Hastings District Council today confirmed the exiled leader of the Tibetan government, the Dalai Lama, has requested an audience with councillor Kevin Watkins and will visit the city early next month.

The globe’s most famous Buddhist monk is expected to put the heat on Mr Watkins, (longtime champion of the fruit bowl’s 30-year sister city relationship with China’s Guilin), anxious to spark a council re-think of the relationship with a Chinese city.

“Many see the Guilin fellowship as Hastings’ tacit approval of the Chinese occupation of Tibet,” said His Holiness’ regent, Zhang Qiyue.

“It’s hoped councillor Watkins will agree to sever all ties with Guilin, effectively condemning China’s continued presence in Tibet.”

Mr Watkins today told BayBuzz he was happy to meet with the 14th Dalai Lama (pictured), yet dismissed the attempt to end the sister-city fellowship as “neo-Confucian bureaucracy”.


Join the Conversation


  1. Just off the press!!

    The HBRC has just endorsed in principle Watkins' meeting with the Dalai Lama, but emphasised that this shouldn't be construed to imply that HBRC would be paying for any refreshments.

  2. Well Tom, must say not a bad article, and of course when I do meet the Dali Lama, I am sure His Holiness will be seeking recruits to join his team in Lasha.

    A young fellow like yourself with broad circumspec, a good sense of humour, and the ability to lead the troops from the front might just be the answer to His prayers.

    Would you be happy for me to put your name forward, and I am sure while you are there, we could arrange an overnight visit to Guilin for you .

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.