A globalising China

The main current that courses through my book, Flowing Waters Never Stale, carries with it the idea that the various cultures of China, rather than being diluted by foreign imports, are instead thriving on it, for the Chinese have a long history of integrating foreign ideas, products and technologies into their lives, though in ways that are culturally specific, enabling them to modernise while still retaining their ‘Chinese characterisitcs’. This very willingness to appropriate what is foreign and new is perhaps the most enduring of all Chinese characteristics, and is, essentially, the very essence of Chinese culture – its most intrinsic quality. My purpose here is not to argue that the Chinese are in any way unique in this regard, for it is common the world over for people to appropriate for their own ends what is imported from abroad. My aim instead is to challenge the commonly held assumption that the ‘traditional’ cultures of China are today somehow being seriously diluted or destroyed by the processes of globalisation, for the Chinese have always been receptive to outside influences, and were never as xenophobic or as isolationist as they are so often portrayed to have been.

The following text elaborates further on this theme, providing what I hope will be a topic worthy of discussion.


Appropriating the foreign: globalisation

and the Chinese tradition

According to Benjamin Barber, globalisation is a system that demands integration and uniformity, mesmerising people everywhere ‘with fast music, fast computers, and fast food – MTV, Macintosh, and McDonald’s – pressing nations into one homogeneous global theme park, one McWorld tied together by communications, information, entertainment, and commerce.’1 This idea that a global economy will inevitably lead to the destruction of all local identities and the cultural homogenisation of the world has great appeal for those who equate globalisation with Westernisation, but as Marshall Sahlins has demonstrated, local cultures in fact do not usually disappear under the impact of rapid change, as global homogeneity and local differentiation always develop side-by-side in a process he refers to as the ‘indigenisation of modernity’2 This process can clearly be witnessed throughout China, where foreign ideas, products and services are more often than not appropriated in ways that are culturally specific; in ways that maintain local beliefs and customs of etiquette.

When the American journalist, Hallett Abend, first arrived in China in 1925, he was horrified by the first thing his eyes set sight on – a high signboard advertising chewing gum. He was expecting instead to see pagodas, temple bells and spice-laden breezes.3 In the same year, the missionary Christine Tinling, likewise, advised her contemporaries of the need to go beyond Shanghai in order to discover the ‘real’ China: ‘One must pass beyond it’, she said, ‘and leave behind the elegant stores, the street cars and the automobiles, before one can glimpse the real China, or become attracted to her spirit of hoary antiquity.’4 

Many travellers today continue to speak disapprovingly of China’s modernisation, preferring instead the ‘traditional’ China of their imagination. ‘I became disillusioned when the mainland turned out to be nothing like what I had expected,’ wrote the Australian journalist, Jane Hutcheon, in 2003. ‘I had fallen in love with bygone eras – old Shanghai, colonial Hong Kong.’5 Claire Scobie, in her book, Last Seen In Lhasa, likewise laments the apparent loss of her imaginary Tibet. ‘The tide of consumerism was washing up the beach and with it a swell of new shops and supermarkets, giant billboards of David Beckham and Chinese sylphs advertising Oil of Olay,’ she complained. ‘After centuries of isolation, in little over fifty years, Tibet had been forced into global participation and ubiquity.’6

The Chinese however, including ethnic Tibetans, have at no time in their history ever been fully isolated from the outside world, and have a long history of integrating foreign products, technologies and ideas into their lives. The Chinese first began trading with Europeans at least as far back as the Han dynasty, importing from the Romans significant quantities of glass, dyes, precious stones and amber.7 Persian artworks were also imported during this period, and were copied locally to be used in ways that were culturally specific. Multi-winged stone lions for example, like the ones that guarded the Artaxerxes Palace at Susa, were modified in design and used as tomb guards, as is evidenced by the many relics unearthed throughout much of present day Sichuan Province.8 Greek and Persian architectural forms were also introduced to China during this period, with Greek-style columns for example, incorporated into many of the tomb designs that were built in what are today the provinces of Jiangsu, Shandong and Hebei.9

Foreign musical instruments also began to flow into China during the early Han period, with the earliest originating from the Mesopotamia region, then ruled by Persia. Imported instruments like the pipa, the bili and yaogu, soon became prominent in China ‘and played a leading role in the development of Chinese music,’ as the historian Shen Fuwei has noted. Once absorbed by the Chinese, argues Shen, such instruments were remodelled by local musicians to become ‘Chinese instruments.’10 The konghou for example, was introduced to China via India during the time of the Western Han, with its horizontal bow-shaped structure having been derived from a Mesopotamian model.11 The Chinese, over the centuries, made numerous alterations to its design, gradually transforming it into the instrument that it is today.

Chinese trade continued to flourish during the Tang dynasty, with various Arab, Persian and Singhalese merchants extending the shipping routes between Mesopotamia and India into southern China. Japanese dance and music quickly became popular among the Chinese, along with a wide assortment of foreign foods, like Persian dates.12 ‘The Chinese taste for the exotic permeated every social class and every part of daily life,’ wrote Edward H. Schafer in his book, The golden peaches of Samarkand – a study of the Tang dynasty. ‘The vogue for foreign clothes, foreign food, and foreign music was especially prevalent in the eighth century, but no part of the Tang was free from it.’13  The widespread popularity of foreign products, particularly Persian gold and silverware, gave rise to the emergence of many imitation products, with the fancy designs of Sassanian jewellery for example, often copied for decorative use on local porcelain vases.14 Persian music and dance styles, which had been enthusiastically absorbed by the Chinese from at least the beginning of the Han Dynasty, also gained favour with the imperial court during the reign of the Tang Emperor Xuanzong.15

The Indian folk arts enjoyed popularity in China from the early Han Dynasty all the way through to at least the Song, with many locals flocking regularly to see Indian magic shows, puppet shows and acrobatic performances. Foreign skills were absorbed into Chinese martial arts, and during the Tang Dynasty local acrobatic routines developed by combining Indian yoga with Chinese qiqong.16 The game of polo, which originated from Persia, was also introduced during this period, and remained a very popular sport throughout much of China, especially in Tibet, right up until the end of the Ming Dynasty.17

Indian Buddhism first found its way into China during the first century, and by the fifth century had gained enormously in popularity, appropriated, as it had been by then, in ways that enabled the Chinese to fulfil their own religious aspirations. Buddhism’s anti-social and anti-family concepts were altered to embrace the Confucian virtue of filial piety, which, as Kenneth Chen has pointed out in his book on Buddhism: The Light of Asia, ‘was manifested in the form of temples and pagodas dedicated to the memory of deceased ancestors.’18 Certain bodhisattvas were altered to assume Chinese appearances in order to make them more appealing: Avalokitesvara became a female deity renamed Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy, whose purpose was to receive prayers from mothers anxious to have a son, and Maitreya the Future Buddha became the fat laughing figure who greets visitors to the temple.19 

Similarly, when Trisong Detsen decided to make Indian Buddhism Tibet’s official religion in the year 779, the time of the Tang dynasty, it was localised, as the historian Lee Feigon has pointed out, by fusing it with those Bon rituals that could be used to attain more worldly, more practical goals, like ‘accumulating wealth or destroying enemies.’20

Many people like to think of the Tang dynasty as having been exceptional in its level of openness to the outside world, but foreign trade during the Song dynasty that followed was ‘every bit as extensive as it was during the Tang dynasty,’ according to the historian, Gary G. Hamilton, with twenty percent of its total imperial revenues derived from foreign trade, suggesting that imports were high. Clothing styles during the Song for example, were influenced by Turkish and Iranian styles,21 and huge quantities of pepper, cloves, sandalwood, frankincense, ivory and tortoise-shell were imported from places as diverse as Africa, India and the Moluccas.22 Lemons were also first introduced to China during the Song dynasty – imported from India, they were often used by those living in the northern provinces to make sherbet (what we today call sorbet), the recipe having been adopted by the Chinese from the Persians.23 In the southern provinces of Guangdong and Fujian, however, lemons were more commonly appropriated as home decorations ‘to please the sight and smell’, and were ‘scarce ever eaten.’24 

China’s foreign trade continued to expand throughout the Yuan and Ming dynasties, with China importing at least fifteen different types of spices alone, and from places as diverse as present day Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, south India, south Yeman, Oman, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Tanzania.25  High-grade rhinoceros horns were imported from Kenya, and cotton fabrics from Java. Arab medical expertise was also highly valued during the Yuan Dynasty, with the setting up in 1263 of a Medical Bureau specialising in Arabic medicines.26  Chinese Muslim surgeons were in big demand, and Arabic medical prescriptions were often translated into Chinese, published and distributed across the country.27

It has often been argued that the Ming Chinese had little enthusiasm for European commodities other than spices, and that their apparent lack of interest in most things foreign is what led them to seek payment for their goods in silver.28 Some historians are now beginning to challenge this view, arguing instead that no such trade deficit ever existed. By examining the factors that influenced the supply and demand for silver in its own right, the historians Dennis Flynn and Arturo Giraldez have discovered that it was silver’s high value in China – double its value in the rest of the world – that is what drove the silver trade:

First, on the demand side, China’s monetary and fiscal systems had substantially converted from a paper-money system to silver by the time of the Single-Whip tax reform of the 1570s. Conversion of more than one-quarter of the world’s population (and its government) to silver customers contributed to the rise in the price of silver in China. Second, on the supply side, extraordinarily rich silver mines were discovered in Japan and Spanish America, and new technologies reduced production costs. Supply and demand forces created disequilibrium: silver’s value in China was double its value in the rest of the world. This is what drove the silver trade—the birth of world trade—and not some abstract notion of trade deficits.29

During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, adds the historian Patricia Buckley Ebrey, ‘both an open and clandestine trade took place along the Chinese coast’ between Japan and China, with Portugal being allowed to establish a trading base at Macau in 1577. Besides stimulating the Chinese economy, the expanding maritime trade brought with it not only silver, but also many new goods and ideas. ‘New-world plants entered China, including sweet potatoes, maize, and peanuts,’ notes Ebrey, and ‘European ideas, including scientific ones, began to filter in through Christian missionaries.’30 

The arts also continued to flourish during the Yuan and Ming dynasties, thanks largely to the widespread popularity and adoption of foreign influences, with Arab wind and stringed instruments often used in the Yuan and Ming courts to perform royal concerts. The well-known Chinese two-stringed instrument er hu was introduced to China from the Arab world during this period, as was the four-stringed pluck instrument, the hu bu si.31

The historian Frank Dikötter, in his book, Things Modern: Material Culture and Everyday Life in China, documented the extent to which foreign goods and technologies were imported into nineteenth-century China, debunking the myth that the Chinese during this period were hostile to all things foreign. Everything from foreign lamps, clocks and watches, to umbrellas, pens and toothbrushes were imported, then copied locally and made available to much larger sections of the population. ‘The key reason why foreign imports remained relatively few throughout the Qing,’ argues Dikötter, ‘is that successful imports were immediately subjected to fierce competition by local imitations.’32 The productive capacity of the Chinese economy ‘certainly limited the amount of foreign commodities imported, but not the range of imports the Chinese would accept in the first place,’ concluded Gary G. Hamilton, in his study on the Chinese consumption of foreign goods.33 

The Chinese love of the new and their enjoyment of consumption, suggests Dikötter, is indicative of their pragmatic attitude towards life, and is possibly linked to a philosophy that accepts the inevitability of change – a philosophy that can be traced all the way back to the I Ching, otherwise known as The Book of Changes, believed to have been written sometime around 2800 BC. In today’s China, says Dikötter, new things ‘can be acquired and loved but also thrown out or destroyed once deemed to have outlived their usefulness...Not much of a “second-hand market” appears in this economy of the new.’34 

Dikötter draws on a wealth of empirical evidence to show that ‘globalisation’ during this period transformed the everyday lives of ordinary Chinese, not only in the coastal cities, but throughout the countryside as well.35 Yet local cultures throughout China remained intact, as foreign goods were more often than not appropriated in ways that were culturally specific. When mirrors were first imported into China during the 1880s for example, they quickly became popular as replacement spirit screens, used to scare away demons. Made of glass, they ‘were considered much brighter and clearer than the local ones made of copper or tin,’ says Dikötter, while ‘restaurants and shops were keen to use mirrors to create a good flow of qi (energy) and money.’36

Tibet is often romanticised as having been a land once shrouded in mystery, a hermit kingdom that until recently was able to remain hidden above the clouds, but in reality the people of this region also have a long history of engaging in foreign trade, and of embracing foreign ideas and goods into their lives. When the Italian missionary Francesco della Penna visited Tibet in the 1730s for example, he found a flourishing mining industry: gold, silver, copper, lead, sulphur, cobalt and mercury.37 Tibet’s theocratic government, headed by the lamasery, generated large revenues by taxing the profits from mining and trade. In 1899, the value of Tibet’s trade with India alone was recorded as having been worth a quarter of a million pounds sterling, which was huge money back then.38 Tibetans imported mirrors, umbrellas, soap, kerosene, clocks and watches – just about everything you can think of in fact, although the main product they imported from India was woollen cloth. They bought horses, saddlery and leather from Mongolia, and silks, carpets and tea-bricks from the eastern parts of China.39 

When the Scotsman, George Bogle, introduced the potato to Tibet back in 1774,40 the locals, rather than rejecting it as something foreign and culturally impure, instead adapted its use to their own tastes by creating new dishes such as shoko khatsa – potato coins sprinkled with curry powder and pan-fried with slices of onion and green chillies. 

Similarly, when the American explorer and diplomat, Fred Schroder, gave away his own Stetson hat to Thubten Choekyi Nyima, the ninth Panchen Lama, during a visit he made to Kumbum Gonpa back in 1913, it was quickly appropriated by the wider population, for the Tibetans admired the Lama’s new hat so much, that they began making copies of it in the local felt.41 These days the cowboy hat, which complements very nicely both chuba and boots, is considered an important part of ‘traditional’ dress – a symbol of Tibetan masculinity. 

Today, globalisation occurs at a much more accelerated pace, yet despite the rapidity with which new commodities travel across the globe, foreign products continue to be appropriated in ways that are culturally mediated – in ways that indigenise the use of the modern. Although mass culture tends towards homogenisation, those products imposed by a dominant economic order very often undergo numerous transformations by the ways in which ordinary people make use of them, as Michel de Certeau has so influentially argued.42 ‘Consumption’, says Dikötter, ‘is appropriation’, in that it is a ‘social activity by which objects produced by others become one’s own by subjecting them to personal meanings and different uses.’43 I noticed myself when in China that when the Chinese drink German-style lagers or French or Australian red wines, they do so in the same way that they drink their traditional spirits – rather than sipping on a Shiraz they’ll down the whole glass as a one shot, for eating and drinking is what brings people together in China, and to create cohesion, drinks are downed in many separate toasts, necessitating not only speed, but the use of small glasses. In restaurants, bottles of lager usually arrive unchilled, and with a shot glass, reflecting not only the social nature of drinking, but also traditional cultural beliefs in health and medicine. Finding an icy cold lager in China can be quite a challenge, even during the hot summer months, as most people continue to believe in the need to maintain a balance of yin (cold) and yang (hot) in order to sustain good health. Chilled drinks are widely thought to upset this balance, and so icy cold lagers are usually in poor supply. 

American fast food chains like McDonald’s, KFC and Pizza Hut, have also been appropriated by the Chinese, and in ways that are culturally specific, as symbols of their own modernity. In the United States and Australia it is usual to equate McDonald’s food with low cost and fast service, but in China ‘the Big Mac was rapidly transformed into a form of haute cuisine,’ as the anthropologist Yan Yunxiang has observed, becoming ‘a place where people could gain status simply by eating there.’44 Many Chinese urbanites have even appropriated American fast food restaurants as desirable spaces in which to relax, transforming them into leisure centres, sometimes even study centres, with their climate-controlled environments, clean toilets and soft music all adding to their special appeal. When customers linger in McDonald’s or KFC for hours, relaxing, chatting, reading, studying or doing their homework, spending as much time as possible over their food, they are, in the words of Yan Yunxiang, ‘taking the “fast” out of fast food.’45 The Sinicisation of the McDonald’s experience is also evidenced in the renaming of Ronald McDonald. In Chinese, ‘Uncle’ and ‘Auntie’ are voluntary honorific titles, generally given to any older person, irrespective of familial relation. By referring to the ‘fast food’ clown as ‘Uncle McDonald’, and to the female receptionists employed to cater to their entertainment needs as ‘Aunt McDonald’, children are able to imagine themselves as part of an extended family, their use of honorifics an expression of their filial piety.46

The spread of Western pop music is also often singled out as having a particularly negative impact on local cultures, but as Rachel Harris has demonstrated through her research, the young Uighur musicians of China’s remote Xinjiang Province have appropriated the sounds of reggae and the Gypsy Kings with the aim of bringing new life to traditional songs. Rather than destroying cultural identity, ‘global styles are brought into the heart of the traditional repertoire.’47 

Similarly, in China’s Tibetan regions, traditional folk songs, some hundreds of years old, are now being revived by young bands with the help of modern recording technology, but in hip-hop and rap styles. Singing in both the Tibetan and Mandarin languages, the Lhasa-based Heavenly Club Band for example, has managed to popularise what had been a largely forgotten folk song, the Chang Wine Toast. According to the lead singer, Tenzin Dawa, a graduate of Tibet University, the ‘Heavenly Club’, which the band takes its name from, is a magical instrument used by Buddhists to defeat evil spirits. Older traditionalists have of course criticised the band for ‘spoiling’ folk songs by producing them in such foreign, Westernised styles, but in response the band argues that ‘this is only their opinion,’ and that they see themselves as ‘carrying forward folk music.’48 

As the researchers Ashild Kolas and Monika P. Thowsen have demonstrated, Tibet’s modernisation and further integration into the global economy has in many ways helped to bring about the revival of Tibetan culture, rather than destroying it. ‘Entrepreneurs and local culture brokers are manufacturing Tibetan tradition by developing a range of new cultural products for the tourist market’, they say, with local Tibetans ‘eager to take part’ in the economic benefits that tourism offers.49 This has led to a growing interest by Tibetans in their own traditional culture, including their religious culture, with the number of Buddhist monasteries in many counties now exceeding the pre-1958 figures.50 According to the social scientist, Barry Sautman, there is now, in the Tibetan Autonomous Region, one monk or nun for every thirty-five Tibetans - higher than any Buddhist country in the world, and ‘much higher than the relation of ministers and priests to parishioners in any Christian country in the world, where the ratio is often one to one thousand.’51 But as Kolas and Thowsen have observed, a more modern Tibetan identity is also in the process of being shaped, mainly by Tibetan youths, who are adopting ‘key traditional symbols’ but ‘expressing this identity through such media as popular music and visual arts, creating a kind of Tibetan urban subculture.’52

As the Chinese historian Shen Fuwei has demonstrated, in his study on the cultural flow between China and the outside world, the Chinese have always maintained contact with those who reside beyond its borders, neither ever succumbing to or rejecting external cultures. The Chinese have ‘never held on to any monolithic symbol described as their sole cultural emblem, or stubbornly resisted the introduction of any culture from the outside,’ he concludes, for it is the ‘cohesive character’ of Chinese culture that has enabled it ‘to absorb the better qualities of other cultures and continue to survive.’53

Cultural expressions may very well help to define and promote the identity of a group, but as constructions, they are continually contested and made subject to reinvention.54 Cultures can never remain ‘pure’ or static, and will always be subject to material alteration through both the import of foreign products, and through the creative and technological innovations that occur locally. Survival then, usually depends to at least some degree, on how the new is put to use. As the empirical evidence shows, globalisation has not brought about the homogenisation of Chinese cultures, largely because local producers and consumers tend to appropriate foreign goods, ideas and services in ways that are culturally specific, indigenising the modern. While the results of this process lead understandably to anxieties about cultural authenticity, ‘the source of one individual’s set of cultural anxieties,’ as Michael Hockx and Julia Strauss have pointed out, ‘is often that of another’s enjoyment.’55



1 Benjamin R. Barber, Jihad vs. McWorld, Times Books, New York, 1995, p.4.

2 Marshall Sahlins, ‘On the anthropology of modernity; or, some triumphs of culture over despondency theory’ in Anthony Hooper (editor), Culture and sustainable development in the Pacific, Asia Pacific Press, Canberra, 2000, p.47.

3 Hallet E. Abend, My Life in China, 1926-1941, Harcourt, Brace, New York, 1943, p.7.

4 Christine I. Tinling, Bits of China: Travel-sketches in the Orient, Fleming Revell, New York, 1925, pp.13-92.

5 Jane Hutcheon, From Rice to Riches: A personal journey through a changing China, Pan Macmillan, Sydney, 2003, p.353.

6 Claire Scobie, Last Seen In Lhasa: The story of an extraordinary friendship in modern Tibet, Rider, London, 2006, p.225.

7 Harry G. Gelber, The Dragon and the Foreign Devils: China and the World, 1100 BC to the Present, Bloomsbury, London, 2007, p.35.

8 Shen Fuwei, Cultural Flow Between China and Outside World Throughout History, Foreign Languages Press, Beijing, 1996, pp.59-60.

9 Ibid., p.66.

10 Ibid., p.74.

11 Ibid., p.75.

12 Harry G. Gelber, The Dragon and the Foreign Devils: China and the World, 1100 BC to the Present, p.52.

13 Edward H. Schafer, The golden peaches of Samarkand, University of California Press, Berkeley, California, 1963, p.28.

14 Shen Fuwei, Cultural Flow Between China and Outside World Throughout History, p.73.

15 Ibid., p.74

16 Ibid., pp.91-96.

17 Ibid., pp.99-100.

18 Kenneth Chen, Buddhism: The Light of Asia, Barron’s Educational Series Inc., 1968, p.170.

19 Ibid., p.170.

20 Lee Feigon, Demystifying Tibet: unlocking the secrets of the land of the snows, Profile Books, London, 1999, p.49.

21 Gary G. Hamilton, ‘Chinese consumption of foreign commodities: A comparative perspective’, American Sociological Review, Volume 42, No.4, December, 1977, p.882.

22 Roderick Ptak, ‘China and the Trade in Cloves’, The Journal of American Oriental Society, Volume 113, No.1, January-March, 1993, p.6.

23 Berthold Laufer, ‘The Lemon in China and Elsewhere’, Journal of American Oriental Society, Volume 54, No.2., June 1934, p.152. The Persian word sharbat (or sherbet) was initially translated by the Chinese as she-li-pa, but is today generally referred to as sha-bing, meaning ‘sand ice’. The word sharbat was similarly adopted by the Italians as sorbetto, and later by the French as sorbet

24 Jean-Baptiste Du Halde, A Description of the Empire of China and Chinese-Tartary, together with the Kingdoms of Korea and Tibet: containing the geography and history (natural as well as civel) of those countries, E. Cave, London, 1738, Volume 1, p.317.

25 Shen Fuwei, Cultural Flow Between China and Outside World Throughout History, p.167.

26 Ibid., p.152.

27 Ibid., p.152.

28 Harry G. Gelber, The Dragon and the Foreign Devils: China and the World, pp.108-109.

29 Dennis O. Flynn and Arturo Giraldez, ‘Born with a “Silver Spoon”: The Origin of World Trade in 1571’, Journal of World History, Vol. 6, No. 2, Fall 1995, p.215.

30 Patricia Buckley Ebrey, The Cambridge Illustrated History of China, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1996, p.211.

31 Shen Fuwei, Cultural Flow Between China and Outside World Throughout History, pp.152-153.

32 Frank Dikötter, Things Modern: Material Culture and Everyday Life in China, Hurst & Company, London, 2007, p.30.

33 Hamilton, ‘Chinese consumption of foreign commodities’, p.884.

34 Dikötter, Things Modern, p.16.

35 Ibid., p.218.

36 Ibid., pp.185-186.

37 Clements R. Markham, Narratives of the Mission of George Bogle to Tibet and of the Journey of Thomas Manning to Lhasa, first published in 1876, reprinted by Asia Educational Service, 1999, pp.316-317.

38 Laurence Austine Waddell, Lhasa and its Mysteries, with a record of the British Tibetan Expedition of 1903-1904, John Murray, London, 1905, pp.476-477.

39 Ibid.

40 Kate Teltscher, The High Road to China: George Bogle, the Panchen Lama and the First British Expedition to Tibet, Bloomsbury, London, 2006, p.57.

41 Robert Easton, China Caravans: An American Adventurer in Old China, Capra Press, Santa Barbara, CA, 1982, p.77.

42 Michel de Certeau, The practice of everyday lifeUniversity of California Press, Berkeley, CA, 1984, p.xiii.

43 Dikötter, Things Modern, p.11.

44 Yan Yunxiang, ‘McDonald’s in Beijing: The Localization of Americana’, in James L. Watson (editor), Golden Arches East: McDonald’s in East Asia, Stanford University Press, California, second edition, 2006, p.53.

45 Ibid., p.72.

46 Ibid., pp.60-63.

47 Rachel Harris, ‘Reggae on the Silk Road: The Globalization of Uyghur Pop’, Michael Hockx and Julia Strauss (editors), Culture in the Contemporary PRC: The China Quarterly special issues, New Series, No.6, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2005, p.121.

48 Dechen Paldon, China’s Tibet, Volume No.3, 2004. This publication  was accessed  online, January 14, 2009, at: www.musictibet.com/news/2004/20041103-first_rockgroup-chinas_tibet.html

49 Ashild Kolas and Monika P. Thowsen, On the margins of Tibet: cultural survival on the Sino-Tibetan FrontierUniversity of Washington Press, Seattle, 2005, p.174.

50 Ibid., pp.205-208. In the Tsochang Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai Province for example, the number of Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in 1958 stood at 24. By 1999 there were 26. Likewise, in 1958, there were 118 monasteries located throughout the Tsolho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, also in Qinghai Province, but by 1999 there were 130. In Dartsedo County, in the Ganze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, there were 28 monasteries prior to 1958, but by 1999 there were 31; in Nyachukha County, the number of monasteries had grown from 17 prior to 1958 to 26 by 1999; and in Chathreng County there were 27 monasteries in 1999, compared to only 4 in 1958.

51 Leslie Evans, ‘How Repressive is the Chinese Government in Tibet?’ UCLA International Institute, April 12, 2004, available online at: www.international.ucla.edu/article.asp?parentid=2732 

52 Ashild Kolas and Monika P. Thowsen, On the margins of Tibet, p.174.

53 Shen Fuwei, Cultural Flow Between China and Outside World Throughout History, pp.394-395.

54 Clifford Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures, Basic Books, New York, 1973, p.10.

55 Michael Hockx and Julia Strauss, ‘Introduction’, in Michael Hockx and Julia Strauss (editors), Culture in the Contemporary PRC: The China Quarterly special issues, New Series, No.6, Cambridge University Press, 2005, p.8.



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