Officials from the government of Tibet in exile, which is based in India, applied for visas for the Dalai Lama and others traveling with him in late August and dropped off their passports on Sept. 20. But as of Tuesday, no visas had been issued.
“For whatever reason or reasons, the South African government finds it inconvenient to issue a visa to His Holiness the Dalai Lama,” the statement said.
Many have accused South Africa of buckling to pressure from China, a close ally that accuses the Dalai Lama of trying to split Tibet from China and create an independent state. The Dalai Lama has said he does not favor independence but has criticized what he calls Chinese repression of Tibet’s religious and cultural traditions.
Solution: Citizens of Canada do not need visas for short trips to South Africa. The Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso) was awarded honorary Canadian citizenship in 2006. If he were to take the Canadian Oath of Citizenship and swear his allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II, he would receive the rights and privileges of Canadian citizenship and could travel to South Africa without a visa. Simple, right? Problem solved.