Dharamsala, March 30: Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama Sunday mourned the death of Baba Phuntsog Wangyal, who founded the Tibetan Communist Party in the 1930s, describing him as a true Communist and trusted friend.
“I am deeply saddened to learn about the passing away of Baba Phuntsog Wangyal. He was a true Communist, genuinely motivated to fulfill the interests of the Tibetan people. In his death, we have lost a trusted friend,” the Nobel laureate said in a statement.
Wangyal died at the age of 92 in Beijing.
He founded the Tibetan Communist Party in the 1930s, which subsequently merged with the Communist Party of China.
The Dalai Lama said that despite Wangyal’s firm upholding of Communist ideals, the Chinese authorities regarded his dedication to his Tibetan identity in a negative light, as a result of which he spent 18 years in prison.
Remembering his meeting with Wangyal, the Dalai Lama said: “During the series of meetings I had with Chairman Mao in particular, he was of crucial help as my interpreter.”
The Dalai Lama has lived in India since fleeing his homeland in 1959. The Tibetan administration-in-exile is based in this northern Indian hill town of Dharamsala.