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Dalai Lama urges Taiwan to preserve its democracy

 
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註冊時間: 2007-09-22
文章: 1909

發表發表於: 星期二 九月 01, 2009 8:12 am    文章主題: Dalai Lama urges Taiwan to preserve its democracy 引言回覆

http://www.etaiwannews.com/etn/news_content.php?id=1045598&lang=eng_news&cate_img=49.jpg&cate_rss=news_Society_TAIWAN

Dalai Lama urges Taiwan to preserve its democracy
Visit is 'not political,' says Dalai Lama

By Dennis Engbarth
Taiwan News, Staff Reporter
Page 1
2009-09-01 12:04 AM

The Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama urged Taiwan citizens to pay greater attention to the threat posed by global warming and to "preserve democracy" during a tour of sites in Kaohsiung and Pingtung counties devastated by Typhoon Morokot on the first day of a controversial three day visit to Taiwan over China's opposition.
The Tibetan spiritual leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner, who arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport late Sunday evening, met briefly with Kaohsiung City Mayor Chen Chu at the Garden Villa Hotel before departing at about 09:45 a.m. to visit disaster areas in Kaohsiung and Pingtung Counties.

Despite protests by about 15 pro-advocates of unification with China across the street from the hotel, the Dalai Lama told reporters that his visit was "not political but humanitarian" and said he had "very complicated feelings" about visiting sites where many people had died.

Accompanied by Deputy Kaohsiung City Mayor Lee Yung-teh, the Dalai Lama, his entourage, an escort of Kaohsiung County police and nearly 100 journalists arrived at 11:30 a.m. at the site chosen for a Buddhist prayer service on a road directly overlooking the remnants of Siaolin Village, where over 400 lives were swept away by mud slides triggered by the typhoon.

Looking very solemn, the Dalai Lama and several monks sat down on Tibetan prayer rugs and recited in soft voices a Tibetan a sutra of mercy for over 15 minutes despite the heat.

After completing reciting the prayer, the Tibetan spiritual leader indicated that he wanted to make some remarks to the news media while looking over the rise toward the Laosung River bed and the destroyed village.

The Tibetan leader stated that the scene of devastation "reminds me of the Buddhist concept of the necessity of impermanence" and related that he felt "very sad to see that so many people had lost their precious lives here."

"As a Buddhist, the only thing I can do is pray that they will return in their next lives as humans and have a happier life," he stated.

Referring to the Buddhist concept of "karma," the Dalai Lama said that "every event derives from previous actions and has its own causes and conditions."

"Many parts of the world have such disasters, particularly due to global warming," related the Tibetan leader, who added that "thinking more broadly will help reduce your traumatic experience."

The Dalai Lama related that the Tibetan Buddhist exile community in Dharamshala in northern India had held prayer meetings for the tens of thousands of victims of the Wenchuan earthquake in Sichuan, China in May 2008 as well as for the victims of Typhoon Morakot earlier this month.

Asked about his reaction to the protests against his visit, the Dalai Lama stated that he had "no problem" as "I am totally dedicated to the promotion of democracy and they enjoy freedom of expression, speech and thought."

"I love it," he stated.

Asked whether he had any advice for the Taiwan people in their struggle for identity, the Dalai Lama stressed that since his first visit to Taiwan in 1997 he had told Taiwanese politicians that "as far as we Tibetans are concerned, we are not seeking separation, but the future of Taiwan depends on its 23 million people."

The Nobel Peace Prize winner also said that "in any case, Taiwan should have very close unique links with mainland China due to economic and defense reasons."

While saying that "it is good that things are moving in a better way," the Dalai Lama also pointed out that "Taiwan already enjoys democracy and economic prosperity" and "has made much progress in economics and education and especially democracy."

"What is most important is that you have achieved and enjoy democracy and that you must preserve and for that reason you must think of your common interests and work united together," said the Tibetan leader.

Asked whether he wants to reopen negotiations with the government of the People's Republic of China, the Dalai Lama commented that the topic was "somewhat political" and quipped that "if you want to know more about this, come to India and we can talk there!"

Asked whether he regretted that he would not meet President Ma Ying-jeou, the Dalai Lama responded with a resounding "No!"

"This visit is mainly not political and is mainly humanitarian and there is no political agenda on my side and nothing to discuss with the leaders of this country," the Tibetan leader stated.

The Dalai Lama said that, like many visits to other countries, "this visit is non-political and is cultural, educational and spiritual" and concluded by stating that "therefore, I do not want to create any inconvenience."
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註冊時間: 2007-09-22
文章: 1909

發表發表於: 星期二 九月 01, 2009 8:14 am    文章主題: 引言回覆

Tibet group pans Taipei for curtailing Dalai Lama's visit
by Max Hirsch

KAOHSIUNG COUNTY, TAIWAN, Aug. 31 KYODO
A group linked to the Tibetan government-in-exile slammed Taiwan's government on Monday for curtailing a visit by the Dalai Lama after holding a secret meeting with China, even as the Buddhist leader toured the island's south on a humanitarian trip.
The Friends of Tibet, an India-based advocacy group with an office in Taipei, accused Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou of bowing to the wishes of Beijing and paring down the Dalai Lama's itinerary during his Sunday-Friday visit to the island.
''First it was the press conference that was canceled, then the public speech was downsized,'' the group's director Chow Meili said in a phone interview, referring to the Dalai Lama's engagements on Monday and Tuesday.
''It could not be clearer that the Ma administration is taking orders from the Chinese Communists,'' added Chow, whose husband, Khedroob Thondup, serves as a parliamentarian of the India-based Tibetan government-in-exile headed by the Dalai Lama, Khedroob's uncle.
Last week, opposition leaders in the south invited the Dalai Lama to console the victims of Typhoon Morakot, which lashed the island's south with heavy rains from Aug. 7-9. Floods and mudslides killed more than 600 people, with damage to property and crops estimated at roughly US$1.5 billion.
Risking the ire of China, Ma, of the ruling Nationalist Party (KMT), approved the invitation, and the Dalai Lama arrived in Taiwan on Sunday night.
The Ma administration sent KMT spokesman Lee Chien-jung to Beijing last week to soothe frayed nerves in a secret meeting with Chinese officials, Chow said.
Lee, she said, agreed to three conditions raised by the Chinese government in ''a horse trade'' conducted on behalf of Ma -- namely, that no KMT political heavyweights meet the Dalai Lama, and that the spiritual leader be barred from holding press conferences and from giving public speeches.
In return, Beijing would refrain from mentioning Ma, his administration and the KMT in criticizing the visit, she added.
Indeed, Beijing has avoided mention of Ma and the KMT in its official denunciations of the visit, while an originally scheduled press conference for local and foreign media was scuttled and a large-scale speech by the Dalai Lama in the southern city of Kaohsiung was drastically scaled down to curtail public participation.
China considers the Dalai Lama a ''splittist'' intent on seeking independence for Tibet, which has been controlled by Beijing since the 1950s. The 74-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate insists he seeks merely ''genuine autonomy'' for Tibet, not full-fledged independence.
The Dalai Lama's invitation by mayors and magistrates from seven municipalities controlled by the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has put ''China-friendly'' Ma in a bind. Politically weakened by his administration's allegedly slow response to the storm, Ma was ill-positioned to reject the visit.
However, allowing the Dalai Lama to visit Taiwan jeopardizes Ma's hard-won rapprochement with historic rival China, the centerpiece of his young presidency.
Since taking office last year, Ma has forged direct air, postal and sea links across the Taiwan Strait, and has sought closer economic cooperation with China, which claims the self-ruled island as part of its territory awaiting unification.
For China, the Dalai Lama's visit to Taiwan throws into stark relief Beijing's most pressing territorial problems -- Tibet, with its Dalai Lama-led government-in-exile and uprisings against Beijing rule, and Taiwan, whose longtime de facto sovereignty pokes holes in the mainland's claims over the island.
The Dalai Lama mostly avoided hot-button political issues while speaking to the press in the southern village of Shiaolin, which was wiped out by a massive typhoon-triggered mudslide on Aug. 8. Surrounded by security personnel, monks and survivors, the Dalai Lama prayed for the hundreds who died when they were buried or swept away by the rolling mud.
Asked for comment, he praised warming cross-strait relations but called on the Taiwanese to preserve their democracy.
''Taiwan should have a very close, unique link with mainland China....The link is better -- that's good,'' he said, adding, ''But at the same time, Taiwan...[has] achieved democracy, you are enjoying democracy, and that you must preserve.
''No matter what political party holds power, think of that interest and [stand] united.''
The Dalai Lama said his visit was ''nonpolitical in nature'' and that he didn't wish to ''create inconvenience'' for the government. He did not elaborate and mostly declined to answer questions on political topics.
Speaking by phone, presidential office spokesman Tony Wang said all cancellations of public speaking events by the Dalai Lama were his choice, and the presidential office respected the decisions. The KMT declined to comment on whether it had dispatched an envoy to China to negotiate the terms of the Dalai Lama's visit.
==Kyodo
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