South Africa’s new ‘Baas’ ( Master) speaks.
Dalai Lama 'very disappointed'
23/03/2009 11:01 - (SA)
Dharamshala - The India-based Tibetan government-in-exile confirmed on Monday that South Africa has denied the Dalai Lama a visa, blaming "intense pressure" from China.
A spokesperson for the spiritual leader said he was "very disappointed" by the decision.
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 AFP.
"Since his holiness says he will not inconvenience any government, we at the Tibetan administration will not issue any strong response. But we are certainly very disappointed," Samphel said.
The Sunday Independent newspaper quoted China's minister counsellor at the embassy in Pretoria, Dai Bing, as saying that his government had urged South Africa to deny the visit or risk bilateral relations.
Dai told the paper it was an "inopportune time" for the Dalai Lama to visit, coming just after the 50th anniversary of a failed uprising against China's rule of Tibet, which led to the Dalai Lama's exile.
Click to view image: 'Africa’s new Master speaks.'
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