Tuesday marked the 50th anniversary of the failed uprising against Chinese authorities in Tibet, which forced the Dalai Lama into exile in India.
The Dalai Lama delivered a harsh speech about Chinese rule in Tibet. Tibetans around the world, along with supporters of Tibetan independence, held rallies on the anniversary.
“Having occupied Tibet, the Chinese communist government carried out a series of repressive and violent campaigns,” the Dalai Lama said. “These 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.”
Orville Schell, the director of the Center on U.S.-China relations at the The Asia Society, speaks with Martin Savidge about the Dalai Lama’s comments and the future of the dispute between China and Tibet.
Blogger “SJWalker,” a new arrival in Dharamsala, India, describes the mood there:
Today there will be large crowds and marches, as it is either Uprising Day or Liberation Day, depending on whether you’re Tibetan (the former) or Chinese (the latter). Exactly 50 years ago was the Tibetan uprising and His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama fled Tibet and came to settle here. In the bazaar yesterday there was a frenetic flurry of activity, and an underlying tone of dissatisfaction, maybe desperation. The situation in Tibet is as bad as ever, and there is very little hope on the horizon for improvement at this time.
In addition, it seems the transient community is ever-more separated from the long-term populations. So many people come here for a brief stint, to learn, to make money, to advocate, to fall in love, to have a respite from the rest of India, and this wears on the weave of the fabric of everyday life. I am one of these people, and I will do my best to tread lightly here, and to be of some benefit to the local communities.
What needs to happen is China needs to feel secure enough in its control to allow Tibetans greater autonomy. This is unlikely to happen if violence or even protests continue — we must be pragmatic. The Dalai Lama supports autonomy, we must push through that route, rather than continued agitation, which clearly only provokes China into becoming ever more defensive and oppressive in its rule of Tibet. This is what I mean by the ‘Free Tibet’ movement acting counterproductively. It succeeds in causing more hardship to Tibetans. A new approach must be found.
Frankly, pragmatically, the best you can do for Tibet is again try to convince the Chinese to consider autonomy. Which they won’t do if they perceive there is the possibility of losing Tibet entirely. So be careful with the way in which you use violent protests.
The “South Asia Daily” blog analyses the Dalai Lama’s statement and position going forward:
It is an unfortunate fact of life Tibet is no longer an issue the world has time for. The Dalai Lama himself has said his middle way approach, which eschews any form of aggression, has failed. Does that automatically mean his followers are now free to pursue other means? It does not mean that at all. He is merely acknowledging that his approach has not worked but refrains from advocating a more aggressive method.