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Muslim, Trader, Nomad, SpyChina's Cold War and the People of the Tibetan Borderlands$
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Sulmaan Khan

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781469621104

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469621104.001.0001

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Imperial Crises, Imperial Diplomacy

Imperial Crises, Imperial Diplomacy

(p.38) Chapter Two Imperial Crises, Imperial Diplomacy
Muslim, Trader, Nomad, Spy

Sulmaan Wasif Khan

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines how the Dalai Lama's departure from Lhasa sparked a crisis and caused the People's Republic of China to change from empire-lite to a harder, heavier imperial structure. When the Dalai Lama fled Lhasa, it resulted in a flurry of rebellions across Tibet and revealed the weakness of the Chinese state in the region. The PRC's main goal was to strengthen state control of the Tibetan plateau—and a significant part of this task was making sure that the notion of an independent Tibetan state did not gain international legitimacy, whether through a resolution at the United Nations or through Tibetans forming diplomatic ties with other countries. The story of why Tibet did not become another Korea is crucial to understanding why events in the Tibetan borderlands unfolded the way they did. The rest of this chapter discusses the Chinese state's attempts to win international public opinion through its use of “the diplomacy of imperialism” in the face of the challenge emanating from its borderlands.

Keywords:   empire, Dalai Lama, People's Republic of China, rebellion, Tibet, Tibetan plateau, United Nations, Tibetan borderlands, diplomacy, imperialism

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