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Archive for Tuesday, December 5, 2000

Dalai Lama marks 50th anniversary

December 5, 2000

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— The Dalai Lama on Monday celebrated the 50th anniversary of his ascension as Tibet's teen-age head of state, and confirmed during the elaborate ceremony that his government-in-exile was again in contact with China.

The exiled priest-king of Tibet told reporters that his administration had resumed contact with Beijing, stalled since 1998.

The news came during a daylong festivity marking his rise to political power as a teen-ager in 1950.

The Dalai Lama asked Beijing for permission to send a fact-finding delegation to Tibet. His Tibetan government-in-exile has not yet received a response to the request. But the Dalai Lama confirmed that the potential visit was the reason he has postponed a planned visit to Taiwan.

Monday's events marked the 50th anniversary of the day the Dalai Lama took political office in Tibet, at the age of 16, before its annexation by China.

A failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule led to his flight to India, where he established a government-in-exile in 1960.

Monday's ceremony included offerings to the Dalai Lama from a number of high lamas, members of his Cabinet, and family members.

Foreign guests included prominent Tibet scholar Robert Thurman of Columbia University, and a five-member delegation of staffers for members of the U.S. Congress.

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