NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) — The Regional Tibetan Association of Massachusetts organized a solidarity event in front of the Northampton City Hall on Saturday to show support for the Dalai Lama.
Tibetan community members gathered to express support for the spiritual leader after a video surfaced of the Dalai Lama asking a boy to “kiss him on the lips and stuck out his tongue.”
RTAM members say this was a misrepresentation of the phrase ‘che le sa,’ which translates to “eat my tongue.” It is used as a common figure of speech meant to teach children “there is no end to want.”
Supporters say this video clip was manipulated by individuals with political interests and powered by the cyber warfare of the Chinese government.
“It’s a crazy, crazy campaign orchestrated by the CCP in Beijing, by the agents on the digital space. And the Tibetans are coming together to not just protest that, but to protect the Dalai Lama,” expressed Tenzin Dhardon Sharling, a Ph.D. Candidate at UMass.
The footage triggered a backlash online with social media users condemning his behavior as “inappropriate and disturbing.” A statement posted on the Dalai Lama’s official website says the 87-year-old leader regrets the incident.