Nobel peace summit called off in Cape Town

Move follows South Africa's visa refusal for Dalai Lama

The Nobel peace summit scheduled to take place in Cape Town on 13 October has been cancelled following South Africa's refusal to grant a visa to the Nobel laureate and spiritual leader of Tibet, the Dalai Lama.

South Africa is being accused of giving in to pressure from China, a major trading partner and investor, which has ruled Tibet since 1950. The Dalai Lama has lived in exile since fleeing his country in 1959 and has been at loggerheads with China ever since.

South Africa's visa denial has been criticised by the Tibetan spiritual leader, who likened it to “bullying a simple person”, and comes after several fellow laureates pledged to boycott the peace conference unless the Tibetan Buddhist leader was admitted into South Africa.

One such laureate was Jody Williams, founder of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, who accused the South African government of “selling its sovereignty” to China in a speech at the Dalai Lama’s monastery in northern India on 2 October.

This is the third time he has been refused a visa by South Africa in the last five years. In 2011 he was stopped from attending the 80th birthday of his friend and fellow Nobel peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu in Cape Town, while in 2009 he was also denied a visa to attend a Nobel peace conference in Johannesburg.