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Language and Culture

Removing walls between Tibetan Buddhism and the Chinese population

Dorshi Rinpoche is a prominent Tibetan scholar. His writings have been published in many languages, and particularly in Tibetan and Chinese. Unlike other Tibetan scholars in Tibet, he is very interested in the intersection between modern science and Buddhism. Since 1983, he has been a professor at Northwest University for Nationalities. Dorshi Rinpoche has also founded a private fund for Tibetan university students. (more…)

Losing our language is Our Own Fault

This article was published on May 23th. Min-drug is the pen name of Jamyang Kyi, a journalist with Qinghai TV who is also a prominent contemporary writer and a very popular singer. Jamyang Kyi is well known for her essays which touch on many Tibetan issues as well as women’s issues. Her pen name Min-drug comes from a constellation called “Karma mindrug keykyo” (six stars with a crooked neck). Jamyang Kyi expresses her concern over the way in which Tibetans are responsible for the loss of their mother-tongue. (more…)

Burning in Shame

This article was posted on August 31, 2011 and the following is an excerpt from the piece. In this article, the writer expressed how he was deeply hurt when he saw a local Tibetan girl proudly speaking her broken Chinese at a restaurant instead of speaking Tibetan. (more…)

A letter written to a Tibetan primary school principal

By Tenzin Yangjen Thar  See the original article in Chinese

In recent time, more primary schools have been built in Tibet and computer courses are even being taught in some primary schools, but many Tibetans think the new times have met with old issues such as the mother tongue language is almost being forgotten.  In the following open letter to a primary school principal, the author asserts “Some people say, history cannot be forgotten, I say mother tongue language cannot be forgotten!”. (more…)

“He thinks in Tibetan, writes in Chinese” (Part II)

TV Guide:

Leaving his home village

In what ways would he continue to write Tibetan culture

Walking towards the world

How would he regard preservation and development of culture?

“One on One” Dong Qian exclusively interviews Tibetan writer Alai, in broadcast

Commentary: In 1996, Alai joined Chengdu’s Science Fiction Magazine, and later became the magazine’s editor-in-chief. Despite leaving his home village, Alai didn’t forget the land where he was born and raised. He said he left his home village, but used writing as a way to return. In 1999, he participated in Yunnan People’s Press’ “Entering Tibet” cultural study tour, and completed the lengthy essay “Land of Ladders”.

Reporter: Weren’t you also paying attention to the people in all the places you went, what kind of lifestyle did they have, what kind of appearance did their lives have? (more…)

“He thinks in Tibetan, writes in Chinese” (Part I)

“One on One” Program Witnessing Tibet Series:

The Writer, Alai (April 29, 2008)

(See the orginal article in Chinese)

0Host: Tibetan writer Alai is an influential writer in contemporary literary circles, based on his full-length novel As the Dust Settles (English title, Red Poppies), he once won the Fifth Mao Dun Literature Award, and is up to now the only Tibetan writer to gain this honor. Being a Tibetan writer, Alai pays greater attention to the original living conditions of Tibetan compatriots, and the changes and desires contained in this kind of life. Today, let us get closer to Alai, to regard the historical and cultural changes in Tibetan areas from a Tibetan writer’s point of view.

Biography: Alai 2

  • Tibetan Professional writer
  • Deputy Chairman of the Sichuan Province Writers’ Association
  • Board member of the China Writers’ Association

Commentary: On April 15th, 2008, Tibetan writer Alai flew from Chengdu to Beijing. His reason for this trip was to participate in a discussion on the multi-volume novel Hollow Mountain organized by the journal, Contemporary Writers’ Review. Hollow Mountain is the main literary work by Alai in recent years, altogether divided into three parts and six volumes. The first two parts have already been officially published, and the manuscript for the third part was also finished at the beginning of 2008, and will soon be published. Hollow Mountain describes in collage form the developments and changes of a village in a Tibetan area, adopts a common culture and background, different people and situations, to construct a three-dimensional image of a Tibetan village in order to reveal life in Tibetan areas. (more…)

Alai on Tibetan language

By Kyabchen Dedrol (See the original article in Tibetan)

Alai, a writer of some repute in the PRC, grew up in an environment strongly influenced by Chinese culture, and the reason why his writings have attracted quite a high degree of interest is his choice of topic which he describes u982p112t3d184801f48dt2005051816200111with affected naïveté as primarily relating “the transformation of Tibetan society”, and so “tearing away the mask of secrecy” for the ordinary reader unacquainted with Tibet. In his case, in order to make a living out of writing, he depends upon two firm footholds: one is his theatrical “Tibet”, and the other is his fan following of Chinese readers. Without either of these, Alai’s writings would not be marketable, as everyone knows. (more…)

Educate Lhasa Youth in Tibetan Language

This comment was posted on the website by Blo don. It was submitted by an anonymous translator on January 5, 2008.In 1987, there was a movement in favor of Tibetan language instruction for Tibetan officials and Tibetan students who were studying at Chinese schools, as well as Chinese officials in Tibet. Then, slowly the movement died. At present in Lhasa, the situation of Tibetan language is becoming more critical. Being the center of Tibet, it is very important to educate Tibetan children and youths in Tibetan language in Lhasa. (more…)

A Letter to Tsering Kyi (Miss Tibet 2003)

Jamyang Kyi posted this letter to Tsering Kyi, Miss Tibet 2003, on her personal blog. It is a response to a piece by Tsering Kyi posted on the Tibetan Lamp, a site described here on the Tibet Web Digest. Jamyang Kyi is also writing after Tsering Kyi’s blog seemed to be shut down. Jamyang Kyi’s blog can be found at
A biography of Tsering Kyi can be found at

An anonymous translator submitted this piece on January 7, 2008.

A while ago, I heard that Tsering Kyi’s blog had been shut down. Because I rarely visit the blogosphere, I do not know the reasons behind it. Today, I went to The Tibet Lamp and saw her note. Although I promptly posted her notes on my blog, I would like to write something on this matter myself. In general, because of culture, tradition, society, environment, and education, there are very few competent Tibetan women in Tibet. Even if there are such women existing in Tibet, these women are abused in every possible way by their cultural traditions and environment. (more…)

Tibetan Theatrical Troupe Performs “Crossing the Mountain Peak” in Beijing

This piece issued from the Xinhua News Agency describes a noteworthy performance by the Tibet Autonomous Region Theatrical Troupe in Beijing. It was submitted by an anonymous translator on April 29, 2007

On April 11, more than 50 Tibetan dancers from the Tibet Autonomous Region Theatrical Troupe came to Beijing on the newly completed train to participate in the fifth national staging of the outstanding modern play “Crossing the Mountain Peak.” The oldest actor is 50, and the youngest is 25 years old. Many of the performers had not been to Beijing for ten years. After seeing the railroad, they thanked the Communist Party and the central government for building such a magnificent railroad for the Tibetan people. (more…)

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