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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Nobel peace laureate slams South Africa

October 2, 2009

September 30, 2009

by BILL KAUFMANN, Calgary Sun

Former South African president F.W. de Klerk slammed his country's
government for refusing the Dalai Lama an entry visa.

South Africa's decision to effectively bar the Tibetan leader from a peace
conference last March "has brought shame" to the country, he said.

De Klerk was an organizer of a gathering of Nobel peace laureates, of which
the Dalai Lama is one.

He and his invitees, he said, withdrew from the conference in solidarity
with the Tibetan, whom de Klerk considers a friend.

And he accused South Africa's ANC government of kowtowing to China, which
considers the exiled Buddhist leader a separatist threat.

"They should get their own house in order and resist pressure from China,"
said de Klerk, in town to take part in the University of Calgary-organized
NOW conference.

"He wasn't interfering in internal politics - he should have been welcomed."

Meanwhile, when asked if he agrees with countryman Bishop Desmond Tutu's
denunciation of Israel as an apartheid state for its treatment of
Palestinians, de Klerk said troubling parallels exist with the old South

"It's an oversimplification to say Israel is an apartheid state but there
are definitely elements where comparisons can be drawn," said de Klerk, who
did much to end apartheid in his homeland.

"To the extent Israel might be doing the same, they open themselves up to
valid criticism."

He also said more countries must be willing to engage those considered
terrorists if those groups "are fighting injustice."
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