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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

China targets Dalai Lama with slavery charges

February 2, 2009

IANS Friday, 30 January , 2009, 12:56

Hong Kong: Stepping up its tirade against the Tibetan spiritual leader
Dalai Lama, China has accused him of promoting slavery and asked him to
come clear on the state of Tibetan society when he was in charge in
Lhasa over five decades ago.

While announcing March 28 as the 'Serf Emancipation Day' and a permanent
public holiday in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) under it, Chinese
authorities are claiming that the dissolution of the Tibetan government
in 1959 and the escape of the Dalai Lama from Lhasa to India had freed
95 percent of "serfs" from the clutches of aristocracy headed by the
spiritual leader.

The People's Congress (the legislative body) in TAR last week approved
the permanent public holiday on March 28.

The Chinese response is to the Tibetan community in exile, largely
settled in India, observing 2009-10 as the 50th year of the Tibetan
uprising against Chinese occupation. March this year will also mark the
first anniversary of the rebellion inside Tibet by the local people that
left scores of people dead and hundreds injured.

Dalai Lama rules out retirement

Communist authorities in mainland China had said that before the
Communist rule in Tibet in 1959, about a million serfs lived in
miserable slave conditions under the feudal society ruled by the Dalai Lama.

"Tibet under the Dalai Lama was never the Shangri-la of popular romantic
fantasies. Unless you want to call a place where 95 percent of the local
people were serfs and household slaves, who could be sold, bought and
bequeathed like commodities, paradise on earth anyway. Next time when
the Dalai Lama talks of human rights in Tibet, ask him what it was like
being a serf under his reign.

"Next time when he preaches for 'freedom', ask him what freedom the
serfs and slaves enjoyed in the 'good old days' he has been so
passionate about... But now, Dharamsala accuses Beijing of enslaving
Tibetans," a hard-hitting editorial in the leading newspaper China Daily
said last week.

The editorial advised the Dalai Lama and his sympathisers to have a
"reality check" of things, past and present, in Tibet for the sake of
the credibility of "His Holiness".

No further talks with China: Tibetans in exile

The Tibetan government-in-exile based in north India's hill station
Dharamsala was quick to respond.

"China only wants to whitewash its atrocities in Tibet after its
occupation. They want to justify their subjugation of the Tibetans. His
Holiness, the Dalai Lama, is the undisputed leader of the Tibetans
inside and outside Tibet. Even last year's uprising in Tibet made it
clear that people wanted him to return to Tibet. No one can represent
the Tibetans other than His Holiness," the exiled government's Secretary
for International Relations Sonam Dagpo said from Dharamsala.

"China wants to cover up its mistakes of the last 50 years. They are
trying to celebrate their occupation of Tibet by saying that they
liberated 95 percent Tibetans who were slaves. Even after coming to
India, the Dalai Lama introduced a completely democratic system in the
exiled community," Dagpo added.

The Tibetan government-in-exile and Tibetan non-government organisations
have lined up several activities, including peaceful protests, in
2009-10 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising on March 10.
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