(Reuters) - China warns of a “life and death” struggle with the Dalai Lama, as it seeks to end a wave of protests in its Tibetan regions with arrests and tightened political control.
The riots grew out of demonstrations commemorating the 49th anniversary of a failed uprising against Communist rule.
Following are some facts about Tibet, the Dalai Lama and relations with China:
* Occupying a large, high-altitude and sparsely populated plateau, Tibet is known as the ‘roof of the world.’
* The People’s Liberation Army marched into the Himalayan region in 1950.
* Wedged between the Himalayan mountain range to the south and the Kunlun range in the north, Tibet borders Myanmar, India, Bhutan and Nepal.
* The Dalai Lama, Tibet’s god-king, fled on horseback after a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959 and now lives in exile in northern India. China accuses him of seeking independence for Tibet. The 72-year-old says he only wants greater autonomy for the region.
* Within Tibet, simply having the Dalai Lama’s picture can be grounds for imprisonment. Critics say Buddhist monks and nuns loyal to the Dalai Lama have been jailed and tortured.
* Activists say tourism and migration by Han Chinese could swamp Tibet’s distinctive culture, with ethnic Tibetans receiving less than their share of new jobs and income.
* China’s central government has invested billions of dollars in improving Tibet’s infrastructure, including a new railway across the snowy plateau that links Beijing and Lhasa.
Writing by Gill Murdoch, Singapore Editorial Reference Unit; Additional Writing by Paul Grant/Jijo Jacob