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Title: Regarding Mao's Alleged Speech about the Dalai Lama on 15 November 1956
Authors: Raymond, Alex
Affiliations: Department of Languages and Translation 
Keywords: 1956
Mao and the Dalai Lama
Not losing face
Rewriting the texts
Issue Date: 2023-01-01
Part of: China Quarterly
On 15 November 1956, Mao Zedong delivered a speech at the Second Plenary Session of the Central Committee of the Eighth CCP Congress. The official written version of this speech was published belatedly, in 1977, in the fifth volume of Mao's Selected Works. In this text, Mao was supposed to be talking about the Dalai Lama's forthcoming stay in India, and he had no difficulty in envisaging the Dalai Lama's eventual departure into exile. This passage, obviously, seems problematic as it contradicts the policy of the CCP leadership towards the Dalai Lama at that time. Tsering Shakya (The Dragon in the Land of Snows, Pimlico, 1999), Li Jianglin (1959 Lhasa, New Century Press, 2010), Melvyn Goldstein (A History of Modern Tibet, Volume 3, University of California Press, 2013), and Liu Xiaoyuan (To the End of Revolution, Columbia University Press, 2020) have successively sought to understand the reason for this. The probable reason seems to be simply that Mao most likely never made these remarks about the Dalai Lama on the date in question, and that this passage was added later in the written version of the speech, to avoid Mao losing face.
ISSN: 03057410
DOI: 10.1017/S0305741023000978
Type: Journal Article
Appears in Collections:Department of Languages and Translation

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