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China and Tibet

Book recommendations

"China Witness: Voices from a silent generation" by Xinran

The Chinese author Xinran is married to a British men. She traveled through China and asked the elderly about their experiences during the cultural revolution and the people told her forgotten stories, because the cultural revolution is suppressed in the minds. No one even their children and grandchildren are interested in the happenings of this time.

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Movie recommendations

"Wild China"

The superb BBC series shows the gigantic nature of China: bizarre mountain landscapes of karst rock and sandstone, millions of migratory birds at Poyang Lake, the special animals in the mountain valleys of Yunnan, rice terraces, deserts, high mountains and much more.

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"Mao's Last Dancer"

The film shows the true story of Li Cunxin. In his small home village he was selected to study in Beijing ballet. It was 1973 and he was 11 years. Through hard work he became a very good dancer. A ballet director from Houston became attentive and who brought him into US.

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"Farewell My Concubine"

The film shows how boys are drilled into singers of the Peking Opera at the beginning of the 1920s and informs about different Peking operas and how the different political systems in China of the 20th Century treated the Peking Opera and their stars.

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"The Last Emperor"

The film shows the life of Pu Yi, the last emperor of China. At the age of three he was crowned as emperor and revered by millions of people. The communists forced him to abdicate and to live as a normal person in China.

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"To Live"

The film begins in China in the 1940s and accompanies Fugui, who has lost all his money at card games, and his wife Jiazhen. They are experiencing the civil war between the Chinese Communist Party and the Kuomintang in the 1940s and the cultural revolution in the 1960s and have to overcome private destiny during this period.

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"The king of masks"

The King of Masks is an old street artist who wants to pass his art on to a male descendant. He takes on a little boy since he has no son or grandchild. When it turns out that the boy is a girl, he wants to repudiate it, but the girl wants to stay with his "grandfather" at all costs.

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Book recommendations for Tibet

"Seven Years in Tibet" by Heinrich Harrer

After a Nanga Parbat expedition in 1940 Heinrich Harrer was interned in an internment camp in India. Peter Aufschnaiter and him succeeded in escaping in 1994. They fled to Tibet, where strangers were unwanted at this time, and arrived in Lhasa, where Heinrich Harrer met the young Dalai Lama. The author describes the incredible escape and their life in Lhasa in this book.

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"Return to Tibet" by Heinrich Harrer

In 1952 Heinrich Harrer left Tibet and returned only 30 years later. He met old friends and visited famous places. He describes his experiences on the journey in 1982 in this book.

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"Amala: Mein Leben für Tibet" von Irmgard Wäger

I was allowed to get to know Irmgard Wäger. An impressive encounter. She supported almost 30 years Tibet and the Tibetans in the German Tibothilfe after her retiring. The Dalai Lama visited her in her two-room apartment and was surprised that such a great help could organized from this small place. She died in 2015 at the age of 95 years.
As far as I know the book is not available in Englisch.

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Movie recommendations for Tibet

"Kundun"

In beautiful pictures the life story of the Dalai Lamas is told. It begins in Amdo, a province east of Lhasa, where he was born in 1936 and grew up jauntily until he was recognized as the rebirth of the 13th Dalai Lama and became the 14th Dalai Lama. He became a Buddhist monk and studied the teachings of Buddha. The film ends with the escape from Tibet to India in 1959.

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"Seven Years in Tibet"

After a Nanga Parbat expedition in 1940 Heinrich Harrer was interned in an internment camp in India. Peter Aufschnaiter and him succeeded in escaping in 1994. They fled to Tibet, where strangers were unwanted at this time, and arrived in Lhasa, where Heinrich Harrer met the young Dalai Lama. The incredible escape and their life in Lhasa was filmed in 1997.

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"The Saltmen of Tibet"

The salt production from the high mountain lakes of Tibet follows strict rules and has a long tradition. Every year in spring four men of the Dropkas go the long way to the salt lakes.

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