Dalai sister refused Thai visa

BANGKOK: Thailand has refused to grant a tourist visa to the sister of the Dalai Lama for fear of angering China, the foreign ministry said today.

Jetsun Pema, the younger sister of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, who like her brother lives in India, was due to take part in a three-day cultural show in Bangkok beginning on Friday until the Thai embassy in New Delhi refused her. “We support the cultural show but in the case of the Dalai Lama’s sister we have reserved our right to reject her visa application along with her husband’s because we don’t want to get involved in international politics,” said Chavanond Intarakomalyasut, secretary to Thailand’s foreign minister. The Tibetan monk’s 69-year-old sister was due to make a speech about Buddhist education for Tibetan exiles that the ministry feared could touch on the thorny issue of China’s rule of the Himalayan region.

China is highly critical of any diplomatic ties with the Dalai Lama, who fled his homeland in 1959 and has since lived in India.

He advocates greater autonomy for Tibet under Chinese

rule but is seen by Beijing as a separatist bent on independence for his homeland.