China welcomes Dalai Lama visa cancellation


China has welcomed South Africa’s decision not to grant the Dalai Lama a visa to attend a summit of Nobel Peace Prize winners, scheduled to take place in the country.

It was reported on Thursday that the Department of International Relations and Cooperation had rebuked the application for the Tibetan Spiritual leader to attend the 14th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, which will take place Cape Town next month.

This marks the third time in five years that the Dalai Lama has had his application to enter the country was rejected.

The decision has led to other laureates threatening to boycott the event, which is being hosted by the foundations representing South Africa’s four laureates, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, former presidents Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk, and former ANC president, Albert Luthuli.

“China highly appreciates the support offered by the South African government on issues concerning China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” spokesperson for the China’s foreign ministry, Qin Gang, said.

“The Dalai Lama is a political exile who has long been engaged in activities sabotaging China's sovereignty and integrity under the cloak of religion. The Chinese government is firmly opposed to the Dalai's anti-China separatist activities in foreign countries.

“"We also believe that South Africa will continue to uphold this correct position and continue to support China in this regard,” Gang added.

A spokesperson for the Dalai Lama in South Africa, Nangsa Choedon, confirmed the rejection, but also added that it was probably done to avoid creating tension with China, which is South Africa’s biggest trade partner, boasting a two-way trade of R21-billion in 2012, and is a member of the BRICS countries.


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