Dalai Lama Meets with Obama, Will Visit San Francisco


Dalai Lama Meets with Obama, Will Visit San Francisco

A fundamental truth of the US-China partnership is that despite the ever increasing interconnectedness of the two countries, both continue to find themselves embroiled in long-lasting, sometimes contentious disputes.  Sure enough one of those disputes just flared up this morning when President Obama drew what Reuters called a “strong rebuke” from the Chinese government for meeting with the Dalai Lama.

At China Books we bring foreign authors to the US market and given the Dalai Lama’s visit to San Francisco tomorrow (2/22), we wanted to mention two titles in particular, Behind the Smile and Repentance, we sell on our website.

Behind the Smile, written by French journalist Maxime Vivas, looks at the Dalai Lama’s public relations strategy in dealing with China and the West from a decidedly Chinese perspective. In doing the book doesn’t as much serve as a black and white take on sovereignty in Tibet (a topic best served for other, more academic works),  but rather attempts to provide insight into why so many Chinese find the Dalai Lama’s position on Tibet problematic.

Taking the form of a interview between the author and monk, Repentance touches on sensitive issues of sovereignty and religious freedom in Tibet.  It explores the motivation of a Buddhist monk arrested while trying to self-immolate in Lhasa. Nevertheless, it’s largely straight-forward, unadorned account of a one-on-one conversation provides interesting insight into the very personal aspect of conflict in the Tibet region. The Tibet readers see in Repentance isn’t one of a political struggle for regional dominance, but a smaller, human story of one monk’s struggle to balance religious conviction and life. And that’s what makes it a worthwhile read.

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