Dalai Lama discharged from hospital after chest infection, doing 'very well now': Spokesman

The Dalai Lama was admitted to a New Delhi hospital three days ago with what an aide called a "light cough". PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI (AFP) - The Dalai Lama was discharged from a New Delhi hospital on Friday (April 12), his personal spokesman said, three days after being admitted with what an aide called a "light cough".

"He was discharged from the hospital at eight o'clock in the morning," Mr Tenzin Taklha told AFP. "He is doing very well now."

The 83-year-old Buddhist monk, Tibetan spiritual leader and thorn in China's side was admitted to the Max hospital in the Indian capital on Tuesday.

On Thursday, Mr Taklha said that the Nobel Peace Prize winner was already back to his "normal routine" and doing some exercise.

He was thought to be returning on Friday to the northern Indian hill station of Dharamsala where he has been in permanent exile for six decades along with thousands of others.

He fled the Tibetan capital Lhasa in 1959 and across the frozen Himalayan border to India at the age of 23, disguised as a soldier, as Chinese troops poured into the region to crush an uprising.

In India, he set up a government-in-exile and launched a campaign to reclaim Tibet that gradually evolved into an appeal for greater autonomy - the so-called "middle way" approach.

The self-described "simple Buddhist monk" has spent decades criss-crossing the globe mixing with monarchs, politicians and Hollywood actors pressing his case.

His status as a global symbol of peace whose message transcends faith has earned comparisons to visionaries like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King.

But it has also drawn the fury of an increasingly assertive China, branding him a "wolf in a monk's robe" and accusing him of trying to split the nation.

Although still a hugely popular speaker, he has cut back on his global engagements and has not met a world leader since 2016 - while governments have been wary of extending invitations to him for fear of angering Beijing.

Even India, which gave him asylum in 1959, has turned its back, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government reportedly warning officials against attending events featuring him, citing diplomatic sensitivities.

The Dalai Lama has sought to pre-empt any attempt by Beijing - which has effectively wiped out organised opposition to its rule in Tibet - to name his reincarnated successor, even announcing in 2011 that he may be the last in the lineage.

The Tibetan spiritual leader enjoys wide support across the partisan divide in Washington, where a senator raised the issue of his succession at a hearing on Tuesday.

Senator Cory Gardner, the Republican who heads the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on Asia, said that the United States should follow the Dalai Lama's lead on how to choose his successor.

"Let me be very clear - the United States Congress will never recognise a Dalai Lama that is selected by the Chinese," Mr Gardner said.

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