Dalai Lama Thanks India on 50th Anniversary of Exile བོད་སྐད།

Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has thanked India for welcoming him and many followers 50 years ago when they fled their homeland during an uprising against Chinese rule.

The Dalai Lama said at a ceremony in the Indian capital, New Delhi, Tuesday that Tibetan refugees made the right choice when about 100,000 sought refuge in India from Chinese repression. He acknowledged the long cultural and religious ties between the people of Tibet and India.

The Dalai Lama said he owes India for the freedom he has enjoyed since crossing the border into India as a 23-year-old on March 31st, 1959.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner praised the foresight of then-Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who helped Tibetan refugees establish settlements in the foothills of the Himalayas and in southern farming areas.

The Dalai Lama also urged the Chinese government to allow foreign journalists and international observers to visit Tibet to see if the situation there is as good as China claims.

The Chinese government organized celebrations Friday to mark for the first time the anniversary of radical social and economic reforms in Tibet.

The Dalai Lama's government-in-exile said the holiday was offensive and added that it would be a day of mourning for Tibetans around the world.

Tibetan exiles reported protests in other Tibetan areas of Sichuan, Qinghai and Gansu provinces last week as the Chinese government prepared to celebrate the defeat of a failed Tibetan uprising in 1959.

In the latest reports from Sichuan province, the India-based Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy said Monday it received information that police beat to death a monk last week in Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.

Reuters news agency reported Monday that another Tibetan monk was killed last week in a clash with police in the same county (Tibetan: Drango; Chinese: Luhuo) of western Sichuan. The report said he was organizing local farmers to refuse to plant crops as a protest of Chinese policies.

China's official Xinhua news agency has confirmed that some Tibetan farmers in Sichuan are boycotting the annual planting.

Some information for this report was provided by Phayul and AP.