C h i n a N e w s D i g e s t
February 21, 2000

End Religious Oppression in Tibet: Dalai Lama

[CND, 02/20/00] The Dalai Lama celebrated his sixtieth year as the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism with a renewed call to end Chinese oppression in his homeland, reported the South China Morning Post from Dharamsala, India, on Saturday. The Dalai Lama, 64, was joined by four other senior Tibetan monks, including the Karmapa Lama, 14, who recently had made a perilous escape from China to India. The Friday morning celebration on the highest pavilion of the Namgyal Monastery was the fifth time the two have been seen together publicly.

However, they gave no signs of a growing spiritual bond, as had previously been reported. The Karmapa Lama is reportedly seeking deeper religious insights that are not within his grasp while under the control of the Chinese authorities, reported the newspaper.

On Friday, the Nobel Peace Laureate reportedly urged his many thousands of loyal followers in attendance to renew and strengthen their resolve for the Tibetan freedom struggle. He said the younger generation must take more responsibility and work for the Tibetan issue in a non-violent way. He emphasized the focus must be on saving Tibetan Buddhism and culture.

In 1998, the Dalai Lama had openly renounced his desire for Tibetan independence in favor of better treatment for his people under Tibetan autonomy. On Friday, he asked newer refugees to return home not with a dream for total independence, but instead to peacefully seek a more equitable, less repressive life that can only be granted with Beijing's cooperation.

The exiled spiritual leader said that a return to the motherland would be difficult, but he added: "I ask you to go back with happiness because the future of Tibet depends on the six million Tibetans living there." (Sue Bruell, WU Yiyi)