CHINA> Taiwan, HK, Macao
Dalai Lama Taiwan tour denounced
By Xie Yu (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-08-28 07:33

Beijing Thursday denounced the proposed visit of the Dalai Lama to Taiwan while accusing the island's opposition Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) "evil motive" to damage cross-Straits relations.

"No matter under what form or identity Dalai uses to enter Taiwan, we resolutely oppose this," the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council said in a statement.

Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou Thursday approved the visit by the Dalai Lama next week to "comfort victims of the deadly typhoon" earlier this month, after seven DPP mayors and county heads in south Taiwan extended the invitation on Tuesday.

"We've ... decided to let the Dalai Lama visit because he is coming here to pray for the victims, as well as the survivors," Ma told reporters while visiting typhoon survivors.

The DPP politicians said the invitation was sent since "Dalai Lama experienced similar natural disasters in India and he can use his religious power to boost the victims".

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About 650 people are feared dead after Morakot, the island's worst typhoon in 50 years, which soaked Taiwan from Aug 7-9.

But the Taiwan Affairs Office said: "The Dalai Lama is not a pure religious figure and he has all along been engaged in separatist activities under the pretext of religion."

It accused some DPP members of plotting the visit of the Dalai Lama to "sabotage the hard-won positive situation in cross-Straits ties" and not for the sake of disaster relief.

"The DPP's evil motives will definitely be opposed by compatriots across the Taiwan Straits," the statement said.

Taiwan allowed visits by the Dalai Lama in 1997 and 2001.

Ma last year quashed hopes for a new visit by the Dalai Lama, saying the timing was bad.

Since taking office in May 2008, Ma has pushed for closer ties with the mainland and drawn criticism from the pro-independence DPP for being "too friendly" to Beijing.

"Beijing will be a little uncomfortable, but if they understand how severe the disaster is, they will show some respect to Taiwan's people," the Reuters quoted Kuomintang (KMT) Secretary-General Wu Den-yih as saying Thursday.

A spokesman surnamed Zhang with the Kaohsiung city government's information service, told China Daily that the Dalai Lama is scheduled to arrive in Taiwan on Monday.

The Dalai Lama will spend two or three days in the typhoon-hit areas and hold a press conference on Wednesday or Thursday.

Tenzin Taklha, joint secretary at the Dalai Lama's office, told China Daily Thursday the office has received the invitation, and was "working on the visit", but had not yet booked air tickets.


He said the purpose of the Dalai Lama's trip was to bestow blessings and send condolences, but he could not confirm if the Dalai Lama would make any speeches, or meet political figures during his stay in Taiwan.

"We are still working on the schedule," he said.

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