Tibet and Nationalist China's Frontier
304 pages, 6 x 9
10 b&w illustrations, 2 maps, 3 tables
Release Date:06 Oct 2006
Release Date:01 Jul 2007

Tibet and Nationalist China's Frontier

Intrigues and Ethnopolitics, 1928-49

UBC Press

In this ground-breaking study, Hsiao Ting Lin demonstrates that the Chinese frontier was the subject neither of concerted aggression on the part of a centralized and indoctrinated Chinese government nor of an ideologically driven nationalist ethnopolitics. Instead, Nationalist sovereignty over Tibet and other border regions was the result of rhetorical grandstanding by Chiang Kai-shek and his regime. Tibet and Nationalist China’s Frontier is invaluable for an understanding of past and present China-Tibet relations.

Tibet and Nationalist China’s Frontier makes a crucial contribution to the understanding of past and present China-Tibet relations. A counterpoint to erroneous historical assumptions, this book will change the way Tibetologists and modern Chinese historians frame future studies of the region.

Lin’s insightful, carefully documented book describes the Nationalist regime’s evolving attempts to move from ‘imagined sovereignty’ to nation building in its relationship with a de facto independent Tibet. Including valuable comparisons with Xinjiang and Mongolia, Lin reshapes the history of modern China’s relations with its vast frontiers. This is an original and noteworthy contribution to our understanding of the creation of today’s China. Jonathan Lipman, author of Familiar Strangers: A History of Muslims in Northwest China
A crucially important topic on the intricacies of Chinese policy-making with regard to frontier peoples. The notion that the Chinese Nationalist government was a powerful aggressor against Tibet now stands to be corrected by Lin’s book, a powerful revisionist study of the Sino-Tibetan relations during the first half of the twentieth century. Uradyn Bulag, author of The Mongols at China’s Edge: History and the Politics of National Unity
This book adds an important Chinese dimension to the current scholarly discourse on the Tibet question. Lin’s coverage of recently declassified Chinese government files and his mastery of the literature in both English and Chinese is remarkable. De-centralizing and de-ideologizing Chinese Nationalists’ frontier policies, his provocative arguments will certainly invite serious responses from others in the field. Xiaoyuan Liu, author of Frontier Passages: Ethnopolitics and the Rise of Chinese Communism, 1921-45
Hsiao-ting Lin is a Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.


Part 1: The Setting

1 The Nationalist Government, National Image, and Territorial Fragmentation in the Prewar Decade (1928-37)

2 The Professed Policy, the Policy Planners, and the Imagined Sovereignty

Part 2: The Prewar Decade, 1928-37

3 The Unquiet Southwestern Borderlands

4 The Mission to Tibet

5 The ‘Commissioner’ Politics

Part 3: The Wartime Period, 1938-1945

6 Building a Nationalist-controlled State in Southwest China

7 The Issue of China-India Roadway via Tibet

8 Rhetoric and Reality in Wartime China’s Tibetan Concerns

Part 4: The Postwar Period, 1945-49

9 Postwar Frontier Planning vis-à-vis non-Han Separatist Movements

10 The Sera Monastery Incident





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