Released April 2016, The State of Tibet offers a fresh perspective on a long-standing international impasse.  Is Tibet an occupied county, or an integral part of China?  Examining the history of the concept of the state in Tibet, Dr. P. Christiaan Klieger digs deeply into key points where the state transformed itself, or attempted to adjust to new circumstances.

In this major work, the author discovers thread ties the early formation of the state during the Iron Age with the formation of the Tibetan Empire in the 7th century, and on to the development of a theocratic polity ruled most recently by the Dalai lamas.  Of particular interest to Klieger is recent Tibetan nationalism, which was strongly promoted by the 13th Dalai Lama in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Examined in detail are this charismatic leader’s direct contact with the last emperors of China, the Mongolian khan who shared his determination for independence, the kings of Sikkim and Bhutan, the tsar of Russia, and the British viceroys of India, formed a pattern of foreign policy that is not that dissimilar to that of the current Dalai Lama in exile.  Seeking patronage by benign foreign powers is a structural foundation of the Tibetan state, which has operated for centuries.  At times it has proved prestige for Tibet as a peaceful, pure abode for the Buddhist doctrine; it has also led to weakness through the reluctance to guarantee the state through use of state-sponsored force. This comprehensive study concludes with an innovative analysis of Tibet-in-exile, where nationalism is ironically articulated in a trans-national environment, a virtual “Tibet without Tibet.”

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