Human Rights Institute, SWUPL
In recent days, videos and images of the 14th Dalai Lama kissing a boy's lips and extending his tongue to demand that he suck his tongue have gone viral on various social media platforms, causing extreme discomfort and strong dissatisfaction among many human rights organizations, media, netizens, and public figures worldwide. This has sparked discussions among netizens from many countries on issues such as sexual harassment, pedophilia, and other violations of children's rights.
On March 8, 2023, at the 52nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council held in Geneva, the representatives participating in the meeting had an interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the "sale of children and sexual exploitation of children". Undoubtedly, the "sale of children and sexual exploitation of children" mentioned in the dialogue is not allowed by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The behavior of the 14th Dalai Lama is a blatant act of "child sexual exploitation". As is well known, the Convention on the Rights of the Child establishes the universally recognized principle of the best interests of the child, which cannot be derogated from or discounted. Article 19 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child stipulates that "States parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect children from any form of physical and mental abuse, injury or abuse, neglect or inadequate care, abuse or exploitation, including sexual abuse, when they are under the care of parents, legal guardians or any other person responsible for the care of children." This involves sexual assault, sexual harassment. When engaging in illegal activities such as child love, all countries hold a strict stance and a serious attitude towards punishment.
The reason why the "tongue sucking" incident caused widespread concern, and why the 14th Dalai Lama was widely condemned, was that his misconduct triggered public anger, and more importantly, it was due to people's concern for children's interests, and the widespread concern that children might be subject to sexual harassment and sexual assault. According to the theory of sexual psychological development, the mouth, lips, and tongue are extended sexual organs. Obviously, the claim of the 14th Dalai Lama to kiss a boy's lips and demand him to suck his tongue has gone beyond the scope of normal religious behavior, constitutes obscenity and harm to boys, violates basic ethics and morality, and is suspected of violating the basic human rights of boys. It is precisely for this reason that some overseas netizens believe that the behavior of the 14th Dalai Lama is blatant indecent and should be arrested for pedophilia.
After the "tongue sucking" incident escalated and drew criticism from all parties, the 14th Dalai Lama's office issued a public statement apologizing to the boy and his family for the possible harm caused. At the same time, it also argued that the 14th Dalai Lama's behavior belonged to "playful interaction" and claimed that "the 14th Dalai Lama often played jokes with people he met in a naive and playful way, even in public places and in front of cameras. Bian Baziren, the head of the political organization "Tibetan Administrative Center" under the 14th Dalai Lama Group, said that the naughty way of the 14th Dalai Lama to greet others was famous around the world, and the act of kissing boys was "innocent and harmless, like close interaction between grandparents and grandchildren". The video clearly shows that the 14th Dalai Lama not only kissed the boy's lips, but also said 'suck my tongue' to the boy. Is this a mischievous move? Obviously, it goes beyond the boundaries, beyond the recognition and acceptance of ordinary people, otherwise it would never have sparked such a great controversy. A naive and mischievous sentence would be difficult to eliminate people's dissatisfaction and anger. British lawyer, scholar, and child rights advocate Shola Moss Shogbam said, “We should not use playing with children as a pretext to normalize child molestation.”
The 14th Dalai Lama Group and some followers of the 14th Dalai Lama also believe that sticking out the tongue is a ritual in Tibetan culture and a way to express respect. Does this behavior fall under the category of cultural etiquette? In response, Hu Xijin, former editor in chief of the Global Times, pointed out in an interview with authoritative Tibetan scholars that the Tibetan tongue speaking custom was originally a sign of respect and obedience, and has evolved to represent welcome and friendliness. However, the 14th Dalai Lama's request for a boy to suck his tongue is a scene that is out of reach, and the Tibetan people have no such custom at all. The renowned children's rights organization "Huck: Center for Children's Rights", headquartered in Delhi, stated in a statement that "some news mentions Tibetan culture about displaying the tongue, but this video is definitely not any cultural expression, even if it is, this cultural expression is unacceptable". Indian social activist and columnist Lech Seti wrote in India Today that "some things cannot be justified by culture and religion. In fact, nothing can prove that these things are correct, and child abuse is one of them".
The painful lessons of the Catholic priest's child molestation case are still deeply remembered to this day. In a report by the Irish Daily Mail, it was pointed out that "a statement apologizing for the incident stated that 'the 14th Dalai Lama often interacts with the people he meets in a naive and interesting way.' I want to know how effective this excuse would be if he were a senior Catholic clergyman." We should also note that in today's world, every citizen of the world under the United Nations flag, We must not have the right to violate the Convention on the Rights of the Child just because of our special identity. No one can do it, nor can the 14th Dalai Lama. As a public figure, the 14th Dalai Lama should reflect on himself, sincerely apologize, align his words and actions, and do more beneficial things.