4: Cold War Contradictions: The Tibetan Muslim Experience in Maoist-era Lhasa (1959-61)
Sunday, March 27, 2022
10:45am – 12:15pm EST
Location: Conv. Center, Room 303A
Pennsylvania State University, United States
Between 1959 and 1962, Lhasa’s Tibetan Muslim (khache) community found itself caught up in the rising Cold War tensions between India and the People’s Republic of China. Analyzing three specific moments centering on the Tibetan Muslim community, this paper challenges traditional portrayals of Tibet as a state isolated and cordoned off from the dramatic changes sweeping across post-war Asia. The Khache’s enduring inter-Asian and trans-Himalayan connections expose the rarely appreciated ways Himalayan societies served as an intersection between Central, East and South Asia. Seen together the three events underscore the narrowing conceptualization of citizenship, religion, and political identity brought about by Tibet’s reintegration into China. In this manner, the Tibetan Muslim experience offers new insights into Cold War Asia and Maoist China.