03/10/2009, 00.00
CHINA – TIBET
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Dalai Lama: China has turned Tibet into hell

In a speech to mark the 50th anniversary of the revolt quashed by the Chinese army, the Tibetan leader accuses Beijing og killing tens of thousands of Tibetans and of using economic development ans a means to wipe out Tibet´s culture and religion. He repeats his demand for a just autonomy, even under Chinese sovreignty. But Beijing sees this as a step towards "seperatism".

Dharamsala (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Dalai Lama has accused China of having killed "tens of thousands of Tibetans" and of having transformed Himalayan homeland into a "hell on earth". In a speech marking the 50th anniversary of the failed revolt against Chinese occupation the Buddhist leader repeated his demands for a "legitimate and meaningful autonomy" for Tibet, even under Beijing´s sovreignty.

On March 10th 1959, nine years after the Chinese military invasion of Mao Zedong, a peoples revolt was bloodily repressed forcing the Dalai Lama to flee to India.

Speaking before a crowd of thousands in the city where his government has found exile, the Dalai Lama recalled "the series of violent and repressive campaigns launched by Beijing". "These - he added - 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"

"Even today Tibetans in Tibet live in constant fear," he went on. "Their religion, culture, language, identity are near extinction. The Tibetan people are regarded like criminals, deserving to be put to death".China considers its occupation of Tibet to be "freedom from slavery" and oppression of the feudel lords and monks and claims that it has ceaselessly worked to develop the region, not least by realising a super fast train system that unites Beijing and Lhasa.

The Dalai Lama continued saying that "Many infrastructural developments... which seem to have brought progress to Tibetan areas were really done with the political objective of Sinicising Tibet".The spiritual leader also underlined teh failure of dialogue between the exiled government and Beijing and commemorated those killed last year, when non violent demonstrations turned into clashes with the Han population and Chinese military leading to the death of an estimated 200 people and the arrest of thousands more.

´Some factions of his government are pressing for a more radical fight against China. The Dalai Lama, in refuting this path of violence, affimed that Tibetans " are looking for legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People's Republic of China". Beijing continues to accuse the leader of seeking independence for the region. In recent days many party leaders approved a tighter grip against what they define as "Tibetan seperatism". Even President Hu Jintao claimed: "We must build up a Great Wall in our fight against separatism and safeguard the unity of the motherland, and push Tibet's basic stability toward long-term security".

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