Kjell Magne Bondevik, a Lutheran pastor and former Norwegian prime minister, was scheduled to be a moderator at a World Council of Churches meeting in Nanjing, China, June 12 but was denied a visa.
Olav Fykse Tveit, WCC general secretary, said the council was "disappointed and surprised." No official reason was announced.
Bondevik said he believes it could have been retaliation for his satisfaction with the Norwegian Nobel Committee's decision to award the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo of China. Bondevik was prime minister from 1997 to 2000 and again from 2001 to 2005.
© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers