By Erik Crouch
The Dalai Lama’s shunning by Taiwan a few weeks ago wasn’t the first time he had been turned down for a visa. In 2011, South Africa delayed a visa application to the religious leader while he was attempting to visit for Desmond Tutu’s birthday, forcing him to cancel the trip. The South African supreme court has now ruled, however, that the 2011 delay was unlawful.
The 2011 incident has been blamed on China’s increasing influence in South Africa. Archbishop Tutu has referred to government’s behavior surrounding the visa blocking as “worse than the apartheid government,” and plans to host the Dalai Lama in South Africa soon. Perhaps a coincidence (but likely not) Chinese officials have chosen the day of this court ruling to reinforce their stance on the Dalai Lama, saying that “China resolutely opposes the Dalai Lama’s separatist activities in whatever capacity and in whatever name in any country.”