Exiled Tibetans sustain culture from afar
December 7, 1996
Web posted at: 11:10 p.m. EST
From Correspondent Mike Chinoy
NEW DELHI (CNN) -- Living in exile, a community of Tibetans
in India have rebuilt a life centered around their
traditional Buddhist culture.
The Tibetan community in New Delhi was established so long
ago that the younger generation has never seen their native
land. But their parents have taught them about the
circumstances of their exile.
"We are not violent people, but the Chinese used guns to
drive us out," said Tibetan refugee Samden Chudon.
"They killed our mothers, fathers, grandparents. To save
ourselves, we followed the Dalai Lama here. We like India,
but we won't stop this fight because China has snatched away
our traditions and our livelihood. We'll teach the children
the same, make them understand."
More than 100,000 Tibetans fled their homeland after an anti-
The largest group followed their spiritual leader, the Dalai
Lama, to India, where they transplanted their culture.
They are largely dedicated to the premise that Tibet should
be independent, a point they hoped to convey when Chinese
President Jiang Zemin visited New Delhi recently.
"We want to show Jiang Zemin that, until Tibet is free, we
Tibetans, under the leadership of the Dalai Lama, will keep
fighting," said Lobsang Rapten of the Tibetan Local Assembly.
But, in fact, the Tibetan issue barely made the agenda at the
"Nothing will change, because this is a government to
government visit. For me the only importance of this visit is
that we'll once again demonstrate that Indian territory is in
Chinese hands, that Tibet is not yet free," said George
Fernandez of the Indian Parliamentarians Group on Tibet.
China isn't anxious to make an issue out of the Tibetans in
exile -- as long as India doesn't encourage the issue of
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