Dalai Lama marks Tibetan uprising with grim state of the union

By , Asia editor

The Dalai Lama marked the 50th anniversary of Tibetans’ failed uprising Tuesday with a grim state of the union on life in Tibet.

Decades of Chinese rule have brought “untold suffering and destruction,” the elderly leader told 10,000 Tibetans who’d gathered from around the world in Dharamsala, India, the seat of the Tibetan government in exile. Episodes of repression and violence had “thrust Tibetans into such depths of suffering and hardship that they literally experienced hell on earth.”

“The immediate result of these campaigns was the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Tibetans,” the elderly leader said. “Even today, Tibetans in Tibet live in constant fear and the Chinese authorities remain constantly suspicious of them.... [T]he religion, culture, language, and identity, which successive generations of Tibetans have considered more precious than their lives, are nearing extinction. In short, the Tibetan people are regarded like criminals deserving to be put to death….”

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Indeed, nearly six decades since the People's Liberation Army invaded the Himalayan region, any kind of settlement between Tibetans and the Chinese authorities seems quite far off – the Dalai Lama himself has admitted that years of on-and-off negotiations with Beijing have born no fruit. (Read the Monitor’s coverage on this here and here.)

While speaking to reporters later that day, though, the Dalai Lama offered a sliver of hope: “More and more Chinese [are] now starting to acknowledge there is problem there," he said. "In fact, quite a number of Chinese high officials, [their] family members [are] showing interest in Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism.”

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