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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Dalai Lama's Birthday Clouded By News Of Ongoing Repression

July 6, 2009

by Christopher Szabo July 3, 2009

Tenzing, Representative of the Tibet Office for Africa, addressed guests at
a reception celebrating the Dalai Lama's 74th birthday at Tibet House in
Pretoria. Tenzing said:

The situation inside Tibet is tense, it has not improved at all. Tibetans
continue to live in fear. Increasing number of Chinese paramilitary forces
are deployed in Tibetan-populated counties, many Tibetan houses are
frequently raided, young Tibetan monks and nuns found partaking in peaceful
protests are arrested, mercilessly beaten, tortured and imprisoned.

Tenzing pointed out that not only ethnic Tibetans bore the brunt of the
People's Republic's policies:

Many Chinese lawyers who represented Tibetan detainees disappeared and their
licences (have been) cancelled.

He added:

In spite of (the) dire situation, Chinese leaders still insist Tibetans are
happy. They never admit there is a problem. Therefore His Holiness the Dalai
Lama has very recently commented that: If the majority of the Tibetan people
are truly happy, then our information becomes incorrect. Then we must
apologise to the Chinese government.

Tenzing went on to pray for long life for the Dalai Lama, adding:

We also pray for (an) immediate end to the sufferings of all those Tibetans
who are facing Chinese suppression and torture.

The atmosphere at the reception was very friendly, despite the dire
situation in Tibet described by the representative of the exile government.
Many of the guests were Chinese, and among them were members of South
Africa's International Relations (Foreign Affairs) department and business
leaders, journalists as well as people interested in Tibetan culture and

People were wearing their national dress, and the Tibetan flag flew over
Tibet house. Tenzing described the birthday celebrations of the Dalai Lama,
who turns 74 on June 6th, before his flight into exile in 1959.

His birthday is the happiest day for all Tibetans. Officially the day begins
with an offering of juniper incense and the flying of prayer flags both at
the Potala and the Norbu Lingka palaces. His family members assemble to
offer greetings to the Dalai Lama, then the members of the Tibetan Cabinet,
the Secretariat and others assemble at the audience hall. His two spiritual
tutors offer him long life pills and supplicate him to remain for a long
time in this world, while praying for his good health...They then proceed to
a place called Krungs.lha (the birth god) located at a distance of about two
kilometres from Lhasa, where they participate in various rituals for the
welfare of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The people of Lhasa, resplendent in
their best clothing and full of joy, offer juniper incense on various local
hills and spend several days singing and dancing.

Tenzing expressed the desire that:

The Tibetan people's wishes of seeing their undisputed leader His Holiness
the Dalai Lama, on the golden throne of Potala be fulfilled and realised

Tenzing and a group of Tibetans also sang the national anthem, the words of
which were unintelligible to the guests, but which was melodious and quite

The lasting memory of the reception was one of both bitterness and
sweetness, with the suffering of Tibetans and the joy of the occasion
mingling in the cold air of the South African winter.
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