Freeing Tibet: 50 Years of Struggle, Resilience, and Hope

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9780814409831: Freeing Tibet: 50 Years of Struggle, Resilience, and Hope
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In March of 1959, a 23-year-old Tibetan youth named Tenzin Gyatso burst onto the world stage. Fleeing his native country to govern in exile from India, the Dalai Lama would go on to become one of the great leaders of our time. Then, in March 2008, the diplomat, icon, and winner of the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize was blamed for inciting violence in Tibet’s traditional capital of Lhasa. As 2009 marks the 50th anniversary of the Dalai Lama’s rule in exile, the situation in Tibet has become more volatile than ever. Now, China must decide if it will give Tibet the right to govern itself and what the consequences will be for its economy and its place on the world stage. Freeing Tibet is the incredible, heroic story of Tibet’s arduous struggle to keep freedom alive. From the national uprising in 1959, which cost more than 85,000 Tibetans their lives, to the rise of the Tibetan freedom fighters; the aftereffects of Nixon’s historic visit to China, and preparations for the Dalai Lama’s successor, this seminal history offers an insider’s view of the 50-year struggle for autonomy. As a former Reagan White House political strategist, author John B. Roberts has had unprecedented access to the Dalai Lama’s inner circle. Based on interviews with CIA and political insiders, this epic story gives readers a new understanding of a conflict that continues to fascinate the world. Timely, impeccably researched, and hopeful, this is the book that will change the way we understand Tibet.

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In March of 1959, a 23-year-old Tibetan youth named Tenzin Gyatso burst onto the world stage. Fleeing his native country to govern in exile from India, the Dalai Lama has become one of the great leaders of our time. With Tibet occupied by communist China, he and others envisioning a free Tibet have worked ceaselessly to save his country’s civilization, culture, and freedom while advocating negotiation and non-violence.

Freeing Tibet is the story of this fifty-year long struggle, from its Cold War beginnings to the pre­sent. U.S. backing for Tibet’s guerrillas in their fight against China started as a secret CIA operation during the Eisenhower Administration, with National Security Directive 5412/2. Freeing Tibet reveals fresh details of this Cold War history, includ­ing a secret CIA propaganda campaign and a tragic abandonment of Tibet’s freedom fighters in a Himalayan Bay of Pigs. In an extraordinary shift of patronage, after the Nixon Administration cut off funds for the Tibetans, the charge of freeing Tibet was taken up by the sixties counterculture movement. Ultimately, the cause was embraced by celebrities, artists, musicians, students, and world leaders.

Freeing Tibet illustrates the many twists and turns in this unlikely saga, including:

· How former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt became an unwitting participant in the CIA’s Tibetan operation.

· How some reports of Chinese atrocities in Tibet were CIA propaganda.

· How Henry Kissinger unilaterally shut down the CIA’s Tibetan operation years before Nixon’s opening to China.

· How the U.S. government’s decision to cut aid to the Tibetans helped propel the Dalai Lama’s emergence as a global spiritual leader and world celebrity.

· How China will try to hijack Tibetan Buddhism by controlling the selection of the next Dalai Lama.

Timely, impeccably researched, and hopeful, this is the book that will change the way we understand Tibet. Far from chronicling a lost cause, Freeing Tibet shows the way that an engaged global community will save this land. The greatest civil rights issue of the 21st century is freedom and democracy, not only for Tibetans, but for China’s billion citizens as well. This is a book for people who want to know history not just to understand the world but to change it.

John B. Roberts II is a consulting producer for The McLaughlin Group and has been featured on NBC’s Dateline and in The New York Times, The Washington Times, The Washington Post, and USA Today. Roberts served in the Reagan White House for two terms, and has been a political strategist in emerging democracies, including those in Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Russia, Romania, Ukraine, South Africa, and Pakistan. He is the author of Rating the First Ladies. Roberts lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with his wife, Elizabeth A. Roberts.

Elizabeth A. Roberts is a writer and the author of the book, Living with IBD & IBS. Her political experience includes positions as assistant press secretary on Herb Kohl’s U.S. Senate campaign in 1988, research associate for the prestigious Cook Political Report, and publicist for Jean Kennedy Smith’s Very Special Arts foundation. Ms. Roberts has published in Oxford Today; American Guardian; The Washington Post; Women’s Outlook; International Business; The Tahoe Daily Tribune; The Beachcomber; and The Navarre Press.

From the Back Cover:

Advance praise for Freeing Tibet:

“This remarkable panoptic history of the Tibetan struggle, from its Cold War origins to global cause célèbre, rekindles optimism. Freeing Tibet is a call to action for concerned people everywhere to use the leverage of global economic interdependence to achieve freedom and democracy for Tibet and China. This is the greatest civil rights cause of the 21st century.”

— Dr. John McLaughlin, Executive Producer and host, The McLaughlin Group

“Freeing Tibet tells the story of how CIA ‘meddling’ in China’s ‘internal affairs’ not only kept His Holiness and His Message from disappearing without a trace in March 1959, but set in motion the chain of events which gave global prominence to the cause of a Free Tibet.”

— Robert H. Campbell, 27-year veteran of the CIA’s Clandestine Service

“The more we learn about Tibet, the beauty of her people and their culture, and the agony of her brutal subjugation under Chinese occupation, the more we feel committed to ‘Freeing Tibet’—and we learn a lot from John and Elizabeth Roberts in this compelling book. The Tibetan people are the still not yet fully appreciated heroes of one of the great struggles for freedom of our time—especially great because of its overriding commitment to maintain the exacting discipline of nonviolence. The Buddhist principle of nonviolence is not merely a blind rush to martyrdom, but is also pragmatic. Forceful self-defense is justified only if it prevents more violence than it employs. The Roberts’ tale gives a detailed and moving account of the Tibetan warriors who tried to defend their homes and families and monasteries, saved the Dalai Lama from capture by the Chinese military, then ignored his teaching and took up arms in a tragically doomed guerrilla war, and ultimately sacrificed their lives for their country. [The authors] further describe how the Dalai Lama since has won the hearts of the world’s people for the cause of Tibet, even though the govern­ments still have not found the insight and resolve to get the leaders of China to change their genocidal policy into the more realistic live and let live appropriate for this global century. Freeing Tibet is an absorbing read, and I heartily recommend it to all those who will never give up on their determination to see peace and justice prevail in our world.”

— Robert A. F. Thurman,

Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Buddhist Studies, Columbia University;

President, Tibet House U.S., author of Why the Dalai Lama Matters

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