CAPE TOWN – China is built on lies and its officials are hypocrites, the Dalai Lama said today, speaking via videophone after visa problems prevented him from joining Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s birthday celebrations in South Africa.
“Some Chinese officials describe me as a demon,” the Tibetan spiritual leader said to loud applause as he put his index fingers either side of his head to mimic devil’s horns.
“In reality, for the communist totalitarian system … hypocrisy (and) telling lies has unfortunately become part of their lives.” He said the Chinese government was “uncomfortable” with people who tell the truth, adding that honest people live longer and he would like to attend Tutu’s 90th birthday.
“At that time, don’t forget to send me an invitation … then we can test your government,” he said to Tutu in an apparent reference to his visa debacle with South African authorities. The government’s failure to allow the Dalai Lama into the country has been seen as bowing to pressure from China, South Africa’s largest trading partner that pledged to invest $2.5 billion in Africa’s largest economy last week. The 80-year old Tutu retired about a year ago from most public duties but has remained a prominent figure and is still seen as a voice of integrity.