Framework

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Monks, nuns and other Tibetans take part in a Tibetan Uprising Day protest march, held in Dharamsala, India, on March 10, 2014.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Phurbu Tsering takes part in Tibetan Uprising Day, held at the Tsuglagkhang Temple of the Dalai Lama Complex in McLeod Ganj, India, on March 10, 2014. Tibetan Uprising Day, March 10, commemorates the 1959 Tibetan uprising against the presence of the People's Republic of China in Tibet. It also was the time when the Dalia Lama fled Tibet and went into exile. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama lives in McLeod Ganj, where this ceremony took place.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Young monks take part in a Tibetan Uprising Day protest march in Dharamsala, India, on March 10, 2014. Tibetan Uprising Day commemorates the 1959 Tibetan uprising against the presence of the People's Republic of China in Tibet.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Young Tibetan schoolgirls look at the wall of martyrs of self-immolation at the Tsuglagkhang Temple of the Dalai Lama Complex in McLeod Ganj, India. More than 120 people have self-immolated since 2009.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Teenagers Chika Yamasaki, left, and Tenzin Pelmo take part in the Tibetan New Year ceremony for Losar, held at the Tsuglagkhang Temple of the Dalai Lama Complex in McLeod Ganj, India, on March 2, 2014. In the background is a statue erected as a memorial to Tibetan National Martyrs.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

A Tibetan "long-life ceremony" is held for the Dalai Lama on March 11, 2014, in Dharamsala, India. Security men also surround the Dalai Lama where ever he goes.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Tibetan students march to commemorate Tibetan Uprising Day in Dharamsala, India, on March 10, 2014.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

A monk takes down laundry from the rooftop of a residence for monks at the Tsuglagkhang monestary, part of the Dalai Lama Complex in McLeod Ganj, India, not far from Dharamsala, India. In the background are the mountains of Himachal Predesh, looking north toward the Chinese border.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Tashi spends a lot of time at the Black Tent cafe in McLeod Ganj, India. Many Tibetans living in Dharamsala, India, can get an education and practice their religion but are frustrated that they can't find jobs or get visas to leave India. Some are even considering returning to China, where the economy makes it easier to get work.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

As three Kirti monks pass by, Tenzin Dhaysel, left, and her friend Tenzin Norzom hang out near their parents' apartment complex in McLeod Ganj, India. Their parents are originally from Tibet and now are in exile, but the girls were born in India.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Exiled Tibetans celebrate Tibetan New Year, Losar, held at the Tsuglagkhang Temple of the Dalai Lama Complex in McLeod Ganj, India. At the end of the prayers, the people yell, "Losar Tashi Delek," and throw a handful of blessed flour into the air before leaving in a cloud.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

At the Tsechokling Monastery in McLeod Ganj, India, Tenzin Sonan, who was born in Nepal, is a young monk in training.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

At the Tsechokling Monastery in McLeod Ganj, India, Tibetan monks who are in exile live and study. Many left Tibet for freedom of education in India and to be closer to the Dalai Lama.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

At the Tsechokling Monastery in McLeod Ganj, India, monks from Tibet, Nepal and India come to live and study, including ones as young as 6. The boys practice their prayers and chanting each morning.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Kalsant Lhamo, an exile from Tibet, lights candles during the Tibetan holiday Losar at the Tsuglagkhang Temple of the Dalai Lama Complex in McLeod Ganj, India.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Young monks take part in a Tibetan Uprising Day protest march in Dharamsala, India, on March 10, 2014.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

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Tibet’s road ahead: Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday invites celebration and contemplation

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Tibet’s road ahead: Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday invites celebration and contemplation

Story by Barbara Demick and photographs by Carolyn Cole

To hear the Dalai Lama laugh, his face lighting up in a beatific smile, it is easy to forget the cascade of disasters endured by the Tibetan Buddhist movement over the course of his life.

Yet the list is long, and growing longer, as an ascendant China consolidates control over Tibet.

On the cusp of the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday Monday, which he will mark during a three-day visit to Anaheim, China’s rising economic clout is slowly strangling the movement for Tibetan independence and, in the process, nudging the charismatic Tibetan spiritual leader off the world stage.

Under Chinese pressure, South Africa refused to grant him a visa last year to attend a gathering of Nobel laureates. Even Pope Francis, presumably worried about the fate of Chinese Catholics, declined to grant him an audience in December.

The 94,000-strong Tibetan community in India, which for years has operated a government in exile headquartered in this mountain resort, is shrinking as a result of tighter Chinese controls on borders and passports that keep the 6 million Tibetans living in China from leaving.

At the same time, after a decades-long exodus, a new phenomenon is occurring: Tibetans are quietly requesting Chinese documents to go home, implicitly acknowledging that China’s rule over Tibet is here to stay.

To read full story click here.

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