The video footage of His Holiness the Dalai Lama kissing a boy, which went viral in April, was greatly sensationalized by certain sections of the media. Unfortunately, many commented hastily, which further created a lot of misunderstanding and misinterpretation.
President (Sikyong) Penpa Tsering and the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile of the Central Tibetan Administration, and many authorized representatives from monastic, bureaucrat, and civil society have issued statements and clarifications on the incident. Some thirty-five imminent academic scholars of Tibetan studies have also issued a statement denouncing the aspersions cast on His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Starting from Ladakhis, Arunachalis, and Tibetans, people around the world protested the way some sections of the media misinterpreted and questioned His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s integrity. As a Tibetan bureaucrat working closely with the Administration, let me further share this explanation along with links to the videos and the clarifications that came thereafter.
The short video, which went viral initially, was manipulated and concocted by a party with a vested interest to malign and defame His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The actual event happened in February, but the purported video came only in the first week of April. It spread widely in Tibet and China, so we know who is behind this despicable and nefarious act. Tibetans in Tibet and Chinese devotees in China, who were not allowed to keep Dalai Lama’s photo and denied any opportunity to see and hear His Holiness all these years, were delighted and were happy to see him fine and healthy. Far from what the CCP agents hoped, it had the opposite effect.
Mr. Jigme Ugen, a Tibetan living in the U.S., explains how the incident happened with the full footage of the video and the hidden hand of China sensationalizing the Dalai Lama’s innocent interaction with the child. It came out later as another Chinese conspiracy to vilify His Holiness the Dalai Lama and undermine the Tibetan struggle for freedom and justice in their homeland.
We could never doubt the sanctity and compassion of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who is the icon of peace and non-violence. For Tibetans and Himalayan Buddhists around the world, he is the manifestation of Avaloketishvara, the Buddha of compassion and patron deity of Tibet. Hasty and salacious disrespectful comments, especially by media and film stars, are unfortunate and blasphemous.
For those who had seen only the cut-piece manipulated video and the vicious comments, they should watch the full footage of the video to see in what context His Holiness had kissed the boy. It is also good to hear what the boy and his mother had said just after the incident. We all must remember that it all happened before many people, before live video cameras, and before the parents of the boy. We must also understand His Holiness and His innocent jovial nature before making any unilateral judgment.
It is equally important to understand Tibetan culture before making any comments. Here is the explanation of what “eating tongue” means in Tibetan family culture. It is widely shared on social media.
“Eat my tongue, the Tibetan phrase “Che Le Sa”- a key point missing: In Tibetan culture, it is common to see the old grandparents not only give a pop kiss to the small children but also give a small candy or piece of food to children from their mouths – directly mouth to mouth. This may not be the norm in (your) other culture, but this is commonly done. After the elder gives a pop kiss and a candy, since there is nothing left in their mouth, nothing left to give, they will say the phrase “OK, now `eat my tongue` (not `suck, ` as His Holiness misspoke due to his less proficient English). The Tibetan phrase is `Che le sa`. They say “I`ve given you all my love and the candy so that`s it – all that`s left to do is eat my tongue.” And it is a playful thing that the children know. This is not really done in the Lhasa region (capital of Tibet) so much, but it is more common in the Amdo region (where HH is from). However, it is definitely a Tibetan custom.”
With the brutal invasion of Tibet in 1950, China did everything since then to legitimize its occupation of Tibet and Sinicize Tibet. But the Tibetans never gave up, Tibetans` spirit of freedom and their identity remained strong and unvanquished. The sole reason for this Tibetan unity and strength is the leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Now with this fake and purported cut-piece video, the CCP regime is attacking the core of Tibetan faith and identity by trying to malign His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and jeopardize the Tibet movement.
Another reason for the CCP to come up with this despicable ploy is that on March 8 His Holiness recognized a boy as the 10th Jetsun Dhampa Huthukthuk, one of the highest Mongolian Buddhist lamas, at a religious function in Dharamshala, India. Around 600 Mongolians and many Tibetans attended the sacred function. Mongols and Tibetans have a deep historical, religious, and cultural relationship. In fact, the 9th Jetsun Dhampa Huthukthuk escaped China and sought refuge in India along with the Tibetans.
Despite Article 36 of the Chinese Constitution proclaiming religious and cultural rights to the minority nationals, the CCP regime had denied the Tibetans, Uyghur, Southern Mongolians, Falungong practitioners, and Christians the right to practice their faiths and religions. More than 6000 monasteries were destroyed in Tibet since the Chinese occupation of Tibet. Even now, the destruction of monasteries and religious monuments is going on in places like Larungar, Yachengar, and Drago in Tibet. Larungar and Yachengar were known as Buddhist teaching centers where both Tibetans and Chinese practiced together peacefully under Tibetan masters. The CCP leadership found this close association of Tibetans and Chinese as a threat to the regime and closed the centers and forcefully dispersed the practitioners to their respective places. We could well see who is the separatist.
The CCP leadership, who does not believe in religion, promulgated the Religious order no. 5 in 2007 to assert absolute authority to select and appoint reincarnation of Tibetan and Mongolian lamas. When His Holiness the Dalai Lama recognized a boy as the reincarnation of the 9th Jetsun Dhampa Huthukutu Rinpoche of Mongolia, China felt insulted and eclipsed. Its rage and fury burst out to attack and undermine the integrity of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The despotic communist regime could not bear to see the growing influence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. They also could not tolerate the close and ancient religious and cultural ties between Mongols and Tibetans being revived and coming alive. The communist leadership sees these developments as a serious threat to the existence of the CCP regime. Here also we must note who is the separatist.
We all must take into account the above facts to see who is behind this viral video and what is their ultimate object. Tibetans, Mongols, Chinese, people along the Himalayan borders, and the international community revere and hold His Holiness in the highest esteem and this keeps them united and strong. The CCP’s ultimate objective is to attack and destroy this common icon of faith and respect and create division among the followers. This is what the fake viral video is all about. Proper understanding of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s teachings and his contribution toward world peace and his message of non-violence is very important. Hasty and impulsive comments will only land us playing into the enemy’s hand and only benefit the one who wants to divide us. Let us all, therefore, not fall into the trap of the CCP`s false and fake news.
*Dr. Tsewang Gyalpo Arya is the former Director of the Tibet Policy Institute of the Central Tibetan Administration. He is currently the Representative of the Liaison Office of H.H. the Dalai Lama for Japan and East Asia. Disclaimer: Views expressed here are his own.
Reference: Please study the links below to the get full picture:
- Another Chinese conspiracy against the Dalai Lama foiled, again (ibtimes.sg)
- It was amazing meeting His Holiness! | By Tibet House Japan | Facebook
- Part 1: Stop Sensationalizing the Dalai Lama’s Innocent Interactions | A Tibetan’s Perspective. – YouTube
- Part 2: Stop Sensationalizing the Dalai Lama’s Innocent Interactions | A Tibetan’s Perspective – YouTube