Government must not grant visa for Dalai Lama – SACP

2014-09-08 08:29

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The South African Communist Party has called on the government to not grant the Dalai Lama a visa to visit South Africa, following the cancellation of his trip to the country.

“The SACP welcomes the cancellation of this planned visit,” spokesperson Alex Mashilo said today.

“In fact the SACP calls on the government not to grant the Dalai Lama a visa to visit our country.”

The Tibetan spiritual leader cancelled a trip to South Africa for the 14th world summit of Nobel peace laureates because he had reportedly been denied a visa.

It was not the first rejection the Dalai Lama has faced from South African border officials.

He was forced to cancel plans to attend Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s 80th birthday celebration in October 2011, due to the visa application delay. Tutu was outraged and accused the government of being worse than the apartheid-era one.

It was believed at the time government was bowing to pressure from China, a major trading partner for South Africa.

South Africa has produced four Nobel peace laureates – Albert Luthuli, Tutu, Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk – and foundations connected to each of them had backed the summit scheduled for Cape Town next month.

The Dalai Lama travelled to South Africa several times after the end of apartheid.

Mashilo said the aim of the Dalai Lama’s visit to South Africa was to continue relentlessly pursuing his agenda, being Tibet’s secession from China,

“As the SACP we are opposed to this, as there is only one China and Tibet, like Taiwan, has always been part of China,” he said.

“In addition, China had, for decades, stood with us in our struggle against apartheid and refused to recognise the apartheid agenda to Balkanise our country into a ‘white’ South Africa and several Bantustans.”

Mashilo said the party refused to be associated with an agenda that was aimed at undermining the sovereignty and national unity of China.

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