China has accused the Dalai Lama of spreading “false information” after he revealed to The Telegraph that Chinese agents had hatched a plot to poison him.
The Tibetan spiritual leader, who is in London today to collect the £1.1 million Templeton Prize at St Paul’s Cathedral, told The Sunday Telegraph in an interview that China had trained Tibetan women to assassinate him while pretending to seek his blessings.
“We received some sort of information from Tibet,” he said. “Some Chinese agents training some Tibetans, especially women, you see, using poison “the hair poisoned, and the scarf poisoned – they were supposed to seek blessing from me, and my hand touch.”
He added that his aides had not been able to confirm the reports.
In its daily press briefing, the Chinese foreign ministry said the allegations were not worth refuting, but that the Dalai Lama often deceived the public.
“The Dalai always wears religious clothes while carrying out anti-China separatist activities in the global community, spreading false information and deceiving the public,” said Hong Lei, a spokesman.
The Global Times, an often stridently nationalistic state-owned newspaper, said that if China wanted to kill the Dalai Lama, it could have done so several times without waiting for him to reach 76 years old.
In a news report, it quoted Lin Xiangmin, a research fellow at China’s Tibetology Research Centre, who said the Dalai Lama was a “master of attracting media”. “I’m afraid that he has overestimated himself this time. It is totally unnecessary for the Chinese government to assassinate him,” Mr Lin added.
Other analysts accused the Dalai Lama of a plan to stir up chaos before this Autumn’s 18th National Congress of the Communist Party, the moment when a new generation of Chinese leaders will be unveiled.
The Templeton Prize is awarded annually to someone who has encouraged common ground between science and religion â ” Mother Teresa was its first recipient â ” and, with its £1.1 million purse, is by some measure the world’s largest prize.
The Dalai Lama will announce how he is to spend the money during the ceremony. The award follows the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize for his commitment to non-violence, and highlights his championing of science as a vital element in religious life.
The Dalai Lama is also planning to tour the UK between June 16 and June 23, in the run-up to the London Olympic games, visiting Manchester, London, Edinburgh, Dundee and Inverness.
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