Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Dalai Lama Denied SA Visa For Peace Conference

On the advice of Chinese officials, South Africa has denied a visa to the Dalai Lama, who was set to visit South Africa for a meeting to try to lay out a plan to use the excitement and investment around the World Cup to improve civil rights. Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former President FW De Klerk have backed out of the meeting.

The Dalai Lama had planned to join other Nobel peace laureates at a conference to discuss ways of using football to fight racism and xenophobia ahead of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

"It is true that South Africa, under intense pressure from the Chinese authorities, have denied a visa to the Dalai Lama," spokesperson Thubten Samphel told reporters.

SA denies visa for the Dalai Lama
Independent Online
March 23, 2009

More on the background of China-SA economic relations:

Over the past two years, South Africa has been China's key trade partner in Africa, accounting for 20.8 percent of China's trade with Africa, while Chinese foreign direct investment in South Africa was about $6 billion (R60bn), and South Africa's foreign direct investment in China came to $2bn (R20bn).

Dai Bing, ministerial counsellor at the Chinese embassy in Pretoria, confirmed that his government had appealed to the South African government not to allow the Dalai Lama into the country, warning that if it did so, this would harm bilateral relations.


Independent Online
March 22, 2009