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Dalai Lama took kids away from parents

By Mo Nong | China Daily | Updated: 2013-10-17 07:24

The 14th Dalai Lama has always described himself as a religious leader rather than a political figure and built himself the image as a symbol of kindness and peace. But his orphan scheme five decades ago that was exposed recently points to his Machiavellian ways in his pursuit of the dream of an independent Tibet at the cost of his compatriots.

Dalai Lama took kids away from parents Photo taken on Oct 16, 2013 shows the Potala Palace in Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region. [Photo / Xinhua]

In this scheme, his "government", through an agreement with Charles Aeschimann, a businessman from Switzerland, sent 200 Tibetan "orphans" to Switzerland for adoption or placed them in an orphanage in the early 1960s. His ambition was to make it possible for these Tibetan children to receive a good education and use their acquired skills to work for him in the future.

That sounds perfectly reasonable. Helping orphaned children finding new homes and custodians and much better living conditions is a laudable act of benevolence. Not to mention that they are supposed to receive fine modern education, which was beyond imagination at the time in the base camp of the Tibetan "government in exile".

However, that was not the whole truth. Most of the children were not actually orphans, and some of them were brought to Switzerland without the knowledge of their family.

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