The Dalai Lama is a Tibetan religious leader. A Buddhist, the Dalai Lama was one of the few religious leaders to be a ruler of a nation. He was enthroned on 1951 as the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet but a year later the communist Chinese toppled his government and China consumed the nation of Tibet and the Dalai Lama fled into exile where he has remained ever since, drawing attention to the oppression of Tibet. His exile has been longer that Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment or Aung Sun Suu Kyi’s house arrest.
Tibetan Buddhists think that the Dalai Lama is the reincarnation of all previous 13 Dalai Lamas. Some think he is a saint. Some celebrities think it a good idea to claim to be his mate. He falls into that category of wonderful people that everyone thinks wonderful – except the government of China. China is in military occupation of Tibet, and has been since 1951. The Dalai Lama wants Tibet to be free, just as Nelson Mandela wanted South Africa to be free and Aung Sun Suu Kyi wants Burma to be free. There is one very important difference between the Dalai Lama and types like Nelson Mandela and Aung Sun Suu Kyi; if you honour the Dalai Lama China will punish you.
We have all see how politicians almost fell over their feet to meet and support Nelson Mandela in his bid for freedom for the people of colour of South Africa. Aung Sun Suu Kyi has reached a similar status and risks being hurt in the rush of politicians who want to be photographed with her. They do not act likewise in the case of the Dalai Lama’s and his bid for freedom of people of religion of Tibet because If they do, China will “punish” them.
There are many cases of this. In 2010 the Nobel Peace prize was awarded to Liu Xiaobo, and as a result China punished Norway for this by blocking Norwegian salmon imports. Instead China took Scottish salmon.
The present leader of Scotland, is Mr Alex Salmond a man who claims high principles and espouses the cause of Scottish freedom. However his principles are not so high that he would meet the Dalai Lama for fear of offending China, who may have decided, if Mr Salmond honoured the Dalai Lama, that it is time for Scotland to be punished for having the temerity to honour a religious leader who espouses the cause of religious freedom.
If Nelson Mandela had visited Scotland last week Mr Salmond would have undoubtedly met him. If Aung San Suu Kyi had been in Glasgow Mr Salmond would have been there to support her. However when the Dalai Lama turned up Mr Salmond and his colleagues were nowhere to be seen, scared of being economically punished by China. Apparently the tariff for honouring the Dalai Lama is to have some trade cut off for a year. Having just gained Norway’s salmon trade as a result of Norway being punished, Mr Salmond was not going to risk the beneficiaries of that punishment, the Scottish salmon trade, losing their reward for Norway’s punishment however highly he valued freedom.
The Dalai Lama has now left the United Kingdom and all senior politicians in government are breathing a sigh of relief. His struggle has been as important as that of Nelson Mandela and Aung Sun Suu Kyi but he is not been invited to address Parliament or been honoured at all. Obviously martyred leaders are only worthy of honouring when there are no economic repercussions from supporting the cause of freedom.