The third issue of Liaowang Xizang, ICT’s Chinese language journal on Tibet, focuses on the role of democracy in the Tibetan experience, both in Tibet and in exile.

“The Tibetans in Tibet and those living in exile have had different experiences with democracy and democratic reforms,” said Rinchen Tashi, Editor of Liaowang Xizang.

Despite the fact that the highest policy-making authority in Tibet was the National Assembly (whose delegates were composed of Tibetan government officials, representatives of different regions of Tibet as well as of monastic and social communities), the political system that existed under the Tibetan government prior to the arrival of the Chinese left much to be desired in terms of democratic features.

In fact the Dalai Lama has said that Tibet might historically have had a notion of collective leadership, but not one of democratic rule.

However, Tibetans in Tibet did not have a very positive introduction to democracy after the Chinese arrival, which had less to do with the ideology than with the way democracy was interpreted by Chinese officials: the “Democratic Reforms” in Tibet resulted in the dismantling of the traditional Tibetan social, political and religious structures.

This issue of Liaowang Xizang also carries an analysis of the state of democracy in Tibet and in exile, including a commentary by a journalist of the Chinese-language service of Voice of America, who visited the Tibetan community in India.

This issue includes analysis of the visit to China and Tibet by the Dalai Lama’s envoys, by both Tibetan and Chinese commentators, including Wang Lixiong and Mo Li.

Liaowang Xizang also interviewed former Tibetan political prisoner Takna Jigme Sangpo on his views on Tibetan-Chinese relations.

The issue continues with another section of the book “Towards Freedom – A Chinese Army Official Joined Tibetan Resistant Movement” by Tsering Wangchuk, which is the story of the Chinese official who defected to the Tibetan side in the 1950s.

Liowang Xizang is part of the International Campaign for Tibet’s Chinese Outreach program. To receive more information or to be placed on mailing list, please contact Rinchen Tashi at 202-785-1515.