How much did the Dalai Lama know about CIA funding of the Tibetan resistance to Chinese occupation of Tibet? The question is not new, but according to this account from Italy’s La Repubblica, German investigative reporters have uncovered a ‘secret dossier’ which confirms that the Dalai Lama was intimately involved with these plans – and that the level of funding for the Tibetan resistance amounted to $180,000 per year – in 1950s dollars.
BERLIN: From the very beginning, the Dalai Lama knew that the CIA, the American Secret Service, backed the armed resistance of the Tibetan people against Chinese occupation. Although he is a world-renowned symbol of non-violence, he apparently approved of this support. It all began after the brutal Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1950 with secret meetings between the U.S. and the legitimate Tibetan government – that is, the Dalai Lama himself – from 1951 to 1956. The story, narrated by investigative reporters from Germany’s Suddeutsche Zeitung, must certainly have provoked leaps of joy at the Chinese Embassy in Berlin.
The first contacts date back to the year after Chinese aggression began. Meetings between the Dalai Lama and American agents took place at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi and the U.S. Consulate in Calcutta. According to the Sueddeutsche, the Pentagon promised to the Dalai Lama himself supplies of light weaponry and financial support for the resistance movement. In the summer of 1956, the CIA operation in Tibet becomes became a top secret file, labeled “ST Circus”
According to secret documents and testimonies of CIA veterans like John Kenneth Knaus, it was decided that agents would do “everything possible to keep the concept of an autonomous Tibet alive” and “enhance resistance in Tibet against developments driven by communist China.”
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