Dalai Lama cancels Botswana visit because of 'exhaustion'

Claudine Rigal
Août 12, 2017

A message published on the website of his office stated: "The Dalai Lama has written today to both His Excellency Ian Khama, President of the Republic of Botswana, and Dr Susan Bauer-Wu, President of Mind & Life Institute, expressing profound regret at having to cancel his impending visit to Botswana due to exhaustion".

The cancellation follows agitation by China which has warned Botswana against hosting the 82-year-old exiled leader.

The Dalai Lama, who is alleged by the Chinese to be a separatist, was invited to address a three-day human rights conference at Gaborone in Botswana on August 17 and was scheduled to meet Botswana's President.

"His Holiness acknowledges that his 82-year-old body must rest".

The Tibetan leader's statement also says that "during the past few weeks, His Holiness has found that carrying out his activities has left him unusually exhausted".

The Dalai Lama, who fled from Tibet into exile in India in 1959 following a failed uprising against Chinese rule, has always been at loggerheads with China, which sent its troops into Tibet in 1950.

China has strong ties with African countries including Botswana.

Neighboring South Africa in the past has denied the Dalai Lama a visa to visit. It consistently condemns other countries which let him visit. Although the Dalai Lama says that he does not advocate for Tibetan independence but wants an autonomy that would allow Tibetans to look after their own affairs under China's rule, China remains unconvinced.

The announcement of his visit by the Botswana presidency was followed by a warning from China which said it will "certainly not tolerate another country doing anything that harms China's core interests". In Botswana it has helped build power plants, road networks, bridges and schools.

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