In a video link with Cape Town on Desmond Tutu’s 80th birthday, the Buddhist spiritual leader uses irony as a weapon. “Some Chinese officials describe me as a demon so naturally some fear... the demon,” he said miming horns on his head with his fingers. Speaking about South Africa’s refusal to grant him a visa, he said that such an attitude is immoral, born out of fear of China.
Dharamsala (AsiaNews) – The Dalai Lama chose irony as his weapon of choice to respond to Chinese government criticism and underscore the latter’s “hypocrisy” and obsession with censorship. The Buddhist leader, in a video link with Cape Town (South Africa) for the 80th anniversary of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, commented South Africa’s refusal to grant him an entry visa with a joke. "Some Chinese officials describe me as a demon so naturally some fear . . . the demon," he said.
The Nobel Prize laureate was supposed to be the guest of honour at the archbishop’s birthday. Along with Nelson Mandela, the latter played a leading role in the anti-apartheid struggle. However, the government of President Jacob Zuma has refused to grant the Dalai Lama a visa. China is South Africa’s main trading partner.
Archbishop Tutu launched a stinging criticism on South Africa saying it was "worse than the apartheid government" for failing to issue the visa in order to protect the country’s commercial interests. He warned the ruling party that if it did not thread carefully, it would end up like the apartheid regime.
With an empty chair, the two Nobel Prize laureates spoke for about an hour, despite being thousands of kilometres from one another.
At one point during the live video link
, the Tibetan spiritual leader responded to the charges levelled against him by the Chinese government.
To his friend and spiritual brother, he said, “Some Chinese officials describe me as a demon so naturally some fear about the demon," he told Tutu. “First I'm hurt... (Now) I feel [like] laughing, so I immediately respond yes I have horns," he added, miming horns on his head with his fingers.
Next, on a more serious note, he said, “In reality, for the communist totalitarian system . . . hypocrisy (and) telling lies has unfortunately become part of their lives." For him, this attitude and censorship are “immoral” and wrong.
South Africa’s refusal to grant him a visa stems from them. However, in the end, the truth cannot be bought.