Deconstructing Ngabo (In 1980)

China-watchers have always considered official photographs, such as the May Day line-up of party bosses, as invaluable instruments to measure not only fluctuations in party hierarchy but even possible changes in policy. Since the politics of Dharamshala now seem to be a equally shrouded in mystery and silence as those of the most uncommunicative totalitarian nation, I have, of late, been increasingly forced to adopt the oblique methods of China-watchers to learn what new policies, what fresh surprises, our masters in Gangchen Kyishong might have in store for us.

Before I present the fruits of my latest research, I must beg the reader’s consideration and ask them to hunt up last month’s Tibetan Review and take a good look at the photograph on page seven. The same picture is on the front cover of the last issue of the Tibetan Bulletin, the official newsletter of the government-in-exile. …

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