On the 50th anniversary of the invasion that forced him into exile, the Dalai Lama issued a harsh condemnation of China’s treatment of his people:
BEIJING — The Dalai Lama delivered one of his harshest attacks on the Chinese government in recent times on Tuesday, saying that the Chinese Communist Party had transformed Tibet into a “hell on earth” and that the Chinese authorities regarded Tibetans as “criminals deserving to be put to death.”
“Today, the religion, culture, language and identity, which successive generations of Tibetans have considered more precious than their lives, are nearing extinction,” said the Dalai Lama, 73, the spiritual leader of the Tibetans.
The Dalai Lama spoke in Dharamsala, India, the Himalayan hill town that is the seat of the Tibetan government in exile. Tibetans outside of China and their supporters held rallies around the world on Tuesday to mark the 50th anniversary of a failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule. The Chinese military crushed the rebellion, forcing the Dalai Lama to flee across the Himalayas to India.
The furious tone of the speech may have been in reaction to a new clampdown by China on the Tibetan regions. The Dalai Lama may also have adopted an angry approach to placate younger Tibetans who have accused him of being too conciliatory toward China. The Dalai Lama advocates genuine autonomy for Tibet and not secession, while more radical Tibetans are urging him to support outright independence.
In the rugged Tibetan regions of China, where there is widespread resentment at Chinese rule, no reports emerged Tuesday of any large-scale protests. The Chinese government, fearing civil unrest among six million Tibetans, has locked down the vast area, which makes up a quarter of Chinese territory, by sending in thousands of troops in the past few weeks and cutting off cellphone and Internet services in some locations. An unofficial state of martial law now exists, with soldiers and police officers operating checkpoints, marching through streets and checking people for identification cards.
President Hu Jintao called this week for the building of a “Great Wall” of stability in Tibet.
“We must reinforce the solid Great Wall for combating separatism and safeguarding national unity, so that Tibet, now basically stable, will enjoy lasting peace and stability,” Mr. Hu said while meeting with Tibetan officials in Beijing on Monday, according to Xinhua, the state news agency.
Tibet is a tragedy, but I doubt the rest of the world cares.