Huge crowds gathered at the Dalai Lama’s temple in India Sunday to commemorate 60 years since the failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule that drove the spiritual leader into exile.
Supporters of the 83-year-old peace icon chanted and prayed at the Buddhist shrine in mountainous Dharamsala, where the Dalai Lama established a government-in-exile after fleeing a deadly Chinese crackdown in Tibet in 1959.
Devotees in the Indian hill station the Dalai Lama has called home for six decades waved Tibet’s colorful “snow lion” flag, which China has outlawed as a symbol of separatism.
Some had “Free Tibet” painted on their faces along with the colors and distinct golden sun of the iconic flag.
The Dalai Lama himself was not present at the anniversary ceremony, but chief representatives of the exiled Tibetan administration and foreign dignitaries gathered for the solemn occasion.
Performers dressed in traditional attire danced and recited Tibetan songs at the temple for guests, which organizers said included parliamentarians from 10 nations.
A minute’s silence was held at the outset to remember those killed when China brutally crushed the fledgling Tibetan revolt, a crackdown the government-in-exile claimed killed tens of thousands.
Buddhist Tibet, a vast Himalayan area of plateaus and mountains, declared independence from China in the early 20th century but Beijing took back control in 1951, having sent in thousands of troops.
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