Dalai Lama row makes international news

2011-10-05 14:25
Johannesburg - The Dalai Lama's cancellation of his trip to South Africa has made international headlines.

A Google search for the words Dalai Lama and Tutu brought up 3.2 million results on Wednesday. Analysts argued South Africa bowed to Chinese pressure.

The Tibetan spiritual leader announced on Tuesday he had cancelled a planned trip to South Africa, to attend Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu's 80th birthday celebrations at the weekend. He said he did not want to inconvenience the South African government.

“Another case of Chinese bullying: Why the Dalai Lama won't be at Desmond Tutu's 80th birthday,” Peter Foster wrote in The Telegraph.

Economic ties

The Chinese government was able to exert pressure on South Africa as the two countries had large economic ties, Foster wrote. China recently invested $6bn in South Africa’s mining and construction sectors.

“Tutu Compares South Africa’s ANC to Apartheid Regime for Denying Dalai Lama’s Visa,” a CBS News headline reads.

The Gulf Daily News, Taiwan News and the Denver Post’s headline reads: “Tutu Blasts ANC Over Dalai Lama Visa”.

The Courier Mail’s headline reads: “Tutu Calls Zuma Disgrace in Dalai Lama Visa Row”.

Most South African newspapers led with Tutu's comments on Wednesday.

Beijing describes the Dalai Lama as a "splittist" and discourages foreign governments from receiving him, even though he accepts the Chinese rule of Tibet.

Reacting to the government's "failure" to grant the Tibetan leader a visa, an angry Tutu told reporters on Tuesday the ANC government was worse than the apartheid government. He said he would one day pray for the ANC's downfall.

"Hey Mr Zuma, you and your government don't represent me. You represent your own interests.

"I am warning you out of love. I am warning you like I warned the nationalists that one day we will start praying for the defeat of the ANC government. You are disgraceful.”

Professor Tinyiko Maluleke, executive director at the University of South Africa's research department, said the cancellation of the Dalai Lama's trip was a "huge, huge publicity disaster" for South Africa.

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