Tibetan man The Tibetan ethnic group is one of the oldest in China. The people have their own written and oral language, and believe in Tibetan Buddhism. The Tibetans mainly live in Southwest China's Tibetan Autonomous Region with the rest forming Tibetan communities in neighboring Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan, and Yunnan provinces. Prior to 1959, the majority of Tibetans lived on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau bounded to the south by the Himalayas, to the west by the Karakorum mountainss, on the east by the Tangkula Mountains, and on the north by the Kunlun Mountains and the Taklamakan Desert. This is a high mountain plateau covers more than 3.9 million square kilometers and has an average elevation of over 4,000 meters. This region has extreme temperature fluctuations, and receives 46 centimeters or less of annual precipitation. Following 1959, a substantial number of Tibetans migrated from the plateau to Bhutan, Nepal, India, and other countries. [Source: Rebecca R. French, e Human Relations Area Files (eHRAF) World Cultures, Yale University]
Tibetans call themselves "Boba", "Duiba", "Tibetanba", "Weiba", "Kangba" and "Anduoba". There used to be many names by which they were called by other nationalities, such as "Tubuo" in the Tang and Song Dynasties; "Tubo" or "Xibo" in the Yuan dynasty; and "Xibo", "Tubote", "Tanggute", "Tibetanbo", "Tibetanren" in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Today the Chinese government often calls them Zang. [Source: Liu Jun, Museum of Nationalities, Central University for Nationalities, kepu.net.cn ~]
Generally, Tibet can be divided into farming areas and pastoral areas. Those living in pastoral areas are called nomads or pastoralists. These people sometimes build houses as home bases, for their old folks and for storage. Otherwise, they live the nomad life and in traditional nomadic tents.
About 10 percent of the world’s population lives in mountainous regions and about half are vulnerable to food shortages and chronic malnutrition. Mountain states also have a proportionally high number of armed conflicts. Out of the 28 conflicts that broke or continued in the early 2000s, 26 of them were in mountains.
See Separate Articles TIBETAN LIFE factsanddetails.com ; TIBETAN BUDDHISM factsanddetails.com; TIBETAN LANGUAGE: GRAMMAR, DIALECTS, THREATS AND NAMES factsanddetails.com; TIBETAN CHARACTER, PERSONALITY, STEREOTYPES AND MYTHS factsanddetails.com; TIBETAN ETIQUETTE AND CUSTOMS factsanddetails.com; TIBETAN COMMUNITY ABROAD factsanddetails.com; MINORITIES IN TIBET AND TIBETAN-RELATED GROUPS factsanddetails.com; LHOBA ETHNIC GROUP factsanddetails.com; MOINBA ETHNIC GROUP factsanddetails.com
Websites and Sources on the Tibetan People: Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; Language Omniglot Tibetan Language page omniglot.com ; Tibetan Language.org tibetanlanguage.org ; Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; Tibetan Festivals Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; Wikipedia article on Losar Wikipedia ; Women, Marriage and Polyandry Center for Research of Tibet www.case.edu/affil ; Tibetan Women Resources kotan.org ; Wikipedia article on Polyandry in Tibet Wikipedia ; Women of Tibet womenoftibet.org ; Book: Women in Tibet Google Books ;
Websites and Sources: Official Dalai Lama site dalailama.com ; Central Tibetan Administration (Tibetan government in Exile) www.tibet.com ; Chinese Government Tibet website eng.tibet.cn/; Wikipedia article on Tibet Wikipedia ; Wikipedia article on Tibetan History Wikipedia ; Tibetan News site phayul.com ; Snow Lion Publications (books on Tibet) snowlionpub.com ; Tibetan Cultural Sites: Tibetan Cultural Region Directory kotan.org ; White Paper on Tibetan Culture english.people.com.cn ; Tibet Activist Groups: Free Tibet freetibet.org ; Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy tchrd.org ; Friends of Tibet friendsoftibet.org Tibetan Studies and Tibet Research: Tibetan Resources on The Web (Columbia University C.V. Starr East Asian Library ) columbia.edu ; Tibetan and Himalayan Library thlib.org Digital Himalaya ; digitalhimalaya.com ; Center for Research of Tibet case.edu ; Tibetan Studies resources blog tibetan-studies-resources.blogspot.com ; Book: "Tibetan Civilization" by Rolf Alfred Stein.
Tibetans are the ninth largest ethnic group and the eighth largest minority in China. They numbered 7,060,731 in 2020 and made up 0.50 percent of the total population of China in 2020 according to the 2020 Chinese census. Tibetan populations in China in the past: 0.4713 percent of the total population; 6,282,187 in 2010 according to the 2010 Chinese census; 5,422,954 in 2000 according to the 2000 Chinese census; 4,593,330 in 1990 according to the 1990 Chinese census. Less than half of Tibetans live in China's Tibetan Autonomous Region. Most of the rest live in Tibetan communities in neighboring Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan, and Yunnan provinces.[Sources: People’s Republic of China censuses, Wikipedia]
China's one-child policy is not enforced in most of Tibet as is the case in many minority areas in China. Many Tibetan families have five or more children with no apparent repercussions from the government. This has been done partly to assuage fears by Tibetans that the Chinese are planning to overtake Tibet by outnumbering them.
According to the 1990 census, there were 4.6 million Tibetans in China. The census was not done with same thoroughness as the census was done elsewhere in China. In many remote areas rough estimates were made. Foreign visitors have estimated that there are probably around 6 million Tibetans in China, with about 3 million Tibetans living in the Tibetan Autonomous Region in China and another 3 million Tibetans living outside of Tibetan Autonomous Region in China. About 300,000 Tibetans live in exile outside of China.
Population of Tibet
Tibet is China's least-populated provincial-level region.The population of Tibet was 3,648,100 in 2020; 3,002,166 in 2010; 2,616,329 in 2000; 2,196,010 in 1990; 1,892,393 in 1982; 1,251,225 in 1964; 1,273,969 in 1954. [Source: Wikipedia, China Census]
The population of Tibet Autonomous Region is roughly 90 percent Tibetan and 8 percent Han Chinese. Demographics for China as a whole is the reverse at 92 percent Han Chinese and less than 1 percent Tibetan. Fewer than 3 million people live in Tibet's 1.2 million square kilometers of area. Settlements are few and far between, meaning that for many people are hundreds of kilometers away from the nearest large town.
After the 2010 Census, Xinhua reported: Tibet's population had witnessed an annual 1.4 percent growth rate, faster than the national average growth of 0.57 percent. However, the average number of people per household dropped slightly compared with the 2000 figure, it said. The latest census found Tibet's 670,835 households had an average of 4.23 people each, down from the average 4.75 people per household in 2000. China's one child policy does not apply to Tibetans, and farming and herding Tibetan families often have two children or more.
In 2010, The 2.716 million Tibetans makd up about 90.48 percent of Tibet's total population, whereas the Han, China's most populous ethnic group, accounted for 8.17 percent. Other ethnic groups made up 1.35 percent of the permanent residents in Tibet. Xigaze is the most populated Tibetan prefecture, with 703,292 residents, followed by Qamdo, Lhasa, Nagqu, Shannan, Nyingchi and Ngari. Tibet’s population was only 1.23 million in 1959, the year China firmed up its control on the region and the Dalai Lama fled to India.
Places Where Tibetans Live
Tibetans live in cities, towns and villages and as nomads mostly highlands and mountainous country in Tibet and Yunnan, Sichuan, Qinghai and Gansu Provinces. The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau rises about 4,000 meters above sea level. The Qilian, Kunlun, Tanggula, Gangdise and Himalaya mountain ranges run across it from east to west. The Hengduan Mountains, running from north to south, runs across the western parts of Sichuan and Yunnan provinces. Mt. Qomolangma (Everest) on the Chinese-Nepalese border is 8,848 meters above sea level, the highest mountain in the world. The Tibetan areas are crisscrossed by rivers and dotted with lakes. [Source: China.org china.org |]
Tibetans mainly live in: 1)Tibet Autonomous Region; 2) Haibei, Huangnai, Hainan, Guoluo, Yushu, Tibetan Autonomous prefectures and Haixi Moungolian and Tibetan Autonomous prefecture in Qinghai; 3) Aba and Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous prefecture and Muli Autonomous County in Sichuan; 4) Diqing Tibetan Autonomous prefecture in Yunnan; and 5) Gannan Tibetan Autonomous prefecture and Tianshui Tibetan Autonomous County in Gansu.[Source: Liu Jun, Museum of Nationalities, Central University for Nationalities, Science of China, China virtual museums, Computer Network Information Center of Chinese Academy of Sciences, kepu.net.cn ~]
Most Tibetans in the Tibetan Autonomous Region live in the cities or in southern Tibet, where the climate is less hostile and there are a number of valleys where barley and other crops are raised. Most of the inhabitants of the highland plateau are nomadic shepherds and yak and horse breeders. Many Tibetans live along the Yarlung Zangpo and its tributaries, from Xigaze to Zetang, where Tibetan Buddhism developed in the late 8th century. Outside of the Tibetan Autonomous Region, Tibetans r live in traditional Tibetan areas in Qinghai, western Sichuan, southern Gansu and western Yunnan provinces.
Tibetans can also be found in Mongolia, India, Nepal, Bhutan. Russia and other parts of the world. A number of different ethnic groups, including the Bhutanese, Ladakhis in northern India and the Sherpas in Nepal follow Tibetan Buddhism and are essentially Tibetans. By one count there are 130,000 Tibetans in India; 25,000 in Nepal; 2,000 in Switzerland; 1,500 in the United States and 600 in Canada.
Origin of Tibetans
The Tibetans are a Central Asian group living primarily on the high plateau of southwestern China and throughout sections of the Himalayas Based on linguistic evidence Chinese and Tibetans have a similar origin. Dr. Robert Eno of Indiana University wrote: “The earliest evidence of writing that reflects the spoken Chinese language dates back over three thousand years to the lower Yellow River Valley. Ancient Chinese seems to have been part of the same linguistic lineage that produced the languages of Tibet and Burma, and it is generally considered part of the “Sino-Tibetan” language group. The earliest Chinese states were formed from a coalescence of many different peoples, speaking many different languages, but because among them only Chinese could be written, it came in time to be the universal language of the Chinese state. [Source: Robert Eno, Indiana University]
Genetic evidence also indicates a link between ancient Chinese and Tibetans. Chinese researchers Feng Zhang, Bing Su, Ya-ping Zhang and Li Jin wrote in an article published by the Royal Society: “Sino-Tibetan languages include Chinese and Tibetan (TB), and the linguistic connection between these two subfamilies is well established (Martisoff 1991). Based on the archaeological findings, the ancestors who spoke Proto-Sino-Tibetan were estimated to live over 6000 years ago (Matisoff 1991; Cavalli-Sforza et al. 1994). In the genetic studies using classical autosomal markers (Du et al. 1997) and microsatellite markers (Chu et al. 1998), it has been confirmed that Tibetans diverged from the northern east Asians (NEAS). [Source: “Genetic studies of human diversity in East Asia” by 1) Feng Zhang, Institute of Genetics, School of Life Sciences, Fudan University, 2) Bing Su, Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Evolution, Kunming Institute of Zoology, 3) Ya-ping Zhang, Laboratory for Conservation and Utilization of Bio-resource, Yunnan University and 4) Li Jin, Institute of Genetics, School of Life Sciences, Fudan University. Author for correspondence (firstname.lastname@example.org), 2007 The Royal Society ***]
In a study published in September 2016 in the American Journal of Human Genetics researchers revealed that ancestors of Tibetans lived 62,000-38,000 years ago on the Tibetan plateau and a there has been strong genetic continuity in Tibet since the plateau was first colonized. “This suggests that Tibet has always been populated—even during the toughest times as far as climate was concerned,” Xu says. That idea contradicts the commonly held notion that any early plateau dwellers would have been eliminated during harsh climate intervals such as LGM [Last Glacial Maximum about 20,000 years ago] and another period known as the Younger Dryas between 12,900 and 11,600 years ago, says David Zhang, a geographer at the University of Hong Kong, who was not involved in Xu’s research.
The term “Tibet,” which appeared in various forms on early maps of Arabic explorers, is thought to be derived either from the Tibetan term for “upper Tibet,” stod bod , or from the early Indian name for Tibet, bhot . [Source: Rebecca R. French, e Human Relations Area Files (eHRAF) World Cultures, Yale University]
See Separate Articles ANCIENT AND PREHISTORIC TIBET AND EARLY TIBETAN HISTORY factsanddetails.com ; GENETIC ORIGIN OF THE CHINESE AND THEIR LINKS TO TIBETANS, TURKS, MONGOLS AND AFRICANS factsanddetails.com
Neolithic Migrations of People in Tibet and China
During the mid-Holocene (11.700 years ago to present), Neolithic immigrants from northern China largely replaced the original inhabitants, bringing with them elements of Neolithic culture and technology. Archaeological evidence suggests that the spread of the Sino-Tibetan proto-language was caused by the westward expansion of the Yangshao culture, intermingling with the Majiayao culture, which expanded further west into the Himalayas. [Source: Wikipedia
The neolithic cultures of Kashmir, northern Sikkim, Chamdo, and Bhutan are all the result of this migration into the Tibetan Plateau, primarily through the use of two routes: 1) the southward route through modern-day Sichuan into Sikkim, Bhutan and southeastern Tibet, and 2) a westward path through the Karakoram mountain range, into Kashmir. The divergence in the Sino-Tibetan language family between the Bodish languages, including the Tibetan languages, and the Sinitic languages of China likely occurred during this migration. [Source: Wikipedia +]
Evidence of neolithic Tibetan inhabitants and settlements have been found mainly "in river valleys in the south and east of the country". Archaeological sites consist of those in Nyingchi County, Medog County, and Qamdo County. According to Namkhai Norbu some Tibetan historical texts identify the Zhang Zhung culture as a people who migrated from the Amdo region into what is now the region of Guge in western Tibet.
See Separate Article NEOLITHIC TIBET, YUNNAN AND MONGOLIA factsanddetails.com
Tibetans and Ancient Qiang
Qiang is a name given to groups of people at different periods in ancient China. They are generally thought to have been of Tibeto-Burman origin, though there are a variety theories about where they came from and how they evolved. Tibetans and modern Qiang people are thought to have descended in part from the ancient Qiang. There are still many ethnological and linguistic links between the Qiang and the Tibetans. The Tangut people of the Tang and Song Dynasties may have been of Qiang descent. [Source: Wikipedia]
The term "Qiang" first appeared on oracle bone inscriptions around 1,000 A.D. and was used to describe "a people other than one's people." The name appears again in “Book of Song” is a passage about the 17th-century-B.C. Shang Dynasty king Tang. The Qiang at that time have been placed in what is how northern Shaanxi to northern Henan. They were enemy of the Shang dynasty. The two groups fought with one another, with Qiang using captives as slaves and human sacrifice victims. Qiang prisoners were skilled in making oracle bones.
The Qiang tribe expanded eastward and their movements have been closely tied with those of Han people (progenitors of modern Chinese). One branch of the Qiang migrated southwards, crossing the Hengduan Mountains and Yungui Plateau, reaching as far south as modern-day Myanmar, in the process giving birth to a variety of ethnic groups in the Tibetan-Burmese language family, whose links can bee seen today from linguistic similarities. Qiang migrants formed the Tibetan ethnicity after the unification of the Tubo kingdom. The Chinese Chinese anthropologist and sociologist Fei Xiaotong (1910-2005) said: "Even if the Qiang people might not be regarded as the main source of the Tibetan people, it is undoubtedly that the Qiang people played a certain role in the formation of Tibetan race".
Tibetan Physical Characteristics
The indigenous inhabitants are of Mongolian stock.Robert A. F. Thurman wrote:“Racially or ethnically, while there is some resemblance in facial features and other physical characteristics among some eastern Tibetan and Chinese individuals, most Chinese and Tibetans are easily distinguishable on sight, and generally do not perceive each other upon meeting as racially or ethnically the same. The Tibetan acclimatization over many centuries to an altitude of two miles or higher has created a pronounced internal physical difference, as Chinese individuals do not acclimatize easily to Tibet, and long years of exposure to the altitude tends to produce various lung disabilities among Chinese settlers. Chinese mothers in wealthy families that settle in Tibet prefer to give birth to their babies in hospitals in neighboring, low-altitude cities such as Xining or Chengdu. [Source: Robert A. F. Thurman, Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, Gale Group, Inc., 2005]
On how Han Chinese and Tibetans are different in their appearance, Tenzin Tshangla an expert in Tibetan history and politics, wrote in Quora.com: Tibetans have different look and skin color depending upon where these Tibetans are living, highland Tibetans are more tanned compared to Tibetans who live in the cities. I have uploaded pictures from various Tibetan groups inside and outside PRC. Hope this explains everything
Tibetans features: 1) Wider face; 2) Square jawline; 3) Eyes set far apart; 4) Strong nose bridge; 5) Large cheekbones; 6) Darker skintone
Han Chinese features: 1) Small face; 2) Rounded jawline; 3) Eyes set more closely; 4) Weak nasal bridge; 5) Medium sized cheekbones; 6) Lighter skin
Vivian Chen, a Taiwanese-American, posted on Quora.com: The most typical differences are that Tibetans have darker skin, wavier hair, shorter stature, occasional South Asian looks, and higher nose bridges than the Han. Tibetans have similar builds to southern Han and are not as stocky as northern Han. People who have lived on Tibetan plateau for a long time do look a little bit different, not just because their skin is burnt as frequently exposed to the the sunlight, but also on account of the oxygen-deficient environment in Tibet, their cheek turned redder than most of the people who live in low altitude areas, this physiological feature is called (The red of Plateau) in Chinese, however it has nothing to do with ethnicity.
The historian Peter Zhang posted on Quora.com: Tibetans are generally narrower in face, with a longer sharper nose, darker skin, thicker hair, narrower shoulders and more gracile limbs than Han Chinese. Some Tibetans seem South Asian influenced, while it’s rare for Han to pull off similar looks. Tibetans are also shorter than Han, though it’s hard to judge as Tibetans have yet to reach their max potential.
Diversity of Tibetan Peoples
Ethnic Tibetans often refer to themselves by the place-names of their geographic area or a tribal name, such as the Ladakhi and Zanskari people of northern India and the Golock tribal people of Amdo. On difference between Tibetans and Han Chinese, Feng Xian, former Research Associate at Eurasian, said on Quroa.com depends on which subgroup of Tibetan and Han Chinese you refer to. Tibetan and Han who descended from the Zhou tribe and Shu people and Old Qin people and Western Barbarians, Qiang, Yi share the same ancestor in their paternal side known as ancient Qiang. Even after the split in ancient times, there have been many convergences between these subgroups later on due to war and migration, assimilation.
For example, Tibetan swallowed a large number of Qiang into their group by war. So generally there are differences between Tibetan in Tibet and Tibetan in other regions — who are known as Kangba, who live in Yushu Tibetan autonomous prefecture. Kangba are much taller (average height is around 180cm-190cm for males) and stronger than Tibetan in Tibet because Kangba are closer to ancient Qiang by the gene.
Similarly, if you go to Qinghai, Gansu, parts of Shanxi, Sichuan, Shandong provinces, you can also see that by the appearance that many of the local Han Chinese are very close to the local Qiang, Kangba Tibetan such as the White Horse Tibetan, Yi.
See Separate Article Khampas and Amdo People and Minorities in Tibet See TIBETAN MINORITIES AND REGIONAL GROUPS factsanddetails.com
Links Between Tibetans, Chinese and Other Asian
Han Chinese are closer to Tibetans than Koreans and Japanese. Sinitic (Chinese) and Tibeto-Burman languages are grouped together in the Sino-Tibetan language family. Both Sinitic (Han) and Tibetans (Tibeto-Burmans) merged and converged in ancient times and many Han Chinese have Tibetan blood and visa versa..
Vivian Chen, a Taiwanese-American, posted on Quora.com. Han Chinese are closer related to Tibetans than Koreans and Japanese. However, the Han are overall much genetically closer to Koreans than they are to Tibetans which indicates that after the Sino-Tibetan split the Tibetic and Sinitic people also greatly diverged from each other genetically.
The speakers of the proto-Tibeto-Burman languages moved out from the Yellow River and into the Tibetan plateau where they absorbed the previous pre-Tibetic population of the region - who are classified as “East Asia Highlanders” by geneticists. Both the Han Chinese and Tibetans are quite diverse genetically (compared to some other ethnic groups).
Tibetan Adaptions to High Altitude Health
Tibetan nomads that live above 18,000 feet (5500 meter) often suffer discomfort when they descend to Lhasa at 11,550 feet. They have as much as 22 percent more oxygen-carrying hemoglobin in their blood than lowlanders and this extra hemoglobin makes it easier for the oxygen to reach their blood and organs.
Tibetans have unusually low blood hemoglobin levels, which allows them to thrive at high altitudes. When low-landers visit Tibet the low levels of oxygen in the bodies can cause altitude sickness. Jichuan Xing of the University of Utah Medical School said, “Presumably Tibetans have developed a regulation mechanism to control hemoglobin concentration to prevent these negative effects.”
In a May 2010 paper published in Science a team headed by Jichuan Xing of the University of Utah Medical School found two genes — EGLN1 and PPARA in chromosomes 1 and 22 respectively — that appear to help Tibetans live comfortable at high altitudes. In a study the genes of 31 unrelated Tibetans were compared to the genes of 90 Chinese and Japanese. EGLN1 and PPARA turned up repeatedly in the Tibetans but not in the Chinese and Japanese. Xing wrote, “Their exact roles in high-latitude adaption is unclear. Both EGLN1 and PPARA...may cause a decrease of the hemoglobin concentration.”
See Separate Article HEALTH, DISEASES AND HEALTH AT HIGH ALTITUDES factsanddetails.com
Denisovans Helped Tibetans Adapt to High Altitudes
Scientists have suggested that Tibetans are genetically more adaptable to low oxygen levels at high altitude because they have Denisovans’ EPAS1 gene, while Han Chinese and other ethnic groups generally don’t possess that trait. According to Scientific American: “Past research has concluded that a particular gene helps people live in the thin air of the Tibetan plateau. Now scientists report that the Tibetan version of that gene is found in DNA from Denisovans, a poorly understood human relative more closely related to Neanderthals than modern people. “Denisovans are known only from fossils in a Siberian cave that are dated to at least about 50,000 years ago. Some of their DNA has also been found in other modern populations, indicating they interbred with ancient members of today's human race long ago. [Source: Scientific American, September 1, 2014]
“But the version of the high-altitude gene shared by Denisovans and Tibetans is found in virtually no other population today, researchers report in an article released Wednesday by the journal Nature. That suggests that Denisovans or close relatives of theirs introduced the gene variant into the modern human species, but that it remained rare until some people started moving into the Tibetan plateau, said study main author Rasmus Nielsen of the University of California, Berkeley. “At that point, it conferred a survival advantage and so spread through the Tibetan population, he said. It's not clear whether the Denisovans were also adapted to high altitudes, he said. The results show that as early members of today's human species expanded outside of Africa and encountered new environments, they could call on their genetic legacies from other species, he said. That's easier than waiting for a helpful genetic mutation to arise, he said.
“The Tibetan plateau rises above 13,000 feet (4,000 meters) in elevation. The genetic variant helps survival there by affecting the amount of oxygen the blood can carry when a person is in thin air. Apart from Tibetans, it is found very rarely in Han Chinese and also exists in Mongolians and Sherpas, who are also related to Tibetans and may have picked it up relatively recently, Nielsen said. The researchers found no trace of it outside East Asia.
Sad Tale of China’s Most Handsome Man, a Tibetan Yak Herder
Dingzhen Zhenzhu — a Tibetan yak herder — was declared the 'most handsome man in China' after video clips of him went viral. After some online critics claimed he was just a pretty face he threatening to sue, his lawyers asserted, for comments containing "insulting, terrifying, vulgar, or vilifying words." [Source: Cheryl The, Business Insider, May 11, 2022]
Business Insider reported: Dingzhen first went viral on Chinese social media in November 2020, when a short clip of him smiling captured the hearts of Chinese internet users. The clip of Dingzhen, then 20, spread like wildfire on China's TikTok, Douyin, leading web users to dub him the most handsome man in China, per the SCMP. The clip originated from a short film of Dingzhen in Tibet, walking over the plains and talking about his daily life on the grasslands. The clip went so viral that Hua Chunying, a Chinese government spokesperson, highlighted his "bright, sunny, and innocent smile" on her Twitter page.
Because of that clip, Dingzhen managed to secure a job in his county of Litang in the southwestern Sichuan province as a tourism ambassador, and was even sent as one of China's representatives to a United Nations Development Program event for World Earth Day in 2021. However, while Chinese social media users fawned over him and dubbed him the "smile of the plateau" and a "sweet wild boy," he has faced continuous criticism. For one, his image took a hit after a photo of him vaping was leaked on social media. He has also been the target of putdowns on China's Twitter-like site Weibo, with online posters calling Dingzhen the epitome of superficiality in China, and mocking the success he's attained despite not being highly educated.
In May 2022 lawyers for Dingzhen Zhenzhu issued a letter via his agent warning people to stop making defamatory comments about him. In a statement attached to the lawyer's letter, Dingzhen cautioned people to not "do anything evil, no matter how trivial you think it is."
Image Sources: Purdue University, China National Tourist Office, Nolls China website http://www.paulnoll.com/China/index.html, Johomap, Tibetan Government in Exile
Text Sources: 1) “ Encyclopedia of World Cultures: Russia and Eurasia/ China”, edited by Paul Friedrich and Norma Diamond (C.K.Hall & Company, 1994); 2) Liu Jun, Museum of Nationalities, Central University for Nationalities, Science of China, China virtual museums, Computer Network Information Center of Chinese Academy of Sciences, kepu.net.cn ~; 3) Ethnic China ethnic-china.com *\; 4) Chinatravel.com \=/; 5) China.org, the Chinese government news site china.org | New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, Chinese government, Compton’s Encyclopedia, The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, Foreign Policy, Wikipedia, BBC, CNN, and various books, websites and other publications.
Last updated September 2022