The Dalai Lama, 83, has been admitted Tuesday in a hospital in New Delhi with a respiratory infection. The Tibetan spiritual leader "began to feel some discomfort" and after a medical check-up he was diagnosed with a lung infection. "His condition is stable now and he will probably be discharged in a few days," according to his spokesman, Tenzin Taklha.
On Tuesday, Tenzin Gystaso, fourteenth Dalai Lama, the highest religious figure of Tibetan Buddhism, was flown to Max Hospital in the Saket neighborhood, south of the Indian capital, from Dharamshala. Located in the foothills of the Indian Himalayas, this city in the north of the country is the residence of the Dalai Lama. It is one of the largest settlements of the nearly 100,000 Tibetan refugees living in the Asian country and seat of his Government in exile for exactly 60 years, when the people of Tibet rose up against the Chinese troops that occupied the highlands in 1950.
Although he remains an extraordinarily popular speaker, the Dalai Lama has greatly reduced his international commitments, and has not met with any international leader since 2016, according to AFP. ButAt the same time, several governments admit reluctance to invite him, for fear of generating tensions with China.
Allegations of Chinese repression
Since the Communist Party of China troops occupied Tibet, Beijing has controlled the region with an iron fist. The annual report of Human Rights Watch (HRW) notes that the Chinese administration uses "an anti-criminal campaign at the national level that encourages members of the community to denounce the slightest suspicion of reverence and support" to the Dalai Lama, while the Council of Human Rights of the United Nations (OHCHR) denounced in June 2018 that conditions were "deteriorating rapidly" in the region. According to the International Campaign for Tibet (CIT), 155 Tibetans they have immolated themselves since 2009 in response to the abuses of the authorities, which include arbitrary arrests and torture.
This year, China banned the entry of foreign visitors into the Tibet region in anticipation of protests by the local population in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the uprising and exile of its leader. The decision came shortly after the Asian giant promised the increase in the number of tourists in Tibet and the reduction of the bureaucracy necessary for the granting of visas. The statement responded to pressure from the US, which passed the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Law in December 2018 to restrict Chinese citizens' access to US soil with the goal of China facilitating the entry of journalists.
The Tibetan refuge of Dharamshala
Towards the end of March 1959, the Dalai Lama – born Lhamo Dondhup on July 6, 1935 in Taktser, in eastern Tibet – safely crossed the border with India and settled in Dharamshala, where he created the Central Administration of Tibet (CTA ), also known as the Tibetan Government in exile, where refugees and supporters of the cause remember a revolt that was oppressed with tens of thousands of Tibetans killed at the hands of Chinese troops. "Let us gather the Dalai Lama with the Tibetans inside Tibet, who have spent the last 60 years hoping and dreaming of seeing the Dalai Lama in their entire life," concluded Lobsang Sangay, 'sikyong' (regent) of the CTA , in his official speech on March 10 before delegations of European countries gathered in Dharamshala to commemorate the uprising.
In 2011, the Dalai Lama resigned his role as political representative of the Tibetan people and Lobsang Sangay was democratically elected the top leader of Tibet's government in exile. Before, in the late 1970s, Tenzin Gystaso, then a political and spiritual leader of Tibet, changed the official stance and went from claiming independence to demanding the "genuine autonomy" of the region as part of China. The decision coincided with the cooling of the Chinese yoke, allowing the exile of hundreds of Tibetans outside the region administered by China. A decade later, the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his defense of the freedom of his people "systematically opposing violence."