South Africa has denied a visa to the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader. This constitutes the third time in five years, said one of his representatives on Thursday.
The Dalai Lama, who lives in exile in India and is at loggerheads with China over Tibet, had been hoping to join a Nobel peace conference in Cape Town next month but withdrew his visa application after being told it would be unsuccessful.
The South African foreign ministry confirmed that its High Commission in India had received a visa application but denied it had been rejected, saying it was being subjected to “normal due process”. It then said the Dalai Lama had canceled his trip and did not provide details.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang thanked South Africa for its “support” saying,
“China highly appreciates the respect given by the South African government on China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and the support given to China on this issue…,We believe that South Africa will continue to support China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” He said, adding that the Dalai Lama had “destroyed” China’s ethnic unity “under the guise of religion”.