Tibet in Agony: Lhasa 1959 (Hardback)
  • Tibet in Agony: Lhasa 1959 (Hardback)
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Tibet in Agony: Lhasa 1959 (Hardback)

(author), (translator)
£35.95
Hardback 464 Pages
Published: 10/10/2016
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The Chinese Communist government has twice invoked large-scale military might to crush popular uprisings in capital cities. The second incident—the notorious massacre in Tiananmen Square in 1989—is well known. The first, thirty years earlier in Tibet, remains little understood today. Yet in wages of destruction, bloodshed, and trampling of human rights, the tragic toll of March 1959 surpassed Tiananmen.

Tibet in Agony provides the first clear historical account of the Chinese crackdown in Lhasa. Sifting facts from the distortions of propaganda and partisan politics, Jianglin Li reconstructs a chronology of events that lays to rest lingering questions about what happened in those fate-filled days and why. Her story begins with throngs of Tibetan demonstrators who—fearful that Chinese authorities were planning to abduct the Dalai Lama, their beloved leader—formed a protective ring around his palace. On the night of March 17, he fled in disguise, only to reemerge in India weeks later to set up a government in exile. But no peaceful resolution awaited Tibet. The Chinese army soon began shelling Lhasa, inflicting thousands of casualties and ravaging heritage sites in the bombardment and the infantry onslaught that followed. Unable to resist this show of force, the Tibetans capitulated, putting Mao Zedong in a position to fulfill his long-cherished dream of bringing Tibet under the Communist yoke.

Li’s extensive investigation, including eyewitness interviews and examination of classified government records, tells a gripping story of a crisis whose aftershocks continue to rattle the region today.

Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674088894
Number of pages: 464
Dimensions: 235 x 156 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

Through her meticulous research and engaging narrative, Li is the first to convincingly reconstruct the events that forced the Dalai Lama to escape from Tibet. This pathbreaking book helps us understand why the violence of 1959 still resonates to this day. - Frank Dikötter, author of Mao’s Great Famine

A wonderful combination of really good storytelling and meticulous, painstaking research. We are left with a much more thorough understanding of what must have happened in the weeks before and after the Dalai Lama’s escape as well as a new certainty that there is much we will never know—or understand—for sure. - Anne F. Thurston, coauthor of The Noodle Maker of Kalimpong

This remarkable book is told with the narrative force of a compelling novel. Exposing the violence of the ‘peaceful liberation’ and the myth of ‘democratic reform,’ Li’s excavation of Tibet’s agony in the 1950s reveals that Mao hoped for the Tibetans to rise up in order to crush them and bring Tibet under Communist control. This pathbreaking book involved not only painstaking research into sources that have not been made public in English before, but also personal sacrifice by the author, who now lives in exile. - Kate Saunders, Director of Communications, International Campaign for Tibet

Should be required reading. - Jonathan Mirsky, The Spectator

Remarkable…for its meticulously researched and detailed exposé of Chinese duplicity and ruthlessness…What you hear turning every page of this book—the first book written with full access to official Chinese documents and accounts of the events—is the sound of scales falling from the eyes. - Mick Brown, Literary Review

Li provides a look at March 1959 Lhasa that is by turns poetic and forensic. The book draws from extensive investigation of CCP-published documents, memoirs, and interviews with Tibetan participants, including the Dalai Lama circa 2009. - Adam Cathcart, Chinese Historical Studies

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