The struggle over the future of Tibet

THIS SPRING’S protests against Chinese repression in Tibet are the most extensive since Communist Party troops entered the region in 1950. Thousands took to the streets in four provinces of China starting in the second week of March. Following a crackdown on these initial protests, solidarity activists have dogged the Olympic torch relay—eventually bound for Beijing in August—in Greece, London, Paris, San Francisco, and New Delhi.

There may be no single answer to what’s behind the protests, especially because the range of participants has been quite diverse. Many commentators emphasize what’s obvious—that Tibetans are rebelling against religious repression and the marginalization of Tibetan culture. A handful point out that the protests also arise out of class anger among ethnic Tibetans who find themselves subordinated to the Han (i.e., ethnic Chinese) even in regions where Tibetans form the majority. And thirdly, some on the left point out what most others miss—that protests against Chinese repression also allow Western states and politicians to score propaganda points against a rising imperial rival. An even smaller group on the left ignores the first two points and thinks that Western manipulation is the real story. But in order to dispose of that kind of claim, we need to look at more of the real story.

Two aspects of national oppression

Official repression of Tibetan religion and culture takes many forms. As left commentator Michael Parenti wrote on his Web site in January, the denigration begins in the public schools: “Tibetan history, culture, and certainly religion are slighted in schools. Teaching materials, though translated into Tibetan, focus mainly on Chinese history and culture.”1 The chief of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Tibet, Zhang Quingli—who holds more power than the region’s official chief executive—has stepped up religious repression since his appointment in 2005. According to a reporter for the Economist who happened to be in Lhasa when the first protests broke out:

When [Zhang] took charge, neglected rules banning students and the families of civil servants from taking part in religious activities began once more to be rigorously enforced. Mr. Zhang also stepped up official invective against the Dalai Lama, who is widely revered…. Mr. Zhang urged more “patriotic education” in monasteries, part of which involves denouncing the Dalai Lama.2

Although the CCP recently began to admit capitalist bosses to its ranks, it still forbids its members from practicing religion. This ban poses a serious obstacle to upward mobility for religious believers, since party membership is a virtual necessity for advancing into the higher ranks of government employment or business.

In China, such barriers to religious practice are not unique to Tibet, and neither is revolt against them. The ethnic Uighurs of Xinjiang, the region to the north of Tibet, have waged their own recurring battles to practice Islam freely. This year’s revolt in Tibet has inspired a minor resurgence of protest in Xinjiang.3

Religious discrimination in employment sheds light on the class aspect of Tibetan grievances. Affirmative action has raised a thin layer of Tibetans into the elite—and into loyalty to the party and the state—but most Tibetans are left behind. The acceleration of economic development within Tibet, accompanied by accelerated immigration of Han Chinese, has cemented the connection between class and ethnicity. Michael Parenti comments:

In the 1990s, the Han, the ethnic group comprising over 95 percent of China’s immense population, began moving in substantial numbers into Tibet. On the streets of Lhasa and Shigatse, signs of Han colonization are readily visible. Chinese run the factories and many of the shops and vending stalls. Tall office buildings and large shopping centers have been built with funds that might have been better spent on water treatment plants and housing. Chinese cadres in Tibet too often view their Tibetan neighbors as backward and lazy, in need of economic development and “patriotic education.”4

A recent scheme to build new housing has been “deepening poverty rather than boosting economic development,” according to Human Rights Watch (HRW). The program, mandated by China’s central government and begun in 2005, requires villagers to perform most of the construction themselves. HRW reported that local officials “frequently embezzled the centrally allocated funds” and that the “improvements” are cosmetic:

Tibetans have reported being told by local officials that clean, modern houses are necessary to make a good impression on growing numbers of visitors and tourists as the region modernizes.< p>But few of the houses have modern amenities such as water or electricity. In addition, the new houses are usually smaller than the old ones and lack courtyards, which means that residents cannot keep their livestock and must sell them. Tibetans say that doing so closes off a significant source of income for them.5

Different participants in the protests have put different emphasis on the two aspects of oppression—religious-ethnic oppression and class oppression. This point becomes sharply evident if we look at the sequence of protests as they unfolded. Followers of the exiled Dalai Lama, Tibet’s chief religious figure, initially planned a series of staged commemorations of a failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule. One featured event was to be a march of Tibetan exiles from India into Tibet—later blocked by the Indian government, which didn’t want to antagonize the Chinese. But the central events were to be in Lhasa. On March 10, the anniversary of the uprising, Chinese security forces broke up a gathering of monks outside a major monastery. They arrested up to fifty of the monks, and follow-up demonstrations escalated into a series of physical confrontations.

By March 14, however, protests spread beyond the religious orders. Riots broke out in the city’s old Tibetan quarter, targeting the newest symbols of Han Chinese culture and prosperity. Rioters also targeted Han Chinese persons, and may have killed some, although the Dalai Lama’s “government in exile” in India claimed that most of the casualties—up to 100 dead over the first weeks—were Tibetans killed by Chinese security forces. The Wall Street Journal commented on the Lhasa riots:

Even as the government insisted the violence had been instigated by a small group of monks, it was apparent from interviews that other factors were at play. One government official said that many of the people joining in the looting were unemployed youth.…
Tibetans rioted for a day and half, burning and looting mostly businesses owned by ethnic Han Chinese, and Muslim Hui, but also symbols of authority in an outburst of anger against the government.6

In the days following the Lhasa riots, protests spread inside the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), where some 3 million Tibetans live, and into neighboring provinces, where nearly 3 million more Tibetans live. These new protests didn’t target Han Chinese personally, but focused instead on symbols of state authority. Although participants demanded religious freedom, the return of the Dalai Lama, and Tibetan independence (a step beyond the Dalai Lama’s call for increased autonomy), monks weren’t prominent in these protests at all. Wang Lixiong, a Beijing-based Tibet specialist, noted the scope of the protests in an interview with the Inter Press Service:

The last major unrest in Tibet in 1987 and the riots of 1989…were limited to…Lhasa and involved only monks, intellectuals and students,” Wang said. “But today’s unrest has spread over all Tibetan areas, and there are people from all walks, including peasants and workers…
Calling the visible signs of development in Tibet a “pretense of modernization,” Wang describes [in a 1998 book] how the dramatic rise in living standards among the Tibetan elite is in stark contrast with the impoverishment of the overwhelming majority of Tibetans who remain rural, illiterate and poor.7

As the Chinese government rushed tens of thousands of security forces into the TAR and neighboring provinces to crush the protests, worldwide attention began to focus on the Olympic torch relay. Control of the protests reverted back to the Dalai Lama’s apparatus in India and to worldwide solidarity groups that look to him for leadership, and the spotlight returned to the religious aspects of Tibetans’ oppression as the class aspects faded from view.

The role of the U.S.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a longtime ally of the Dalai Lama, appeared with him a few days into the protests during a previously scheduled visit to India. She called on the world to take note of the Tibetans’ struggle, but like the Dalai Lama himself, stopped short of calling for a boycott of the Olympics. All three major presidential candidates made statements denouncing Chinese repression, although none endorsed independence for Tibet, and none came close to addressing the class aspect of the struggle. Hillary Clinton called on George W. Bush to boycott the opening ceremonies of the Olympics in Beijing—something that Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown and France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy have vowed to do—but Bush has indicated that he will attend the ceremonies.

Given China’s importance to the world economy, U.S. politicians don’t seem to have the stomach for dismembering China the way they used to—at least not this year, when the U.S. economy is moving backwards. They may score points as patriots by needling China on human rights, and hope to build leverage against China in international forums, but this is nothing compared to the commitment of the Cold War presidents. Dwight Eisenhower’s CIA bankrolled the failed 1959 uprising. John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson provided $1.7 million of CIA money yearly through the 1960s for guerrilla harassment of Chinese forces in Tibet. The CIA also provided the Dalai Lama with a yearly stipend of $180,000.8 This direct funding for attacks against China supposedly ended in the early 1970s when Richard Nixon sought to forge an alliance with Mao Zedong against the USSR.

Most U.S. funding for Tibetan agitation now comes from the State Department, through its support for the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The Dalai Lama’s India operation receives $2 million yearly from the NED, which also funds “democracy activities” of the Tibetan exile community, numbering some 150,000 worldwide.9

U.S. funding does not drive Tibetan resistance, however. Grievances against Chinese rule do that. Evidence of this year’s protests suggests that the wishes of the official exile leadership and its U.S. imperial supporters have a limited effect on the way the movement takes place inside China. But U.S. officials are still getting their money’s worth. There’s the propaganda value of humiliating their rising imperial rival, plus the value in drawing idealistic young Americans into attacks on China instead of focusing on U.S. government crimes in the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America—or at home.

Resistance from below and corrosion of the party’s moral authority

Repression and militarization in Tibet and Xinjiang mirror the behavior of the other regional powers toward ethnic minorities in their own borderlands. India occupies Kashmir with hundreds of thousands of troops, and rules with an iron fist in the country’s northeast states. Meanwhile, Pakistan has never conceded basic democratic rights in the Pashto-speaking “tribal” areas that border Afghanistan. But on top of Tibet’s strategic importance as a national frontier, the connection of religion to Tibetan nationality poses a special threat to China’s rulers.

The Communist Party, and the emperors who ruled before them, have often seen religious movements as potential threats to their authority. A central ideological task for the party, especially during the Cultural Revolution (1966–76), was to establish its moral authority—in fact, to establish a monopoly on moral authority. The CCP waged war on Confucianism during this period not just because it was a doctrine that supported Chinese feudal traditions, but also because it posited moral standards that were independent of the whim of any ruler.10 Likewise, Tibetan Buddhism became a target—and party loyalists in Tibet destroyed monasteries and persecuted the open practice of the religion—for the same reasons. Religious traditions that promote the moral authority of particular religious figures are still subject to special attack. Worse yet are those whose leaders are based outside the country and free from regulation, such as Roman Catholicism, Falun Gong, and Tibetan Buddhism.

The state can reap some benefit if it adopts such an ideology officially, but the effect is double-edged. Official Confucianism, for example, like religious traditions in the West, appeared to hold imperial state officials to an independent moral standard. For this reason, it was able to legitimize the power of those at the top even when they failed to meet the standards from time to time—as long as they endorsed the standards and appeared to live by them at other times. The other edge of the sword, however, was that opponents of the state could mount resistance on the basis of those standards.

As bourgeois states of the West arose and adopted an increasing secular justification, they promoted legal traditions that also supposedly upheld independent standards of justice. In contrast, the imperial Chinese legal tradition never made a pretense of being anything but an instrument in the hands of the imperial administration; the concept of “separation of powers” was alien to a system that sought to establish a dynastic monopoly on power. In this respect, the Chinese Communist Party continued the tradition.11 So, if potential opponents of the state wanted to appeal to independent standards that could restrain or correct the behavior of officials, the legal tradition would be no help to them. Since oppositionists were cut off from any legal recourse, communist officials have been especially fearful of an opposition that would look for its standards within some religious tradition.

This is the context in which we must view the Communist Party’s current emphasis on the rule of law. The reform of the legal system—which includes the defense of property rights, as well as individual rights—is not just an attempt to make a private capitalist economy function more smoothly. It is an attempt to bolster consent for the Communist Party’s continued grip on power at a time when its reputation has been damaged by widespread corruption, rampant greed, and violent responses to demands for redistribution and democratic reform.

In the years from 1994 to 2004 (a period when Chinese officials were still willing to publish statistics on mass unrest), the number of “mass incidents” increased more than sevenfold, from 10,000 to 74,000. The category of “mass incidents” has vague boundaries, but it includes riots, demonstrations, and strikes.12 The growing wave of protest is a symptom that workers and peasants are fed up with being left behind while the economy is booming—and a symptom of the corrosion of the moral authority of the officials who preside over the system.

That’s where the rule of law is supposed to come in. If some officials are imprisoned or executed for corruption, it’s supposed to legitimize the system that allows the rest of them to acquire wealth and power. And if workers and peasants have a few legal channels to pursue their grievances, maybe they’ll get out of the streets and back to work.

The officials greatly fear that struggles will become connected to one another, tied together by organizations whose ideas pose a political alternative to the party’s. So far, however, two factors have helped prevent the participants in these struggles from looking more broadly for solidarity. One is a widespread awareness that the state would crack down heavily on broader movements; there has thus been a tactical advantage in keeping the focus of agitation narrow, even when the participants understand that their grievances raise wider questions. The other factor preventing the widening of struggles is a history of residential, ethnic, and cultural segmentation within the workforce, including a sense that workers of different backgrounds are in competition with one another.

Until lately, it has looked like the party’s greatest claim to popular consent has been that the economy is still growing—and that working people can get a bigger share of the new wealth if they put up a fight. In recent years, bosses have been willing to make concessions because they want workers to get back to work. As a result, workers in the coastal boom areas have experienced double-digit growth in wages for several years.13

The protests of Tibetan workers and peasants take place in this broader context of struggles from below. No doubt, many participants in the recent protests have already taken part in or witnessed previous class struggle. In this context, it’s quite conceivable that Han Chinese workers and peasants could come to sympathize with Tibetan demands for equal rights. But China’s rulers have another ideological ace up their sleeves besides the promise of being included in continued economic growth. The other major way that they draw workers and peasants into loyalty to the state is to play up an identification with a common “national interest”—supposedly shared by workers and bosses against the interests of other nationalities. Unfortunately for Tibetans, Han nationalist sentiment has been employed with a vengeance against Tibetans since the protests began, both in the major media and, with special racist venom, on the Internet.14 Another major component of nationalist anger, beyond domestic racism, is resentment at Western support for the protests.

It’s not clear how much damage this tide of racism will do, but some people, including some Han Chinese, are standing up against it. Wang Lixiong, quoted above, authored a denunciation, signed by thirty intellectuals, of “the one-sided propaganda of the official Chinese media [which] is having the effect of stirring up interethnic animosity.” The group condemned the “Cultural-Revolution-like language such as, ‘the Dalai Lama is a jackal in monk’s robes and an evil spirit with the heart of a beast’ [a phrase from the TAR’s hardline party chief, Zhang Qingli.].”15 Wang and his wife, Tsering Woeser, also an activist author, are both now under house arrest.

Despite the current intensity of ethnic division, recent Chinese history has a notable example of Han Chinese extending solidarity toward oppressed nationalities—the 1989 democracy movement in Tiananmen Square. Uighur and Tibetan students played prominent roles in the movement—notably the outspoken Uighur student Uerkesh Daolet (whose adopted Chinese name is Wuer Kaixi)—and participants viewed Tibetan protests that occurred earlier in the year as precursors to their own movement. Given the depth of class anger against the bosses, current Han nationalist agitation may not be able to secure the loyalty of workers and peasants for long, especially since the countdown to the August Olympics is likely to bring many new twists into China’s politics. It’s possible that the March protests will eventually become known as precursors to much bigger explosions.

Getting ourselves on the right side of the struggle

It is important for socialists and other progressives to support the Tibetans’ struggle, both for what it is and what it could lead to. It is already a movement for democratic rights, including the basic right of national self-determination. It could also help produce a major leap in the political maturity of struggle across China. Yet many on the left are held back from full support of the revolt by lingering sympathy for China’s one-party state; they are quick to point to the historically repressive role of the Buddhist lamas who once ruled Tibet, as well as the U.S. funding of the moderate Tibetan exile opposition.

The Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) of the U.S., for example, recognizes that inequality and Han chauvinism have been stoked in Tibet by market capitalist development, and thus acknowledge some of the roots of Tibetans’ current revolt. But the major focus of their statement, “Tibet: From brutal theocracy to socialist liberation to capitalist nightmare,”16 is on the horrors of lamaist domination and its sequel, when the arrival of Chinese Communist troops supposedly brought liberation. There can be no doubt that the now-defunct Tibetan feudal society was built on grinding oppression, including serfdom and slavery, but that does not transform the Mao years into a period when Tibetan workers, peasants, and herders took their fate into their own hands.

It is particularly wrenching when the RCP points to the years of the Cultural Revolution as the heyday of Tibetan progress, the very years when religious repression was at its peak. It is true that the lamaist tradition, like the medieval Christian Church in the West, was an integral part of feudal oppression. But that does not mean that the way to fight the oppression is to eradicate the religion, or that a chauvinist occupying force is a proper tool for liberation—the Han Chinese version of the “white man’s burden.” It also doesn’t mean that Buddhism would be incapable of adapting to support whatever social order ultimately prevails in Tibet; religions are remarkably flexible in response to historic change.

Even though the form and intensity of repression has varied since Mao’s time, the continuity is striking. It suggests that there is some important commonality between Mao’s “socialist liberation” and today’s “capitalist nightmare.” In fact, Mao’s party had very much the same objectives as today’s party—the development of productive capacity on a national basis in order to establish China on a competitive footing with other nations.17 Then, as now, orders came from above. Labor discipline was harsh, as it is now. It is jarring to read accounts of the “abolition of slavery” from leftists who go on to admit that Mao’s China employed forced labor for “socialist construction.” Even some of the more careful leftist commentators such as Michael Parenti make this mistake. Human rights activist Joshua Schrei retorted recently on the Dissident Voice Web site that, “Perhaps Parenti would like to sit down and have a chat with the relatives of the thousands of Tibetans who were worked to death by Chinese soldiers at the infamous Borax mine in Changthang.”18

The source of continuity of Tibet’s oppression lies in a common cause that applies over the decades—a society and economy that are organized from the top down. In this context, the differences between the old state and the new state are secondary. During the 1960s and 1970s, repression took place under a state that was trying to exert total control over the economy. Today, private capital is a partner of the state, but the need for repressive methods remains. This is the difference between state capitalism and market capitalism, not the difference between a “socialist road” and a “capitalist road.” Because state capitalism was also a social form in which workers and peasants took orders from above, nationalist ideology in Mao’s time played an important role in binding China’s masses to its rulers. This nationalism, then as now, lies behind Han Chinese participation in the oppression of Tibetans.

If the RCP finds a contorted way to sympathize with the grievances of Tibetans, the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) has placed itself on the wrong side of the struggle—foursquare in support of state repression. In the opening lines of the PSL’s statement in support of the crackdown, the party displays its disregard for the right of self-determination: “The vast majority of the peoples of China, including many in Tibet,” they write, “oppose the U.S.-supported separatist movement.”19 But if we were to rely on the opinion of “the majority of the peoples,” as PSL does, we would rule out the decisive point about self-determination: The minority nationality must decide its own fate.

PSL’s excuse for supporting state repression is the need to oppose U.S. imperialism and its scheme to restore the Dalai Lama—and Tibetan feudalism—to power as a client state of the West. “Bush views the Dalai Lama in much the same way he viewed Ahmed Chalabi before the invasion of Iraq—as a useful tool for U.S. empire.” If PSL didn’t reflexively skip over the question of how Tibetans view things, the party would notice a major difference: Few outside a small number of pro-U.S. expatriate Iraqis knew who Ahmed Chalabi was, but tens of thousands of Tibetans view the Dalai Lama as their leader. If self-determination is to mean something real, Tibetans must be able to follow the leaders they prefer, not those recommended by the CCP or PSL.

This does not mean that outside supporters of self-determination need to endorse the same leaders that the oppressed do. It’s possible—in fact, necessary—for the Left to be critical of the Dalai Lama’s politics and suspicious of his connection to the U.S. at the same time that we respect Tibetans’ right to self-determination.

Suspicions about U.S. interference are justified. It is not outlandish to suppose that movements of oppressed nationalities can become pawns in the hands of foreign imperialists. The U.S. manipulated the Kosovar Albanians’ struggle in the 1999 war against Serbia, as it has done with the Iraqi Kurds in recent years. But this picture doesn’t fit the Tibetan situation. In the first place, it’s hard to see how a feudal ruling class, now fifty years out of power, could undo the decades of economic development in Tibet under Chinese rule—development that the PSL is proud to advertise as an achievement of “socialism.” In the second place, the key products of that development may be the Tibetan workers and peasants themselves, whose recent activity suggests that they are capable of asserting their interests against any new Tibetan elite if they need to. In this respect, the emerging Tibetan national movement resembles many others, where different class forces contend. So the choice is not, as the PSL would have it, between continued Chinese domination and the restoration of feudalism. The crucial choice is going to be what kind of liberation movement Tibetans wage.

PSL’s views render its spokespeople incapable of considering this question. Their recent statements make no mention of Tibetan grievances, so they convey no sense of what the fight is about—and certainly no sense of how to carry it forward. Concerning oppression, the PSL statement only remarks: “Many progressives in the United States believe that Tibet is severely repressed by the People’s Republic of China.” Then it moves on, as if this belief is self-evidently false.

The heart of PSL’s case for the Chinese possession of Tibet is their defense of the member of a “socialist camp”—admittedly reduced in size since the Cold War, but still including Cuba and North Korea. In this schema of international relations, a struggle between the Chinese state and U.S.-backed forces is, by definition, a class struggle, because China is in some sense a “workers’ state.” In a world where imperialism and “workers’ states” contend,

Every national struggle…contains within itself a class struggle. Tibet is not simply a nationality united by religion, culture and history. There are two classes deep in struggle.
One of these classes is the former landlord class, which never gave up its dream to reconquer its privilege. It is backed by U.S. imperialism, whose objective is breaking up China.
The other is the vast majority of Tibetans, who—despite the shortcomings and mistakes of the central government—have greatly benefited from the Chinese revolution.20

To persist in calling China a “workers’ state”—a society dominated by multi-millionaire capitalists, receiving massive foreign investment stoking high growth rates based on high rates of exploitation, all buttressed by a repressive police state—shows how completely out of touch with reality the PSL is. This portrayal of the Chinese state as the representative of workers’ interests and those of “the vast majority of Tibetans” presents an upside-down view of China’s social relations and recent struggles. The current revolt of Tibetans takes place in the context of a massive wave of workers and peasants’ struggle against a social elite in which the private bosses, the party, and the “workers state” are intimately intertwined. The Tibetan fight has common roots with the struggles of Han Chinese—in the inequality and social dislocation that have characterized China’s breakneck development.

For leftists to place themselves against the Tibetan revolt is to ignore what Tibetans have in common with Han Chinese workers and peasants. It’s also to ignore the major task that leftists in China need to take on—to frame the ideas and build organizations that can bridge the divisions among China’s workers, peasants, and oppressed—and pose a real political challenge to all of China’s current rulers, from the Han Chinese officials to the Tibetan elite.

In the U.S., the Left needs to continue to expose the hypocrisy of politicians who decry the abuse of human rights overseas as they pursue their own violent course to exploit the world’s workers and resources from New York to Baghdad. These worldwide purveyors of oppression are up to no good in their support for the Dalai Lama. The experience of other oppressed nationalities has shown that U.S. support represents a hazard in the struggle for self-determination, not an advantage.

The control over the future course of resistance in China, however, is not in the hands of the State Department or the Dalai Lama. It’s up for grabs. The political views that develop in China among workers, peasants, and the oppressed will make the crucial difference. A Chinese movement for genuine socialism and liberation is possible on the basis of antiracist unity against all the bosses—unity that requires an adamant defense of the right of self-determination for oppressed nationalities. The efforts of solidarity activists in the West would also benefit from adopting the same sort of politics.

David Whitehouse is the ISR’s reviews editor.

1 Michael Parenti, “Friendly feudalism: The Tibet myth,” January 2008,
2 “Trashing the Beijing road,” Economist, March 22, 2008.
3 Edward Cody, “During crackdown in Tibet, Uighurs pursued own protest,” Washington Post, April 3, 2008.
4 Parenti, “Friendly feudalism.”
5 “Tibet: China must end rural reconstruction campaign,” Human Rights Watch, December 20, 2006,
6 Shai Oster, “In Tibet’s capital, government pushes its side of story,” Wall Street Journal, March 27, 2008.
7 Antoaneta Bezlova, “China: Under pressure to rethink Tibet policy,” Inter Press Service, March 21, 2008,
8 “Dalai Lama group says it got money from CIA,” New York Times, October 2, 1998.
9 Parenti, “Friendly feudalism.”
10 Simon Leys has written eloquently about the party’s ideological objectives during this period in “Human rights in China,” The Burning Forest (New York: Henry Holt, 1986), 115–35.
11 On the connection between the CCP’s view of the law and imperial legal doctrine, see William C. Jones, “Trying to understand the current Chinese legal system,” in C. Stephen Hsu, ed., Understanding China’s Legal System (New York: New York University Press, 2003), 7–45.
12 Roland Soong takes a critical look at China’s accounting of mass unrest in “China: Statistics of mass incidents,” November 26, 2006,
13 Alexandra Harney, “Bye-bye cheap labor,” Far Eastern Economic Review, March 2008.
14 Canadian blogger John Kennedy, who is based in Guangdong, translates some of this venom into English at
15 Full text of the statement is at
16 “Tibet: From brutal theocracy to socialist liberation to capitalist nightmare,” Revolution, April 7, 2008, available online at
17 The ISR is part of a tradition that has characterized Mao’s China as a state capitalist regime. For an extended defense of this view, see Nigel Harris’s 1978 book, The Mandate of Heaven: Marx and Mao in Modern China, available online at
18 Joshua Michael Schrei, “A lie repeated: The far Left’s flawed history of Tibet,”
19 PSL statement, “China, Tibet, and U.S.-sponsored counterrevolution,”
20 Ibid.

Issue #103

Winter 2016-17

"A sense of hope and the possibility for solidarity"

Interview with Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
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