S Africa's Dalai Lama visa snub deemed illegal

Fri, Nov 30, 2012, 00:00

The South African government acted unlawfully in failing to give the Dalai Lama an entry visa to attend the archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu’s 80th birthday celebrations, a court has ruled.

The government was accused of banning the Dalai Lama last year because of a fear of offending China. A furious Tutu, who had invited the Tibetan spiritual leader to deliver a lecture in Cape Town, likened the African National Congress (ANC) to its racial apartheid predecessor.

The Dalai Lama and others in his entourage had applied for visas about two months ahead of the planned visit, the court in Bloemfontein heard.

Even though the application met all requirements, the South African government did not issue the visa and the Dalai Lama ultimately withdrew his application.