New Delhi, Mar.10 (ANI): Tibet's spiritual leader, The Dalai Lama, has warned that Tibetans are close to extinction, thanks to the oppressive and authoritarian approach of the Chinese.
Speaking ahead of the 50th anniversary of his flight from Lhasa to exile in India, a defiant Dalai Lama praised the sacrifices of those killed during last year's uprising.
The Dalai Lama's speech came as China reiterated its determination to stop a repeat of last year's violence in Tibet.
Despite 50 years of international campaigning and fruitless negotiations with Chinese leaders, the Dalai Lama said that Tibetans were still treated like criminals in their own country.
"These 50 years have brought untold suffering and destruction to the land and people of Tibet. Even today, Tibetans in Tibet live in constant fear and the Chinese authorities remain constantly suspicious of them," he told followers in Dharamsala, the Indian home of his government in exile.
"Today, the religion, culture, language and identity, which successive generations of Tibetans have considered more precious than their lives, are nearing extinction; in short, the Tibetan people are regarded like criminals deserving to be put to death," he said.
According to The Telegraph, he charted his exiled government's successive attempts to negotiate a settlement with Beijing which would allow Tibetans to preserve their unique culture and to live in autonomy within the People's Republic of China, but said repeated promises from Chairman Mao Tse-tung, Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping, had come to nothing.
Negotiations continue to break down because Chinese officials insist Tibetans accept their country has always been a part of China, which he said was not only "inaccurate but also unreasonable. We cannot change the past no matter whether it was good or bad," he said.
Though now semi-retired, he pledged to continue campaigning for Tibetan freedom, and urged his exiled followers to "hope for the best but prepare for the worst." (ANI)