(TibetanReview.net, Jun28, 2015) – Great Britain has brushed off China’s criticism over the planned appearance by Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, at the Glastonbury Festival, one of Europe’s largest music festivals. “It is a decision for the festival-goers and the Dalai Lama,” Reuters Jun 26 quoted a British government source as saying. Security concerns have also been expressed in view of the planned protests against the visit from the worshippers of a controversial 17th century Tibetan spirit call Dolgyal, also known as Dorje Shugden.
China had warned organisers of the festival that inviting the 1989 Nobel Peace laureate was tantamount to giving him a platform to engage in anti-China activities.
The Chinese warning came after the office of the Dalai Lama said Jun 25 that the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet would speak at the festival during his three-day trip to Britain.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a daily news briefing that China’s position on the “international scuttling about of the 14th Dalai Lama to serve his political aims” was consistent, reported telegraph.co.uk Jun 26. “China resolutely opposes any country, organisation, body or individual giving any kind of platform to the 14th Dalai Lama to engage in anti-China splittist activities,” Lu was quoted as saying.
However, the Dalai Lama’s visit was welcomed by Emily Eavis, daughter of Mike, who founded the festival on his farm in Somerset. “We’re honoured to welcome the Dalai Lama to Glastonbury 2015,” the report quoted her as saying. “He will be talking in the Green Fields and exploring the farm this Sunday as part of his trip to the UK. What a special moment for the Festival!”
The Dalai Lama is not scheduled to meet any government officials, especially because Chinese President Xi Jinping is due for a state visit in October later this year.
The Dalai Lama’s visit has, however, raised security concerns due to dangers seen as being posed by followers of a controversial 17th century Tibetan spirit called Dolgyal, also known as Gyalchen Shugden. The Dalai Lama has said worshipping such kind of spirit is un-Buddhist and also that the spirit is associated with sectarianism within the Tibetan Buddhist community. However, worshippers of the spirit disagree and accuse the Dalai Lama of having banned its worship.
An alliance of 10 UK Buddhist organisations formally dissociated themselves from the protests, saying they were “very concerned about the protesters’ aggressive, misleading and unethical behaviour”. The alliance said the protesters’ aim was to “destroy the religious and moral authority of His Holiness the Dalai Lama”, adding that “this also suits the Chinese Communist party very well”.
Tim Loughton, a Tory MP and part of the all-party parliamentary group on Tibet, said the Dalai Lama had been afforded no police protection and raised concerns that the spiritual leader’s free speech was being put at risk, reported theguardian.com Jun 26.