Paper Republic: Chinese Literature Matters

Translating Contemporary Tibet: In Conversation with Christopher Peacock

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There is the romanticized view of Tibet in the West as a gentle, enlightened religious paradise, one now cruelly oppressed under Chinese rule. There is also the opposite view, formerly held by Western imperialists, that Tibet is a backwards, savage place ruled by a corrupt religion. This also overlaps with the official historiographical line in China: that Tibet before Chinese “liberation” was an oppressive feudal society. Tsering Döndrup’s vision works against all of these distorted narratives. We certainly can’t see a romantic or idealized Tibet here (the Western tourists in “Ralo” who hold such views are ridiculed), but nor is it a nightmarish, backward society. It has its (many) problems, to be sure, but his exploration of them is thoughtful and concerned, not polemical.


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