John Oliver & Dalai Lama Upset China
March 9, 2017
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The Jakarta Post reports that “Last Week Tonight” show host John Oliver’s interview with the Dalai Lama pissed off China. China’s foreign ministry said the exiled Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader had appeared “deceptive” on the HBO show where he criticized some Chinese leaders as small minded and mocked Beijing’s portrayal of him as “a demon.”
The Dalai Lama’s comments about the contested issue of his reincarnation “appear to be funny and humorous but they’re all lies,” ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters at a regularly scheduled news conference. He dismissed the show that aired Sunday night in the U.S. as merely intended for entertainment purposes.
During the interview conducted at the Dalai Lama’s residence in India’s northern hill town of Dharmsala, Oliver asked the Dalai Lama if he was worried about the Chinese authorities naming his successor. The Dalai Lama did not answer the question directly but told Oliver that Chinese hard-liners lacked common sense and “in their brains that part of the brain is missing.”
“I’m happy to sit here to criticize China with you, because the consequences for me are not necessarily as bad as they are for you,” Oliver said. “They describe me as a demon,” the Dalai Lama said, referring to Beijing’s officials. “Then I immediately (say) I am a demon with horns,” he said, sticking his fingers up on either side of his head to laughter from Oliver and his audience.
“Whatever they want they want to say, that’s their opinion. I have no negative feelings. I just feel a laugh, like that,” he added. “I practice taking others anger, suspicion, distrust and give them patience, tolerance and compassion. I practice that.”
When Oliver asked the Dalai Lama if he might be the last reincarnation ever, he replied that it’s “very possible,” but added with a grin that this might not be such a terrible thing, since he’s “very intelligent,” after all.