Dalai Lama Marks 50 Years: China Made Tibet 'Hell on Earth'

Spiritual leader throws down gloves in anniversary speech
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 10, 2009 9:41 AM CDT
Exiled Tibetans march today to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule that sent their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, into exile, in Dharmsala, India.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – In an unusually stark speech, the Dalai Lama slammed China today, saying it had made Tibet “a hell on Earth,” the New York Times reports. Chinese officials see Tibetans as “criminals deserving to be put to death,” he said in an address marking the 50th anniversary of a failed Tibetan uprising against the Chinese, decades of “untold suffering,” the BBC notes.

Speaking in Dharmasala, India, home to Tibet’s exiled government, he called for “legitimate and meaningful autonomy” for a culture facing “extinction.” China denounced the “lies,” saying, “the Dalai Lama clique is confusing right and wrong. The democratic reforms [under Chinese rule] are the widest and most profound reforms in Tibetan history.” A recent crackdown on Tibetan areas may have prompted the Lama’s vitriol, the Times notes.