Dalai Lama pokes fun at China slurs, slams censorship

8th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

The Dalai Lama on Saturday slammed censorship in China as "immoral" and poked fun at denunciations of himself in a video chat with Desmond Tutu after he was not granted a visa in time to travel to South Africa.

The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader's absence was symbolised by an empty chair at the event at the University of the Western Cape where he was meant to deliver an inaugural peace lecture to wrap Tutu's 80th birthday celebrations.

"Some Chinese officials describe me as a demon so naturally some fear about the demon," the Dalai Lama told Tutu via a live video link when asked why the Chinese feared him.

"First I'm hurt. Now I feel nothing, so I immediately just go 'yes I have horns'," he added, miming horns on his head with his fingers.

The furore over the visa overshadowed the run-up to Tutu's birthday with the former anti-apartheid activist launching a virulent attack on President Jacob Zuma's administration for kowtowing to its biggest trade partner China.

The Dalai Lama said "hypocrisy" had unfortunately become part of life in "the communist totalitarian system" and people who spoke truthfully and honestly sparked discomfort.

"I often tell him (Tutu) 1.3 billion Chinese people should have every right to know...reality, then 1.3 billion Chinese people also have the ability to judge what's right, what wrong, so therefore censorship is immoral," he added.

The discussion between the two Nobel Peace Prize laureates who are close friends was filled with banter, after a last ditch attempt by Tutu's office urging the government to grant the Dalai Lama a visa failed.

"As a man of truth, a man of God, please live long," the Dalai Lama told Tutu.

"Your 90th birthday, I'm looking forward to. At that time, don't forget send me an invitation. Then we can test your government."

China has always sought to curb the Dalai Lama's overseas travels, warning host governments that any visit would harm ties, especially if he is met by state officials.

The Tibetan has lived in India since 1959 since fleeing an abortive uprising against Chinese rule.

The talk wrapped up a three-day celebration for Tutu which included a book launch of a new biography and a church service in the cathedral where he fought the white minority regime.

© 2011 AFP

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