The Dalai Lama has branded Chinese officials liars in a sharp rebuke after the country appeared to block his trip to South Africa for Archbishop Desmond Tutu's 80th birthday celebration, Associated Press reports.
The Tibetan spiritual leader spoke via a video link on Saturday as he was unable to appear at the Cape Town University celebrations in person, as planned, after being unable to obtain a visa to South Africa.
More from GlobalPost: South Africa Debates Permitting Visit of Dalai Lama
When Tutu asked why China feared him, the Dalai Lama answered that he made Chinese officials feel "uncomfortable" because he told the truth and they had simply grown accustomed to "telling lies," AP reports.
The Dalai Lama canceled his trip to South Africa visit after waiting months for a visa, Al Jazeera reports. (Read more at GlobalPost.com)
South African officials have denied that they had purposely stalled his application after being pressured by China, which refuses to accept Tibet's independence and accuses the Tibetan leader of being a separatist.
A cast of celebrities joined locals in the celebration of Archbishop Desmond Tutu's birthday, lauding him as the man who helped the country heal after apartheid.
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The Desmond Tutu Peace Trust said the banning of the Dalai Lama would only create more awareness of his peace efforts in his Himalayan homeland, the Economic Times reports.
"Ironically, the Dali Lama's message for peace and compassion might reach more people than if he had been allowed to come here," chairman of the Trust Dumisa Ntsebeza said as the body prepared to link up by video with the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader at his Dharamsala home in India.
The Tibetan spiritual leader is a longtime friend of Tutu and a fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner.