Tenzin Jinba (National University of Singapore), " Two Gyalrong Weddings Under Fire: Rethinking of the Ongoing “Sinicization” and “Tibetanization” on the Sino-Tibetan Borderlands "
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Two weddings in 2009 and 2015 respectively have received wide publicity among Tibetans and others within and out of China. The first was that of Lobsang Dundrup, a renowned singer from Gyalrong, and his new bride. While his friend posted their wedding photos on her blog, it received sharp critiques from Tibetan netizens for their “un-Tibetan” or “un-Buddhist” behavior since the couple were wearing clothes made of wild animal pelts. The singer was made to apologize in public for his “bad” conduct. The second is that of a young Gyalrong couple working in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan. The images posed as both modern Chinese city and “traditional” Tibetan couples, which had been posted on blogs, wechat and other social media, attracted even much wider attention both home and abroad. While the Chinese newspapers and thousands of netizens were amazed at the refreshing images of “modern” Tibetan youth who were seen to have left their home region physically but manage not to leave their Tibetan spirits behind, many Tibetans and others, notably Tsering Woeser, a highly-profiled Tibetan writer, were deplored at their pseudery or “staged” pretentiousness as heavily Sinicized Tibetans. The accusations of the “un-Tibetan” behaviors of the two different couples shed new light on intense anxiety among Tibetan intellectuals and others that the Gyalrong case foreshadows the diminishing of Tibetan culture and identity at the Sino-Tibetan borderlands and in Tibetan regions in general. This kind of anxiety simultaneously reflects an urge and earnest call for the re-Tibetanizing or re-civilizing of borderland Tibetans by reinforcing Buddhist teachings and Tibetan values. Therefore, this article will look into the symbolic meaning embedded in these two Gyalrong weddings as well as the ongoing conflicts and convergences of the “Sinicization” and “Tibetanization” discourses.
International conference “Territories, Communities, and Exchanges in the Sino-Tibetan Kham Borderlands,” Februray 18-20, 2016. This conference is an outcome of a collaborative ERC-funded research project (Starting grant no. 283870).
For more information, please visit the project's Website: http://kham.cnrs.fr
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