Leh: Hardline Chinese officials view Tibetan identity as a threat and something they have tried to eliminate, spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has said. "As the Chinese people have their own ancient cultural heritage of which they are proud, Tibetans too are proud to be Tibetans and make efforts to protect their rich heritage and identity," said an official post on Monday, citing the Dalai Lama. The elderly monk was addressing over 5,000 Tibetans on Sunday at Choglamsar village, located just eight km from here. He said unfortunately some hardline Chinese officials see the Tibetan identity as a threat to separate Tibet from China. "Therefore, they have tried to eliminate our Tibetan culture and language. Tibetans are compelled to learn Chinese in schools. Without knowledge of Chinese, Tibetans in Tibet are unable to find good jobs," he said. Expressing gratitude to the Indian government, the Dalai Lama said: "Since the time of (Jawaharlal) Nehru, the Indian government has been extremely kind and helpful to the Tibetan people." "Here in Ladakh, Bakula Rinpoche and Sonam Norbu fostered a special friendship between Tibetans and Ladakhis. We are very grateful to have been able to establish our schools and settlements here and I would like to thank you." He said the Tibetans have no freedom inside Tibet, where Tibetan culture and religion are endangered. "However, here in India, Tibetans as well as the people of the Himalayan regions, from Ladakh up to Mon, have the freedom and opportunity to preserve our Buddhist traditions and their related culture." Asking the Tibetans in exile to remain united, he said: "We must all make efforts in this regard. History will remember our efforts." The Dalai Lama has lived in exile in India since fleeing Tibet during a failed uprising in 1959.