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Mar 23,2009
South Africa denies Dalai Lama visa
by UPI

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- South African officials say they acted in the country's best interest by denying the Dalai Lama a visa to attend a peace conference in Johannesburg.

"We cannot allow focus to shift to China and Tibet," said South African presidential spokesman Thabo Masebe, noting South Africa has gained much from its trading relationship with China.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu said he plans to boycott this week's conference, which was to unite Noble laureates, including himself, Nelson Mandela, F.W. De Klerk and the Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule.

"We are shamelessly succumbing to Chinese pressure," Tutu told CNN.

The conference had been heralded as an opportunity to showcase South Africa's role as a human rights champion ahead of its being the host of soccer's World Cup next year, The Times of London reported.

The Dalai Lama's presence would "divert attention away from the World Cup," Masebe said.

Copyright © 2009, by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

794 times read

Related news
China accuses Dalai Lama of ruining Tibet by UPI posted on Apr 04,2008

Exiled Tibetans march in protest of China by UPI posted on Mar 10,2008

China under growing pressure over Tibet by UPI posted on Mar 21,2008

No official reception for Dalai Lama by UPI posted on May 12,2008

Tibet Daily accuses Dalai Lama of lying by UPI posted on Mar 17,2009

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