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Dalai Lama fiasco: China's denial

June 13, 2009

Jackie Cameron

Politicsweb - Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

11 June 2009

 

 

He's a politician, not a religious man, and we had nothing to do with it

 

CAPE TOWN - The Dalai Lama is a politician, not a religious person - and China had no sway on South Africa in making the decision to deny his access to South Africa.

 

This was the line People's Republic of China special representative of African Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Liu Guijin gave top business and political leaders in a session at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town on Thursday.

 

Liu was on a panel answering questions about how political and business leaders could restructure bilateral co-operation to maximise the benefits for Africa's sustainable development.

 

A delegate asked what would have happened to Chinese trade and foreign direct investment in South Africa if the South African government had allowed the Dalai Lama access to the country.

 

Liu replied of the Dalai Lama that "everyone knows he is not a religious person, he's a politician under the cloak of religion".

 

That decision, he said, "had nothing to do with us. It was a decision of South Africa".

 

He would not answer what the potential fall-out would have been if South Africa had allowed the Dalai Lama entry to South Africa as it was, accordingly, not relevant.

 

Write to Jackie Cameron: jackie@moneyweb.co.za

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