China and Tibet: The Perils of Insecurity

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Over sixty years of violence and dialogue have brought China and the Tibetans no closer to a resolution of their conflict. Tsering Topgyal argues that it is China’s sense of insecurity, its perception of itself as a socio-politically weak state, which has disproportionately influenced its policies towards the religion, language, education and economy of Tibet. Beijing has also denied the existence of a ‘Tibet Issue’ and rejected several Tibetan proposals for autonomy, fearful that they might undermine its state-building project.

Conversely, Tibetan insecurity about threats to their identity, generated by Chinese policies, Han migration and cultural influences in Tibet, explains both the Dalai Lama’s unpopular decision to abandon his aspiration for Tibetan independence and his demands for autonomy and unification of all Tibetans under one administration. Identity insecurity also drives the multi-faceted Tibetan resistance both inside Tibet and in the diaspora. Thus, while Beijing and the Tibetans seek to harden their positions in order to counter their respective insecurities, real or imagined, the outcome is, paradoxically, greater insecurity on both sides, plunging them into unremitting cycles of state-hardening on the part of China and fortifying resistance on the Tibetan side.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon and New York
PublisherC Hurst and Co Publishers Ltd
Number of pages309
ISBN (Print)9781849044714, 1849044716
Publication statusPublished - 18 Mar 2016


  • China
  • Tibet
  • Insecurity dilemma
  • Conflcit
  • Identity security


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