The Dalai Lama mocked China’s demonization of him on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver — by mimicking devil horns and joking that he was a demon.
The Dalai Lama, described by “a cross between a pope and a president”, was interviewed by Oliver in Dharamsala, India, where he has lived in exile since 1959.
In the set-up prior to the interview, Oliver noted the Lama’s reverence in the West but said: “The Chinese government, however, have a very different view — instead of vaguely loving the Dalai Lama they very specifically hate him.
“They refer to him as a wolf in monk’s robes and have banned his image, maybe even retaliated against the Americans who have even met with him.”
Oliver discussed a wide range of topics, from the self-immolation of monks to the manipulation of the Dalai Lama process for finding a successor, as this man may be last Dalai Lama ever.
In an odd turn during the interview, the Dalai Lama also claimed he cured alcoholism in Mongolia with horse milk, which set off Oliver, saying: “Hold on, now that is a huge claim, you cured Mongolia of alcoholism?”
The Lama was adamant and said: “Yes, using horse milk, yes!”
Oliver then argued the merits of horse milk over cow milk with the Lama who saw no difference between the two.
Oliver opened his segment by showing an impassioned speech about him by actor Richard Gere, before saying: “The Dalai Lama is actually the six most admired man in America — when you mention his name to people in the street you can see how widely he’s revered.”
However, Oliver then talked about how much the Chinese hate the Tibetan monk, before showing a clip of another monk on fire who was being beaten by Chinese police as flames consumed him.
In the clip, the officers then demanded the dead man’s family compensate them for their burnt clothing.
Oliver said: “Well every part of that is f****** horrifying.”
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver airs Sundays at 11/10c on HBO.