“Bruno helps us understand the hopes and aspirations of this people, and as well as what could be lost if China has its way.”
—Bob on Books
After sixty years in exile, can the Tibetan diaspora survive the onslaught of a newly assertive China?
As we approach the sixtieth anniversary of China’s 1959 invasion of Tibet—and the subsequent creation of the Tibetan exile community—the question of the diaspora’s survival looms large. Beijing’s foreign policy has grown more adventurous, particularly since the post-Olympic expansion of 2008. As the pressure mounts, Tibetan refugee families that have made their homes outside China—in the mountains of Nepal, the jungles of India, or the cold concrete houses high above the Dalai Lama’s monastery in Dharamsala—are migrating once again.
Blessings from Beijing untangles the chains that tie Tibetans to China and examines the political, social, and economic pressures that are threatening to destroy Tibet’s refugee communities. Journalist Greg Bruno has spent nearly two decades living and working in Tibetan areas. Bruno journeys to the front lines of this fight: to the high Himalayas of Nepal, where Chinese agents pay off Nepali villagers to inform on Tibetan asylum seekers; to the monasteries of southern India, where pro-China monks wish the Dalai Lama dead; to Asia’s meditation caves, where lost souls ponder the fine line between love and war; and to the streets of New York City, where the next generation of refugees strategizes about how to survive China’s relentless assault.
But Bruno’s reporting does not stop at well-worn tales of Chinese meddling and political intervention. It goes beyond them—and within them—to explore how China’s strategy is changing the Tibetan exile community forever.
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Reviews / Endorsements
“Blessings from Beijing will inform readers who know little about Tibet, and those who know a great deal will discover more. Both groups will be surprised."
“Blessings from Beijing is essential reading for its digging deep into the strengths and weaknesses of the exile Tibetans.”
“Amazing. Very well written and really fascinating. A tragic and extremely important topic, for what it says not just about Tibet, but also about how China uses its power.”—Christopher R. Hughes, professor of international relations, London School of Economics and Political Science, and author of Chinese Nationalism in the Global Era
“With a novelist’s gift for rendering scenes with clarity and nuance, Blessings from Beijing documents the emerging tragedy of Tibet’s exiles who have been flung to the far corners of the globe as a stateless people by China’s brutal and ongoing decimation of Tibet. Bruno is a deeply empathetic narrator who has immersed himself in the Tibetan diaspora community for over a decade and the results of his knowledge and profound understanding of the situation have led to a remarkable book that represents an important contribution to the literature on Tibet after the Chinese invasion.”—Jonathan Green, author of Murder in the High Himalaya: Loyalty, Tragedy and Escape from Tibet
“Blessings from Beijing examines what will happen to Tibet and the Tibetan people when the Dalai Lama is no longer with them. Subject to a divide and rule policy orchestrated by Beijing, both in cyberspace and in the real world, and victim to falling birth rates far below the replacement rate, which is exacerbated by migration to the West, will the exile Tibetan community in South Asia be able to sustain its present political and cultural cohesion? This will be the most pressing challenge for the new generations of Tibetans, both in Tibet and in exile. Greg Bruno examines this question with years of research among Tibetan refugees in India and Nepal, and answers it with clarity, insight, and empathy. Blessings from Beijing constitutes essential reading for all those concerned about the fate of Tibet in a post-Dalai Lama world.”—Thubten Samphel, Director, the Tibet Policy Institute, and author of Falling through the Roof, a work of fiction
GREG C. BRUNO is a journalist and editor whose work has appeared in the New York Times, Foreign Affairs, the Guardian, Forbes, and other international print and media outlets. A native of Vermont, Bruno has spent many years living in and writing about China, Tibet, and the Tibetan exile community. Bruno was a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, where his work on US-Pakistani relations earned him top honors from the Overseas Press Club and an Emmy nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He holds a degree in the comparative anthropology of China from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and is currently an associate editor at Project Syndicate.