Dalai Lama lashes out at 'repression' in Tibet
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Monday attacked China's human rights record accusing it of "unimaginable and gross violations" in his Himalayan homeland.
"Repression continues to increase with numerous, unimaginable and gross violations of human rights, denial of religious freedom and politicisation of religious issues," he told hundreds of flag-waving supporters on the 49th anniversary of his escape to India after an abortive anti-Beijing uprising.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner's angry comments came in a strongly-worded speech in the northern Indian town of Dharamshala and contrasted sharply with what his critics say has been a "soft" approach to China.
"For nearly six decades Tibetans have had to live in a state of constant fear under Chinese repression," he said.
"All these take place as a result of the Chinese government's lack of respect of the Tibetan people," the 72-year-old told the gathering from his palace in Dharamshala, seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile.
The Dalai Lama said however that he would not abandon his search for autonomy in Tibet even though six rounds of talks with the Chinese since 2002 have yielded little result
"During the past few years, Tibet has witnessed increased repression and brutality. In spite of these unfortunate developments my stand and determination to pursue the 'Middle-Way' policy remain unchanged," he said.
Despite widespread frustration among the younger generation at China's stranglehold on Tibet, the Dalai Lama remains the unquestioned spiritual leader of the diaspora.
He also said August's Beijing Olympics could be a golden opportunity for the international community to expose China, which has ruled Tibet since 1951, over its treatment of Tibetans.
"Besides sending their athletes, the international community should remind the Chinese government of these issues.... China should prove herself a good host by providing these freedoms," he added.
Tibetan groups are planning to step up protests in the run-up to the Olympics and were to kick off a "Tibet trek" home starting later Monday and stage a "Tibetan Olympics" in May.