CHINA> Taiwan, HK, Macao
Dalai visit: Post-disaster farce
(China Daily)
Updated: 2009-08-31 08:12

Some say this is a lose-lose situation for authorities on both sides of the Straits, and a win-win for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). The Dalai Lama can visit Taiwan now, on a mission claimed too noble and glorious to be rejected.

Everybody knows it is a case of treating the foot when the head is aching. We wonder how much a Buddhist monk can bring to the heavily Catholic and Christian communities of southern Taiwan. We would have thought that he has been too busy to even attend to his own religious responsibilities lately, given his increasingly political globe-trotting.

That obviously does not matter to the DPP politicians. The havoc Typhoon Morakot wreaked, the worst in 50 years for the island, is an opportunity they cannot afford to let go. The excuse of having the Dalai Lama there to comfort the dead souls and pray for the survivors is too humanitarian for the Ma Ying-jeo administration to refuse.

The sinister DPP hardball did score in terms of narrow-minded political calculations. The authorities in Taiwan gave way. Those on the mainland have displayed conspicuous restraint while reiterating its consistent opposition. DPP schemers may in private rejoice over this as a fabulous homerun. People concerned about the hard-earned recent rapport across the Taiwan Straits may worry whether the fine momentum will suffer.

We, however, find comfort in the way the matter is being dealt with on the mainland. Very real comfort - in the face of a challenging dilemma, the authorities here have made a choice that will ultimately demonstrate who cares about what when our compatriots are in trouble. With the mainland offering to provide whatever it could possibly deliver to assuage the pains of the typhoon victims, the DPP has appeared more interested in turning disaster relief into a political circus.

Good for the poor victims, and for the long-term good of cross-Straits ties, the mainland has instead kept relief endeavors away from the DPP-directed political tricks. Beyond sincere concern for the typhoon victims, we see political sensitivity and strategic insight. With that, we have confidence they would not play into the hands of the DPP, whose overriding goal is to drive a wedge between the two sides of the Straits.

Related readings:
Dalai visit: Post-disaster farce Dalai Lama urged to keep politics out during visit
Dalai visit: Post-disaster farce Taiwan political organizations protest DPP invitation to Dalai
Dalai visit: Post-disaster farce Dalai Lama Taiwan tour denounced
Dalai visit: Post-disaster farce Dalai Lama's proposed visit to Taiwan 'resolutely opposed'

That the DPP hardliners ignited such a potentially explosive issue at this point again reveals their true colors as political opportunists who do not mind exploiting people's suffering for their own political ends. What surprises us is this happens in the very constituencies of the DDP.

What benefits can the victims draw from the whole farce? We cannot see any. For us, they are mere hostages of the DPP's partisan interest to carry out political blackmail. If the whole thing is to be measured in terms of winners and losers, there is no bigger loser than them.