Monday, November 9, 2009

Dalai Lama defies Beijing on A.P. visit

Mark Magnier (

ARUNACHAL PRADESH, India -- Ignoring Chinese protests, the Dalai Lama travelled to a disputed part of India near China's Tibetan border delighting thousands of pilgrims who braved cold weather to catch a glimpse of their spiritual leader.

Thousands of Buddhists gave the Dalai Lama a rousing welcome as he arrived at the Tawang monastery, 3500 meters high in Arunachal Pradesh state. The Dalai Lama, who was sharply criticized by Beijing before the visit, was to spend five days praying and instructing Buddhist followers. His last visit there was in 2003.

''We are very pleased and blessed to have His Holiness here,'' said Sarwang Lama, a monk attired in a new maroon robe, as Tibetan prayer flags fluttered in the air and posters of the Dalai Lama adorned streets and rooftops. China has accused the spiritual leader of making the trip to further the movement for an independent Tibet, which accounts for about one-sixth of Chinese territory. More>>