12 February 2018

South Africa: Tibet/South Africa Relations - a Tale of Two Countries - Trade and the Voiceless

analysis

The China in South Africa story is the one that's dominated. This is the story of big money and big influence. China has become South Africa's largest trading partner over 20 years. In contrast, the story of Tibet is subdued, almost forgotten really. There are exactly three Tibetans living in South Africa currently and they have nothing in monetary terms or trade deals to offer. But the Tibet Office in Pretoria remains open and the Tibet story continues to be the thorn in the giant's side.

Only 10 days separate two significant diplomatic events of 1998. One cemented diplomatic relations between the People's Republic of China and South Africa. The other saw the Office of Tibet registered as official agency of the Dalai Lama in Pretoria.

They're partnerships South African has with two polar opposites. Over the past 20 years they're relationships that have come to test South Africa's value system, political savvy and courage, and the strength of our Constitution.

The China in South Africa story is the one that's dominated. This is the story of big money and big influence. China has become South Africa's largest trading partner over 20 years. It helped secure South...

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