In March of 1959 a 23 year old Tibetan youth named Tanzin 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 countrys 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 Tibets 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 Tibets 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 CIAs Tibetan operation.
How some reports of Chinese atrocities in Tibet were CIA propaganda.
How Henry Kissinger unilaterally shut down the CIAs Tibetan operation years before Nixons opening to China.
How the U.S. governments decision to cut aid to the Tibetans helped propel the Dalai Lamas 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 Chinas 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.