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Dalai Lama to speak at Glastonbury; China issues warning

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The Dalai Lama will address revellers at the Glastonbury music festival in Britain on Sunday (June 28) with a message of “compassion, non-violence and the oneness of humanity", his office said Thursday.

“The key themes throughout this visit will be the promotion of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s message of compassion, non-violence and the oneness of humanity,” the organisers of the trip said.

The visit to Britain comes ahead of the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday on July 6, which he marked last Sunday with prayers and celebrations in his hometown in exile.

The Tibetan spiritual leader will also speak to supporters in the British army base town of Aldershot, which is also in southern England, at the invitation of the Buddhist Community Centre UK (BCCUK).

Aldershot has a large Nepalese Buddhist community made up mainly of serving and retired Gurkha soldiers who serve in the British army and have been deployed to aid their homeland after a devastating earthquake.

Beijing hit out at the organisers of the festival for inviting the Dalai Lama, saying they were offering him a platform for what China calls his “separatist activities”.

China, which accuses the Tibetan spiritual leader and non-violence advocate of using “spiritual terrorism” to seek independence for the territory, denounced the invitation.

“We oppose any organisation using any means to offer a platform for the Dalai Lama to conduct anti-China separatist activities,” foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said when asked about the festival invitation at a regular briefing.

Around 135,000 paying ticketholders are expected to attend the five-day Glastonbury gathering, which began in 1970 and is one of the world’s biggest music festivals. - AFP