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This is an extract from the Reading Materials in English that are available in the English and Education section of the website of the Liberal Party of  Sri Lanka, www.liberalparty-srilanka.org

The entire text of Historic Buildings by Goolbai Gunasekara, covering twelve famous constructions, is now available on that website.

Potala Palace - Lhasa, Tibet

Tibet has been isolated from the world for a long time. The capital city is Lhasa and it used to be called ‘The Forbidden City’ because travelers and strangers were not welcomed. Tibet used to be under the rule of the Dalai Lama who was the head of the Buddhist religion as it was practised in Tibet.

Tibet is situated high up in the great range of Himalayan mountains that lie to the north of India. It is to the south west of China, and China claims that Tibet has always been a part of China. However it had its own independent Government for a long time and, though it came under Chinese domination at various times during the last millennium, the Dalai Lama and his predecessors always had a different system of rule from that of the Chinese Emperor in Beijing.

The young Dalai Lama aged 22

In the 20th century, after being dominated for over a hundred years by foreign powers, China began to reassert itself. A revolution in 1911 swept away the Emperor, but this was followed by many years of internal struggle. In the 1930s Japan took over much of the eastern coast, which was the political and economic center of China. The Nationalist government and the Communist party that was challenging it came together to oppose Japan but, when the Japanese were finally expelled with Western assistance at the end of the Second World War, the Civil War in China resumed.

Finally, in 1949, the Communist Party under Mao Ze Dong chased the Nationalist party leader Chiang Kai Shek, and his government, to Taiwan, an island a couple of hundred miles off the east of China. Then, in 1950, the Communist government sent an army of invasion into Tibet. The Dalai Lama, who was very young then, fled to India nine years later, after an unsuccessful revolt by the Tibetan people against the Chinese forces. Since then he has headed a government in exile in a place called Dharmasala in Northern India. Read the rest of this entry »

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Rajiva Wijesinha

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