South Africa Bars Dalai Lama From Peace Conference
Move outrages fellow Nobel laureates
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 23, 2009 9:26 AM CDT
Exiled Tibetans shout slogans against the Chinese government during a protest at Bodhnath, a Buddhist religious place, in Katmandu, Nepal, March 14, 2009.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – One notable Nobel laureate won’t be at this week’s peace conference in South Africa: The Dalai Lama. South Africa has denied the Tibetan spiritual leader entry, bowing to pressure from trading partner China, the Times of London reports. The Nobel laureates organizing the event are outraged, with Archbishop Desmond Tutu calling the decision “disgraceful,” and vowing not to participate unless the government changes course.

“We are shamelessly succumbing to Chinese pressure,” Tutu said. “I feel deeply distressed and ashamed.” South Africa says the Lama would distract from the intended topic—next year’s soccer World Cup. “We have nothing against him,” said a spokesman, “but we have a key strategic relationship with China and we would really not want to do anything to jeopardize that.”