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Chinese seek to ban Dalai Lama from NZ

April 1, 2009

From New Zealand Herald

An umbrella group representing 28 local Chinese organisations wants the Government to follow South Africa’s lead in refusing to grant the Dalai Lama a visa to visit.

The 73-year-old Tibetan exiled spiritual leader is scheduled to visit Auckland on December 6. He will speak at the Vector Arena and plans to meet Prime Minister John Key.

Mr Key has said he will meet the Buddhist leader when he comes, calling the Dalai Lama a “significant visitor”.

The Dalai Lama was to visit South Africa last week after being invited to attend a peace conference of Nobel laureates, but was refused a visa.

The United Chinese Association of New Zealand will be writing to the Prime Minister and Immigration Minister requesting that New Zealand does the same.

The South African government admitted its decision was taken to avoid harming relations with China.

“The Dalai Lama is just a stirrer and everywhere he goes, he spreads lies and destroys relationships,” said association chairman Steven Wong.

The chairman of the Dalai Lama Visit Trust, Thuten Kesang, said he was disgusted at the Chinese attempts to put pressure on New Zealand, and said they could backfire.

“The Chinese must learn they cannot dictate who we can and cannot welcome into our country,” Mr Kesang said.

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