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As Dalai Lama Turned 70, First Uncensored TV Program on His Life Aired to Tibet


As Tibetans around the world were openly celebrating the 70th birthday of the Dalai Lama, people inside Tibet were able to join the celebration privately by watching a Voice of America (VOA) television special on the life of their spiritual leader.

Washington, D.C., July 7, 2005 - As Tibetans around the world were openly celebrating the 70th birthday of the Dalai Lama, people inside Tibet were able to join the celebration privately by watching a Voice of America (VOA) television special on the life of their spiritual leader.

The one-hour TV program yesterday featured exclusive interviews with the Dalai Lama and the Prime Minister of the Tibetan government in exile. VOA's Tibetan Service beamed the program directly to homes inside Tibet, thereby evading Chinese censorship and attempts to jam or block the program.

"I am now seventy years old," said the Dalai Lama. "During this lifetime, since I was fifteen or sixteen years old, I have taken on the responsibility of Tibet's temporal and spiritual affairs. It was a responsibility that was too difficult to shoulder, but because of my karmic relations with Tibet, I took the responsibility and have served the country to the best of my ability."

He told VOA that he has lived as a refugee most of his life and as the Dalai Lama, he has heard "endless stories about the sufferings of our [the] Tibetan people inside Tibet." However, he offered two reasons for hope. "First, the people of Tibet have an unwavering faith and trust in me. Secondly, the teachings of the Lord Buddha help me to maintain my mental balance."

VOA's Tibetan-language television program Talk to VOA debuted in March 2005. The 60-minute program is the first regularly scheduled television show for Tibetans from outside the People's Republic of China. Yesterday's program included a roundup of world news, the documentary and a call-in segment where the audience discussed the Dalai Lama's birthday. Talk to VOA is simulcast every week on television via satellite, on shortwave radio, and via the Internet in real time. Viewers can tune in every Wednesday at 1400-1500 UTC (10:00 to 11:00 p.m. Lhasa time).

Talk to VOA can be found at www.voanews.com/tibetan/webcasts.cfm and the VOA Tibetan Service Internet site is www.voanews.com/tibetan/ VOA also broadcasts to the region in Mandarin, Cantonese, and English.

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 100 million people. Programs are produced in 44 languages, including Tibetan.

For more information, call the Office of Public Affairs at (202) 401-7000, or E-Mail publicaffairs@voa.gov.

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