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Social Commentary

How contemporary Tibet might have been seen by a Tang dynasty historian

Gurgon Kyab

Gurgon Kyab was born in Chentsa in Amdo, Tibet, part of Qinghai province. He is a historian, writer and scholar. He graduated with a Master’s degree in History from Qinghai Nationalities University in Xining in 2004. He compiled a Tibetan language text book in 2008 for university students and has published two books since then – “The Literary Tradition” (རྩོམ་རིག་གཞུང་ལུགས) in 2010 and “The Loan of Gratitude” (དྲིན་གྱི་བུ་ལོན), a commentary on Gedun Choephel’s famous history “The White Annals”, in 2011. He blogs on Tsenpo and Samsara. (more…)

Dear Bureau Chief, don’t block our way

Tibetans have been debating about Tibetan Language preservation for a while. Fortunately, in recent years, these debates have turned into a movement or protests led by Tibetans students in Tibet, in places as Amdo Rebkong and Chabcha. A few months back, Tibetans on WeChat were criticizing two local Chinese chiefs of the education bureau in Tibet. They are Tan Ke, the Chief of Ngaba (Aba) Prefecture Education Bureau and Han Tin Bhu, the Chief of Ganlho Prefecture Education Bureau. (more…)

On Translating the Kangyur and Tengyur into English

The Kangyur and Tengyur are the vast corpus of Buddhist literature. The Kangyur are the Buddha’s teachings and the Tengyur are the commentaries written over by Indian masters. Over the course of centuries, Tibetan translators translated this entire corpus into Tibetan and now this literature, which originally came from India, survives only in the Tibetan language. (more…)

Why Are People Fighting Over The Caterpillar Fungus?

Caterpillar fungus

Recently there was a fight between two villages in Tibet over caterpillar fungus. As a result of this fighting, a young man of thirty was stabbed and killed. These two villages, called Kude and Dornying Nyalung, were both in Rebkong in Amdo. There were even four or five op-eds written about this brouhaha on the literary site Tsanpo. Tsanpo.com is a new Tibetan language literary site with dedicated columns for writers where they can post their own writings, so Tsanpo has become very active and popular. Tsanpo has essentially become what Sangdor used to be. (more…)

The New Ten Virtues and the Public

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One of the biggest debates on Tibetan websites this year is on the new Ten Virtues. On this issue alone, there were about twenty opinion pieces and more than a thousand comments written on the internet. (more…)


Yumtso is a prominent contemporary Tibetan woman blogger from Karze, Kham. Her real name is Yama Choetso, and she graduated from the Central University for Nationalities in Beijing in 2010. Her pen name Yumtso means “turquoise colored lake”. She blogs on Sangdhor net and focuses on current social changes inside Tibet. (more…)

The Bride of the Three Virtues

This article was published on the well known Tibetan blog Choemey (Butter Lamp). The piece, published under a penname, concerns social change and shifting family dynamics inside Tibet.

The Bride of the Three Virtues

By Namkha
My internet friends may laugh when they first see the title of today’s article. Possibly they haven’t seen this title before. This is a new prize that is becoming popular in Tibetan areas. It reminds me of the time when I worked hard to become a young pioneer at the primary school, and worked hard to become a “student of the three virtues.” The student of the three virtues must be: 1. A good student; 2. Have good discipline; 3. Have good hygiene. The student must have these three virtues. (more…)

What can Poetry do for Society?

Rabjor is a senior Tibetan writer, and he criticizes the argument that poetry has a responsibility to society. (more…)

Many scholars in Tibet

Kyabchen Dedol is one of the best young Tibetan writers in Tibet and he is also the leading figure of the “Third Generation”, a generation defined both by their age and their distinctive thoughts and views. The piece was published on the popular website Chodmey (Lamp), of which Dedol is former editor. There was a serious online debate among young Tibetan writers about their attitude towards Tibetan scholars, and Dedol argues that there are many other Tibetan scholars besides the widely admired Gendun Chophel and Dhondup Gyal. (more…)

We are betrayed by Caterpillar Fungus

This excerpt is taken from another popular blog Tso Ngonpo (Kokonor). Caterpillar fungus, which grows on the plateau, is sold to the mainland where it is highly prized for its medicinal uses. It has now become a primary source of income for many families in Tibet, especially in Kham and Amdo areas where the fungus grows well. Because it brings in so much money, there have been fights among villagers regarding the ownership of disputed grassland areas where the fungus is found. (more…)

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