South Africa: Uproar over visa refusal for Dalai Lama

The South African government has denied the Dalai Lama a visa to attend a Peace Conference that will be held in South Africa. The government decision has sparked an uproar online on Twitter, Facebook and blogs.

The government's stance on this has been:

The Dalai Lama’s presence at the conference would have distracted the world’s attention from South Africa’s hosting of the World Cup and drawn it instead into the fraught relations between the Dalai Lama and China, one of the country’s most important trading partners. Thabo Masebe, a government spokesman, said the Tibetan leader’s presence “would not be in South Africa’s best interests.”

Ironically, by refusing the visa application the spotlight is now focused on exactly what they are trying to avoid. A Google search for the statement above results has over 2000 results, 100's of twitter posts and several facebook groups have been created to protest it.

Here are some views in the blogosphere:

Maggie writes:

This supine and venal move is so shameful. For some more cheap goods the last vestiges of our credit as a moral country are squandered. Apparently this move was to keep the eyes firmly on the 2010 FIFA prize and not on Tibet. Instead we will have our status as Most Slippery Nation on Human Rights Issues branded into the consciousness of the world. I can only hope that the fickle powers that be decide reconsider.

Nigeria Best forum Blog writes:

South Africa is China’s largest trading partner in Africa, with 2008 trade standing at 100bn rand ($10bn; £7bn).

Dai Bing, an official at the Chinese embassy in Pretoria confirmed to Sapa that Beijing had warned the South African government that allowing the Dalai Lama into the country would harm bilateral relations.

Tony Mcgregor thinks that the South African government “should have simply ignored the Chinese, who are not, let's face it, helping development in Africa out of the kindness of their hearts…”:

What has the denial of the visa to the Dalai Lama done if not exactly that? The rank stupidity of the decision not to allow the Dalai Lama into the country, which he has by the way visited on quite a few occasions before, is breathtaking, and when linked to the human rights issues involved actually quite criminal.

The ANC has really pulled defeat out of the jaws of victory on this issue. If they had simply ignored the Chinese, who are not, let's face it, helping development in Africa out of the kindness of their hearts but out of a cold and rational understanding of economics, the Dalai Lama would have come and gone without making too many ripples and the Chinese government would soon have gotten over their fit of pique and back to the business of exploiting Africa again.

Marung show the link between the ANC, “Zuma Project” and the Communist Party of China:

The ANC`s election fund is estimated at a conservative R500m amount and enables it to hire everything and everybody in its desperate drive to remain in power and keep its president from his day in court.

The common denominator is that all who are funding the Zuma project have all sorts of unsavoury backrounds. One such funder is the Communist Party of China with its terrible human rights record.

The denial of entry to His Holiness the Dalai Lama to attend a peace conference in South Africa was said to be at the behest of the government of China.

It is all too clear that many issues about the country will be decided by these funders.

Simon Halliday writes:

maybe it suppresses speech, shows South Africa kowtowing to Chinese interests and promotes illiberal politics inconsistent with the South African constitution.

Llewmina compares the government's stance to making a deal with the devil:

Whether told in legend or movie or comic book, the theme remains the same – make a deal with the devil, trade something you think is trivial for some quick-fix material goal. Satan, in whatever guise (and remember his name is “Legion, for we are many”; Mark 5:9) invariably breaks his promise – a demonstration of his irrevocably evil nature to which his is eternally a slave – and the damned soul realises that he or she has given away the most valuable treasure they'll ever own.

That is precisely what the ANC has done with denying the Dalai Lama a visa to visit South Africa.

Tracy Stokes highlights the irony in the decision on South African human rights day while Ismail highlight the irony of it all as well.

It has not been possible to find even a single post in support of this decision. Other Nobel peace prize winners have also threatened a boycott since the announcement.


  • keith

    it is so shameful that the chinese owned south african goverment too. It is bad enough that they illegally invated tibet and threaten taiwan with their fist. Now, SA is helping the chinese goverment to oppress others. what has happenned to SA? did you forget your past?

  • Enlighten This!

    Some comments shouldn’t even be dignified by a response.

  • Sipho

    “….When money speaks, the truth is silent….”

    I’m embarrassed that this imoral party will still rule this beautiful country after next months elections :(

  • The Dalai Lama IS coming to South Africa. A dose of good news always helps.

  • Yeah, I guess they will find a way, so that the Dalai Lama can join the conference. And if they have to organize their conference on another place. But I doubt. Would be too ridicolous and unprofessional of South Africa. The loss of Image would be too high.

  • knights

    If you don’t know the truth about Dalie, then shame on you!
    yes on the buddhist part, I respect him as a non-political monk, because I am a buddhist. If he leads a separatist clique which I believe that’s what he’s doing. Then I will NOT forgive him.

    Tibet was, is, and will always be part of China. USA splitted Soviet Union, so now its goal is to split China and then cause catastrophie to planet earth by selling weapons and encouraging WARS. USA practices karan by its own ways. One day the planet earth will be destroyed by USA [sigh]

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