When the United Nations convened a Millennium World Peace Summit of religious leaders at its headquarters in 2000, one major religious figure was conspicuous by his absence. The Dalai Lama, the spiritual and political leader of Tibetan Buddhism, had not been asked to come. The implacable hostility of a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China, has made it impossible for him to set foot in a UN building anywhere, or to be received by any official of the UN, let alone its Secretary-General. Where millions see a revered seeker of peace and an admired advocate of love and reconciliation, the Government in Beijing sees only a “splittist,” a secessionist rebel who threatens Chinese sovereignty over his homeland.
This dichotomy has always been inherent in the role of the Dalai Lama. He is simultaneously the most visible spiritual leader of a worldwide community of believers, and (till a few years ago) the political head of a government in exile. As a Buddhist, he preaches non-attachment, self-realization, inner actualization and non-violence; as a Tibetan, he is looked up to by a people fiercely attached to their homeland, most seeking its independence from China, many determined to fight for it. [Source]