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Tibet official: Dalai Lama uninvited to World Winter Games

January 25, 2009

Thursday, January 22, 2009
Alyson Outen/KTVB
Dalai Lama not coming due to political pressure from China
BOISE -- Did he decline or was he uninvited?
Our exclusive story on the Dalai Lama’s omission from the 2009 World Winter Games sparks a response from the office of Tibet.
The allegation is that political pressure from China led the Special Olympics to withdraw its invitation to the Dalai Lama -- an invitation to the opening ceremonies in Boise, which the Dalai Lama had already accepted.
The president of Special Olympics International specifically denied that, indicating it was simply a scheduling conflict not a political problem, and that explanation is echoed by local organizers.
(Related: Political pressure may be behind Dalai Lama’s canceled visit)
But after our story aired Wednesday, the office of Tibet contacted us with its side of the story saying organizers kowtowed to pressure and threats from China.
The Dalai Lama’s representative says he was uninvited in mid-December.
"The request was being made simply because there is strong Chinese pressure.  Because they are threatening to boycott the whole Olympic Games," said Lobsang Nyandak, Dalai Lama representative.  I think it is solely because of political pressure from the Chinese government that the visit has been canceled.”
This does raise awareness, of course, about Tibet’s struggle for independence against China, but the Dalai Lama’s representative assured us there was no agenda here.  He said the Dalai Lama had been looking forward to attending the games.
We tried all day to reach those who still insist this was simply a scheduling conflict, but our calls to the Special Olympic International were not returned.
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