South African parliamentarian Sandy Kalyan on Saturday, 10 February, condemned China’s opposition to the visit of Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) President Lobsang Sangay to her country. She called on China to stop “overstepping” on South Africa’s sovereign rights.
“The reaction by the Chinese embassy at the visit to South Africa by Lobsang Sangay, the President of the Central Tibetan Administration, is so over the top and quite ludicrous,” she said, as per a post on the CTA website.
Noting Sangay had been invited by Inkatha party chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi to attend the State of the National Address (SONA) by President Jacob Zuma, she called on China to stop threatening South Africa.
“In a manner reminiscent of a child throwing a tantrum, the Chinese issued a strongly worded statement that the visit would result in Chinese investment being discouraged.”
“Such veiled threats to the government of SA cannot be ever entertained. If China wants to go, it should go. The time for non-South Africans to hold the South African Government to ransom is long gone.”
The Chinese embassy in Pretoria has strongly protested over Sangay’s visit, accusing the South African government of disregarding the long-standing commitment to ‘One China Policy’.
Kalyan, who belongs to the country’s largest opposition party the Democratic Alliance, pointed out that “directing South Africa’s foreign policy is not the mandate of BRICS and that private chats do not translate into policy or promises as alleged by the Chinese government”.
She attended CTA’s five-Fifty forum here in October last where Sangay and the Dalai Lama were also present.
Sangay arrived in Johannesburg on 5 February for his maiden four-day visit – the first ever official visit of a Tibetan political leader to the African continent since the Dalai Lama’s visit in 1996.
At the invitation extended by Inkatha, Sangay was originally scheduled to attend Zuma’s address at the inaugural session of the South African Parliament on 8 February the CTA said, but it was postponed owing to domestic political tensions in South Africa.
The Tibetan administration is based in the northern hill town of Dharamsala where a community of Tibetans lives in exile with their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.