Tibet awaits Dalai Lama's return: Lobsang Sangay

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Dharamsala, July 6: The Tibetan people in exile are awaiting return of their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama to his homeland, Lobsang Sangay, the democratically elected political leader, said on Sunday.

"The Tibetan people have placed their aspirations in his holiness the Dalai Lama and anxiously await his return," Sangay said.

His assertions came when the spiritual leader turned 79.

Sangay said despite the suffocating environment of fear and repression in Tibet for the past 60 years, the Tibetan people have resolutely kept their hope and pride alive.

Clarifying that the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) based here has always discouraged drastic action by people in Tibet, he said: "This profound desire for the Dalai Lama's return and for freedom in Tibet are the common rallying cries of the 130 people who have committed self-immolation as an act of protest against China's oppressive rule."

Toeing the Dalai Lama's "middle-way approach" that seeks "greater autonomy" for people in Tibet rather than complete independence, his 44-year-old political successor Sangay said: "It's our hope that the new Chinese leadership will soon realise the fact that the 'middle-way approach' is a mutually beneficial solution to the Tibet problem."

Expressing concern over the smear campaign against the Dalai Lama, he said the Dholgyal followers have "turned into a political tool" for the Chinese Communist Party.

The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, was born July 6, 1935, to a peasant family in Taktser village in the Amdo region of Tibet.

Ever since he fled Tibet in 1959, the Tibetan spiritual leader has travelled to more than 50 countries and met with presidents, prime ministers and crown rulers of major nations.

He has been bestowed with over 150 major awards, prizes and honorary doctorates, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, United Nations Earth Prize in 1991, US Congressional Gold Medal in 2007 and the Templeton Award in 2012.

The CTA is observing this year as the "Year of the Great 14th Dalai Lama" to express appreciation of the Dalai Lama's accomplishments for the cause of Tibet and the promotion of peace, inter-faith harmony and humane values.

The Tibetan administration in exile is based in this northern Indian hill town.

IANS

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