The Executive head of the Central Tibetan Administration, Sikyong Penpa Tsering, has defended His Holiness the Dalai Lama's recent controversial video, in which the spiritual leader was seen asking a young boy to kiss him on his lips and tongue. Mr Tsering stated that His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s actions were “innocent” and “affectionate” and had been misinterpreted. He also suggested that the video's viral spread on social media was due to "pro-Chinese sources" and has a political angle that cannot be ignored.
The video, which went viral earlier this month, has been viewed over a million times on Twitter, and has sparked international criticism, with some human rights activists claiming the Dalai Lama's actions amount to child abuse. However, the spiritual leader’s office has since apologized for the incident, stating that the Dalai Lama "regrets the incident" and wanted to apologize to the child and his family "for the hurt his words may have caused."
Mr Tsering insisted that the controversy surrounding the video is unfounded and has hurt the sentiments of the Dalai Lama's followers. He emphasized that the spiritual leader has always lived a life of "sanctity and celibacy" and has been beyond the sensorial pleasures for many years of spiritual practice.
Dr. Lobsang Sangay, the former President of the Central Tibetan Administration, shared a 10-minute video on Wednesday, where he called the spiritual leader a "playful and pure" person. He also questioned why the news was going viral now when the incident happened in February 28, 2023. Sangay gave several anecdotes of the times when the Dalai Lama was not politically correct, including his interaction with former US President Barack Obama.
The Tibetan leader highlighted the cultural differences between Tibetan society and Western society, saying that Tibetans would say that the boy is lucky to receive a hug and a kiss from His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Sangay then called out American rapper Cardi B, who accused the Dalai Lama of abusing his power. Sangay asserted that the spiritual leader never used his personal popularity and influence for any personal gain. He also urged the mainstream media to focus on the plight of Tibetan children who are forcefully removed from their homes and sent to boarding schools to learn Chinese.
A former Tibetan Parliamentarian, Lobsang Yeshi, has accused pro-Chinese sponsored cyber armies of rigging and editing a video that purportedly shows the Dalai Lama kissing a young Indian boy and asking him to suck his tongue at a public event. Lobsang Yeshi stated that the video was a vicious Chinese conspiracy to tarnish the reputation of the world’s most popular peace icon.
A fake Twitter account, ‘Yin Sun@NiSiv4’, uploaded the video on April 8th, and the same account later tweeted about how it had ruined the Dalai Lama's reputation forever. The video was then extensively circulated on Chinese social media by CCP government agencies before being picked up by some popular Indian mainstream news channels. The video was then further propagated by almost every national and international media group, breaching every code of ethics for journalism.
The Tibetan Parliament in Exile has released a statement highlighting the role of His Holiness the Dalai Lama as a champion of world peace, protector, and guiding light to the Tibetan people. According to the statement, His Holiness has dedicated his life to carrying out four principal commitments for the benefit of humanity, including promoting human values as the basis of happiness for everyone, education in secular ethics, and granting audiences to people from different religions, occupations, races, and heritage.
The statement also highlights His Holiness' compassion and informal mannerisms, which have endeared him to people across the world. Despite being the subject of vilification by the communist Chinese government, the statement emphasizes that the truth about His Holiness and the Central Tibetan Administration should be understood and misconceptions dispelled.
The statement expresses concern over the misinterpretation of a recent incident involving His Holiness and calls on people to pay close attention to all aspects of the issue to counter misinformation effectively.
The statement concludes with an ardent prayer for His Holiness to continue adhering to his commitment to carrying out noble deeds based on living a long life, for the happiness and wellbeing of sentient beings as well as for the sake of the Buddha dharma and sentient beings.
Edited and collated by Team TRC