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HomeIssues2009/3The Deadlock in TibetThe Tibet Protests of Spring 2008

The Deadlock in Tibet

The Tibet Protests of Spring 2008

Conflict between the Nation and the State
Robert Barnett
p. 6-23


This preliminary assessment of 95 of the 150 or more protests in Tibetan areas in the spring of 2008 suggests that they were far more widespread than during previous unrest, and also that there was greater involvement of laypeople, farmers, nomads, and students than in the past. It argues that the struggle in China and elsewhere over representation of the unrest has been dominated by the question of violence, with little attention paid to policy questions and social issues. This paper outlines the basic concepts that underlie that debate and summarises the historical factors that might have led to protest.

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Bibliographical reference

Robert Barnett, “The Tibet Protests of Spring 2008”China Perspectives, 2009/3 | 2009, 6-23.

Electronic reference

Robert Barnett, “The Tibet Protests of Spring 2008”China Perspectives [Online], 2009/3 | 2009, Online since 01 September 2012, connection on 29 November 2023. URL:; DOI:

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The text and other elements (illustrations, imported files) are “All rights reserved”, unless otherwise stated.

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