By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Feb. 9: The Chinese embassy in South Africa has vehemently hit out against the maiden visit of exile Tibetan government’s President Dr. Lobsang Sangay in the country saying his visit “undermined the political trust between China and South Africa”.
The Chinese embassy said that allowing the Tibetan President who reached South Africa on a four-day official schedule on Feb. 5 to carry out his engagements, went against the “long-standing commitment to the One China policy” and hinted that economic and investment prospects between the two country could take a hit.
“It has sent a wrong political signal to the world community, and has undermined the political mutual trust between China and South Africa. It runs against the common interest of SA-China relations, and will undoubtedly discourage Chinese investors’ confidence in South Africa, undermine SA’s efforts for poverty reduction, and cause grave harm for the interest of South Africa and the South African people,” a statement from the Chinese embassy read.
The head of the Tibetan polity met with legislators from the Inkatha Freedom Party as well as the Democratic Alliance Party urging them to form a parliamentarians’ support group for Tibet in the South African parliament. The Tibetan President also addressed students and faculty of the University of Stellenbosch’s Law Department on Thursday despite strong objection from the embassy who claimed the talk was “cancelled” following protests from South Africans and Chinese students in the university.
South African authorities reportedly responded to the incident saying that they were unable to stop him from entering the country as the Tibetan President travelled on American passport and on the invitation of the Inkatha Freedom Party, Daily Maverick
The relations between exile Tibetan government and South Africa has been icy with the latter accused of putting economic interests at the fore with China. Since 2009, the exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama who is reviled by China as a “splittist” was denied visa to South Africa on three occasions. Dr. Sangay is the only top rung Tibetan leader to visit the African nation in the last decade.