BEIJING, June 27 — Beijing yesterday hit out at the organisers of Britain’s Glastonbury music festival for inviting the Dalai Lama, saying they were offering him a platform for what China calls his “separatist activities”.
The Tibetan spiritual leader will address revellers at the festival with a message of “compassion, non-violence and the oneness of humanity”, his office said Thursday.
Emily Eavis, organiser of the five-day gathering, said in a statement: “We’re honoured to welcome the Dalai Lama to Glastonbury 2015.”
China, which accuses the Tibetan spiritual leader and non-violence advocate of using “spiritual terrorism” to seek independence for the territory, denounced the invitation.
“We oppose any organisation using any means to offer a platform for the Dalai Lama to conduct anti-China separatist activities,” foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said when asked about the festival invitation at a regular briefing.
Around 135,000 paying ticketholders are expected to attend the five-day Glastonbury gathering, which began in 1970 and is one of the world’s biggest music festivals.
The Tibetan spiritual leader will also speak to supporters in the British army base town of Aldershot, at the invitation of the Buddhist Community Centre UK (BCCUK).
The Dalai Lama says he supports “meaningful autonomy” for Tibet rather than outright independence, but Beijing often denounces officials who meet him.
British Prime Minister David Cameron’s meeting with the spiritual leader in 2012 led to a diplomatic backlash from Beijing.
The 14th Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule and has lived in exile in India ever since.
Many Tibetans accuse China of religious and cultural repression. Beijing denies such claims and says its has bought development to the region.
More than 140 ethnic Tibetans have set themselves on fire since 2009 in protest at Beijing’s rule, according to overseas media.
Most of them have died. — AFP