South Africa just canceled a peace conference instead of issuing a visa allowing the Dalai Lama to attend:

The conference was intended to discuss football’s role in fighting racism and xenophobia.

‘The convenors have… decided in the spirit of peace to postpone the South African peace conference to ensure it is held under conducive conditions,’ Irvin Khoza, chairman of the South Africa 2010 Organising Committee, was quoted as saying by AFP news agency.

A government spokesman said on Monday that the Dalai Lama’s visit was not in the country’s best interest as it would distract attention from South Africa’s hosting of the World Cup.

Mr Khoza said the government had ‘persuaded’ the Dalai Lama to postpone his visit until after the football championship.

Archbishop Tutu has branded the government’s decision as ‘disgraceful’ and accused the government of ‘shamelessly succumbing to Chinese pressure’, a sentiment echoed in the local media.

Chinese officials in Pretoria said Beijing had warned against allowing the Dalai Lama into the country, saying it would harm bilateral relations.”

That’s quite disappointing. You’d think South Africa would be particularly eager to give a voice to a disenfranchised group of people.