Dalai Lama denied S Africa visa, won't attend peace conference
The South African Department of Foreign Affairs has denied the Dalai Lama permission to attend a peace conference in Johannesburg.
The Tibetan spiritual leader and Nobel laureate was denied entry due to concerns that his presence might shift the world's focus from the upcoming 2010 World Cup to China and Tibet.
The peace conference was billed as an opportunity to showcase South Africa's role as a human-rights champion ahead of its hosting of soccer's World Cup next year.
China has an ever increasing economic sphere of influence in Africa and the Dalai Lama's unrelenting quest for Tibetan independence might prove to be a disadvantageous and illuminating presence if allowed to speak in South Africa.
Critics of the decision allege the government bowed to pressure from China, one of South Africa's largest trading partners...
Former President and fellow laureate F.W. De Klerk backed Archbishop Desmund Tutu in his intention to boycott the conference should the Dalai Lama be denied entry.
De Klerk said that the decision to refuse the visa made a "mockery" of the peace conference.
"The decision to exclude the Dalai Lama is irreconcilable with key principles on which our society is based including the principles of accountability, openness and responsiveness and the rights to freedom of expression and free political activity," he said.
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