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The 87-year-old spiritual leader of Tibetans, the Dalai Lama, issued an apology on Monday after a video of him at a public event surfaced, showing him requesting a young boy to “suck my tongue.”

According to a statement posted on the exiled leader’s Twitter account, which boasts 19 million followers, “a video clip has been circulating that shows a recent meeting when a young boy asked his Holiness the Dalai Lama if he could give him a hug.” It further said, “His Holiness wishes to apologise to the boy and his family, as well as his many friends across the world, for the hurt his words may have caused.”


The Dalai Lama is known for teasing people he meets in an “innocent and playful way,” even in public and before cameras. However, he expressed regret over the incident, as per the statement. The video clip, which has garnered 1 million views on Twitter, also features the Nobel peace laureate giving the boy a peck on the lips, as an audience is heard clapping and laughing. The moment is being captured on a phone by a man. Reuters has not verified the clip.

Following a failed uprising against Chinese rule in Tibet in 1959, the Dalai Lama fled to India, where he has since lived in a compound next to a temple, surrounded by green hills and snow-capped mountains in the northern town of Dharamshala. He has been working for decades to garner global support for linguistic and cultural autonomy in his remote, mountainous homeland.

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