The Dalai Lama is the spiritual and temporal head of the Tibetan people. The Tibetans are Buddhists and have a strong affinity with India. The Buddha lived and preached in India and later Buddhism spread from India to Tibet. In 1949 Mao Tse Tung ordered an invasion of Tibet. The poorly armed Tibetan army was beaten and the PLA occupied Tibet. Despite many requests the world and the USA did nothing to help the Tibetans. China occupied Tibet and started a systematic destruction of Tibetan culture. Monasteries were closed and Buddhist nuns forcibly raped and married to Chinese soldiers. 

Asylum in India

In 1959, the Chinese thought to get rid of the Dalai Lama as he was an obstacle to their plans.

They invited him to a concert in the PLA camp. Intelligence reports indicated that the Chinese planned to either kidnap him and take him to China or kill him. No time was to be lost and the Dalai Lama and some close confidants fled from the  Potala Palace. His escape was discovered by the Chinese after 2 days, by which time the leader had reached the Indian border. The Chinese arrested all Tibetans who were in the palace and many were executed. From the Indian border check post, the Dalai Lama sent a wireless message to Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, requesting political asylum. He was 20 years old at that time. Nehru for once acted with alacrity and granted political asylum to the fugitive. China was furious and vowed revenge.

Who will help Tibet?

The Dalai Lama settled in India and formed a government in exile at Dharamshala.

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He began to tour all over, drawing attention to the plight of the people of Tibet under the boots of the Chinese. Many times he visited the USA and all presidents spared time to meet him. The Tibetan leader wants a settlement with the Chinese for a degree of autonomy, but the Chinese have refused to negotiate with him. He has also been banned from entering Tibet. Despite meeting the American presidents, on the ground China is unrelenting. American presidents are also wary of antagonizing China. The result is that China continues to occupy Tibet. The Dalai Lama is now 76 and he is visiting the USA again. Despite Chinese objections, president Obama met the Tibetan leader on Wednesday. I am afraid it was another cosmetic meeting and nothing will change the ground reality in Tibet. One wonders when the USA and the world will intervene on behalf of the people of Tibet. Maybe if India and the USA can get their act together, there may be some hope for Tibet.