Dalai Lama accepts invite to attend SA function via web

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Dalai Lama
Dharamsala, Oct 7: Barred from entering South Africa, the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama will link up via videoconferencing with fellow Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu to celebrate the latter's 80th birthday.

The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu will engage in a moderated discussion on the issue of 'Peace and Compassion as a Catalyst for Change', the topic he was supposed to speak on had he been allowed to enter South Africa by the authorities.

Even a last minute appeal by Tutu to grant a visa to Dalai Lama did not move the South African government, prompting the South African Apostle of Peace to accuse President Jacob Zuma of kowtowing to China.

The Dalai Lama's office here said that the Tibetan spiritual leader had accepted the invitation of a videoconference link up for a live discussion. "Dalai Lama has accepted the proposal from Desmond Tutu to have a worldwide live video conference on Saturday and he shall register his presence through Internet," said Chhime Rigzing, Secretary to the Dalai Lama.

As a mark of protest, the organisers of the function at the University of Western Cape will keep "an empty chair on the stage to symbolise His Holiness' enforced absence". The event is to be broadcast live by South African Public Television Network from the spot and live-streamed on the Internet.

The Dalai Lama, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, has visited South Africa thrice and even been welcomed by former President Nelson Mandela. But, South African authorities have been refusing him entry since 2009, openly admitting they do not want to alienate China, the country's main trading partner.

PTI

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