Big audience for panel with Dalai Lama despite Beijing protest

March 12, 2016 04:24

The Dalai Lama took part in a panel of Nobel Peace Prize laureates in Geneva on Friday, addressing a full auditorium about Chinese repression in his native Tibet despite Beijing having urged people to shun the event.

China wrote this week to diplomats and UN officials calling on them not to attend the panel at Geneva's Graduate Institute, saying it opposed the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader's appearance at all venues due to his "separatist activities."

"One part of the human brain usually develops common sense. Some of these (Chinese) hardliners, that part of brain is missing," the crimson-robed Dalai Lama, 80, told the audience of students and diplomats.

Earlier he told reporters: "Wherever my name is there they usually criticize and protest. That's quite now routine, normal, nothing special."

China's Foreign Ministry said in statement it had lodged a protest with the United States, which along with Canada had sponsored the event, and that it had expressed its "strong dissatisfaction" with Washington.

The Dalai Lama is not a purely religious figure, but somebody who has engaged in "anti-China separatist activities" for a long period, the ministry said.

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