In 1906, the Chief of the Russian General Staff instructed Gustaf Mannerheim to “assess general conditions and local attitudes to Chinese policies, the political movements in regions or in local tribes toward self-government, [and] the role of the Dalai Lama in such movements.” So from Lanzhou, he ventured into southern Gansu or what has historically been called the Tibetan region of Amdo. At the lamasery of Labrang, one of the largest and most important for Tibetan Buddhism, he encountered a population that was hostile to more than just the Chinese.
In a hundred years that hostility hasn’t waned. While Tibetans in Labrang (Xiahe in Chinese) were generous and courteous with me, many privately complained about Chinese religious repression in the Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. I spent ten days visiting Labrang and also several other smaller Tibetan monasteries hidden in the forested valleys and deep gorges that make up this mountainous region. In 2009, simmering resentment boiled over into violent protests against the Chinese in Labrang.
Click on the features to view details about Mannerheim’s route from Lanzhou to the the Tibetan monastery of Labrang in the Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Perfecture (shaded in orange on the map).
View Chapter 13: Labrang in a larger map
Click on the icons to view photos of my journey to the Tibetan monastery of Labrang and other sites in the Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in southern Gansu.
These are videos related to the March 2009 Tibetan riots that took place in Labrang. Violence also broke out in Lhasa and other Tibetan regions in Gansu, Sichuan and Qinghai provinces.
The following video is related to the Romanian TV producer and mountaineer who caught on tape Chinese border guards shooting Tibetans attempting to escape to Nepal through a snowy mountain pass in 2006.
For more information about Labrang, check out these links:
Dalai Lama’s Official Website
Tibetan Government In Exile’s Official Website
Labrang Monks Speak Out
Overseas Tibetan Hotel in Labrang
Labrang on Wikipedia