Dalai Lama sad at China's refusal to allow Tibetan celebrations

By staff writers
July 7, 2010

The Dalai Lama says he had mixed emotions when he turned 75 on Tuesday 6 July 2010, because of the continuing plight of people in his homeland, Tibet.

The Buddhist leader, also known as a civil rights advocate across the world, celebrated in his hometown-in-exile in India while his followers in Tibet were unable to honour the occasion.

The Lama was honoured in Dharmsala, where he addressed thousands of celebrants at his temple in McLeod Ganj.

Along with Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and others, he is one of the global 'elders' intervening on issues of peace, justice and human rights throughout the world - though he has also faced criticism over some of his traditional attitudes in Tibet.

During his speech, he expressed great sadness that Tibetan Buddhists would not be able to join the celebrations because of fear of reprisals from Chinese government officials, who forced the spiritual leader out of his birthplace.

China is angered at his continued advocacy of autonomy for Tibet, which it sees as part of the greater Chinese homeland.

The Dalai Lama was hoping Chinese officials would mark his birthday by relaxing their hardline stance, but China's leaders have accused him of inciting unrest and advocating indepndence.

In neighbouring Nepal, police detained at least 22 Tibetan exiles on their way to a celebration for the Dalai Lama, according to an Associated Press report.

The Chinese government is highly sensitive about anything related to the Dalai Lama. Tensions in the region escalated after 2008 rioting in the Tibetan capital Lhasa, in which at least 22 people died.


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