This article originally appeared in the April 24, 1961, edition of U.S. News & World Report.
At a time when Communists are denouncing "colonialism" and "imperialism"â
Take a look at what Red China is doing in its captive "colony" of Tibet.
Communists shot their way in, now are systematically "absorbing" that ancient land.
To get the story of what Red colonizers are doing, a member of the staff of "U. S. News & World Report" journeyed into the highlands of Northern India for this exclusive interview with the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual rulerânow a refugee from the Communists.
DHARMSALA, India â In a 1961 Q&A with U.S. News, the Dalai Lama described Red China's movements in Tibet.
Q Your Holiness, are Tibetans being forced out of Tibet?
A In some places, yesâin Northern and Eastern Tibet.
Q How many have been deported?
A I cannot give you an exact figure, but it would run to at least 15,000.
Q Have they been replaced by Chinese settlers?
A Many more Chinese settlers than that have come into Tibet.
Q What sort of settlers?
A All types, but mostly soldiers. Tibetans usually divide them into two typesâ"yellow" Chinese and "blue" Chinese. "Blue" Chinese are officials and villagers. "Yellow" Chinese are troops. Recently some Tibetans came here from Lhasa and they told me there were more "yellow" Chinese in Tibet.
Q What's taking place inside the country?
A People are all frightened and tenseâalways afraid they won't finish tasks the Chinese have given them to do. The worry about famine.
There's a saying in Tibet, "We are sitting on a thorn." Now all Tibet is sitting on a thornâand anyone who moves is hurt. It's not just a matter of political rights. Their human right are being suppressed, too.
Q In what way?
A They're having to undergo all types of forced labor. For 20 hours a day, people in Tibet must work and listen to Communist propaganda. Two or three men have to do the work that once was done by two mules, hauling stones in mule cartsâ
Q Do you mean people instead of mules now pull carts?
A Yes, as a form of torture. Some haul stones, others have to carry baskets of dirt. The normal quota for one day is 250 baskets, but some have to carry 300 baskets a day. Many of these people have developed sores on their backs. This is something that was never known in Tibet before.
Q What kind of food are Tibetan people getting?
A They get worse food than the animals do. People who come from Lhasa have brought samples of the food they getâa mixture of grains and meal which they mix with water and form into a cake. They get about two small teacups of this per day. Sometimes in place of grain they get two teacups of beans.
Q What kinds of military activities are going on in Tibet?
A They've built very good roadsâa network of roads. In some areas of Western Tibet they've built airfields.
Q Have you heard any reports of restlessness among the Chinese troops?
A I believe this to be true. The reason is that, since 1958, some Chinese soldiers and officers have joined resistance troops in Tibet.
Q Is the resistance underground operating effectively?
A Yes. Out of sheer desperationâas long as oppression goes on, out of sheer desperation there will be resistance.
Q What do they fight with? How are they armed?
A The only weapons they possess are those they've managed to capture from the Chinese. They have guns, but they've even been using slingshots, spears, knives and swords.
Q Have there been any pitched battles?
A Yes, there have been many.
Q What's happening to religion inside Tibet?
A The Chinese are using two principal methods against religion:
Firstly, they're trying to obliterate the existing ancient religion by attacking religious leaders; they've murdered several and sent others to forced labor. You may have heard of our famous monasteriesâDrepung, Sera, Ganden. At one of these, Sera, there used to be about 8,000 monks. Now there are only two or three hundred left. Where have the others gone? Some to forced labor, some to China, some killed, some to prison.
Secondly, as regards our sacred texts and images, only some have been preserved in Lhasa to show foreign visitors. Images made of brass or gold or silver have been melted. Those made of clay have been thrown away. Sacred texts have been used as shoe soles or burned. So religion is being destroyed.