China on Friday warned organisers of the Glastonbury Festival that inviting exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama to visit one of Europe’s largest music festivals was tantamount to giving him a platform to engage in anti-China activities.
The office of the Dalai Lama said on Thursday that the Dalai Lama would speak at the Glastonbury Festival during his trip to Britain next week. He is not due to meet any officials.
The Dalai Lama is also going to Britain again in September, just ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s trip to the country in October. Xi’s state visit is the first to Britain in a decade by a Chinese head of state.
Beijing denounces the Dalai Lama as a dangerous separatist who wants an independent Tibet. He denies espousing violence and says he only wants genuine autonomy for his Himalayan homeland.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a daily news briefing that he was not aware of the details of what the Dalai Lama was doing at the Glastonbury Festival.
Lu said, however, that China’s position on the “international scuttling about of the 14th Dalai Lama to serve his political aims” is consistent.
“China resolutely opposes any country, organisation, body or individual giving any kind of platform to the 14th Dalai Lama to engage in anti-China splittist activities,” Lu said.
China routinely denounces any country that hosts the Dalai Lama. In 2012, British Prime Minister David Cameron had to put his trip to China on hold after Beijing took offence at him holding a meeting with the Dalai Lama.
China has ruled Tibet with an iron fist since troops invaded, or as China puts it, “peacefully liberated” the region in 1950. The Dalai Lama fled into exile in India in 1959 after an abortive uprising against Chinese rule.
Representatives of the Nobel Peace laureate held rounds of talks with China until 2010, but formal dialogue has stalled amid leadership changes in Beijing and a crackdown in Tibet.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard, Writing by Sui-Lee Wee; Editing by Nick Macfie)