The Chinese Revolution on the Tibetan Frontier
Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University
Published by: Cornell University Press
312 pages, 152.00 x 229.00 x 0.00 mm, 8 b&w halftones, 4 maps
- ISBN: 9781501749391
- Published: June 2020
In The Chinese Revolution on the Tibetan Frontier, Benno Weiner provides the first in-depth study of an ethnic minority region during the first decade of the People's Republic of China: the Amdo region in the Sino-Tibetan borderland. Employing previously inaccessible local archives as well as other rare primary sources, he demonstrates that the Communist Party's goal in 1950s Amdo was not just state-building, but also nation-building. Such an objective required the construction of narratives and policies capable of convincing Tibetans of their membership in a wider political community.
As Weiner shows, however, early efforts to gradually and organically transform a vast multiethnic empire into a singular nation-state lost out to a revolutionary impatience, demanding more immediate paths to national integration and socialist transformation. This led in 1958 to communization, then to large-scale rebellion and its brutal pacification. Rather than joining voluntarily, Amdo was integrated through the widespread, often indiscriminate use of violence, a violence that lingers in the living memory of Amdo Tibetans and others.
Introduction: Amdo, Empire, and the United Front
1. Amdo at the Edge of Empire
2. If You Kill the County Head, How Will I Explain Itto the Communist Party?
3. Becoming Masters of Their Own Home(under the Leadership of the Party)
4. Establishing a Foundation among the Masses
5. High Tide on the High Plateau
6. Tibetans Do the Housework, but Han Are the Masters
7. Reaching the Sky in a Single Step—The Amdo Rebellion
8. Empty Stomachs and Unforgivable Crimes
Conclusion: Amdo and the End of Empire?
"The Chinese Revolution on the Tibetan Frontier takes a bottom-up approach, focusing on what made local actors tick and bringing their experiences to life."~Wall Street Journal
"The Chinese Revolution on the Tibetan Frontier provides valuable detail on how the party tackled the problem of establishing control in an area culturally, linguistically, economically and politically so different from the interior. Seldom is the veil lifted from Tibet, which makes. Weiner's chronicles all the more worth reading."~The Economist
"Utilizing never before available documents, Weiner has given us a fascinating, detailed insider's look at the discussions, disagreements, problems, orders, and more during this critical period of consolidation of power and nation-building this important, distinctly written and meticulously documented study provides critical insight into an area and period that we have known far too little about."~Critical Asian Studies
"Benno Weiner is undeniably a serious thinker, and The Chinese Revolution on the Tibetan Frontier is a fascinating and important book. It's going to be a while until the next one of these comes along."~LA Review of Books