Dalai Lama is real victim of viral video pushed by China,  Tibetans hurt by insinuations: CTA President 

DHARAMSALA, 14 April: The President of the Central Tibetan Administration(CTA) Penpa Tsering has declared China’s hand behind the resurfacing of the video of Dalai Lama kissing a boy which dates back to February 28 2023.

“Through our investigation and as per prima facie evidence, we found that the initial instigators are pro-Chinese sources,” President Tsering said and urged all the journalists to investigate how this resurfaced again and who is trying to use that.

“The Chinese sources explain the motivation behind making this video clip viral. It needs no explanation as to who will gain from maligning the image, reputation and legacy of the Dalai Lama, he added while speaking on the sidelines of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of South Asia meeting in New Delhi on Thursday.

The political head of the Tibetan people added that “Considering the scale and the extent of the orchestrated smear campaign, the political angle of this incident can not be ignored.”

The whole incident was pursued and interpreted differently. I don’t blame them, people might have a different opinion. They saw it that way because the clip was tailored for that. The clip was tailored for that,” he added.

Declaring the octogenarian Tibetan spiritual leader as the real victim of the incident, he added that “the unfairness of defaming one of the most respected and liked global icons of peace, narrows the scope of due diligence from people who are making a judgement on this.” 

“The boy is not a victim, the mother is not a victim. They are not complaining. The victim here is His Holiness the Dalai Lama,” he said and added that “Please understand that we are hurt by the insinuations.” 

“For the general public who considers or feels this is disturbing we would appreciate it if you could watch and listen to the full video of the event to get a holistic understanding of the whole program including His Holiness’ speech. We are sure you will be able to differentiate between lust and love, that is where we failed.”

The child as well as his mother, both spoke about their interaction with the Dalai Lama.  

The boy described it as a great experience and says in an interview on Radio Free Asia that “You can only feel the positive energy and I just can’t express how good it feels. It was a really good experience meeting him and it is inexpressible how blessed u feel when you are blessed by him.”

While media reports were quick to jump to a conclusion and accused the Dalai Lama of child abuse and paedophile among others, President Tsering said that “His Holiness gave an innocent grandfatherly affectionate demeanour and greeted the boy which was followed by His Holiness’ Joel prank.”

“His Holiness has always lived in the sanctity of an oath-bound Buddhist monk including celibacy,” President Tsering said and added that “Forget about the sensorial pleasures. He does not derive any pleasures from sensory. You always talk about deeper understanding, to redeem oneself from Samsara. So he is beyond the sensorial pleasures,” he added.

The CTA President further said that how can people pass judgement on a single incident that too without knowing the full sequence of the event? 

“I like to ask this question as to who is the real victim in this story? Some say the boy, the family but I find the boy is fine, he had spoken well after the event. The mother was fine, the mother had spoken well after the event. All the 120 students who were there in that inaugural event had no complaints whatsoever I looked through all the interviews by the Tibetan media after the event was over. 

Timothy Grose, an associate professor of China studies at the Indiana-based Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology has also confirmed China’s hand behind the viral video with some viral critical posts coming from China.

He has told Vice that VICE World News that the interaction is being weaponised by sympathisers of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) who believe the Dalai Lama to be a “CIA puppet” and a separatist.

The Tibetan Parliament in exile(TPIE) also issued a statement today declaring that the “CTA and especially, His Holiness the Dalai Lama have been uninterrupted targets of vilification by the communist Chinese government. It is a campaign that the Chinese government has kept on pursuing at all times, and in every possible manner, both domestically and internationally, employing various sorts of media, private individuals and so forth.” 

The Tibetan Parliament further added that China’s “vile policy objective continues to attempt to destroy or otherwise degrade Tibetan society.”

Calling out China for misleading the international community, the statement adds that “We have been deeply hurt and saddened by the misinterpretation.” 

“There is, of course, no way the Chinese government can mislead people in the international community with a sense of discernment and integrity. However, on occasions, when the Chinese government did manage to mislead a few people with their disingenuously false information, people with a sense of integrity both within and outside the community, as well as organizations have continued to provide timely clarifications, for which we offer our compliments.”

The TPIE further underscored the “importance to emphasize that whenever such incidents occur, all should, instead of going astray by following misinformation, pay close attention to all aspects of the issue – outward, inner, as well as hidden – with care, caution and steadiness of purpose to be able to counter them effectively.”

While at it, this is not the first instance of the Chinese government’s attempt to discredit the Dalai Lama. 

Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), a Dharamsala-based rights group stated in its 2022 Annual Report on the human rights situation in Tibet listed China’s “transnational repression” of great concern and said that the “Chinese authorities continue to engage in extraterritorial exercise of power in silencing and abducting human rights defenders, asylum seekers, activists, and critics of the Chinese Communist Party living in foreign countries.”

TCHRD further cited the annual report of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), an agency that advises the US Congress on human rights and rule of law developments in China -released in November 2022- which noted that the “Chinese government has a multi-year campaign of transnational repression against critics, Uygurs, and others to stifle criticism and enhance control over emigrant and diaspora communities.”

The same month, the Freedom House published a major report highlighting the threats posed by transnational repression to human rights and democratic values globally and the need to introduce effective means to protect people vulnerable to transnational repression.

The watchdog stated that “China’s use of transnational repression a threat to people living in at least 36 countries, including current and former pro-democracy activists, Falun Gong practitioners, Tibetans, Mongolians, Hong Kongers, Uyghurs, human rights defenders, journalists, and others who criticise the Chinese Communist Party.”

From April 11 till today, Chinese state-run media, Global Times alone published a total of six commentaries and cartoons to vilify and defame the Dalai Lama. 

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