July 8, 2008
China's Perspective on Tibet
China and envoys of the Dalai Lama met last week in Beijing to discuss possibly having more discussions about Tibet later this year after the Olympics. Most Americans who know anything about Tibet know only one side of the story: the Tibetan government in exile's side, whose high-profile backers include politician Nancy Pelosi, actor Richard Gere, and musician Adam Yauch (aka MCA) of the Beastie Boys. Although not well known and lacking such backers, the Chinese side is still worth learning about to get a nuanced understanding of this half-century old international controversy. "Tibet touches a raw nerve for many Chinese, including those living overseas, because of the legacy of foreign intervention in China during the 19th century and early 20th century. British troops invaded Tibet in 1903 and 1904 as the Qing Dynasty was nearing collapse. Today, many Chinese recall the role of the Central Intelligence Agency in Tibet during the 1950s and interpret Western sympathy for the current protests as another foreign effort to destabilize and divide China." –-- Jim Yardley, New Museum Offers the Official Line on Tibet, New York Times (April 17, 2008). For more nuance, check out the following English-language websites: China Central Television (CCTV) documentary: The Past of Tibet; China Tibet Information Center; Chinese Government White Papers (six are specifically on Tibet); and People's Daily: Tell You a True Tibet. [RLS]
Editor's Note: With this post, I'm delighted to announce that Roy Sturgeon has joined LLB as a contributing editor. Roy is Touro's Foreign & International Law Librarian and an Adjunct Professor. He also serves as the library liaison to the Public Advocacy Center. He earned his JD from Valparaiso, MLS from St. John's, and LLM in Chinese Law, with distinction, from Tsinghua University Law School (Beijing). Roy is a member of AALL, IALL and ASIL, and has served as a Jessup Moot Court Competition Judge.
Roy hopes to publish his Tsinghua thesis, The Past, Present, & Future of Free Speech in China, next year. Additional works-in-progress include an article for GlobaLex, One Country, Two Systems’ of Legal Research: A Guide to Finding the Law of China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (with Sergio Stone) and a book, From Lord Shang to Democracy Wall: A Select Annotated Bibliography Exploring 3,000 Years of Chinese Legal History—in English. His published works include Preserving the Past, Preparing for the Future: Modern Chinese Libraries & Librarianship, 1898-2000s, World Libraries 14.1, (Spring 2004) as well as articles in American Libraries (Nov. 2007) and the Texas Hispanic Journal of Law & Policy (Spring 2001).
In addition to attending the Tsinghua University Law School in Beijing during 2005-06, Roy lived in Shanghai while serving as an English Instructor at the Peijia International School (2003-04). He plans on visiting China later this year. The quotation from a famous Tang dynasty poet Roy has on his email sig line reflects both his interest in China and his profession. It reads:
Pagoda tree flowers bright with rain, new autumn in the land; paulownia leaves wind-tossed, sky verging on evening: all day in the back office, nothing to do, the senior librarian, white-haired, sleeps with his head on a book.
From a rapidly greying-haired librarian sleeping on his keyboard, JH
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