Dalai Lama says he would like to return to Tibet before he dies

The spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism fled Lhasa during the 1959 uprising. Beijing considers him a "wolf in sheep's clothing". Like Xi Jinping, Donald Trump never asked to meet him.

Dharamshala (AsiaNews/Agencies) – "The Tibetan people have trust in me, they ask me [to] come to Tibet," said the Dalai Lama in an interview with the BBC.

Speaking with the journalist, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism talked about his desire to return to Lhasa before he dies. He was forced to abandon the Potala Palace (his official residence) during the Tibetan uprising against Chinese military rule in 1959.

Since then, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, has found refuge in Dharamshala (India) along with another 10,000 Tibetan Buddhists who live their Himalayan exile in Arunachal Pradesh.

In the interview the Dalai Lama describes India, the country that welcomed him, his "spiritual home". Grateful for the hospitality he received, he notes that one advantage of not being able to return home to Tibet is that India is a free country where he can express himself openly.

Although he has often tried to engage Beijing in dialogue, to safeguard the autonomy of Tibetan religion and culture threatened by a "cultural genocide", the Chinese Communist Party has always branded him a "dangerous” separatist seeking Tibetan independence.

In order to return to Tibet, he gave up his political role in 2011 to remain only as the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism. But the Chinese Communist Party continues to view him as a "wolf in sheep's clothing".

At the age of 84, he enjoys good health, although he needs an assistant to walk. In April, Tibetan Buddhists all over the world were concerned for several days after his sudden hospitalisation in a Delhi hospital for a lung infection.

In addition to going home to Tibet, the Dalai discussed various topics in the BBC interview: Brexit, migrants, a female Dalai Lama woman who should be "more attractive" than a man.

He also voiced strong criticism of US President Donald Trump who, in his view, lacks "moral principle". The slogan (America First) that allowed him to win “is wrong”. The US leader, he noted, like Xi Jinping, never asked to meet him.