Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people and their former secular leader. Tibetan Buddhists see him as the reincarnation of an entity who has foregone full release from what is bad in the world in order to teach and help suffering sentient beings. As a lama he is seen as a teacher. Tenzin Gyatso is the 14th Dalai Lama.
In the West and in many parts of the world, people see the Dalai Lama as a "freedom fighter" and the Chinese as the "occupiers" who are oppressing the Tibetans. It is true that the Chinese invaded Tibet. After Chinese invasion, the Dalai Lama lost all his power and was helped by the United States. He was 15 years old when he first enthroned as the temporal leader of Tibet, this was in 1950. In 1959, he fled to India. The Dali Lama has said that he only wants greater autonomy for Tibet as he sees that complete independence is "out of the question”.
Communist China has a history of imprisoning its citizens for trivial offenses or for opposing the Government. This applies to the whole of Communist China including Tibet. Those in Chinese prisons are no better off than slaves. The United States and majority of the Western governments and many pro-western governments support Dalai Lama. Many liberals can support a liberal movement in Tibet.
China did not arrive there and bring peace and joy and good life to all. In 1959, China was under the rule of Mao Zedong and his rule was not sweetness and light. Even the official Chinese history of China admits that those and later years "that the Cultural Revolution was carried out "under the mistaken leadership of Mao Zedong, which was manipulated by the counterrevolutionary groups of Lin Biao and Jiang Qing, and brought serious disaster and turmoil to the Communist Party and the Chinese people. Tibetan people were harmed as well.