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Tibetan leader elects exile, March 17, 1959

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The spiritual leader of Tibet fled his homeland this week in 1959, beginning an exile that would last more than half a century. With the Dalai Lama’s whereabouts unknown, press coverage at the time focused on fighting between Chinese forces and Tibetan rebels. A United Press International article from New Delhi, published in the March 22, 1959, Lowell Sunday Sun of Lowell, Mass., compared the unrest to Soviet clashes in Eastern Europe.

    “Thousands of Tibetans were battling their Chinese Communist masters in the sacred city of Lhasa in the Himalayas today, and the Chinese were using artillery and automatic weapons to try to smash this new ‘Hungary,’ reports reaching here said. About 300,000 Tibetans were reported up in arms.

    “The fate of the Dalai Lama, god and king to the Tibetan people, was unknown. The revolt, fanned by tough Khamba tribesmen, apparently was touched off when the Chinese commander ordered the Dalai Lama to appear before him, without his bodyguards.”
 
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Read more about the clash between China and Tibet

    A United Press International article published March 22, 1959 in The Salt Lake Tribune of Salt Lake City, Utah, analyzed the diplomatic fallout from the conflict. China Loses ‘Face’

A Worldwide Press Service article published in the April 9, 1959, Lebanon Daily News of Lebanon, Penn., provided background and context on Sino-Tibetan relations. Medieval Tibet Ripe for Change

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