Yunnanin vähemmistöt: zang eli tiibetiläiset

No nyt on hylätty vanha, risa tietokone ja ostettu uusi tilalle, joten voi taas kirjoittaakin. Ennen näitä tietokoneongelmia kirjoittelin Yunnanin vähemmistöistä, joten jatketaan siitä, mihin jäätiin: vuorossa 13. suurin vähemmistö eli tiibetiläiset.

Joukossa myös yksi suomalainen. Kuva Anne-Marita Laukkanen.


Tiibetiläisiä Yunnanissa on n. 111 300 ja koko Kiinassa 5,4 miljoonaa. Koko maan mittakaavassa he ovat 10. suurin vähemmistöryhmä. Tiibetiläset puhuvat tiibetiä, joka kuuluu sino-tiibetiläiseen kielikuntaan. Tiibetin kieli koostuu useista keskenään ei-ymmärrettävistä murteista. Esim. täällä Yunnanissa puhuttu murre eroaa Lhasa-tiibetistä niin paljon, etteivät puhujat ymmärrä toisiaan. Yhteinen kieli onkin usein kiina.


Suurin osa tiibetiläisistä harjoittaa Tiibetin buddhalaisuutta, jota vanhemmassa kirjallisuudessa on myös kutsuttu lamaismiksi. Kuten hui-vähemmistökirjoituksesta ehkä muistanettekin, osa etnisistä tiibetiläisistä on muslimeja, jolloin heidät luetaan huiksi. Myös vanhan animistisen bön-uskonnon harjoittajia on yhä. Lisäksi löytyy tiibetiläisiä kristittyjä (täälläpäin mm. Cizhongista, jossa sijaitsee katolinen kirkko).

Olen kirjoittanut tiibetläisisä sen verran paljon, etten oikein tiedä, mitä tähän laittaisin. Mielenkiintoinen pointti on, että kiinalaisia syytetään vähemmistöjen eksotisoinnista ja erotisoinnista. Vähemmistöjä edustaa aina kaunis perinteisesti pukeutunut nuori nainen. Tiibetiläiset ovat tästä poikkeus. Ben Hillman onkin tituleerannut heidät macho-vähemmistöksi. Toki kuvastosta löytyy kauniita naisiakin, mutta useimmiten tiibetiläisiä kuvissa edustaa komeat, villit, pitkähiuksiset nuoret miehet (ellei sitten munkit). Siksi olen myös minä valinnut tähän vaihteeksi kuvia komeista miehistä.

Koska aiemin postasia katkelman gradustani, joka käsitteli länsimaalaisten mielikuvia tiibetiläisistä, laitetaan nyt tähän sitten katkelma kiinalaisten mielikuvista.

Kuva minun


Also Dru Gladney (1994) uses the sexual metaphor. He argues that in China “the minority is to the majority as female is to male, as ‘third’ world is to ‘first’, and as subjectivized is to objectivized identity (Gladney 1994: 93).” As we saw the imagery of sexual relations also appeared in Western perceptions but they were in the form of violation and rape. But according to Barnett (2001) the Chinese imagery involves “marriage rather than violation, and the innocence is male, a result not of moral purity but a lack of sophistication or modernity – in other words, an excess of barbarity. In this view, the newcomer in the liaison is not a male violator but a nonviolent female who brings knowledge and advanced culture (Barnett 2001: 274.)” In think this view is interesting especially in the light of what is happening at the local level. Maybe the Han girls marrying their Tibetan boyfriends actually see themselves like this; as the bringers of knowledge and culture to the poor, uneducated, though handsome boys. So, marriage is a metaphor for China’s civilizing mission toward backward people and its modernization project in Tibet.

The Han are also often accused of exoticizing and even eroticizing the minorities (for example Gladney 1994, Heberer 2001). Gladney (1994) uses the ‘Yunnan School’ (Yunnan huapai云南画派) of modern Chinese painting as an example of this. The paintings portray nude minority women. So, again the minorities are seen as female. But in the case of Tibetans, the exotic and erotic is mostly male. Gladney mentions the reported presence of ‘sex tours’ to Yunnan and in our minds eye we can see Han men flocking to Xishuangbanna to see bathing Dai women or Lugu Lake to wonder the walking marriage of the Mosuo people. But in Tibetan areas it is mainly Han girls looking for holiday romance with a Tibetan man.

“It is exactly this exoticism that appears to characterize the official public image of ‘minorities’ in China. Most depictions show colorfully dressed minorities dancing, singing, and laughing in palm groves, on mountain tops, or in downright bizarre landscapes. They dance wildly, fires blaze, and mythic images are created that send a shiver down the spine of the Han-Chinese who view them. In facial structure, figure, and movement these depictions correspond to Han ideals of beauty. The official cultural policy also adapts minorities’ music, song, and dance according to Chinese forms, since the ‘backward’ originals do not meet the Han standards of taste and must be elevated. The other is thus counterfeit (Heberer 2001: 123-124).”

I am not denying the existence of this exotic-erotic image of minorities but what I am arguing is that it is too simplistic. Everything is always seen as ‘done to’ the minorities, forced upon them by the Han. I think that Heberer’s (2001) is a pretty good description of Tibetan music videos, but rather than sending the shivers down the spine of the Han Chinese, I would see the Tibetans themselves shivering. The greatest consumers of Tibetan dance and music videos are Tibetans themselves. For example, many evenings we turn the TV on Lhasa channel as it broadcasts Tibetan singing and dancing programs, and if nothing good is on, we might watch it from DVD instead. And, like I argued in discussion of the mediascapes, this imagery is also how they would like to see themselves. Yes, traditional Tibetan songs are being converted into pop songs with disco beat but I would call this Westernization rather than Sinicization. Tibetan pop is also sometimes sung in Putonghua (普通话) but if the artists desire to have a bigger audience it is better to have the lyrics in a language that more people can understand. No one is criticizing artists singing in English. And it has worked. Tibetan pop is very popular all over Yunnan. I have seen Bai women in Dali performing ‘traditional’ Bai dances danced in Tibetan pop. So, many times the Other is counterfeit but it is not something that is forced upon them. And why would Sinicization be so much more capable of erasing Tibetanness than Westernization or ‘Bollywoodication’, for that matter? Like Shakya (2008) states:

“Tibetans inside Tibet are comfortable with Chinese pop, while Tibetans in India prefer Bollywood. When Dadon, Tibet’s biggest pop star at the time, defected from Lhasa to India in 1995, she was shattered to find that there was no audience for her music. She was virtually unknown and the exiles accused her of singing Chinese style songs. (Shakya 2008: 22.)”

But as Barnett (2006) writes: “‘Tibetanizing’ practices in themselves have no inherent purity of purpose or origin, and it is easy to find examples of economically driven and government-mandated fabrications of the celebration of Tibetan identity (Barnett 2006: 39).” Because tourists will pay a lot of money for a Tibetan-style products, Chinese and foreign entrepreneurs as well as Tibetans, have been quick to cash in on this trend. He also notes that it could actually be said that Chinese culture is so addicted to demonstrating its tolerance of and admiration for its minority nationalities that it is almost impossible to find examples of Chinese pop videos, television programs, books, paintings, music, and costume that do not include Tibetan or other nationality features (Barnett 2006: 39-40). So it could be said that it is all a matter of a point of view. Instead of denigration there might be fascination in the majority’s enthusiasm with the minorities. It could also be argued that the Chinese attitude towards its minorities it not that exceptional. A leaflet promoting eco-tourism to villages in Luang Namtha, Laos, for example, advertise:

“This trip is focused on four ethnic tribes (Hmong, Lantan, Akha and Khmmuand) living in five villages. The villages make a living from collecting the natural products, working on rubber tree orchards and promoting their culture (customs and music) for eco-tourism. All the tribes are very happy to show tourists their handicraft weaving, embroideries, cotton spinning-wheel, rice pounding, blacksmiths as well as their local music instruments and their traditional songs. (Luang Namtha Travel –leaflet.)”

But, as we have seen, in many ways the models presented by Chinese and Western political texts are very similar as Robert Barnett (2001) argues: the phrase “Tibet’s unique natural environment,” for example, is standard in Chinese official texts. What is the difference between the two views is that, for example, when the Chinese official conception sees the uniqueness as backwardness that needs to be advanced or educated through the process of social evolution, the Western conception sees it as something quaint or special that needs to be preserved or returned to earlier condition. At a basic level the differences between the Western and Chinese political representations are small. (Barnett 2001: 277.) According to Adams (1996) the potency and popularity of the ‘Western position’ in relation to the ‘Chinese position’ can be seen in the fact that whenever Western discursive positions are not used in accounts of modern Tibet, the Western author is often accused of subscribing to the ‘Chinese version’ of Tibet and Tibetans. Even the understandings of the people themselves can be seen as false if it does not support Western image of ‘reality’. I overheard a conversation once in Zhongdian where two Westerners were discussing their conversation with a local Tibetan about the Tibetan history. I do not know what was said in the original conversation but in the end the two foreigners agreed that the Tibetan person had a right to his/her views but those views were uninformed, that us-Westerners know things better. At this point I just had to take part in the conversation and I asked if they know, for example, about the Great Game and the events that took place during that period. No, they did not. This part of history had somehow escaped the attention of these know-it-alls.

An interesting approach to the Tibet Question is taken by Robert Barnett (2001) who treats the different political representations as texts. According to him treating these representations of political status or nationhood as texts of the imagination does not mean that they have no power or validity. But they can be seen as constituting the collective imagining by a great number of people forming a description of their identity and relations. This imagining is organized around a selected principle or idea to which they ascribe the certainty of fact. This also means that these texts are authored: They exist because people produce them, not because there is some ‘reality’ that allows only a single interpretation. The discussion of Tibet has been characterized by the collection of facts of different kinds in order to ascribe certainty to one or another of these organizing ideas or imaginary representations. If we view the Tibet Question the way Barnett suggests, the debate between China and Western promoters of Tibetan independence is not really a debate. “It is more the presentation by each side of a strongly held collective imagining that is persuasive only to those who already share that imagining (Barnett 2001: 271).” In the Chinese case, it is the image of China as an integrated nation-state with its borders delineated in some ancient historical past. In the case of the foreign supporters of the Tibetan case, the image is based on a notion that is held to be preexistent or overriding such as, for example, the right of a nation to independence or the right of a people to cultural or religious freedom (human rights). These rights are seen to be violated. “In both cases primordiality is the driving force of the argument: On the one hand, China has existed as a unified state including Tibet for centuries, and on the other, Tibetan culture, identity, or society has existed independently for millennia (Barnett 2001: 271).”

But, according to Barnett (2001), if we judge these representations by the political message they are intended to convey, and by the benefits they offer to those who buy into their imagery instead of some moral principles, the difficulty with the Western representations of Tibet as a victim is that if these promises were ever actualized, the offer they hold for their adherents is the restoration of pride and support for a nationalist ideal. But since these are essentially symbolic or psychological conditions, the sustainers of these representations do not have the power to enforce or actualize their texts. The offer implicit in China’s representation of Tibet is that China will provide the material  and financing for what it defines as civilization or modernity, a promise that it has the ability to carry out and to some extent it has already done so. (Barnett 2001: 277-278.) So instead of all the talk about free Tibet it would be better to concentrate on something more realistic and attainable which might also be more beneficial to the people, like more real autonomy and greater rights. Who actually believes that free independent Tibet can be attained through non-violent demonstrations in the Western world?


Adams, Vincanne. 1996. “Karaoke as Modern Lhasa, Tibet: Western Encounters with Cultural Politics.” Cultural Anthropology, Vol.11, No. 4, (Nov., 1996), pp. 510-546.

Barnett, Robert. 2001. “’Violated Specialness’: Western Political Representations of Tibet.” In Imagining Tibet. Eds. Thierry Dodin & Heinz Räther, pp. 269-316. Boston: Wisdom Publications.

Barnett, Robert. 2006. “Beyond the Collaborator – Martyr Model: Strategies of Compliance, Opportunism, and Opposition within Tibet.” In Contemporary Tibet: Politics, Development, and Society in a Disputed Region. Eds. Barry Sautman & June Teufel Dreyer, pp. 25-66. New York and London: M.E. Sharpe, Inc.

Gladney, Dru C. 1994. “Representing Nationality in China: Refiguring Majority / Minority Identities.” The Journal of Asian Studies 53, No. 1 (Feb., 1994), pp. 92-123.

Heberer, Thomas. 2001. “Old Tibet a Hell on Earth? The Myth of Tibet and Tibetans in Chinese Art and Propaganda.” In Imagining Tibet: Perceptions, Projections and Fantasies. Eds. Thierry Dodin & Heinz Räther, pp. 111-150. Boston: Wisdom Publications.

Luang Namtha Travel –leaflet.

Shakya, Tsering. 2008. “Interview: Tibetan Questions.” New Left Review, Vol. 51 (May, June 2008), pp. 5-26.

Kuva minun

Ps. suurimmat pahoitteluni kuvaajille, joille en ole antanut kunniaa heidän upeista kuvistaan. Jostain syystä nettini antaa kuvahaulla vaan yhden sivun kuvia. Koska olen tallentanut nämä kuvat jo aiemmin, en nyt pysty löytämään sivuja, joilta kuvat tallensin. Jos joku löytää kuvien sivustot, voisitteko kertoa minullekin, jotta kunnia menee sille kelle kuulukin.

Sonii nonii

Ensimmäiset sanat, jotka opin tiibetiksi, olivat sonii nonii, mikä tarkoittaa huomenna, ylihuomenna. Tämä kuvaa hyvin tiibetiläisten aikakäsitystä. Lattarit manjaanoineen ovat nopeita tiibetiläisiin verrattuna. Mitäpä sitä tänään tekemään, huomenna tai ehkä ylihuomenna. Odotin kerran esrästäkin tiibetiläistä kuusi tuntia ja joka kerta soittaessani hän sanoi olevansa juuri tulossa.

Mrrrrr! Yritä tässä sitten tehdä bisnestä. Nettisivut ovat viimeisiä silauksia vaille valmiit ja käyntikortitkin saisi muutamassa päivässä tehtyä, mutta eihän tätä voi alkaa mainostaa, kun eivät nuo saa lämminvesilaitteita asennettua tai lattian rakoja tukittua. Raot voisin vielä hoitaa itse, mutta en minä niitä vesilaitteita yksin paikoilleen saa. Kaiken lisäksi he saisivat päivätöistään palkkaa, mutta minun palkkani on isolta osalta provikoita.

Western ideas of Tibetanness: baby seals and depositories

Seuraava kirjoitus on englanniksi, koska se on pätkä gradustani, ja olen liian laiska alkaakseni kääntää sitä suomeksi.

In this section I decided to include a discussion about the Western ideas of Tibet and Tibetanness as many Westerners have strong opinions of the subject and our conceptions are affecting the Tibetans themselves. In the Western imagination Tibet is seen as ‘Roof of the world’, ‘Land of the snows’, mystic Shangri-la, heaven on earth, which was a holy kingdom led by peace-loving lamas. It was a depository of ancient knowledge and unchanging tradition which is now under threat of being lost because of Chinese invasion and assimilation schemes. As Vincanne Adams writes (1996):

“Construction of Tibet as a place of spirituality, as exotic, as offering esoteric forms of Buddhism, as a location for dynastic intrigue, as a wild frontier of bare-chested, horseback-riding singing nomads and rugged yaks, and, of course, as a place for ultimate challenge for Western physical endurance have all been bound up, Bishop (1989) notes, both not only with realities that actually exist in Tibet and among Tibetans but also with Western geopolitical interests in the region (Adams 1996: 515).”

According to Adams (1996) there are two types of images of Tibet that dominate the Western popular imagination. First is the pre-Mao Tibet that was universally and uniformly religious. All of the Tibetans possessed esoteric spiritual awareness and religious knowledge. The second one is an image of Tibet as a place that has been destroyed by Chinese communism and where Tibetans, one and all, are engaged in acts of political resistance. So authentic Tibetanness can only be found in people who are religiously devout and resist the Chinese government. (Adams 1996: 515.)

Besides religion and resistance there are also other images of Tibetans, and according to these the Tibetans are innately nonviolent, environmentally friendly and equal. Common statements are: “Tibetans are an essentially peaceful and nonviolent people, who never developed an army of their own,” and “Environmentalism is an innate aspect of Tibetan culture,” and “Women in traditional Tibet enjoyed a higher degree of equality than in other Asian societies.” Toni Huber (2001) argues that these types of reflexive, politicized notions of Tibetan culture and identity are unprecedented and distinctly modern (Huber 2001: 357). According to him:

“Tibetan exiles have reinvented a kind of modern, liberal Shangri-la image of themselves, which has its precedents in two different sets of discourses, the first of which is the product of the tree powerful “-isms” of early modernity: colonialism, orientalism, and nationalism. The second set derives from liberal social and protest movements that originated mainly in the industrialized West, but which are now transnational in scope and appeal: environmentalism, pacifism, human rights and feminism.” (Huber 2001: 358.)

As these images are constructed they do not conform to the reality. Elliot Sperling (2001), just to give an example, has written about the aspects of violence in the Tibetan tradition. Helena Norberg-Hodge (2001) sees the Ladakh Tibetans as a model of ecological sustainability but I would argue that this environmentalism is just the result of local conditions (namely poverty). When people have the opportunity to consume they do so, and the results of this consumption can be seen in the environment. In Xidang, for example, the slopes of the mountains are littered with plastic and glass bottles. We also had a big disagreement in the family as I did not let them dump the bottles in to the river. Barnett (2001) argues that according to the ecological image of Tibetans they are seen as an endangered species or Tibet as a threatened habitat. As the American Buddhist scholar Robert Thurman described it, “the Tibetans are the baby seals of the human rights movement.” (DeVoss, 1997 [see Barnett 2001: 276-277]).  What comes to the relative equality of men and women I would say the Chinese are more equal than Tibetans. As women do most of the farm work they have some power in the family affairs but they are far from equal. An example of this is that women are considered impure and even their clothes can not be washed in the same water as men’s clothes. Women’s clothes below the waist can not be washed in the washing machine as they contaminate it and they have to be hung lower to dry than men’s clothes.

These images are basically constructions based primarily on Western psychological needs but they have been adopted and developed by the government-in-exile in India. Such identity construction also has roots in what Heinz Bechert (1984) calls “Buddhist Modernism,” some of whose salient features he describes as: the reinterpretation of Buddhism as an essentially rational religion; the idea that Buddhism is a natural vehicle for various kinds of social reform; and the close connection between Buddhism and emergent South Asian anti-colonialism and nationalism (Bechert 1984: 275-277). All of this belongs to the Orientalist discourse. As Huber (2001) points out one aspect of that discourse “is the way in which the Oriental Other has also been creative agent for essentialist constructions, and moreover an agent who reflects, refracts, and recycles Orientalist discourse back to what is held to be the dominant objectifying group (Huber 2001: 363).” So according to Romantic Orientalist reading Tibetan identity is seen as innately spiritual in opposition to the soulless materialism and moral bankruptcy of Communist China or the greed and spiritual impoverishment of the industrialized West. Huber also notes that many of these identity images first appeared in multiple English texts before they appeared in Tibetan versions. This gives clear picture of their targeted audience and purpose: they are aimed at the West as a weapon in a propaganda battle against the Chinese state. (Huber 2001: 364-367.) But often this presentation has depended on historical distortion and the editing out of negative evidence. As Heather Stoddard points out “[a] considerable number of new books written in Tibetan…have been censored or banned from publication [by the exile government] because they do not conform to the desired image of traditional Tibetan society. Any serious discussion of history and possible shortcomings in the society before 1959 is taboo (Stoddard 1994: 152).”

Still, this ‘Shangri-la syndrome’ continues and captivates the Western imagination. Donald S. Lopez Jr. (1998) has argued that the Western definitions of Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism have been so powerful that the Tibetans have been denied agency, so that, in effect, they have been colonized. In his response to Lopez’s book Tsering Shakya (2001) writes:

“There is certainly a process of mimicry, hybridization, and appropriation of western representations of Tibetanness or Buddhism among certain sections of the Tibetan diaspora. However, it is clear to me that the penetration of the western construct into the Tibetan community remains at best superficial, and the mimicry is not necessarily carried out by way of imbibing a set of values and definitions offered by the West. Unlike the case in many colonized territories, penetration by western constructs, whether cultural or political remains at the margins of Tibetan subjectivity (Shakya 2001: 185).”

But as Jamyang Norbu (2001) writes it is this dreamlike, Shangri-la quality that is focused on, so much so that other aspects of Tibetan life or culture are ignored no matter how important they may be to the Tibetans themselves. According to him this can also be seen in the desire to maintain the cultural purity of such societies by sheltering them from the realities of the outside world, especially politics, commerce, and technology. Development for such societies is seen appropriate only if it is nonmilitary, nonindustrial, and environmentally friendly. This kind of stand ignores the society’s own needs and the desires of its people, who may be seeking change. (Norbu 2001: 375.) In the conclusion of his article Donald S. Lopez (1994) contends that for Westerners to indulge in the Shangri-la fantasy of Tibet is “to deny Tibet its history, to exclude Tibet from real world of which it has always been a part, and to deny Tibetans their role as agents participating in the creation of a contested quotidian reality (Lopez 1994: 43).” Even, if we leave out the Western imaginations, these identities are creations of the exiles in contact with Western audiences. As Tsering Shakya (2008) says the Tibetan communities in Tibet have little interaction with the Tibetan community in India. According to him “the exiles in India sometimes see themselves as the ‘true’ representatives of Tibetanness, and the Tibetans inside as merely passive, oppressed victims – a patronizing attitude that does not go well in Tibet (Shakya 2008: 22).” These images are also catered to the West in hope of political support for the Tibetan cause. But according to Shakya “the joke in Tibet is that the Dalai Lama wants “one country, two systems”, but what people there want is “one country, one system” – they want the more liberal policies that prevail in China also to apply in Tibet (Shakya 2008: 26).”

What is in common with all these images of Tibet is that it is seen as a zone of specialness, uniqueness, distinctiveness, or excellence that has been threatened, violated, or abused. In some cases the violation is seen as a result of advancing modernity or commercialization in general. But usually this violation is identified with acts of violence, desecration, or intolerance that have been carried out by the Chinese authorities. (Barnett 2001: 273.) Like I wrote earlier Stevan Harrell (1995) argues that the Chinese state sees its minorities as women, as children, or as ancient and thus needing protection, education and modernization. But the metaphor of Tibetans as women is also used by the Westerners as Barnett (2001) points out citing U.S. congressman: “The rape of Tibet is going on (see Barnett 2001: 273).” The same way in Western imaginations the Tibetans are seen although not as children but as innocent and needing protection and preservation. And, of course, the Tibetans are seen as ancient and always deeply religious. But what if every Tibetan is not willing to be our baby seal or depository of archaic knowledge?

Brett Neilson (2000) has argued that the myth of Shangri-la and the search for it has actually nothing to do with real Tibet. The Shangri-La myth conjures up the imagining of a space outside of globalization. Although it is the stuff of fiction and fantasy, it does this in an immediately material way, since, in its present cultural political articulation, it is inseparable from the geopolitical conflict surrounding Tibet. He does not to claim that Tibet is Shangri-la or that Shangri-la is Tibet, since one of the key aspects of Shangri-la in the original story (James Hilton’s Lost Horizon [1933]) was that this mysterious land is knowable only to a dedicated few, who commit themselves to a life of peace, simplicity, and meditation. One consequence of this hypothesis is that Shangri-la can be detached from the physical territory of Tibet thus becoming a sign of longevity, joy, and other stereotypical qualities that are associated with spurious ideals of Asian authenticity and anti-modernity (even when these attributes are clearly lacking). (Neilson 2000: 98-99.) So, is it the space outside of modernity that all of us (The Chinese tourists as well as Westerners) are imagining and looking for?


Adams, Vincanne. 1996. “Karaoke as Modern Lhasa, Tibet: Western Encounters with Cultural Politics.” Cultural Anthropology, Vol.11, No. 4, (Nov., 1996), pp. 510-546.

Barnett, Robert. 2001. “’Violated Specialness’: Western Political Representations of Tibet.” In Imagining Tibet. Eds. Thierry Dodin & Heinz Räther, pp. 269-316. Boston: Wisdom Publications.

Bechert, Heinz. 1984. “Buddhist Revival in East and West.” In The World of Buddhism. Eds. Heinz Bechert & Richard Gombrich, pp. 273-285. London: Thames and Hudson.

Bishop, Peter. 1989. The Myth of Shangri-la: Tibet, Travel writing, and the Western Creation of a Sacred Landscape. Berkeley:  University of California Press.

Harrell, Stevan. 1995. “Introduction: Civilizing Projects and the Reaction to Them.” In Cultural Encounters on China’s Ethnic Frontiers. Ed. Stevan Harrell, pp. 3-36. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Huber, Toni. 2001. “Shangri-la in Exile: Representations of Tibetan Identity and Transnational Culture.” In Imagining Tibet: Perceptions, Projections and Fantasies. Eds. Thierry Dodin & Heinz Räther, pp. 357-371. Boston: Wisdom Publications.

Lopez, Donald S., Jr. 1994. “New Age Orientalism: The Case of Tibet.” Tricycle, Vol. 3, No. 3, pp. 36-43.

Lopez, Donald S., Jr. 1998. Prisoners of Shangri-la: Tibetan Buddhism and the West. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Neilson, Brett. 2000. “Inside Shangri la/Outside Globalization: Remapping Orientalist Visions of Tibet.” Communal/Plural, Vol. 8, No. 1, pp. 95-112.

Norberg-Hodge, Helena. 2001. “Tibetan Culture as a Model of Ecological Sustainability.” In Imagining Tibet: Perceptions, Projections and Fantasies. Eds. Thierry Dodin & Heinz Räther, pp. 331-338. Boston: Wisdom Publications.

Norbu, Jamyang. 2001. “Behind the Lost Horizon: Demystifying Tibet.” In Imagining Tibet: Perceptions, Projections and Fantasies. Eds. Thierry Dodin & Heinz Räther, pp. 373-378. Boston: Wisdom Publications.

Shakya, Tsering. 2001. “Who Are the Prisoners?” Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Vol. 69, No. 1 (March 2001), pp. 183-189.

Shakya, Tsering. 2008. “Interview: Tibetan Questions.” New Left Review, Vol. 51 (May, June 2008), pp. 5-26.

Sperling, Elliot. 2001. “’Orientalism’ and Aspects of Violence in the Tibetan Tradition.” In Imagining Tibet: Perceptions, Projections and Fantasies. Eds. Thierry Dodin & Heinz Räther, pp. 317-329. Boston: Wisdom Publications.

Stoddard, Heather. 1994. “Tibetan Publications and National Identity.” In Resistance and Reform in Tibet. Eds. Robbie Barnett & Shirin Akiner, pp. 121-156. London: Hurst and Co.



Käsityksiä tiibetiläisistä, osa 2

Kirjoitinkin jo aiemmin, kuinka pidämme Tiibetiä eristyneenä yhteisönä, jota johtavat rauhaa rakastavat lamat. Jamyang Norbu on kirjoittanut: ”It is this dreamlike, ”Shangri-la” quality of Tibet, most observed in the medieval flavor of its society and culture and in its strange, esoteric religion, that Westerners find most attractive. From tourists to academics, this is the feature of Tibet that is focused on, to the exclusion of other aspects of Tibetan life or culture, no matter how important they may be to the Tibetans themselves.” (Jamyang Norbu: Behind the lost horizon: Demystifying Tibet.)

Seurauksena tämän kaltaisista käsityksistä on, että nämä “muuttumattomat” yhteisöt halutaan säilyttää sellaisinaan (muita esimerkkejä ovat esim. Amazonin intiaanit) ja suojella niitä varsinkin politiikalta, kaupallistumiselta ja teknologialta. Kehitys on sallittua, mutta vain jos se on ei-sotilaallista, ei-teollista ja ympäristöystävällistä. Ei noissa vaatimuksissa sinänsä mitään vikaa ole, mutta kuten Norbu huomauttaa, ne jättävät huomiotta yhteisön muuttuvan historian, sen tarpeet ja jopa ihmisten omat toiveet. Monet tiibetiläiset eivät suinkaan vastusta kehitystä. Vaikkakin tämä Shangri-la kuva on länkkäreitten luomus, Tiibetin pakolaishallitus on innolla omaksunut sen. He markkinoivat kuvaa Tiibetistä ennen vuotta 1959 rauhan, harmonian ja hengellisyyden valtakuntana ja tämä on valitettavasti johtanut myös historian uudelleen kirjoittamiseen (mm. sissisota kiinalaisia vastaan on poistettu Tiibetin historiasta). Täten tietyt ihmiset ja heidän panoksensa on poistettu historiasta. Tämä mielikuva myös vie tiibetiläisiltä itseltään toimijuuden, sillä nämä käsityksethän ilmentävät meidän mielikuviamme ja tarpeitamme ja vaativat toisia mukautumaan niihin. Jos kohtaamme tiibetiläisiä, jotka eivät pukeudu perinteisesti ja ole syvästi uskonnollisia, emme pidä heitä ”aitoina”. On tosin myös argumentoitu, että pakolaishallitus on aktiivinen toimija Tiibet-kysymyksessä markkinoidessaan näitä mielikuvia lännelle tuen toivossa. Onhan se niinkin, mutta kuka kuuntelee paikallistason ihmisiä?

Koska Xidang on kommunistinen maanviljely-yhteisö, jossa harvat enää pukeutuvat perinteisesti eikä vanhuksia lukuun ottamatta kenelläkään ole aikaa käyttää päiviään temppelillä rukoillen, he eivät edes itse koe itseään ”aidoiksi” tiibetiläisiksi. Kaiken lisäksi he puhuvat ”väärää” kieltä, paikallista tiibetiä eikä lhasaa. Tästä äidin toteamus: ”Emme ole han-kiinalaisia, mutta emme oikeita tiibetiläisiäkään. Emme oikein tiedä, mitä olemme.” Jos kulttuurin toivotaan säilyvän, ei tunnu järin hyvältä strategialta saada ihmiset tuntemaan, etteivät he kuulu enää omaan kulttuuriinsa, että he ovat epäaitoja, koska he eivät vastaa meidän mielikuviamme siitä, millaisia heidän tulisi olla.

Kuinka määritellä tiibetiläisyys, osa 2

No nyt sen keksin. Tai en minä sitä varsinaisesti keksinyt, vaan tiibetiläiset itse. Tiibetiläisyys voidaan määritellä sen perusteella, ketkä syövät tsampaa eli ohrajauhoa perinteisesti perusravintona, koska juuri mikään muu etninen ryhmä ei sitä tee. Tiibetiläiset ovat siis tsampan syöjiä. Siihen voisi lisätä myös voiteen juonnin. Yu Changjiang kuvaa artikkelissaan ”Life in Lara Village, Tibet”, kuinka jopa perinteinen tapa sekoittaa tsampa teehen on muuttunut kulttuurilliseksi identiteetin merkitsijäksi. Täälläpäin tsampa vaan yleensä viskataan suuhun ja hörpätään teetä päälle. Yun mukaan vieraiden tsampan syömishalukkuutta voidaan myös pitää merkkinä heidän halukkuudestaan ymmärtää tiibetiläistä kulttuuria ja kyvystään sulautua siihen. Ja voiteetä ja tsampaa tarjotaan aina vieraille. Joten neuvon sana, älkää kieltäytykö tarjotusta teestä ja tsampasta.