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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

Fewer fleeing to Dalai Lama

July 27, 2010

Strait Times (Taiwan)
July 24, 2010

DHARAMSHALA (India) -- THE Tibetan community in
exile headed by the Dalai Lama is a constant
irritant for China, but Beijing has hit upon a
way to weaken the movement: starve it of new arrivals.

An almost empty dormitory in the gloomy main
reception centre for Tibetan exiles in
Dharamshala, the Indian hilltown home to the
community, is a graphic illustration of changes
that have taken place over the last 18 months.
India has sheltered Tibetans since 1959, when the
Dalai Lama fled his homeland in fear for his life
after a failed uprising against Chinese rule on the strategic Tibetan plateau.

Since then, thousands of others have made the
same treacherous trip to Dharamshala, mostly via
Nepal across snow-capped mountains on foot and
horseback, swelling the ranks of the population
abroad to an estimated 200,000. But today, fewer
and fewer people are getting out.

'Up until March 2008, we used to have about 2,500
to 3,000 people arriving here per year,' Mingyur
Youdon, the deputy director of the reception
centre in McLeod Ganj, the uppermost part of
Dharamshala, told AFP. 'Since February 2008,
we've received only about 1,000.' Her building is
the sorting centre for new arrivals where they
are offered beds, food, financial help,
information on schooling if necessary, and, most
importantly for some, an audience with the Dalai Lama.

The drabness of the building is punctuated with
pictures of the smiling 75-year-old spiritual
leader, whose residence sits in an isolated spot
just outside the town with a panoramic view of the valley below.

A woman wailing with grief in the female
dormitory is testament to the emotional hardship
of a life in exile. In March 2008, the date when
arrivals in Dharamshala began falling, the
capital of Tibet was convulsed by a wave of
violent protests against Chinese rule that left
an unknown number of people dead and injured.
China says 22 people died in the violence, which
spread from Lhasa across Tibet and neighbouring
regions with large populations of ethnic
Tibetans. The Tibetan government-in-exile says
more than 200 died and 1,000 were hurt. -- AFP

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