In his speech on Tuesday, the Dalai Lama reiterated that such autonomy had been promised to Tibet by Mao and other senior Chinese leaders whom he met in Beijing in 1954 and 1955. The Dalai Lama began negotiations over the future of Tibet after Chinese troops invaded the Tibetan plateau and seized full control of Tibet in 1951.
Despite the promises from Mao, he said, the Chinese government carried out “a series of repressive and violent campaigns” through the decades, including what the Chinese called “patriotic re-education” and “strike hard” campaigns following the protests last year.
“These thrust Tibetans into such depths of suffering and hardship that they literally experienced hell on earth,” the Dalai Lama said. “The immediate result of these campaigns was the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Tibetans.”
The Chinese government has defended its policies in Tibet by saying that it abolished a feudal slave-holding system overseen by the Dalai Lama and poured vast sums of money into building roads, railways and other infrastructure.
The Dalai Lama lashed out at those projects on Tuesday, saying they were done to move Han Chinese migrants into Tibet “at the huge cost of devastating the Tibetan environment and way of life.”
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