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Baba Phuntsok: Witness to Tibet’s History

Wednesday 26 December 2007, by TW

TibetWrites releases its new title


As co-founder of the Tibetan Communist Party in his late teens, and later of the revolutionary Tibetan Authority of Kham, Baba Phuntsok Wangyal (aka Phunwang) was playing a seminal and unique role in 20th century Sino-Tibetan politics from his earliest youth.

Today, at 85, he remains an influential figure in Beijing and actively influences the world beyond the People’s Republic of China through his writings. Of the political essay and letters to Hu Jintao - which form the contents of BABA PHUNTSOK WANGYAL - WITNESS TO TIBET’S HISTORY - eminent China Watcher Isabel Hilton writes: "This trenchant analysis of China’s catastrophic mistakes in Tibet, by one of Tibet’s leading Communists, proposes a constructive way forward for both Tibet and China through real negotiations with the Dalai Lama and a true autonomy for Tibet. It is essential reading for anyone with Tibet’s interests at heart - beginning with Hu Jintao."

With the recently-concluded power struggle in Beijing - and the fact that the world did not see the amount of mistrust and back-stabbing that went into the making of the New King - there was a missed opportunity to truly understand the mechanisms of the consolidation of power in Chinese politics.

At this time, reading Baba Phuntsok Wangyal - who tells us in detail what goes into making the Small King in a small province of China, in this case the Tibet Autonomous Region - we realize he himself could have been the Party-Secretary of the administration in Lhasa, the very position from which Hu Jintao forged his meteoric career.

Being there, right at the heart of Chinese politics in Beijing, Phunwang complains to Hu Jintao, in the series of letters translated in this book, and creates a political whirlpool by suggesting to him - seriously and sincerely - that Hu should welcome back the Dalai Lama to Tibet which Phunwang suggests will be "…good for stabilizing Tibet".

In his Third Letter of August 1 2006, Phunwang writes: "If the inherited problem with Tibet continues to be delayed, it is most likely going to result in the creation of ’The Eastern Vatican of Tibetan Buddhism’ alongside the Exile Tibetan Government. Then the ’Tibet Problem’, be it nationally or internationally, will become more complicated and more troublesome."

Baba Phuntsok Wangyal - the man who sparked off the Communist Revolution within the Tibetan community in the later 1930s, and lived on throughout the Cultural Revolution in China, even undergoing 18 years of imprisonment - now, at 85, is still referred to and consulted by the young and hip China’s intellectuals and social-political activists who live their lives running an underground movement in Beijing and Shanghai.

Phunwang concludes his last letter to Hu by warning: "Comrade Jintao, a single matchstick is enough for the arsonist, but putting out the fire would take a great effort," while affably wishing today’s President "…health and happiness, Tashi Delek!"

With a Foreword by Kasur Sonam Topgyal, former Kalon Tripa
And a Preface by Serta Tsultrim, Member of the Exile-Tibetan Parliament

Book Release: October 26 2007
Lhakpa Tsering Hall
DIIR, Dharamsala, INDIA

Translated from Baba Phuntsok Wangyal’s Mandarin Chinese manuscript by the TibetWrites team: Tenzin Losel (Jampa), Jane Perkins, Bhuchung D. Sonam and Tenzin Tsundue.

6 Forum messages

  • Baba Phuntsok: Witness to Tibet’s History 24 December 2009 at 04:22 , by tsering

    another traiter like ngapo? now a worshipped hero?

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  • Baba Phuntsok: Witness to Tibet’s History 13 January 2010 at 17:13 , by bhuLhasawa

    It is always well worth to see things from different perspectives. So does Baba Phuntsok la must have his own idea of Tibet and it’s governance. What is best for Tibet and Tibetans must be decided by people as a whole towards a common good.
    It is my believe that one of the reasons we study history to learn our past mistakes and build a better future.

    Reply to this message

  • Baba Phuntsok: Witness to Tibet’s History 26 May 2010 at 07:34 , by khenrab

    We need to remember the tibetan marxist baba phuntsok wangyal as a game changer in our modern tibetan history.

    Reply to this message

  • Baba Phuntsok: Witness to Tibet’s History 21 June 2010 at 14:12 , by SK

    Wow i was really interested if a secularist or Atheist, and leftist version of the free tibet movement was around; besides from the dalai lama religious and ultra-nationalist american funded clique.

    Yes history is best studied, i have never heard of a communist tibetan perspective before.

    I agree that with Baba that the Chinese made horrible mistakes with the tibetan issue, i believe the tibetan Serfs should have revolted against the Dalai lama out of their own power, Just like the chinese fought against the Kuomintang, and the Russians fought the Csar.

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  • Baba Phuntsok: Witness to Tibet’s History 30 November 2011 at 06:06 , by TASHI THONDUP

    when i read this book,,,,,,,,,,,i came to know that he was a true nation lover for tibetan people and after staying 18 years of imprisonment in china still his determination for service of nation has never been down,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,some people says he is a traitor,,,,,,,,,,,r the aristocrates class people coz he has brought a tsunami in tibetan history a great change in tibetan political system,,,,,,,,,we need more people like him in tibetan society, also younger generation of tibetan community should must know his sacrifice and contribution towards the GREAT NATION TIBET,,,,,,,,,,,,BHOD GYALOOOOOO

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