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Fall 2023 Reading Group

Tibet and China

Prerequisite: None

Exam Type: No Exam

This Reading Group will focus on the question of and solutions for Tibet. It will look at the historical status of Tibet and the current situation of the Tibetan people. The class will examine the guarantees and practices of national minority rights under the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China in light of international human rights standards. Do China’s guarantees respecting national minority rights meet international standards regarding the right to self-determination or the protection of minorities. Might reference to the rights of indigenous people be helpful? The approach of the seminar will be to interrogate the best ways to address these issues and find solutions. We will look at the evolution and major changes in the stand of the Dalai Lama from seeking independence, to what he has described as a zone of peace for Tibet, and finally to “genuine autonomy for Tibetan people” within the framework of the Constitution of the PRC. His efforts have included nine rounds of dialogue between envoys of the Dalai Lama and the PRC government. We will also explore comparative issues of Hong Kong and Xinjiang to understand PRC approaches toward regional autonomy . The Reading Group will also explore the unique approach of the Dalai Lama in developing a democratic polity in exile, as well as complex religious issues relating to reincarnation and religious freedom. Finally, we will examine the US Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2020 to understand the role of the US government in respect of political, diplomatic and legal obligations relating to Tibet and its people.

Note: This reading group will meet on the following dates: 9/13, 9/27, 10/11, 10/25, 11/8, 11/29