For the people of Tibet, His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the manifestation of Chenrezig, or Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion. Successive Dalai Lamas have held spiritual and temporal power over the Tibetan Buddhist Kingdom for 400 years.
Buddhists from the Himalayan belt and beyond revere the Dalai Lama as their spiritual leader and share solid karmic bonds. To others, the Dalai Lama is an inspiration and is regarded as a leading moral authority worldwide.
In recognition of his non-violent campaign to end China’s rule in Tibet, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the most prestigious Nobel Peace Prize to the 14th Dalai Lama on December 10, 1989, in Oslo, Norway.
This recognition presented an excellent opportunity for Tibetans to reignite the China-Tibet conflict as an unresolved political issue that required global attention and continued support.
For the next two decades or so, the spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetan people traveled extensively throughout the world — reaching out to political leaders, heads of many States, parliamentarians, policymakers, religious chiefs, media organizations, universities, scholars, writers, celebrities, activists and many more to garner political and practical support for Tibet and the Tibetan people.
At the same time, the Nobel Peace laureate reached out to leaders in Beijing for a mutually acceptable outcome to bring about lasting peace and security for the Tibetan and the Chinese people through a negotiated settlement.
China’s brutal dictator Mao Tsetung ordered his PLA troops to invade Tibet in 1950. Over a million Tibetans died as a direct result of China’s illegal occupation. Beijing took complete control of the peaceful Buddhist nation after the 24-year-old Dalai Lama fled to India in March 1959, where he was given political asylum.
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Tsering Passang is the Founder and Chair of the Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities. He can be reached @Tsamtruk (X – formerly Twitter