Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

China slams Dalai Lama visit


Two versions of the same story – the first via the Straits Times (from Reuters), and the second from Al Jazeera; and it’s got to do with Tibet, and the Dalai Lama again (visiting Taiwan for the third time) who asserts his trip is ‘not for political reasons

A statement by the state run Xinhua Agency made it quite resolutely clear – they still see the Dalai Lama as a ‘splittist’ who has no place in the Greater China sphere.

And this is is always tricky as we have one ‘spliitist’ in the Dalai Lama, and the ‘split-ed’ (albeit now seemingly and gradually ‘unifying’ Taiwan together in the same media spotlight. Result – kneejerk Chinese reaction although this time the Chinese improved their tact. From the Reuters report in the Straits Times…“As with a denunciation it issued when the visit was announced last week, China focused its criticism on the opposition Democratic Progressive Party.By not blaming Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou or the ruling Nationalist Party (KMT), Beijing may have indicated that it does not wish to escalate the issue.”

China slams Dalai Lama visit
Reuters
The Straits Times 31 August 2009

BEIJING – CHINA denounced the Dalai Lama’s trip to Taiwan, saying the visit by a man Beijing brands a separatist could ‘have a negative influence’ on relations between the mainland and Taiwan, state media reported on Monday.

The Tibetan spiritual leader arrived on Sunday in Taiwan, a self-ruled island claimed by Beijing, for a hasty visit to comfort victims of a typhoon.

As with a denunciation it issued when the visit was announced last week, China focused its criticism on the opposition Democratic Progressive Party.

By not blaming Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou or the ruling Nationalist Party (KMT), Beijing may have indicated that it does not wish to escalate the issue.

‘The Democratic Progressive Party has ulterior motives to instigate the Dalai Lama’s visit to Taiwan, who has long been engaged in separatist activities,’ a spokesman for the State Council’s Taiwan Affairs Office was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.

‘We resolutely oppose this and our position is firm and clear,’ the spokesman said. ‘The Dalai Lama’s visit to Taiwan is bound to have a negative influence on the relations between the mainland and Taiwan.’ China is considered unlikely to retaliate by choking off growing economic ties between the long-time political rivals.

China opposes the Dalai Lama’s trips abroad and condemned Taiwan opposition leaders for inviting him last week to visit until Friday. He will pray for victims of Typhoon Morakot, Taiwan’s worst storm in 50 years which killed up to 745 people.

China has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since 1949, when Mao Zedong’s forces won the Chinese civil war and Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists fled to the island. Beijing has vowed to bring Taiwan under its rule, by force if necessary.

The Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule, flew from India to Taiwan’s main international airport for a mass prayer and other religious activities in storm-hit southern Taiwan. — REUTERS

China slams Dalai Lama Taiwan visit
NEWS ASIA-PACIFIC
Source – Al Jazeera English 27 August 2009

China has denounced a proposed visit to Taiwan by the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, saying it threatens to “sabotage” improving relations between the two states.

Taiwan, the self-ruled island claimed by Beijing, approved the visit by the Nobel Peace laureate to comfort victims of deadly Typhoon Morakot that struck earlier this month and devastated parts of southern Kaohsiung county.

China said it was “resolutely opposed” to Thursday’s visit, in a statement carried by the state-run Xinhua news agency on Thursday.

The Chinese government considers the Dalai Lama a “splittist” for promoting autonomy in Tibet.

Comforting victims

Beijing has often reacted angrily to governments which allow the Tibetan leader to visit.

“No matter under what form or identity Dalai uses to enter Taiwan, we resolutely oppose this,” China’s Taiwan Affairs Bureau said in its statement.

“Some of the people in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) use the disaster rescue excuse to invite Dalai to Taiwan to sabotage the hard-earned positive situation of cross-straits relations,” the statement continued.

An aide to the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, home to the Tibetan government-in-exile, said the spiritual leader had been keen to visit Taiwan.

Tenzin Taklha said: “We want to make it very clear that the Dalai Lama is visiting Taiwan to express condolences to victims and lead prayers.”

More than 400 people were killed after Typhoon Morakot struck Taiwan on August 8 and unleashed floods and mudslides.

Strong moves

China is considered unlikely to retaliate by holding off growing economic ties between the long-time political rivals.

By blaming the opposition DPP, and not Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou or the ruling Nationalist Party (KMT), Beijing may have indicated it does not wish to escalate the issue.

“Beijing will be a little uncomfortable, but if they understand how severe the disaster is they will show some respect to Taiwan’s people,” said Wu Den-yih, the KMT secretary-general.

Last year, the Dalai Lama said that he wanted to visit Taiwan, but at the time, Ma said the timing was not right for such a visit. Taiwanese Buddhist groups criticised the decision.

But Beijing is also aware any strong moves against the Dalai Lama could play into the hands of Taiwanese opponents of President Ma, who has sought to ease tensions with Beijing.

Taiwan’s relations with China have improved under Ma, who has taken a more conciliatory approach than his predecessor. Then-Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian rejected China’s assertion that there is only “One China” and Taiwan is an inalienable part of it.

Political significance

China claims self-governing Taiwan as part of its territory, although the two split amid civil war in 1949.

Victor Gao, the director of China’s National Association of International Studies, a think-tank affiliated with the Chinese government, told Al Jazeera that the Dalai Lama “continues to play both spiritual and political roles”.
He said that while the proposed visit to Taiwan was for spiritual purposes, the Dalai Lama has “been consistently undermining China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

“We also need to make it known that he himself is a Chinese national, and would be welcomed back if he chose to give up his activities,” Gao said.

Over the past 12 years, the Dalai Lama has made three visits to the island which is home to a large exiled Tibetan community and millions of Buddhists.

The Dalai Lama made his first trip to Taiwan in 1997 and visited the island again in 2001, triggering strong condemnation from China.

The Tibetan spiritual leader is due to arrive on August 31 and to stay for four days.

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Filed under: Al Jazeera, International Relations, Straits Times, Tibet

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