Born in Taktser, Amdo, north-eastern Tibet, in 1935, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama turns 87 today, July 6th. The Tibetan Spiritual Leader’s birthday is celebrated by Tibetans and their friends worldwide.
Whilst wishing His Holiness a very Happy 87th birthday, the Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Communities are very pleased to organise warm tributes from our friends in the UK to the Dalai Lama on this special occasion.
Hon. Tim Loughton | Member of the UK Parliament | British Minister (2010 – 2012)
“Hello, I’m Tim Loughton, member of the United Kingdom Parliament here at Westminster, in London, and I am the co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet, and it’s my privilege, on behalf of the All-Party Group, to send our very best wishes and happy birthday to His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the occasion of his 87th birthday.
Now this year we’ve been celebrating, recently in the United Kingdom, the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Well, your Holiness, Her Majesty has a few years on you, we’ve just celebrated her 96th anniversary, but I think your enthronement back in 1940 means your reign is 12 years longer than Her Majesty’s. But the thing you both have in common is, through all those troubled years, in good times and in bad, you have both been a symbol of continuity, of constancy, of strength and of peace. And for that we give great thanks and congratulate you on everything you have achieved in such an eventful 87 years, despite all the adversity.
It’s been my privilege to welcome you here to Parliament in previous years and to come to Dharamsala, the last time in 2018, where you granted us the honour of an audience. And that, of course, was just before the pandemic and the lockdown which changed the world so much. So this year, for the first time in a few years, I’m sure that Tibetans and supporters of yourself and the Tibetan people around the world will have the best party ever to celebrate your 87th birthday.
Our cause, your cause, the cause of peace and freedom and the fight against abuses of human rights by the Chinese government, is perhaps louder now than it ever has been. You have seen the violence and the aggression that’s been waged on the Tibetan people, both within Tibet and outside, over so many years. Many of us have joined that cause to give our support and raise the voices of those people in Tibet who are unable to be heard themselves because of the oppression by the Chinese. More recently, people have come to understand just how cruel the Chinese government can be, with the atrocities in Xinjiang against the Uyghur people, the oppression we’re now seeing in Hong Kong. But this is nothing new to those people who followed the Tibetan cause, and you have been a strength and a sign of hope and freedom for millions of Tibetans and supporters of Tibetans around the world. Here in Parliament, virtually every week now in the United Kingdom, the whole issue of China and human rights abuses is regularly raised. We called for and we got our government to boycott the Beijing Olympics, to not give the Chinese government that propaganda platform they so crave. We’ve recognised the genocide officially that is going on in Xinjiang and we will continue to fight the cause of the Tibetan people. That cause, I’m sure, will be ultimately successful, because it is a right cause, it’s a cause of goodness, of truth and of peace, which are all values that you represent and with which you inspire so many people worldwide.
So let me repeat our heartiest congratulations and good wishes for your 87th birthday from all your many friends and supporters, here in Parliament in London and across the United Kingdom. And I hope you’re going to have quite a party as well, because many people will want to celebrate you from around the world in just a little while’s time, to celebrate your 87th birthday. So your Holiness, the very best for your 87th birthday, and may there be many, many more to come.”
Benedict Rogers Esq. | Human Rights Advocate | Co-founder & CEO, Hong Kong Watch | Co-founder and Vice Chairman, Conservative Party Human Rights Commission
“On the occasion of the 87th birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, I’d like to join with others, with Tibetan friends and friends of Tibet around the world, in paying tribute to His Holiness, sharing some brief reflections on the significance of his life, his example, the values that he teaches and embodies, and also to wish His Holiness a happy birthday.
When he was just two-and-a-half years old, he was recognised as the 14th Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetan Buddhist people and, in 1940, he was enthroned as the Dalai Lama. So for most of his life he has served in the role of spiritual leader for the Tibetan people. And he has embodied the values of peace and justice, he’s been a courageous, non-violent defender of the rights of the Tibetan people, an outspoken voice of conscience against the appalling injustices inflicted on his people. But he’s also been an inspiring advocate of peace and reason: his advocacy of the Middle Way, a willingness to talk with Beijing and to try to find solutions, which has only been rebuffed by the brutal dictators in Beijing but was an example of how to seek dialogue, how to reason, or how to try to reason, with a brutal dictator. He has been a model of reason and of peace and of dialogue, but never losing that central commitment to justice, because peace can never be achieved without justice. Peace and justice go together and I think he embodies that teaching.
He is loved and respected around the world, and rightly so, and has been an inspiration to so many people. In my own work in human rights around Asia, both throughout China, in Hong Kong, for the people of Tibet, for the Uyghurs, and also in places like Myanmar or Burma, I have always been inspired and encouraged by His Holiness’s teachings. I’ve read his autobiography, I’ve read some of his other writings, I’ve recently written a new book on the human rights situation under the Chinese Communist Party regime throughout the territories that the CCP currently rules. The book looks at Tibet, the Uyghurs, Hong Kong, repression in mainland China, threats to Taiwan, and the Chinese regime’s complicity with Myanmar and North Korea. And, for the chapter on Tibet, I learnt so much through the research that I did for the chapter. I interviewed Tibetans who have escaped from Tibet and who shared their stories with me, and I had the great privilege of interviewing, via email, His Holiness, and I was profoundly grateful for the insights and comments that he and his office shared with me specifically for my forthcoming book. You can read those when the book is published.
But I want to say that, as the world increasingly focuses on the human rights situation in China, and rightly so, and long overdue – as we reflect and focus much more than we have in the past on the genocide of the Uyghurs and the dismantling of freedom in Hong Kong and the threats to Taiwan, let us never, ever forget the tragedy in Tibet. It is so important that we continue to remember Tibet, that we stand with Tibet, and that we learn from Tibet, because what is happening in Hong Kong and to the Uyghurs has been happening to Tibet for decades, and there is much that we can learn from Tibet’s experience. And above all, there is so much that we can learn from His Holiness’s example.
So I wish again His Holiness a happy birthday. I hope he will have many more years to continue to inspire us and teach us and encourage us. Thank you very much – and I stand with the people of Tibet, today and every day.”
Dr Richard Moore | Philanthropist/Motivational Speaker | Author – “Can I Give Him My Eyes?” | Founder/C E O Children in Crossfire
“I’d like to wish His Holiness a very happy 87th birthday – and that’s from everyone at Children in Crossfire here in Ireland and also at a personal level. I first met His Holiness back in 2000 when visited Derry, in Northern Ireland, to speak to a group of victims who were affected by the conflict here. I was also affected by the conflict. I lost my sight as a ten-year-old boy growing up in Derry when I was shot by a burly soldier back in 1972. But that day, when I heard His Holiness speak to everyone, it was the first time that I’d seen my story and my experience in the context of forgiveness. His Holiness spoke a lot about forgiveness that day and his words resonated with me and resonated with other victims in the room. So it’s at times like this that you realise the value that His Holiness is, to me, to other people and to the rest of the world. When you consider the suffering and the hardship that the Tibetan people have had to experience, when you consider the fact that His Holiness has had to live in exile for most of his life, but yet he still talks about peace, he still talks about forgiveness, he still holds out the hand of friendship to the people that you might think injured him and hurt his people so much. To me, that is an amazing example of compassion.
And on this day of his 87th birthday, I think the world, and especially leaders throughout the world, should redouble their efforts to support someone who has only ever promoted a peaceful approach to a very difficult situation. Your Holiness, I hope you have a fantastic birthday, and I appreciate who you are, I appreciate all your support and I am so grateful to know you and to call you my friend.”