Benno Weiner, "The Chinese Revolution on the Tibetan Frontier" (Cornell UP, 2020)


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In The Chinese Revolution on the Tibetan Frontier (Cornell University Press, 2020) Benno Weiner provides an in-depth study of what happened when the Chinese Revolution came to Amdo, a Tibetan region in the Sino-Tibetan borderland. Focusing primarily on the 1950s, Weiner demonstrates that the Chinese Communist Party wasn't just trying to build a state during this period — it was trying to build a nation. Under the banner of the “United Front” the CCP attempted to gradually, voluntarily, and organically bring Amdo into the modern, Socialist, and multi-ethnic nation. In this meticulously researched book Weiner examines why and how this failed, and the violent and painful consequences of that failure.

The Chinese Revolution on the Tibetan Frontier is an important read for those interested in the history of Amdo, the Sino-Tibetan borderland, and modern Chinese history more broadly. It is also crucial and timely reading for anyone looking to understand contemporary China, and in particular why the CCP continues to struggle to persuade Tibetans (and those in other ethnic minority regions) of their membership in the modern Chinese nation today.

Sarah Bramao-Ramos is a PhD candidate in History and East Asian Languages at Harvard. She works on Manchu language books and is interested in anything with a kesike.

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