'Suck one’s tongue' absolutely not custom of Xizang; Dalai's 'amicable image false'
Published: Apr 11, 2023 04:12 PM
Photo: Screenshot

Photo: Screenshot

The Dalai Lama has sparked huge public uproar after video of him kissing a boy on the lips and then asking the boy to "suck my tongue" at an event in northern India went viral and drew wide criticism, with many netizens condemning the action as inappropriate. Experts said that sticking out one's tongue at others could be a traditional way to greet people in Xizang region (Tibet) of China, but asking people to suck one's tongue is by no means an accepted form of etiquette.

The incident, which reportedly took place in late February at a temple in Dharamshala. 

The Dalai Lama later apologized. In a statement Monday, the office for the Dalai Lama said he "regrets" the incident and he "wishes to apologize to the boy and his family, as well as his many friends across the world, for the hurt his words may have caused." 

In a video that has gone viral, the boy approached a microphone at the event and asked the Dalai Lama: "Can I hug you?"

The Dalai Lama told the boy to come up to the platform where he was seated. Motioning to his cheek, he is heard saying "first here", after which the child kissed him and gave him a hug.

The Dalai Lama kept hold of the boy, saying "I think here also" and then planted a kiss on his lips. "And suck my tongue," the Dalai Lama then said, sticking out his tongue, forehead to forehead with the boy.

As the video spread across the internet, Dalai's act was widely condemned by many netizens, saying it "inappropriate", "scandalous" and "disgusting."

"His Holiness often teases people he meets in an innocent and playful way, even in public and before cameras," the statement said.

Some Western media tried to downplay the vulgarity of such an act of the Dalai Lama. Citing the Institute of East Asian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, CNN reported that sticking out one's tongue is a sign of respect or agreement and was often used as a greeting in traditional Tibetan culture.

Hu Zhiyong, a research fellow at the Institute of International Relations at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, pointed out that asking others to suck their tongues to show politeness is by no means a custom in Xizang, and that such rhetoric is essentially an attempt to cover up the Dalai Lama's hideous behavior. The Dalai Lama has been trying to present himself as a figure close to the people, but the purpose is to maintain his influence and ultimately achieve the goal of splitting the country, experts warned. 

According to CNN, in response to the incident, a Delhi-based child rights group, Haq: Center for Child Rights condemns "all forms of child abuse." It added: "Some news refers to Tibetan culture about showing tongue, but this video is certainly not about any cultural expression and even if it is, such cultural expressions are not acceptable."

"How kissing an underage boy is 'playful?' That's gross and the Dalai Lama should be accused of pedophilia. There are no valid excuses to do that to any kid in the world, no matter 'the culture' or religion," a netizen using the handle 'UnTalFredo' said on Twitter.

The Dalai clique has long engaged in secessionist attempts, with reported support of CIA, aiming at separating Xizang from China.

Global Times