THE Dalai Lama says he is canceling his planned visit to Botswana “due to exhaustion.”
A statement on the website of the Tibetan spiritual leader says he has written to the president of the southern African nation expressing “profound regret.” The 82-year-old had been expected to visit on Tuesday.
China’s government, which has been known to pressure countries against hosting the Dalai Lama, had warned against the Botswana visit. The Dalai Lama’s statement says he thanked Botswana’s president and government “for their unwavering principled stand to welcome him to their country, despite overwhelming pressure not to do so.”
Neighboring South Africa in the past has denied the Dalai Lama a visa to visit.
Beijing accuses the Dalai Lama of seeking to separate Tibet from China, which he denies. He fled from Tibet after a failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule.
China doesn’t recognize the Tibetan government-in-exile and hasn’t held any dialogue with the representatives of the Dalai Lama since 2010.
The Tibetan leader’s statement also says that “during the past few weeks, His Holiness has found that carrying out his activities has left him unusually tired.” It says doctors have warned against long journeys.
The Dalai Lama has made similar statements in recent years.