Tibetan New Year in 2011

What we learned from our guide and how he perceives life in Tibet with the top 2 spiritual leaders in exile.

Tibetan man and Me in Lhasa

Talking to Tibetans about how they see modern Tibet is something I’ve wanted to do for quite some time now. I often discuss modern China with Taiwanese, because they also live in a politically sticky environment. Superficially, Taiwan is considered a renegade province of China but their license plates say “台湾省” (Taiwan Province). There are also noticeably squeamish times of the year when international sporting events encompass all of Asia. Taiwan becomes “Chinese Taipei” and their flag is often an Olympic symbol on top of a white background. And as Mainland China grows its clout around the world, it is fair to say that fewer and fewer countries will recognize Taiwan as they once did decades ago.

But back to Tibet! The Lonely Planet guide doesn’t recall the Chinese history of Tibet in as bright a light as Chinese history books. For the Chinese, Tibet “has always been a part of China”; for Western historians, Tibet has been fighting foreign powers for centuries to keep its independence. In fact, two separate dynasties of China maintained territorial control over Tibet, and that is why The Party claimed Tibet after the civil war with the KMT (Kuo Min Tang: the previous Chinese government, which fled to modern Taiwan). Continue reading Tibetan New Year in 2011