEQUESTIONOF4IBETSSTATUS
COULDNOTBEMADECLEARER
4HEREFORE ITDOESMATTERWHETHERTHE9UANDYNASTYMADE4IBETAPART
OF#HINAINTHETHIRTEENTHCENTURY4HE$ALAI,AMASREFUSALTOACCEDETO
THISPROPOSITIONHAS ONTHEFACEOFIT BECOMEONEOF#HINASPRIMARYSTATED
REASONSFORTHEIMPASSEOVERTHE4IBETISSUE)NTHISCONTEXTITMATTERS TOO
 %LLIOT3PERLING

THAT #HINESE COMMENTATORS INTO THE S HELD THAT 4IBET HAD BEEN A
VASSALSTATEOFTHE1ING
3IMILARLY THE USE OF THE 'OLDEN 5RN IN RECOGNIZING 4IBETAN
INCARNATIONSISASIGNIlCANTISSUE)TISCLEARLYMEANTTOIMPARTLEGITIMACYTO
#HINESECONTROLOVERTHEINCARNATIONOFHIGHLAMASWITHAPARTICULAREYE
TOTHE$ALAI,AMASNEXTINCARNATION THROUGHTHE
4HECENTRALITYOFHISTORY ESTABLISHMENTOFHISTORICALCONTINUITY4HE02#
INTHEQUESTIONOF4IBETS INEXCORIATINGTHE$ALAI,AMAFORNOTACCEPTING
ITS USE OF THIS 1ING PROCEDURE IS CONSCIOUSLY
STATUSCOULDNOTBEMADE MANIPULATINGAHISTORICALELEMENTIN3INO 4IBETAN
CLEARER RELATIONS)TISIMPOSSIBLETOIGNORE#HINASDESIRE
FOR HISTORICAL PRECEDENT HERE AS A LEGITIMIZING
ELEMENTFORITSADMINISTRATIONOF4IBET
"OTHTHEQUESTIONOFTHEPRIEST PATRONRELATIONSHIPASONEEXCLUSIVEOF
POLITICALSUBORDINATIONANDTHESTATUSOFTERRITORIESOUTSIDETHECONTROLOFTHE
$ALAI,AMASGOVERNMENTONTHEEVEOF4IBETSINCORPORATIONINTOTHE02#
ARE LIKEWISE QUESTIONS THAT STILL PROVOKE STRONG OFlCIAL PRONOUNCEMENTS
MEANT TO ASSERT HISTORICAL ANTECEDENTS TO LEGITIMIZE OR CONTEST CURRENT
CIRCUMSTANCES !S WE HAVE SEEN THE PRESENTATION OF 4IBETS RELATIONSHIP
WITHIMPERIAL#HINAASARELIGIOUSONE WITHNOACKNOWLEDGEMENTACCORDED
THEATTESTEDSUBORDINATIONOF4IBETTOTHEEMPERORSOFTHE-ONGOL9UAN
AND-ANCHU1INGDYNASTIES ISAMISREPRESENTATIONOFTHEHISTORICALRECORD
4HEREISABITMOREAMBIGUITYABOUTTHETERRITORIALIDENTITYOF4IBETANAREAS
OUTSIDETHEJURISDICTIONOFTHE$ALAI,AMASGOVERNMENT BUTITREMAINSA
FACTTHATIN WHENTHOSEAREASWERETAKENUNDERTHEADMINISTRATION
OFTHE02# THE4IBETANGOVERNMENTDIDNOTCLAIMITSTERRITORYHADBEEN
INVADED
)NSPITEOFALLTHIS ONEMIGHTSTILLSAYTHESTATUSOF4IBET WHATEVERIT
WASINTHEPAST ISNOWSETTLED ANDTHEINCORPORATIONOF4IBETINTO#HINA
HASLONGSINCEBEENAFAITACCOMPLI"UTSETTLEDISSUESHAVETHECAPACITYTO
REARUPUNEXPECTEDLYANDCATCHTHEPOLITICALSTATEOFAFFAIRSUNAWARE!ND
ITISTHENTHATHISTORYBECOMESVITAL)TWOULDBESENSIBLETOHAVEAGRASPOF
THATHISTORYBEFORETHEFACT
'PFPQVGU
 4IBETˆ)TS/WNERSHIPAND(UMAN2IGHTS3ITUATION P
 4IBET0ROVING4RUTH&ROM&ACTS P
  0APERS2ELATINGTO4IBET n4HISEARLY TWENTIETH CENTURYASSESSMENTDID
NOTPRECLUDE"RITAINFROMAVOWINGINˆWHENITNOLONGERWANTEDTOBEPARTY
TOTHE4IBETISSUEˆTHAT4IBETSSTATUSVIS Í VIS#HINAWASACTUALLYUNCLEAR4HE
JUDGMENTSOFOTHERTHIRDPARTIESREGARDING4IBETSRELATIONSWITH#HINAHAVEALSO
mUCTUATEDDURINGTHETWENTIETHCENTURY
  7HAT02#PUBLICATIONSRENDERINTHEIR%NGLISHVERSIONSAShINTEGRALvOR
hINALIENABLEvISA#HINESETERMTHATHASTHEMORELITERALMEANINGOFhINSEPARABLEv
#HBUKEFENGEլ‫ױ‬։໊ 
  4HEREAREINNUMERABLEEXAMPLESOFTHESESORTSOFWRITINGSTHATCANBEADDUCEDTWO
WELL KNOWNEXAMPLESARE1UESTIONS AND4IBETˆ)TS/WNERSHIP 
  %PSTEIN 
  8IZANGSHEHUIKEXUEYUANETAL 
  !GAIN THEREISAVARIETYOFEXAMPLESTHATCANBECITED BUTONEMAYSEE TYPICALLY
4IBET0ROVING4RUTHFROM&ACTS 
  h/N@4IBETAN0EOPLES2IGHTTO3ELF $ETERMINATIONv #Fh7HAT)S
)Tv nh%VERYONEWITHSOMEKNOWLEDGEOF#HINESEHISTORYKNOWS
THAT#HINAISAUNIlED MULTI NATIONALCOUNTRYANDWASCREATEDBYTHECONCERTED
EFFORTSOFALLITSETHNICGROUPS 4IBETANSINCLUDED OVERALONGTERMHISTORICAL
DEVELOPMENT!SEARLYASTHETHCENTURYx4IBETWASINCORPORATEDINTOTHE
TERRITORYOF#HINAxv
  !NUMBEROFVOLUMESHAVEBEENPUBLISHEDINTHE02#AIMEDATPROVIDING
DOCUMENTATIONFOR#HINASPOSITION SUCHAS8IZANGSHEHUIKEXUEYUANETAL 
"ODRANG SKYONG LJONGSYIG TSHAGS KHANG ANDTHEIMPORTANTSEVEN VOLUME
COLLECTION:HONGGUO:ANGXUEYANJIUZHONGXINETAL /THERWORKSPRESENT
 %LLIOT3PERLING

AWIDEARRAYOFMATERIALSTHAT IFNOTCLEARLYSUPPORTIVEOFACASEFOR#HINESE
SOVEREIGNTYOVER4IBETFROMTHETHIRTEENTHCENTURYON DOPROVIDEAWEALTHOF
MATERIALSON4IBETSINTERACTIONSANDDEALINGSWITH#HINASDYNASTICGOVERNMENTS
!MONGTHESEAREWORKSINBOTH#HINESEAND4IBETAN INCLUDINGTHEFOUR VOLUME
COLLECTIONOF4IBET RELATEDEXTRACTSFROMTHESTANDARD#HINESEDYNASTICHISTORIES
#HEN8IEZHANGETALn ASWELLAS'U:UCHENGETAL AND 
"OD LJONGSYIG TSHAGSKHANGDANGKRUNG GOI"OD KYISHES RIGZHIB JUGLTE GNAS
 "KRA SHISDBANG DUS ANDTWODIFFERENTCOLLECTIONSBEARINGTHESAME
TITLE"ODRANG SKYONG LJONGSSPYI TSHOGSTSHAN RIG KHANGAND+RUNG DBYANGSMI
RIGSSLOB GRWAI"OD RIG PAIZHIB JUGKHANG AND+RUNG DBYANGSMI RIGS
SLOB GRWAI"OD RIG PAIZHIB JUGTSHOGS CHUNG 
  &ORTHETEXTSOFTHESEVARIOUSAGREEMENTSSEE,AMB n
  3EE7ANG'UIETAL n

 "OUNDARY1UESTION n)NADDITIONTOTHENONHISTORICALSUBJUGATIONOF
4IBETINBY#HINGGIS1A«AN ONElNDSINTHESAMESTATEMENTTHEFANCIFUL
NOTIONOFA#HINESEEXPEDITIONENTERING,HASAINTHESEVENTHCENTURY
  $REYER n
  'OLDSTEIN n
  4HISVAGUENESSISREmECTEDMOSTCLEARLYATTHEBEGINNINGOFTHETEXTOFTHE
h3EVENTEEN 0OINT!GREEMENTON-EASURESFORTHE0EACEFUL,IBERATIONOF4IBET v
SIGNEDBYREPRESENTATIVESOFTHE$ALAI,AMASGOVERNMENTANDTHECENTRAL
GOVERNMENTOF#HINAON-AY h4HE4IBETANNATIONALITYISONEOFTHE
NATIONALITIESWITHALONGHISTORYWITHINTHEBOUNDARIESOF4IBETv3EE"ODRANG
SKYONG LJONGSYIG TSHAGS KHANG DOC
  8IE"IN n࣍೓ၼնԼԮԶࠟ‫ڣ‬ԫԮ԰Բ‫ڣ‬ΠԫԮ԰Կ‫ڣ‬Π ૯
ലխഏፖ۫៲հᣂএΠൕ௅‫ء‬Ղ‫଀ޏאף‬Ζࠀᒔࡳխഏኙ࣍۫៲հ‫ᦞ׌‬Π‫ڼ‬
৵֊ኔ۩ࠌհߎΖ
۫៲۞Ղ૪௅‫א଀ޏء‬৵Πొྥ‫ڎ‬੡խഏհᢋ߶Ζ۫៲լร‫ᦞ׌ࡲڶ‬բՈΠࠀ
ࠡ‫ٍᦞ׌‬᥆խഏΖ
  7ANG1INYU ᕋ៲ᙄࠃՕ‫۝‬հ۩ࠃᏚࣹΠ‫ط‬ਢࡨፖሒᘸఄ᛽‫ٵ‬࿛Πࠡ
‫ڶ༽ࡨ៲۫ڇ‬ਙएհ௽ᦞΖ۞‫אڼ‬৵Π۫៲ԯᒔࡳ੡‫ݺ‬խഏհᢋ᥆
  (UANG&ENSHENG ೓ၼնԼԮ‫ڣ‬ԫԮ԰Բ ‫ࡳؓ܎נڇ‬ኢዿ໔ॿ៲ऱ
૨ࠃ໏‫ܓ‬հ৵Πቇ‫܉‬Աࢬᘯψ۫៲࿳৵ີ࿓ωΠ๵ࡳᕋ៲Օ‫۝‬ፖሒᘸΕఄ᛽
ؓ࿛Πࠀࠠ‫ڶ‬ऴ൷൳ࠫਙएΕ૨ࠃΕࡲඒΕತਙΕຏಛΕٌຏ壆ՕᦞΖ۫៲
۟‫ݙڼ‬٤‫ګ‬੡խഏᏆՒऱԫຝ։Ζ
  8IAN:ONGTONG*IANGGONGGAO8IZANGTONGBAOSHUND 4HE%NGLISHTRANSLATION
STATESP h)WISHTOAFlRMEMPHATICALLYTHATINCONNECTIONWITHTHEFUTURE
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East-West Center
The East-West Center is an internationally recognized education and
research organization established by the U.S. Congress in 1960 to
strengthen understanding and relations between the United States and
the countries of the Asia Pacific. Through its programs of cooperative
study, training, seminars, and research, the Center works to promote a
stable, peaceful and prosperous Asia Pacific community in which the
United States is a leading and valued partner. Funding for the Center
comes for the U.S. government, private foundations, individuals, cor-
porations and a number of Asia Pacific governments.

East-West Center Washington


Established on September 1, 2001, the primary function of the East-
West Center Washington is to further the East-West Center mission
and the institutional objective of building a peaceful and prosperous
Asia Pacific community through substantive programming activities
focused on the theme of conflict reduction in the Asia Pacific region
and promoting American understanding of and engagement in Asia
Pacific affairs.
About this Issue Previous Issues:
The status of Tibet has been at the core of Policy Studies 1
the Tibet-China conflict for all parties The Aceh Peace Process: Why it Failed
Dr. Edward Aspinall, University of Sydney
drawn into it over the past century. China Dr. Harold Crouch, Australian National University
maintains that Tibet is an integral part of
China, while Tibetans maintain that Tibet has Policy Studies 2
historically been an independent country. In The Free Aceh Movement (GAM):
reality the conflict over Tibet’s status has Anatomy of a Separatist Organization
been a conflict over history. When Chinese Dr. Kirsten E. Schulze, London School of
writers and political figures assert that Tibet Economics
is a part of China, they do so on the basis
of history. The People’s Republic of China Policy Studies 3
Security Operations in Aceh:
has pointedly accused the Dalai Lama of
Goals, Consequences, and Lessons
duplicity, stating that his unwillingness to Dr. Rizal Sukma, Centre for Strategic and
recognize that Tibet has been an integral International Studies - Jakarta
part of China for centuries renders his
attempts to compromise on the Tibet issue Policy Studies 4
unacceptable. The centrality of history in Beijing’s Tibet Policy:
the question of Tibet’s status could not be Securing Sovereignty and Legitimacy
made clearer. This paper is a guide to the Dr. Allen Carlson, Cornell University
historical arguments made by the primary
parties to the Tibet-China conflict. It draws Policy Studies 5
The Papua Conflict:
on the key assertions about the issue as
Jakarta’s Perceptions and Policies
they have been framed in Chinese and Dr. Richard Chauvel,Victoria University-Melbourne
Tibetan to examine the extent to which Dr. Ikrar Nusa Bhakti, Indonesian Institute of
positions on the Tibet issue that are Sciences
thought to reflect centuries of popular
consensus are actually very recent construc- Policy Studies 6
tions, often at variance with the history on A Violent Separatism in Xinjiang:
which they claim to be based. A Critical Assessment
Dr. James Millward, Georgetown University

Forthcoming Titles
“The Moro Conflict: Landlessness and
Misdirected State Policies”
Mr. Eric Gutiereez, Institute for Popular Democracy
Dr. Saturnino M. Borras, Institute of Social Sciences-
The Hague

“Southern Philippines and the International


War Against Terror”
Dr. Christopher Collier, Australian National University

About the Author


Dr. Elliot Sperling is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Central Eurasian
Studies at Indiana University at Bloomington.

ISBN 1-932728-12-0

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