This year’s Glastonbury Festival is welcoming His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Sunday 28 June to give a talk to festival goers in the Green Fields area of Glastonbury site on Sunday, before travelling to Aldershot in Hampshire, where he will open a Buddhist community centre.
The Tibetan spiritual leader is a guest of the Festival as part of a four day UK visit. The key themes throughout the visit will be the promotion of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s message of compassion, non-violence and the oneness of humanity.
The visit is not however, without controversy.
China have expressed disapproval and Lu Kang, a foreign ministry spokesman, told a daily news briefing that he was not aware of the details of what the Dalai Lama was doing at the festival. He said, however, that “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.”
Tibetan-exile media reported on Friday that China has arrested a Tibetan man for sharing a picture of the Dalai Lama and the banned Tibetan national flag on the messaging app WeChat.
Since the 1950’s China has been engaged in what they call ‘incorporation of Tibet into the People’s Republic of China, the process by which the People’s Republic of China (PRC) gained control of the area comprising the present-day Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).
In 1959, the Dalai Lama and many other Tibetans fled Tibet and both he and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) government in Tibet subsequently repudiated the 17 Point Agreement and the PRC government in Tibet dissolved the Tibetan Local Government.
India designated land for the refugees in the mountainous region of Dharamsala, India, where the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government-in-exile are now based.
The visit will also be marked by protests by the International Shugden Community (ISC), which claims the Dalai Lama is involved in the persecution of Shugden Buddhists in Tibetan exile.
Shugden Buddhists say they have been mistreated in Tibetan exile communities because the Dalai Lama has banned them from worshipping the fierce spirit known as Dolgyal or Shugden and claim that he has had escaped media scrutiny because of his “cult celebrity status.”