I do not share Hollywood’s view of the Dalai Lama. The system of government that was in place before the Chinese took over the region and the system in place now are vastly different. I am not entirely sure that the DL had the people’s best interests in mind.
Here is a quote from a blogger on the topic. I have heard this opinion expressed before by unbiased, non-Hollywood types. I think they have a valid point.
“Most of the Dalai Lama’s American friends received what little knowledge they have about this charlatan from watching movies like “Seven Years in Tibet,” “Kundun,” and " Shangri-La.” Or, they may have heard some Hollywood-types like Marlon Brando and Richard Gere propagandizing on the talk shows about the tragic removal of the Dalai Lama from power, by the evil communist Chinese.
In point of fact, Tibet has been a semi-autonomous province of China for over a thousand years. Until 1959, it was ruled as a theocratic dictatorship, with over ninety percent of the population living as serfs in a feudalistic system of involuntary servitude. Workers were routinely bought and sold as slaves, and punishments for speaking irreverently about the Dalai Lama included eye-gouging and tongue removal. Amputation of hands and feet were commonplace punishments for even minor criminal infractions.
After 1949, the Chinese government started bring reforms to Tibet. It instituted a land reform program to end feudalism and transfer small arable plots of land to the peasants. Generational debt for taxes was abolished, along with slavery and extreme forms of punishment and mutilation. Free schools were constructed across Tibet, along with paved roads, hospitals, rail lines, airports, and rural electrification. The first municipal water and sewer systems were installed, and a telephone service was created. China has invested 310 billion yuan (about 45.6 billion U.S. dollars) in Tibet since 2001. Tibet’s GDP was expected to reach 43.7 billion yuan in 2009, up 170 percent from that in 2000 and posting an annual growth of 12.3 percent over the following nine years.
Naturally, the Tibetan landlords and the Buddhist hierarchy–including the Dalai Lama and his minions–violently resisted these reforms, and, by 1955, were in open rebellion against the Chinese government. Aided by Allen Dulles and his Central Intelligence Agency, the ruling Buddhist elite waged a series of bloody battles against the Chinese government. When it was over, the Chinese estimated that as many as 100,000 Tibetans had been killed in the insurrection. The Dalai Lama continues to claim that more than one million Tibetans were massacred by Chinese troops; although that figure is in doubt, due to the fact that Tibet’s population at the end of the Second World War was only 1.5 million, and today is approaching 3 million."