13 September 2014
The Dalai Lama, who was to attend the 14th world summit of Nobel peace laureates, was last week refused a visa by South African authorities a third time in five years. This small measure of Chinese influence in the African continent reflects its growing confidence in its cross-regional policy.
The Dalai Lama announced last week that he was cancelling his trip to the 14th World Summit of Nobel peace laureates owing to the South African government’s refusal to grant him the necessary visa. While this has led to other Nobel laureates intimating that they would boycott the event, South Africa in all likelihood, will not shift from its pro-China stance.
South Africa has received criticism for bowing to Chinese pressure in the past. In 2009, it had barred the Tibetan spiritual leader and did so again when the retired Anglican archbishop Desmond Tutu invited the Dalai Lama to his 80th birthday celebrations in 2011. Despite the bureaucratic explanations proffered, it is more likely that South Africa was simply deferring to China, which sees the Dalai Lama’s campaign for meaningful Tibetan autonomy as a threat to Chinese “core interest”. This latest episode reflects the growing influence of China’s economic diplomacy in Africa.
… James Char is a Research Analyst with the China Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
IDSS / RSIS / Online
Last updated on 15/09/2014