Where: Dharamsala, India, and Beijing, China
March 13, 2009 : The Dalai Lama, leader of the Tibetan people, has said that Tibetan culture and identity are “nearing extinction”. He accused the Chinese government of bringing “hell on Earth” to Tibet. He was addressing thousands of supporters in India on 10 March, 2009, the 50th anniversary of the failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule.
China invaded Tibet in 1950 and made it a province of the People’s Republic of China. In 1959, the Tibetan rebellion against the Chinese occupation was crushed. The Dalai Lama, who is the religious as well as political head of the Tibetan people, fled the country and took asylum in Dharamsala in India. Here he set up the Government of Tibet in Exile. The Indian government at the time, led by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, urged the Dalai Lama not to press for independence but to work on Tibet’s Seventeen Point Agreement with China.
March 2008 saw the strongest Tibetan protests in recent times, which were put down very firmly by China.
China’s government has accused the Dalai Lama of seeking independence for Tibet and trying to create unrest in the region. The Dalai Lama said this is untrue, and that he only seeks a ‘meaningful’ autonomy in the region. In Beijing, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said on 13 March that he is ready for talks if the Dalai Lama is ‘sincere’. Earlier the Dalai Lama had stressed that any change must come peacefully. The Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.
Related Links – If you want to know more about Tibet:
Tibet: Where is it? Click here to see it on the map
Tibet: Country profile
Tibet: Latest news about Tibet
Tibet: Images from Tibet
Tibet: More about Tibet