‘Exhausted’ Dalai Lama forced to cancel Botswana visit
Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader thanks ‘principled’ southern African nation for resisting pressure from Beijing to cancel his tour
The Dalai Lama is cancelling his planned visit to Botswana “due to exhaustion”.
A statement on the website of the Tibetan spiritual leader said he had written to the president of the southern African nation expressing “profound regret.” The 82-year-old had been expected to visit on Tuesday.
China’s government, which has been known to pressure countries not to host the Dalai Lama, had warned against the Botswana visit.
The Dalai Lama’s statement thanked Botswana’s president and government “for their unwavering principled stand to welcome him to their country, despite overwhelming pressure not to do so”.
Neighbouring South Africa in the past has denied the Dalai Lama a visa to visit.
Beijing accuses the Dalai Lama of seeking to separate Tibet from China, which he denies. He fled from Tibet after a failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule.
China does not recognise the Tibetan government-in-exile and has not held any dialogue with the representatives of the Dalai Lama since 2010.
The Tibetan leader’s statement also said that “during the past few weeks, His Holiness has found that carrying out his activities has left him unusually tired”. It added that doctors have warned against long journeys.
The Dalai Lama has made similar statements in recent years.