Dalai Lama kicks off tour of Britain
Dalai Lama begins a spiritual tour of Britain.
LONDON - The Dalai Lama began a spiritual tour of Britain on Friday which is set to include an unlikely appearance at a youth event with comedian Russell Brand.
The Tibetan spiritual leader kicked off his eight-day trip in Manchester, northwest England, and is also due to visit the northern city of Leeds, the Scottish capital Edinburgh, and London.
He will address thousands of young people at an event in Manchester on Saturday, delivering a message about the need to foster peace and dialogue. Brand, who has previously battled drug addiction, will be compering the
event, entitled "Stand Up and Be The Change".
On Friday, the Dalai Lama will attend an international business convention in Leeds to talk about ethics in commerce. The BBC reported that the event prompted China to threaten to pull its athletes out of an Olympics training camp in Leeds where some 220 Chinese athletes, coaches and staff are due to be staying from early
The Dalai Lama brushed off the threat. "That is always happening, that is almost like routine," he said in Manchester. He said he was "very happy once more" to be in England and spoke of his "close relations" with the country where he wants to use his tour to promote tolerance and forgiveness.
The trip comes only a month after the 76-year-old Buddhist leader's visit to London to collect the £1.1 million ($1.7 million, 1.4 million euro) Templeton Prize, which he said he would donate to charity. During that visit the Nobel Peace Laureate met British Prime Minister David Cameron, sparking anger from China, whose top legislator Wu Bangguo cancelled a visit to Britain in protest.
The Tibetan leader, who fled his homeland for India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule, announced last year that he was giving up his political role to focus on spiritual duties. Despite his calls for autonomy rather than independence for Tibet, Beijing has repeatedly accused him of trying to split Tibet from the rest of China and has stepped up pressure on world leaders not to meet him.