Her Life Stories
- Born in Troubled Times
- Born in Lhasa
- Childhood Memories
- The Best of the Best
- A Civil Servant
- Traveling to Tibet as Ordered
- A Long Journey with a Mission
- A Trip of Life and Death
- Meeting with the 13th Dalai Lama
- Investigation and Liaison
- Dangerous Yet Triumphant Return
- Devotion for National Salvation
- Publicity Campaign for Anti-Japanese War
- Endless Nostalgia
- Passing Away at an Early Age
Related Historical Literature
The Party School of Jiangsu Provincial Party Committee of the CPC
In the prolonged course of social development, outstanding figures who have been at the forefront of the times, with their noble spirits, profound thoughts, and unique experiences, have promoted social progress and left memorable moments. Liu Manqing, the “envoy to the border area” in modern times, was just one such person; an outstanding female political activist in terms of her achievements in maintaining normal relations between the Central Government and the local government in Tibet. When we open The Eastern Miscellany, published in the 1930s, unfolding before our eyes is an elegant and beautiful professional woman of the period from the Republic of China, with bobbed hair and solemn virtuous qualities. When we look at the newspapers from the 1930s, we see a woman who painstakingly traveled to the border area to help the unification of the country with her knowledge and perseverance. She was talented and independent, and served as a first-class clerk in the Civil Service of the National Government, which was difficult for a woman to achieve at that time. She finally chose a challenging political task at the frontier, taking on a responsibility that 400 million other people could not undertake. Over hills and rivers, she traveled to Tibet three times to conduct social activities. “She had the courage and resources other people did not,” and she became the first female envoy to the border area. Hailed as “a miraculous heroine of the type that appears only once in five hundred years,” she enjoyed an equal reputation with those of Zhang Qian and Ban Chao of the Han dynasty, who conducted a mission to the Western Regions.
From the perspective of maintaining normal relations between the Central Government and the local government in Tibet, as the first female investigator sent by the National Government to Tibet, and with her attachment and devotion to her motherland, Liu Manqing met with the Dalai Lama twice, despite interference and obstructions, and accomplished marvelous feats in encouraging the Tibetan local government to give up as soon as possible,Shimla mode (i.e. the British would need to participate as mediator in any talks held between the Central Government and the Tibetan local government).
From the perspective of safeguarding national unity, she was a lone hero, facing difficulties deliberately created by British Government representatives.She stood her ground and did all she could to express strong disapproval, making her share of contributions to safeguard the unity of the motherland. She was a forerunner of the struggle for unity and the integrity of the country between the National Government and the representatives of the British Government. From the perspective of promoting ethnic unity, she understood the longing of the Han and Tibetan people in the border areas for the Central Government.She traveled alone three times to the remote areas of Xikang and Tibet to promote the unity of the Han-Tibetan people, enabling communication and the continuation of the intimate relationship between the Tibetan and Han nationalities. She spared no effort in helping to make her motherland ever stronger. She became famous in the history of the mutual exchanges among various ethnic groups in China.
From the perspective of the Chinese people’s resistance against foreign invasion, she used every opportunity to reveal the true desire for aggression of the British imperialists.Later, when the country faced Japanese imperialist aggression, Liu Manqing repeatedly went deep behind the southwestern frontier to promote anti-Japanese ideas, express solicitude for the soldiers and civilians, and provide materials.She participated in the establishment of organizations such as the Mongolian, Tibetan and Hui Anti-Japanese Promotion Group, and also traveled to Lhasa to promote anti-Japanese ideas to the Tibetan people, which greatly stimulated the enthusiasm of the ethnic groups in southwest China to contribute to the fight against Japan. She was a member from ethnic minority groups who actively participated in anti-Japanese activities.
From the perspective of women’s liberation, she also actively participated in the women’s liberation movement, advocating freedom of marriage and freedom of love.She founded a variety of associations as a female intellectual and devoted herself to the women’s liberation cause. She also wrote several books, including Education in Border Regions and Tibet, calling for more women to participate in social activities. She was a practitioner of the modern women’s liberation movement in China.
In the 1930s, she was praised by the people of the time, and was even included in Great Names in the Republic of China, which also included Soong Ching-ling and He Xiangning.Today, we see that she completed not only the liberation trip of a frontier woman struggling out of the southwest,which was shut away from wider society, but also an ice-breaking trip to initiate a difficult political process in the frontier region. It was also a “historical trip,” marking the mutual integration of the Central Government and the Tibetan local government. Liu Manqing gave up everything for the country’s cause. Her strong will and fearless spirit will last forever. Her historical contribution was extraordinary—an achievement in the Republic of China period that benefits China today.
In September 1992, the State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China issued the White Paper 1992: Tibet—Its Ownership and Human Rights Situation, citing A Mission to Xikang and Tibet, by Liu Manqing: “The 13th Dalai Lama said, ‘My greatest wish is for real peace and the unification of China.’‘Since it is all Chinese territory, why distinguish between you and us?’‘The British truly intend to tempt me, but I know that our sovereignty must not be lost.’‘Not to affiliate with the British, nor forsake the Central Government.’” In May 2015, the State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China issued the White Paper 2015: Tibet’s Path of Development is Driven by an Irresistible Historical Tide, with the words “Liu Manqing, a representative of the then Central Government,”clarifying her historical role and indicating her importance as a historical figure.
Time flies, and Liu Manqing passed away more than 70 years ago. For various reasons, we know very little about the real Liu Manqing. Since the publication of Sherab Nyima’s article about Liu Manqing in the winter issue of China’s Tibet in 1990, and the publication of my article“Liu Manqing:The Female Envoy of the National Government to Tibet”in the Anecdotal Review of the Republic of China (Min Guo Chun Qiu) in 1995, increasing numbers of people have begun to be aware of and study this historical figure. As a result, books and articles on Liu Manqing have begun to appear in a continuous stream, and research on the character of Liu Manqing has become important in terms of the history of the border areas of the Republic of China.
In 2013, my book The Female Envoy to Tibet During the Republic of China Period: A Biography of Liu Manqing was published by 21st Century Publishing House, and has been reprinted, topping Dangdang's female biography list several times. The publication of this biography has garnered more attention for Liu Manqing. Literary works in the form of movies, radio dramas, photo exhibitions, TV feature films, and paintings have also appeared. Among them, the radio drama Rainbow in Tibet the Snowland, which was adapted from my book, won the thirteenth Five “One” Project (a good book, a good TV series, a good play, a good film, and a good article) award from the Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the CPC in 2014. Today, publicity for Liu Manqing’s deeds has become an important part of thematic education in terms of opposing the splintering of Tibet and maintaining ethnic unity.
In recent years, as a Tibetology enthusiast who has studied and closely followed Liu Manqing and her achievements, I have carried out detailed research on the character and committed myself to discovering accurate historical information relating to Liu Manqing’s life. For example, in historical archives, I have found the timing and cause for Liu Manqing’s death, providing new historical materials for professional academic research.From oral records, I have found recordings from the relatives and descendants of Liu Manqing, which provide new content for professional oral history studies.In terms of art works, my works have recreated the historical scene in which Liu Manqing braved dangers to travel west into Tibet, enabling artists to engage in new attempts to serve this historical theme.
I am reminded of six sentences from the eulogy in the article “Eulogy for Ms. Liu Manqing,” by Feng Yuxian, a scholar from the border region of the Republic of China:
A Mission to Xikang and Tibet that you wrote,
is also a mission you left uncompleted,
a mission that belongs to us all,
and we try our best to accomplish it.
By then, we will honor you with the word “accomplish.”
The significance of continuing to “accomplish” lies in the grand connotation of the rise of the Chinese nation. Today, it is our responsibility to carry forward the loyal and tenacious spirit of this patriot, so that our descendants can learn from history and deepen their recognition of the subjective values of the motherland, ideal, and fraternity.
July 22, 2018
Source: Excerpt from the third preface to Love to Tibet: Liu Manqing’s Mission to Xikang and Tibet.