Yesterday marked the 50th anniversary 0f the 1959 Tibetan demonstrations against China’s presence in Tibet – protests that sent the 14th Dalai Lama and thousands of others into exile in India. In remarks made yesterday, the Dalai Lama harshly denounced the Chinese Communist Party – saying that “through a series of repressive and violent campaigns” they have “thrust Tibetans into such depths of suffering and hardship that they literally experienced hell on earth,” as quoted by a NY Times article today.
Here at the Council last night, we heard from Tenzin N. Tethong, a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University and former Chairman of the Tibetan Cabinet in Dharamsala. Update: He highlighted the geopolitical implications of China’s invasion of Tibet, and cited these as further reason why Tibet should be granted greater autonomy – not only for the sake of the Tibetan people and the preservation of Tibetan culture but to enhance Tibet’s ability to act as a buffer between China and India once again. Although talks between the Tibetan and Chinese governments remain at a standstill, Tenzin imparted a real sense of hope among Tibetans for the future. Their “human spirit is very strong,” he said, and they will not give up.