South Africa: Dalai Who?

This week the government of South Africa, and President Kgalema Motlanthe, have decided to stand in solidarity with China against human rights.  South Africa symbolically denied a visa to the Dalai Lama, who wanted to attend a peace conference for Nobel laureates in Pretoria.  China is an important trading partner of South Africa, and so Motlanthe didn’t want to allow in a visitor who may remind people that China has a horrible human rights record.  Because that might hurt money flows to elites.

Among those scheduled to attend were: Nelson Mandela, (another SA former president) FW de Klerk, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, (former Finnish president) Martti Ahtisaari, and Queen Rania of Jordan.

The planners have decided to cancel the conference in protest. The BBC reports:

The incident is a huge embarrassment for the South African government, which has placed a lot of importance on democracy and human rights since the end of apartheid in 1994…

Yeah, it is damn embarrassing to bar advocates of justice from entering your country because that might upset oppressors who pay you off.

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