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Tibetan people's 'hell on Earth'

March 11, 2009|TIMES WIRE REPORTS

In a speech marking the 50th anniversary of the failed Tibetan uprising that forced him into exile, the Dalai Lama invoked unusually harsh rhetoric against Chinese authorities, highlighting the widening gulf between Tibetans and China.

Among the Dalai Lama's comments during the speech Tuesday in Dharmsala, India, and to reporters afterward:

"These 50 years have brought untold suffering to the land and people of Tibet . . . [thrusting] Tibetans into such depths of suffering and hardship that they literally experienced hell on Earth."

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"The immediate result of these campaigns [to repress dissent over the years] was the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Tibetans."

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"Today, the 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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"I have no doubt that the justice of the Tibetan cause will prevail if we continue to tread a path of truth and nonviolence."

In turn, the People's Daily in China carried an editorial extolling Tibet's development and slamming what it called the misery of the old feudal society. The editorial said:

"Nobody hopes to go backward in history, and only a few slave owners dwell on the life that once was. Tibet's happiness today is the happiness of the people, not that of the slave owners."

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