JOHANNESBURG - High-ranking officials of South Africa's ruling ANC visited China this week, local media reported on Sunday, in what could be seen as the party's unreserved support for Beijing.
African National Congress (ANC) officials were not immediately available to confirm reports in two newspapers -- the City Press and Sunday Independent -- that party representatives went to China.
The visit came after South Africa delayed a visa application for the Dalai Lama, who was to visit the country to celebrate Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu's birthday.
ANC supporters, leading newspapers and Tutu said the move was symbolic of the failings of the party that helped end apartheid but was now failing to live up to the ideals of the liberation movement it had once been.
China has labeled the Dalai Lama a dangerous separatist and analysts said Pretoria bowed to pressure from its largest trading partner to bar the Tibetan spiritual leader from visiting, damaging its reputation in the process.