After a long wait for South African government’s nod for visa, finally Dalai Lama has called off his visit to South Africa, his office informed today. The Tibetan spiritual leader was due to take part in Friday’s 80th birthday celebration of another Nobel Peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Dalai Lama was invited to it by the Archbishop himself.
Rights activists and Desmond Tutu Peace Centre had protested outside the parliament against South African government’s surrender to Chinese pressure and not giving Dalai Lama a visa on time.
It is the second time in two years that the Dalai Lama’s visit to South Africa has been blocked.
“His Holiness was to depart for South Africa on 6 October 2011 but visas have not been granted yet,” his office in northern India said in a statement.
“We are, therefore, now convinced that for whatever reason or reasons, the South African government finds it inconvenient to issue [a] visa to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.”
Beijing considers the Dalai Lama to be a dangerous separatist seeking to lead Tibet in breaking away from China.
But he has repeatedly stated that his goal is for greater Tibetan autonomy rather than independence.
(with BBC inputs)