Politicising history : an historiographical analysis of the Sino-Tibetan relationship.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameBachelor of Arts (Hons)
This dissertation compares the historiography of the Sino-Tibetan relationship as written by a number of Chinese, Tibetan and Western historians. The relationship between China and Tibet has been written about extensively, however the highly politicised nature of modern debate has resulted in an inability of historians to reach a consensus regarding the status of Tibet. This dissertation will use the 1950-1951 occupation of Tibet by China as a foundation from which to compare the historiography of the Sino-Tibetan relationship during the Chinese Tang, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties, and during the Republic of China. This dissertation will also discuss which historiographical schools and modes of thought have influenced historians. Tibetan historians have been strongly influenced by modern Tibetan ethnocentric nationalism, and by Western romanticised constructions of Tibet. Chinese historians have been influenced by a combination of traditional Chinese thought and Marxist thought. The hegemony of Western political ideas has also caused Tibetan and Chinese historians to frame their arguments around Western concepts. Western historians attempt to be objective, however tend to agree with the interpretation of Tibetan historians. This is largely due to the influence of the romanticised image of Tibet in the West, which creates the idea that Tibet is a peaceful and traditional place which has been violated by Chinese aggression.