曾经在1951年带领中国解放军先头部队进入拉萨的平措汪杰，是四零年代西藏共产党的建立者，他在中共统治期间长达十八年遭到长期监禁，直到文革后平反，因为长期单人监禁，一度丧失说话能力，他曾任中共全国民大民族委员会副主委，是中国境内最著名的藏人之一。2004年，由他以第一人称口述，Melvin Goldstein等西方藏学学者执笔的传记《一位藏族革命家》(A Tibetan Revolutionary: The Political Life and Times of Bapa Phuntso Wangye)，以英文在西方出版。2004年到2006年间，他曾数度写信给胡锦涛，指责中共鹰派依靠反对达赖喇嘛寻求个人私利，关闭中藏谈判大门并误导中共高层，并在2007年谴责西藏自治区主席向巴平措对呼吁达赖喇嘛回到西藏的拒绝。（向巴平措就是那位声称解放军是去拉萨“打扫街道”的天才）
这篇文章翻译自西藏历史学者Tsering Shakya对平措汪杰传记的书评，发表在《新左评论》（New Left Review）2005年7-8月34期上。
1979年一本中国的异议杂志上，出现“二十世纪的巴士底监狱”一文。在文革期间，北京秦城一号监狱专门关押高阶共产党员，这篇文章描述了在这监狱里的两名衰弱的西藏囚犯的命运，他们两位分别是1940年代建立西藏共产党的平措汪杰（Phuntso Wangye）以及他的亲密战友阿旺格桑（Ngawang Kesang）。这篇文章是肯定二人依然在世的第一个讯息。从1958年起，曾经在中共的西藏事务里扮演领导角色的平汪——人们通常这么简称他——就消失在公共场合，其后十八年都被关押在恶名昭彰的秦城监狱的单人牢房。
平汪——书里用这个充满感情的家庭姓名称之——是西藏社会的名人，但关于他的生命和政治工作却鲜有人知。由本书共同作者道帏喜饶（Dawei Sherap）所著的简短传记由私人出版且流通量有限，《一位藏族革命家：巴塘人平措汪杰的時代和政治生涯》（A Tibetan Revolutionary）一书则提供更全面的记述，对西藏现代历史感兴趣的读者都应该阅读。英文著作里，存在大量西藏人的传记，但它们多数描绘一种在中国并吞前，快乐的西藏人住在理想化社会里的生活，平汪的回忆录结集 由梅·戈尔斯坦（Melvin Goldstein ）所做的的许多长篇访问并以第一人称写成，提供更复杂的报导。本书揭示了一小群想将改革与革命带到雪域的西藏人的想法与企望，并以丰富信息启发读者。
1922年，平汪出生于东藏康区的一个遥远而美丽的小镇——巴塘，当地距拉萨东方五百哩，其时处于中国军阀刘文辉的控制之下。巴塘在清末是军事驻防要塞，政府办的现代学校将一批学生送往南京学习，训练他们成为中国政府的管理者，平汪的舅父也在其中。传记里生动地描述了在混乱的政治之下，幼年平汪初次政治洗礼的激情。1932年，在南京接受教育的格桑次仁（Kesang Tsering）指挥官，领导巴塘反抗刘文辉统治，他本应为国民党而战，但他宣称当地该由西藏人统治。“格桑又高又壮，蓄有深髯，他成了我和其他年青人心中的英雄。”平汪回忆他号召同学高唱“新康之歌”，遵循孙中山的“民族、民主、民生”主义路线，然而不久之后胜利即夭折。刘文辉的军队折返报复，处决当地领袖，这个十岁的孩子和同伴在树上敲击胡桃时，听到了枪声，平汪一个玩伴的父亲也被枪决。藏人的反抗持续至1935年，平汪的舅父洛桑顿珠（Lobsang Thundrup）也在反抗之列。他们再次以国民党之名，包围巴塘的中国驻防，而当时红军长征正穿越镇上的山脊前往西北，十四岁的平汪此时已经决定追随格桑和洛桑的脚步，前往南京就学：
当时的政治局势多方汇流。1949年春西藏共产党听说中国共产党在云南康区建立游击队基地，缅甸共产党在当地也有强大势力。平汪和他的同志们被西藏政府逐出拉萨，他们决定加入云南的共产党，并为共产党在中国即将到来的胜利心跳不已。西藏共产党经由印度，在1949年秋抵达共产党在云南西部的总部，然而红军指挥官——白族的欧根 （Ou Gen）——要求西藏共产党解散并加入中国共产党，作为他们参与游击队活动的前提。在多次争辩后，平汪终于同意。平汪被迫放弃“独立的共产西藏自治”（self-rule as an independent communist Tibet） 的目标，但他解释自己依然希望透过中国共产党，“重建康地，甚至可能是金沙江两岸的藏区，模仿苏联底下自治的社会主义共和国，成为自治的共和政体。……它会在中国主权底下，但由西藏人控制。”
然而政治气氛也正在转变。平汪强烈反对在康区严厉施行的改革，这导致 1958 至 1959 年的反叛，最后被解放军残酷镇压；他也悲叹中央政府不了解康区与西藏的关系。作为1957年人民大会的代表，他公开批评范明的政策，来年他被传唤到纪律委员会“清洗他的思想”。此时正行反右运动，平汪失去在民族委员会里的地位，1960年他遭逮捕，被控以“反革命嫌疑”，时年三十八岁。在狱中他经历数次精神失常，当最后从“北京的巴士底监狱”被释放时，他已经五十七岁。他回忆最糟糕虐待的是在牢房里遭到电击，那会引起非常强烈的头痛，在被释放后的几个月后，他仍无法克制非自主的流口水。令人印象深刻的是，经过一年的休养生息，他又回到会令人神经紧张的边缘，为 1980 年中华人民共和国的宪法争议草拟一份关于「自治共和体」的计划书，强力主张在少数民族地区，不应使用解放军从事治安工作，因为那可比军事占领。他的建议引来党官员长达一万字的咒骂攻击，平汪则驳以一份两万五千字的抗辩。如今他已八十来岁并复官职，依然维持批判的声音，密切注意雪域的发展动态。
平汪的民族认同与对西藏人权力的坚持成为中共的一个麻烦。中国的共产革命也以自己的方式主张民族主义并期望恢复中国荣光，在追求中国民族主义的路上，其他群体的企望只不过是个绊脚石。平汪和其他年青的西藏人藉由与中国共产党结盟，希望将改革和社会变革带入西藏，然而一旦中国在当地建立牢固的控制，就以汉族官员取代藏族共产党员。作为 50 年代的政治领导之一，平汪是中国统治的前十年间唯一拥有权威的西藏人。他的语言知识和他的社会名望使他成为活跃的文化与政治中介者，他得以接触中共高层与达赖喇嘛（达赖喇嘛在其自传里曾富有感情地提及平汪）。平汪的政治生涯在 1958 年结束，他和他的同志们的命运显示了一直以来北京的统治问题：经过五十年，北京仍然没能拔擢藏人成为拉萨的领导高层，平汪身上危险的“地区民族主义”控罪，依然适用于任何反对中共政策的藏人，这项威胁持续使当地领导噤声。
《一位藏族革命家：巴塘人平措汪杰的時代和政治生涯》一书使用第一人称叙述，严格来说更像是一本自传而非传记。平汪的声音引领着叙事，他的叙述没有企图批判或分析，对读者来说，这很显然是平汪观点的事件，而这也是本书强项。然而它仍有待辩论与详察，这本书的出版说明了中华人民共和国正改变着，也说明了学者们将越来越有机会接触中国与西藏的材料。书里的大部分信息还未经历史与档案数据的佐证，也许将来会出现不同的版本。这绝非贬低本书的重要性。当我们检验其他数据来源之后，我们很有可能发现平汪所言，比至今为止的任何证据更加真实正确，他不去反责那些失落的岁月，这使他的叙述带有真实感，尽管个人受到折磨，平汪维持平衡的观点并从未陷入自怜。对某些人而言，他不动气显得天真，但详细阅读就会发现他性格的长处，他依旧相信中国和西藏能够找到一个方式共存。书中附录记载 1979 年平汪与达赖喇嘛代表团的对话，他提到流亡藏人称他为“引红汉人进藏的红藏人”，他为自己的目标辩护：
平汪因列宁而获得强大的民族自治启蒙，但也因为列宁对共产主义理论与实践的反转，加强了党机器，所谓世界的共产革命之火才提前燎原。却也因为强大的党机 器，注定没有力量的个人的牺牲与覆没。俄国在列宁之后的斯大林，不也对弱小民族采取高压政策吗？国家依靠党机器的调动，想要走出与资本主义社会不一样的道 路，最终却证明步调过快、理想过高的改革，是场血淋淋的闹剧。即便对他们所处的历史困境与条件保持同情，却无法抹灭那些鲜血涂抹而成的历史……。
New Left Review 34, July-August 2005
Tsering Shakya on Melvyn Goldstein et al, A Tibetan Revolutionary. Memoirs of an indigenous Lenin from the Land of Snows, and his long imprisonment by the Mao government.
In 1979 an article entitled ‘The Twentieth-Century Bastille’ appeared in a Chinese dissident magazine. It described the fate of two Tibetan prisoners languishing in Beijing’s Qingchen Number One Prison, where high-ranking Communists had been incarcerated during the Cultural Revolution. The two were Phüntso Wangye, the founder of the Tibetan Communist Party in the 1940s, and his close comrade Ngawang Kesang. The article was the first sign we had that they were still alive. Phünwang, as he is most commonly known, had disappeared from the public scene in 1958 after playing a leading role in Tibetan affairs, and had spent 18 years in the notorious prison, most of the time in solitary confinement.
Phünwang—the title of the book under review uses an affectionate and familiar version of his name—is a prominent figure in the Tibetan community, yet relatively little is known about his life and political work. A brief biography in Tibetan by Dawei Sherap, one of the co-authors of the present book, was published privately and with a limited distribution. A Tibetan Revolutionary provides a much fuller account, and one that will be required reading for anyone interested in the history of modern Tibet. There is a sizable bibliography of Tibetan lives in English, but most follow the familiar narrative of happy natives living in an idealized community before the annexation by China. Phünwang’s memoir—the book is the product of many long interviews conducted by Melvyn Goldstein, and is told in the first person—provides a far more complex account. It reveals the thinking and inspirations of a small group of Tibetans who wanted to bring reform and revolution to the Land of Snows and offers a wealth of information that will come as a revelation to readers.
Popular views of Phünwang fall into two camps: for traditionalists he is a collaborator and the man responsible for bringing the People’s Liberation Army to Tibet; for the liberal section of the Tibetan community he is the leader we never had, and his personal loss was a loss to the nation. Goldstein has done more than any other scholar to bring the complexity of modern Tibetan history, warts and all, to the public arena. This new biography is being eagerly read and internet postings already show that Phünwang has found followers among a younger generation of Tibetans, who will no doubt look to him for inspiration and mourn the wasted years.
Phünwang was born in
in Batang, a small town—‘remote and beautiful’—in the Kham
province of Eastern Tibet, some 500 miles east of Lhasa in what is now eastern
Sichuan, then under the control of the Chinese warlord Liu Wenhui. A garrison
town under the late Manchu dynasty, Batang had a modern government school that
sent a stream of students, Phünwang’s uncle among them, to train as Chinese
administrators in Nanjing. The boy’s baptism of fire in the turbulent politics
of the region is vividly described. In 1932 Kesang Tsering, a local Nanjing-educated
commander supposedly acting for the Guomindang, led an uprising in Batang
against Liu Wenhui and proclaimed Tibetan rule. ‘Tall and strong, with a dark
moustache, Kesang was a heroic figure to me and other youths’. Phünwang recalls
him summoning the schoolboys to sing the ‘Song of the New Kham’ on the lines of
Sun Yatsen’s slogan ‘nationalism, democracy, livelihood’. The victory was
short-lived. Liu’s returning army exacted retribution, executing local leaders.
The ten-year-old and his friends were knocking walnuts down from a tree when
they heard the gunshots: Phünwang’s playmate’s father had been killed. Further
revolts followed in 1935, with Phünwang’s uncle, Lobsang Thundrup, besieging
the Chinese garrison at Batang, again in the name of the gmd, while Red Army
units traversed the mountain ridge above the town on the Long March to the
north-west. By the age of fourteen, Phünwang was determined to follow in the
footsteps of Kesang and Lobsang, to study in Nanjing
so that I too could become a leader in the fight for freedom for our Tibetan people . . . I didn’t admire Kesang Tsering and my uncle simply because they had defied the Chinese [but] because they were educated, sophisticated and modern, as well as committed to the belief that Khampas had to rule Kham.
It was a teacher, Mr Wang, at the special academy run by Chiang Kaishek’s Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission, who first introduced the sixteen-year-old Phünwang to Lenin’s Nationality and the Right to Self-Determination. With the Japanese invasion the academy was evacuated west to the temporary capital of Chongqing in Sichuan. Discipline loosened and political debate increased. For Phünwang and his fellow Tibetan students, Lenin’s formulations on national self-determination came as a revelation:
I understood what Lenin meant when he talked about the inevitable tension between the nationality that has power and the ones that do not . . . that the strong nationality would often use its power to oppress the smaller, weaker one, and that the smaller ones would fight bitterly against this. I felt sometimes as if Lenin knew exactly what I was thinking, what I cared about most.
Phünwang’s first attempts to organize his schoolfriends into a clandestine Tibetan Communist Revolutionary Group, and to petition around student issues, saw him expelled from the academy. Though shaken, he marched out of the school grounds singing at the top of his voice, vowing that he would not ‘slink away’.
Now nineteen, Phünwang returned to Kham, initially working as a Chinese language and music teacher while vigorously pursuing his political goals. The strategy of the tiny Tibetan Communist Party under his leadership during the 1940s was twofold: to win over progressive elements among the students and aristocracy in ‘political Tibet’—the kingdom of the Dalai Lama—to a programme of modernization and democratic reform, while building support for a guerrilla struggle to overthrow Liu Wenhui’s rule in Kham. The ultimate goal was a united independent Tibet, its feudal social structure fundamentally transformed. Phünwang gives a lively critical account of the arrogance of certain members of the traditional elite, the cruelty of some of the monks he encountered during his travels and the poverty of the peasants—worse than in China itself—under the heavy taxes and corvée labour system.
His story makes a riveting read. In Lhasa, Phünwang tried to persuade the youngest member of the Kashag, Tibet’s Council of Ministers, to provide rifles for the armed struggle in Kham. But the Kashag was pinning its hopes on an Axis victory: ‘When Japan conquers China, they will leave Tibet alone. They are a Buddhist country, and we are far away’, Phünwang was told. His next move was to try to contact the Indian Communist Party, with a view to reaching the Soviet Union. Travelling to Kalimpong with a trading caravan organized by his comrade Ngawang Kesang, and then by train to Calcutta, Phünwang was given a friendly welcome by the cpi but discouraged from making the trip across the North West Frontier into Soviet Central Asia: there were too many British troops in the area. Back in Lhasa, the Kashag was still unwilling to help, although Allied victory was now in sight. Phünwang and his comrades instead set out for Deqen, a Khampa area in Yunnan province, where a local militia leader, Gombo Tsering, was willing to join them in an uprising against Liu Wenhui. Betrayed and attacked by Gombo Tsering’s enemies, they were forced to flee back across the Drichu River into Tibet, hiding in the mountains and living on snow until Phünwang could finally make his way to the relative safety of his uncle’s house in Lhasa, at the end of 1947.
The political situation was in flux. In the spring of 1949 the Tibetan Communists heard that the Chinese cp had established guerrilla bases in Khampa areas of Yunnan, and that the Burmese cp also had a strong force in the area. While making plans to join them, Phünwang and his comrades were expelled from Lhasa by the Tibetan government, now jumpy at the prospect of imminent Communist victory in China. Travelling via India, the Tibetan Communists reached the field headquarters of the Western Yunnan forces in August 1949. Here, however, the Red Army commander, a Bai named Ou Gen, demanded that the Tibetans dissolve their party into the ccp as a condition of joint guerrilla activity. After much argument, Phünwang agreed. Forced to abandon his goal of ‘self-rule as an independent communist Tibet’, he explains here that he still hoped that working through the Chinese Communist Party would lead to ‘the restructuring of Kham, and possibly the whole Tibetan area on both sides of the Drichu River, as an autonomous republic that would function in a similar way to the autonomous socialist republics in the Soviet Union . . . it would be under Chinese sovereignty, but it would be controlled by Tibetans.’
Thus it was that, early in 1950, Phünwang—now a Party leader in liberated Batang—was summoned to a meeting in Chongqing with Deng Xiaoping, He Long and other commanders of the Southwest Bureau’s 18th Army, and appointed a leading advisor for the pla entry into Tibet. (Symbolically perhaps, the plane to Chongqing encountered such turbulence that Phünwang became airsick, and could find no other receptacle in which to throw up than his brand-new pla cap.) He played a key diplomatic role in negotiations over the Seventeen-Point Agreement between Beijing and Lhasa, and in winning acceptance for it from members of the Tibetan aristocracy. Almost from the start, he was critical of the chauvinism and ‘top-down’ attitude of many of the ccp cadres. Yet he was proud to have opened a secular school in Lhasa—earlier attempts to do so had been shut down by the monasteries—and established a newspaper, drawing in leading Tibetan intellectuals to write for it. Crucially, Phünwang sided with Deng’s Southwest Bureau in backing a cautious approach to social reform and winning the support of the Dalai Lama and monastic elite, against the leftism of the Northwest Bureau under Fan Ming, which favoured the Panchen Lama. Phünwang’s secondment to an official posting in Beijing from 1953 was the result, he argues here, of Fan Ming’s manoeuvring to get him out of Lhasa.
Phünwang was the trusted translator for talks between Mao and the 19-year-old Dalai Lama in Beijing in 1956 (taking it as his duty to make sure the boy did not get up to dance the foxtrot with the ladies of the State Dance troupe, as the ccp cadres liked to do). He recounts an unannounced visit by Mao to the Dalai Lama’s residence one evening, during which the former raised the matter of the Snow Lion flag still carried by the Tibetan Army, and which Fan Ming wished to ban. ‘There is no problem. You may keep your national flag’, Mao told him, according to Phünwang. ‘In the future, we can also let Xinjiang have their own flag, and Inner Mongolia too. Would it be ok to carry the national flag of the People’s Republic of China in addition to that flag?’ The Dalai Lama apparently nodded his head. For Phünwang, this was evidence that the ccp leadership was contemplating adopting the Soviet model of autonomous republics, at least for these three nationalities.
Yet the political climate was already shifting. Phünwang deplored the reforms imposed by fiat in Kham that would lead to the 1958–59 uprising, brutally crushed by the pla, and lamented the fact that the central government did not understand the relationship between Kham and Tibet. As a delegate to the 1957 National People’s Congress he was openly critical of Fan Ming’s policies. The following year he was summoned before a disciplinary committee and ordered to ‘cleanse his thinking’. The anti-rightist campaign was getting under way, and Phünwang became a non-person at the Nationalities Institute. In August 1960 he was arrested, accused of ‘counter-revolutionary acts’. He was thirty-eight. When he was finally released from the ‘Beijing Bastille’, after several periods of insanity, he was fifty-seven. The worst of many tortures he recalled was being bombarded by ‘electronic waves’ in his cell, which produced excruciating headaches. For months after his release he could not stop himself drooling. Impressively, after a year’s recovery, he returned to the fray, drafting proposals for an ‘autonomous republic’ model for the 1980 debate on the prc Constitution, and arguing powerfully that the pla should not be used for police work in the minority nationality regions, where its role was all too comparable to that of an army of occupation. When his suggestions drew down a damning 10-thousand-character attack from Party officials, Phünwang responded with a 25-thousand-character rebuttal. Now in his eighties and officially rehabilitated, he remains a critical voice, still attentively following developments in the Land of Snows.
Phünwang’s nationalist identity and assertion of the rights of the Tibetans presented a problem for the ccp. The Communist revolution in China was also, in its own way, an assertion of nationalism, and a desire to restore China’s greatness. In the pursuit of this, the aspirations of other groups were mere obstacles. Phünwang and other young radical Tibetans allied themselves with the ccp as a means of bringing reform and social change to Tibet; yet once China had established firm control over the region, the Tibetan Communists were deposed and replaced with Han officials. A leading political figure in the 1950s, Phünwang was the only Tibetan to possess any degree of authority during the first decade of Chinese rule. His knowledge of the language and his position as a socially aware figure made him into a vital cultural and political mediator, a role that gave him access to the highest levels of the ccp as well as to the Dalai Lama (who wrote of him affectionately in his autobiography). Yet Phünwang’s active political life was over by 1958. His fate and those of his comrades reveal the continuing problems of Beijing’s rule: after fifty years, the Party has not managed to promote a Tibetan to the top leadership in Lhasa. The dangerous accusation of ‘local nationalism’ pinned on Phünwang is still applied to any Tibetan who opposes the ccp’s policy. Such threats continue to silence indigenous leaders.
The use of the first-person narrative makes A Tibetan Revolutionary more of an autobiography than a biography, in the strict sense of the term. Phünwang’s voice carries the narrative forward and there is no attempt at critical or analytical judgement of his account. It is clear to readers that this is Phünwang’s view of events, and this is one of the book’s strengths. As such, however, it remains subject to debate and scrutiny. The prc is changing; the publication of this book is one indication of that, and of the increasing access now gained by scholars to materials in China and Tibet. Much of the information presented here has yet to be tested against historical and archival sources, and there may be differing versions still to appear. This in no way diminishes the importance of the book. It is quite likely that even after examining other sources, we will find Phünwang’s voice carries a greater degree of truth and accuracy than any other testimony published so far. There is a sense of authenticity in the narrative, established by a tone that does not dwell on recrimination over the lost years. Despite his personal suffering, Phünwang maintains a balanced outlook and never descends to self-pity. To some, his lack of anger will appear naïve, but careful reading reveals the strength of his character. Phünwang remains hopeful that China and Tibet may find a way to coexist. In talks with a delegation sent by the Dalai Lama in 1979, published here as an appendix, Phünwang discussed the Tibetan exiles’ characterization of him as ‘the red Tibetan who led the red Han into Tibet’ and defended his goals. The Communists—‘in the words of Chairman Mao’—were there
to help the Tibetans to stand up, to be the masters in their own home, reform themselves, engage in construction to improve the living standard of the people and build a happy new society. But I never meant to lead the Han people into Tibet to establish rule over the Tibetans by the Han people. If so, the ‘red Han’, the Liberation Army, and the ‘red Tibetans’ who were their guides are all phony communists.
The strategy, he insisted, must be judged on its upshot—how much further Tibetans have moved towards an improved living standard and being ‘masters of their home’ under the prc. It is such achievements as these that would make him, in his own words, one of the ‘good guys’. Indeed, one of the questions that this book poses is whether reforms would have occurred in Tibet if China had not intervened in 1950. Phünwang’s account allows us to trace the efforts of the small group of radicals who were working towards the creation of an indigenous social movement. Like his boyhood hero, Phünwang composed songs as much to educate his people as to inspire them. One stirring anthem from the 1940s begins:
Rise up, rise up, rise up,
The time for fighting has come but
Still haven’t you awoken from sleep?
We can no longer bear to live
Under the oppression of powerful officials.
Tsampa eaters, rise up,
Seize control of your own land.
Seize political power.