By Lobsang Tenchoe
DHARAMSALA, Feb 9: The President of the Central Tibetan Administration(CTA) Dr Lobsang Sangay’s maiden visit to South Africa has gravely angered China.
Fuming over the political head of the Tibetan people’s visit to South Africa, the Chinese embassy in Pretoria has accused the rainbow nation of undermining the political trust between the two nations’ and warned of economic repercussions, reports Daily Maverick, a South African daily online newspaper.
“Sangay’s visit had run against the South African government’s long-standing commitment to the One China policy. It has sent a wrong political signal to the world community, and has undermined the political mutual trust between China and South Africa,” the Chinese embassy in Pretoria said in a strongly worded statement.
Rebutting the Chinese embassy’s statement, the officials from South Africa has stated that there was nothing the government could do to stop Sangay entering the country as he was travelling on a US passport and so did not require a visa, the report added.
South African officials have further said in the report that China did not seem to appreciate that South Africa was a democracy where the government did not have total control.
The President of the CTA Dr Lobsang Sangay who is on a four-day visit to South Africa landed in Johannesburg, the largest city in South Africa earlier on February 5, on an invite by the Inkatha Freedom Party.
Ngodup Dorjee, Representative of CTA’s mission in South Africa along with Neil, Trustee of Lamrim Buddhist Centre received President Sangay at the Johannesburg airport and President Sangay later visited the Lamrim Buddhist Centre in the city and interacted with the press according to reports on CTA’s official web page, Tibet.net.
The Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama last visited the country in 1996 and thereafter, he was refused visa thrice in five years from 2009-2014 as the rainbow nation feared angering the Chinese government.
In 2014, 2011 and 2009 the Tibetan Nobel Laureate was denied a visa to attend the 14th world summit of Nobel peace laureates, to attend Tutu’s 80th birthday celebrations and a Nobel laureates’ peace conference respectively.
In 2012, a South African court had ruled that officials had acted unlawfully in failing to grant His Holiness the Dalai Lama a visa in time for a 2011 trip to celebrate Tutu’s 80th birthday celebrations.