Population and Society in Contemporary Tibet


Rong Ma

ISBN : 978-962-209-202-0

Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology

January 2011

408 pages, 6″ x 9″, 125 tables

  • HK$350.00

This extensive survey documents Tibetan society over five decades, including population structure in rural and urban areas, marriage and migration patterns, the maintenance of language and traditional culture, economic transitions relating to income and consumption habits, educational development, and the growth of civil society and social organizations. In addition to household surveys completed over twenty years, the book provides a systematic analysis of all available social and census data released by the Chinese government, and a thorough review of Western and Chinese literature on the topic. It is the first book on Tibetan society published in English by a mainland China scholar, and covers several sensitive issues in Tibetan studies, including population changes, Han migration into Tibetan areas, intermarriage patterns, and ethnic relations.

Rong Ma is a widely respected demographer and professor of sociology at Peking University. He spent five years in Inner Mongolia during the Cultural Revolution, and was one of the first Chinese students to study in the US after Deng Xiaoping’s reforms, receiving his doctorate degree from Brown University.

“A key consultant to the Chinese government, and a social scientist of international reputation, Rong Ma is a leading expert on the relationship between ethnic integration and development in modern China. Building on the methodology and approach of his mentor, the distinguished anthropologist, Fei Xiaotong, Ma has introduced population studies to a new generation of Chinese students. He was the first scholar to undertake a serious sociological survey of Tibet, focusing on education, poverty and migration. Population and Society in Contemporary Tibet builds on this survey and on Ma’s later studies. It also incorporates important new material, including data from his recent survey of temporary migration in Lhasa. This comprehensive and balanced account of the people of Tibet provides authoritative and fact-based background to key social issues affecting Tibet today. Its publication now is especially timely in the light of recent inter-ethnic tensions and as world interest in Tibet continues to be strong.” —Sidney Goldstein, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Brown University

“Rong Ma’s new book is an authoritative publication in the on-going debate about Tibet and is bound to be an invaluable resource. Shunning polemics, Ma furnishes considerable new data and statistical information in clear and precise language, thereby making an important contribution to our understanding and knowledge of Tibet today.” —A. Tom Grunfeld, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor, Empire State College of the State University of New York

“This is by far the best book in English on Tibetan demography and society. Through careful analysis of a large range of statistical data, Rong Ma has cast light on highly controversial population and migration issues. At the same time, he has given us precious data on subjects such as marriage and education. I recommend this book extremely highly.” —Colin Mackerras, Emeritus Professor, Griffith University

“The academic study of Tibet still suffers from a lack of accurate data and restrictions on access to Tibet for research. This very useful analysis will increase the quality of the discussion and help to correct many inaccurate Western impressions of Tibet.” —Gerald A. Postiglione, Professor and Head, Division of Policy, Administration and Social Sciences at the Faculty of Education, University of Hong Kong