50 Years On, Tibet's Secret War Simmers

Dalai Lama's brother was key to CIA-backed anti-China insurgency
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 30, 2008 2:23 PM CDT
In this picture taken April 11, 1959, a Chinese military officer a addresses Tibetans in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, after an unsuccessful armed uprising against Chinese rule.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – The little-known Tibetan resistance struggle after China's 1950 invasion still affects its politics today, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Dalai Lama's brother played a vital role in the CIA-backed armed movement, largely made up of Buddhist monks, and Chinese suspicion still lingers over how much the spiritual leader himself was involved.

Some historians say the Dalai Lama was fully informed about the resistance, while his aides say his brother kept him in the dark. By the early '70s, the resistance had largely been crushed, and the Dalai Lama called for the rebels to disband and the bloodshed to stop. Faced with the choice of abandoning the struggle or disobeying the spiritual leader, some Tibetan fighters took their own lives.