When did the Dalai Lama leave Tibet?

60 years of exileThe Escape of Dalai lama

At the beginning of March 1959, the Dalai Lama received a strange invitation: he was supposed to attend a theater performance in the rooms of the headquarters of the Chinese army in Lhasa - according to a letter from the Chinese occupation authorities. However, he is asked to appear without his bodyguard.

Avoid kidnapping by fleeing into exile

His advisors suspect that the Dalai Lama is to be kidnapped and abducted to China and advise against this visit. Meanwhile, word of the invitation has got around and thousands are besieging the Dalai Lama's palace - to prevent him from traveling to the Chinese headquarters.

After a week, the Dalai Lama decides to leave the country and flee to India. In Dharamsala he founds a Tibetan government-in-exile, which to this day claims to be the only legitimate representative of the Tibetan people.

You hear in one hour of history:

  • The Swiss ethnologist Martin Brauen has dealt with the life of the 14th Dalai Lama and explains the importance of the Dalai Lama for Tibet and the Tibetans.
  • The Dalai Lama biographer Klemens Ludwig tells how the occupation policy of China affected Tibet.
  • Birgit Zotz is a Tibet expert and reports on the situation in Tibet 60 years after the Dalai Lama fled.
  • Deutschlandfunk Nova history expert Matthias von Hellfeld describes the disputes over Tibet at the beginning of the 20th century.
  • Deutschlandfunk-Nova author Sandra Doedter looks back on the escape of the Dalai Lama on March 17, 1959.

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