Dalai Lama third-time unsuccessful in his application for a South African visa
The Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama’s third attempt, in five years, at applying for a South African Visa have been denied.
“The Dalai Lama, who lives in exile in India and is at loggerheads with China over Tibet, had been hoping to join a Nobel peace conference in Cape Town next month but withdrew his visa application after being told it would be unsuccessful,” reported Reuters.
The Nobel Peace Laureate was invited to attend the 14th World Summit of the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates which was set to be held in Cape Town this year. The Dalai Lama was invited to attend this event by the summit’s local organizing committee which consists of a foundation representing South Africa’s four Nobel Peace Laureates, Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu, FW de Klerk, Albert Luthuli and late President Nelson Mandela – all of who have now also indicated that they will not be attending the summit while the Dalai Lama is refused entry into the Republic.
The Dalai Lama was also refused entry into South Africa when he planned to attend the Arch Bishop’s 80th Birthday celebrations in October 2011 to which Tutu reacted with outrage accusing the government to be worse than the apartheid-era one.
While the South African Department of Home Affairs have cited ‘due course’ for the refusal of the Tibetan leader’s visa, it is believed that the Dalai Lama is being refused entry into the country as part of South Africa’s bid to protect their trade relations with China.
The department confirmed the South African high commission in India had received a visa application from the Dalai Lama's office. "The application will be taken through normal due process. The relevant authorities will communicate with the applicant thereafter," it said.
In February, the Chinese government reacted in anger as US President Barack Obama ignored their request not to meet with the exiled Tibetan leader and controversy followed the Tibetan leader when in April this year Norwegian authorities were left torn between a planned visit by the Dalai Lama to Oslo awhile also respecting strained relationships with China.
While in South Africa this week the South African Communist Party urged the South African government to never approve a visa application by the Dalai Lama.
Speaking of the incident and the Dalai Lama’s consequent cancellation of his planned trip to South Africa, SACP spokesman Ales Mashilo said in a statement that the SACP welcomed the South African government’s decision not to issue a visa to the Tibetan spiritual leader saying, “In fact the SACP calls upon government not to grant the Dalai Lama a visa to visit our country.”
“As the SACP we are opposed to this [Tibet’s secession from China], as there is only one China and that Tibet, like Taiwan, has always been part of China,” he said.
“In addition, China had, for decades, stood with us in our struggle against apartheid and refused to recognise the apartheid agenda to balkanise our country into a ‘white’ South Africa and several Bantustans.”
Mashilo said the party refused to be associated with an agenda that was aimed at undermining the sovereignty and national unity of China.
China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang thanked South Africa for its "support".
"(China) highly appreciates the respect given by the South African government on China's sovereignty and territorial integrity and the support given to China on this issue," Qin told reporters on Friday at a press briefing.