South Africa Blocks Dalai Lama Visit

Desmond Tutu slams ANC after visa denied
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 5, 2011 1:00 AM CDT
Supporters of the Dalai Lama attend an overnight vigil outside Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, in support of a visa being granted to the Tibetan spiritual leader.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The Dalai Lama helped in the fight against apartheid but now South Africa won't even allow him in, a furious Archbishop Desmond Tutu charged yesterday. The Tibetan spiritual leader canceled a planned trip to South Africa this week after it became apparent that he would not receive a visa in time to attend Tutu's 80th birthday celebration on Friday, Reuters reports. He had been kept waiting for more than five weeks by the South African government, which denied him a visa to attend a peace conference.

Tutu labeled the government's action "disgraceful" and "worse than the apartheid government. China—which is now South Africa's biggest trading partner—is believed to have pressured Jacob Zuma's African Nationalist Congress government to keep the Dalai Lama out. "This is a morally bankrupt decision aimed squarely at appeasing the emerging economic superpower, China," the Mail and Guardian newspaper said in an editorial. "It is, indeed, saddening to count the many countries who stood in solidarity with the anti-apartheid movement and ask: where is our principled stand with the people of Tibet?"

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