'For now, Dalai Lama's Hong Kong visit not possible'
Quelling the speculations sparked by a report carried by a Chinese newspaper that the Dalai Lama might visit Hong Kong in September on the invitation of his disciples, the spiritual leader's private office at Dharamsala clarified that there was no such plan to tour the special administrative region under the control of People's Republic of China.Updated: Jun 05, 2013, 22:07 IST
Quelling the speculations sparked by a report carried by a Chinese newspaper that the Dalai Lama might visit Hong Kong in September on the invitation of his disciples, the spiritual leader's private office at Dharamsala clarified that there was no such plan to tour the special administrative region under the control of People's Republic of China.
“Yes, it is true that the Private Office received the letter and our concerned staff had immediately replied saying that His Holiness' visit would not be possible for the time being,” Nagpa Tsegyam, secretary at the Dalai Lama's private office told a Tibetan radio service.
“His Holiness has no scheduled plans of visiting Hong Kong in the near future,” he said, adding that there was a lengthy process involved in organising spiritual leader's visit and required detailed planning.
Tsegyam added that the Dalai Lama meets many devotees from mainland China and many followers from Hong Kong had extended invitations to him.
“When invited to visit Hong Kong, His Holiness has repeatedly said that if the Chinese government allows, he is most willing to visit,” the senior official said. He noted that the 77-year-old spiritual leader follows a pre-planned schedule and will be visiting Europe this September.
The Chinese newspaper, South China Morning Post, on Monday had carried a report on an invitation to the Tibetan spiritual leader by a Hong Kong based religious group.
Philip Li Koi-hop, chairman of the Hong Kong Tibetan and Han-Chinese Friendship Association had reportedly sent the invitation to the Dalai Lama to visit the city.
According to the report, Li had applied to the immigration department to allow the spiritual leader to visit the city, but the department has given no response except that it processes all applications according to the law and current immigration policy.
"Once I asked him if he wanted to come to Hong Kong. He answered 'Yes', and said a university professor of the region had invited him earlier also. But the Hong Kong government rejected the visit," Li was quoted as saying.
Li said that if the exiled leader was allowed to enter Hong Kong, his visit would represent significant progress in easing tensions with Beijing.