Two months later in October (1950), our worst fears were fulfilled. News reached Lhasa that an army of 80,000 soldiers of the Chinese People's Liberation Army had crossed the Drichu river east of Chamdo (there were less than 8500 men in the Tibetan army). Reports on Chinese Radio announced that, on the anniversary of the Communists coming to power in China, the 'peaceful liberation' of Tibet had begun.
When the Chinese Army invaded Tibet, the Dalai Lama chose to respond without violence.
There were some Tibetans who believed that they should fight for their independence, and some did so.
In the boxes on this page are quotes from the Dalai Lama. Read them through and discuss them with a partner. You may want to cut them out and rearrange them.
Which statements do you agree with?
Which statements do you find difficult, and why?
Conduct a debate with your partner: one takes the side of the Dalai Lama, and one takes the side of a Tibetan who thinks they should fight back. Use the quotes to help you, and also research (see Tibet: Background and Tibet: Web Links).
There is no basis whatever in history for the Chinese claim that Tibet was part of China.
As to the future, I state my belief, that with Truth, Justice and Courage as our weapons, we Tibetans will eventually prevail in regaining freedom for Tibet.
... what is most important is the fact that we Tibetans and our Chinese brothers and sisters have always been neighbours and must remain so. The only alternative for the future is to learn to get along and live in harmony with our neighbours.
Non-violence is the only moral course – this is clearly in accordance with the teachings of Lord Buddha and as I was the religious leader of Tibet I was bound to uphold it.
The practice of compassion is not idealistic, but the most effective way to pursue the best interests of others as well as our own. The more we become interdependent the more it is in our own interest to ensure the well-being of others.
Human beings, indeed all sentient beings, have the right to pursue happiness and live in peace and in freedom.
If we do not believe that we are really part of one human family, we cannot hope to overcome the dangers to our very existence – let alone bring about peace and happiness.
I strongly believe that individuals can make a difference in society. Every individual has a responsibility to help move our global family in the right direction and we must each assume that responsibility.
Quotes from 'The Dalai Lama: peacemaker from Tibet,' by Chris Gibb, and http://www.cosmicharmony.com/Tibet/DalaiLama/DalaiLama.htm