On February 28, the Dalai Lama was asked by an Indian boy, who was accompanied by his mother and other family members, at a public and live broadcasted event in Dharamsala, India for a hug. The video of this interaction is accessible in the public domain until today.
Almost a month later, a shortened clip of this event appeared on certain social media channels that focused on the Dalai Lama’s interaction with the boy without reporting the context. Many people have reacted to this video clip and criticized it as inappropriate and hurtful. News media followed with reports of their own.
The Dalai Lama apologized to the boy, his family and the public on April 10. The Dalai Lama’s statement, released by his office, can be viewed here. Based also on our many years of work with the Dalai Lama, we are firmly convinced that the Dalai Lama never had any ulterior motives when interacting with the boy.
The International Campaign for Tibet greatly respects the 87-year-old Nobel Peace Prize Laureate’s lifelong and tireless commitment to peace, tolerance and nonviolence, with regard to the Tibetan people and around the world. As a nongovernmental organization, we support him and the Tibetans to the best of our ability.
We work internationally, politically and publicly, above all for the observance of human rights in Tibet and the right of all Tibetans to self-determination. Our work is based on the universality of human rights.
In this context, we would like to draw attention to the fate of millions of Tibetans under Chinese rule: For more than 70 years, Tibetans have been systematically persecuted, tortured, killed, imprisoned and forcibly resettled. According to current research and concerns by independent United Nations experts, up to 1 million Tibetan children and young people are being re-educated in Chinese boarding schools in order to alienate them from their own culture.