Date of Award
Master of Arts
The Tibet Question is the continuing political conflict over Tibet's status with regards to China. On one side are Tibetan nationalists and their supporters throughout the world. On the other side is the People's Republic of China. Although many scholars have examined the Tibet Question from a political or diplomatic perspective, none have addressed how everyday Americans became sympathetic to the Tibetan nationalist principles that motivate international Tibet support organizations today: that Tibet was an independent nation before 1949, that the People's Republic of China illegally conquered and occupied Tibet in 1949, and that Tibet consists of all areas that Tibetans historically inhabited.
The Tibet Question endures as a perennial issue in Sino-American relations. The following examines how American journalists shaped everyday Americans' perception of the Tibet Question from 1950 to 1959 in the absence of overt American government involvement. Using such popular print news media as The New York Times, among others, the following demonstrates that American journalists faced political, geographic, and technical limitations while reporting on news from Tibet. Ultimately, American journalists framed the Tibet Question within the dialectic of the Cold War, thereby creating a version of the Tibet Question that was palatable to their readers while generating sympathy for Tibetan nationalist principles. Remarkably, everyday Americans' sympathy for the Tibetan nationalist cause survives to this day.
James August Duncan
Duncan, James August, "American Journalism and the Tibet Question, 1950-1959" (2011). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 12231.