South Africa’s decision to bar the Dalai Lama from entering the country has scuttled this week’s scheduled conference for Nobel laureates, the BBC reports. Laureates were to discuss how next year’s soccer World Cup could fight racism and xenophobia, but homegrown winners Desmond Tutu and FW de Klerk pulled the plug when the government, under Chinese pressure, refused to give the Tibetan leader a visa.
Tutu called the ban “disgraceful,” and local media largely agreed. But the government stands by its decision, said a spokesman. “Nothing is going to change. The Dalai Lama will not be invited to South Africa.” The chairman of South Africa’s World Cup organizing committee said the conference had been postponed, and the Dalai Lama “persuaded” to put off his visit until after the tournament.