This book is about the response of the People's Republic of China to the crisis that arose in the Tibetan frontier after the Dalai Lama fled Lhasa in 1959. It argues that the Chinese state was weak in the Tibetan borderlands and that the PRC government addressed that weakness by shifting from empire-lite to a harder, heavier imperial formation. It also considers how this transformation in the PRC structure affected the country's foreign policy during the Cold War, especially with regard to its neighbors. The book challenges understandings of Cold War international history while offering useful insights on comparative imperialism, the problems of state formation and transnational movements, boundaries in the Himalayas, and the difficulties of counterinsurgency in a mountainous yet cosmopolitan realm.
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