(TibetanReview.net, Sep06, 2014) – China has expressed high appreciation to South Africa for its reported decision to deny visa to Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, although the latter has said the application was still under process. The 1989 Nobel Peace laureate needs the visa to attend the 14th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates to be held in Cape Town from Oct 13 to 15.
“(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,” Reuters Sep 5 quoted China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Qin Gang, as saying. “We believe that South Africa will continue to support China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Although the Dalai Lama had officially stopped calling for an independent Tibet, but only autonomy, for at least the last three decades, and devolved his historical temporal authority to an elected exile Tibetan leadership, China still calls him a separatist. “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,” Qin was quoted as saying. “The Chinese government is firmly opposed to the Dalai’s anti-China separatist activities in foreign countries.”
Media reports about the denial of visa is based on a remark by the Tibetan spiritual leader’s South Africa representative who said the decision was conveyed to her by phone by the country’s International Relations and Cooperation Department. However, both the ministry’s spokesperson Clayson Monyela and High Commissioner to India, FK Morule, have said the visa application was still under process.
However, Morule has indicated that the visa may eventually be denied as he has spoken of the preponderance of national interest over the country’s respect for the Dalai Lama.