Dalai Lama not to attend Mandela funeral

Dharamsala - The Dalai Lama, who has twice since 2009 been denied a visa for South Africa, is not planning to attend his fellow Nobel laureate Nelson Mandela's funeral, his spokesperson said on Sunday.

"He has no plans to go," spokesman Tenzin Takhla told AFP in the northern Indian hilltop town of Dharamsala where the Tibetan spiritual leader is headquartered.

Takhla did not say why the Dalai Lama would not attend Mandela's national memorial service on Tuesday or the December 15 burial at his boyhood home of Qunu.

But the Dalai Lama was controversially denied a visa to South Africa in 2011 after being invited to give a lecture as part of celebrations for the 80th birthday of Mandela's fellow anti-apartheid campaigner Desmond Tutu.

It was the second time that Pretoria had denied the Dalai Lama entry after refusing him a visa in 2009.

The Dalai Lama has been based in India since he fled China in 1959 followed a failed anti-Beijing uprising in his homeland.

China seeks to curb his overseas travels, and warns foreign governments that any visit by the spiritual leader would harm relations.

Beijing accuses the Dalai Lama of being a separatist and of fomenting trouble in his homeland. The Dalai Lama says he merely seeks more autonomy for his people though non-violent means.

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