Dalai Lama: China aims to annihilate Buddhism
The Dalai Lama said Wednesday that Chinese authorities had rebuffed all his efforts to reach a compromise over Tibet and had instead engaged in systematic repression as part of a plan to "annihilate Buddhism" there, AP reported.
The Tibetan spiritual leader sounded angry and resigned as he delivered his annual address from exile in India marking the 51st anniversary of a failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule.
Beijing has demonized the Dalai Lama and accused him of fighting for independence for Tibet, which China says is part of its territory. The Dalai Lama says he only wants some form of autonomy for Tibet within China that would allow his people to freely practice their culture, language and religion.
The dispute turned violent two years ago, when anti-government protests erupted in Tibet and China cracked down on the region.
The Dalai Lama said Chinese authorities were conducting a campaign of "patriotic re-education" in monasteries in Tibet.
"They are putting the monks and nuns in prison-like conditions, depriving them the opportunity to study and practice in peace," he said, accusing Chinese of working to "deliberately annihilate Buddhism."
The Tibetan leader said that "whether the Chinese government acknowledges it or not, there is a serious problem in Tibet," but attempts to talk to the Chinese leadership about granting limited autonomy to the Tibetan people had gone nowhere.
"Judging by the attitude of the present Chinese leadership, there is little hope that a result will be achieved soon. Nevertheless, our stand to continue with the dialogue remains unchanged," he added in his speech, which was made in Tibetan.
Thousands of Tibetan exiles, most of them dressed in traditional silk and wool robes, gathered in the compound of a Buddhist temple to hear speeches from the Dalai Lama and other senior leaders of the Tibetan government-in-exile. The crowds included hundreds of Tibetan nuns and monks in orange and maroon robes.
The Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet shortly after the failed uprising, leads a government-in-exile from Dharmsala in India.