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 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 volunatarily, 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