The Dalai Lama said China has launched a "brutal crackdown" in Tibet since protests shook the Himalayan region last year. Tibetan culture and identity are "nearing extinction," he said in a speech, according to an advance copy released by his aides. "The Tibetan people are regarded like criminals, deserving to be put to death." He delivered the speech to mark the 50th anniversary of the failed uprising that sent him into exile. Following protests last year in Tibet, China has stepped up its campaign to vilify the Dalai Lama, accusing him of leading a campaign to split the region from the rest of the country.