President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) will not request that special forces provide protection for the Dalai Lama during his six-day visit to Taiwan, the Presidential Office said yesterday, despite concerns over the safety of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said there was a “consensus among government agencies” that they would use police rather than a special detail to ensure the safety of the Buddhist leader.
The Measure Regarding the Special Operations of the National Security Bureau (國家安全局特種勤務實施辦法) states that the protection objectives of the special detail include the president, vice president and their families; former presidents and former vice presidents; presidential and vice presidential candidates and their families. At his discretion, the president can ask that the detail provide security for other dignitaries.
A group of demonstrators believed to be gangsters protested close to the Taipei High Speed Rail after the Dalai Lama’s arrival in Taiwan on Sunday, raising concern about his safety.
Chang An-le (張安樂), the fugitive former leader of the Bamboo Union gang known as the “White Wolf,” said in a TV interview in China that he detested the Dalai Lama’s “political tactics” of capitalizing on disaster in Taiwan, vowing to mobilize his followers to protest against the Buddhist leader should he engage in any political activity, including public speeches.
The Democratic Progressive Party yesterday criticized the administration for failing to prevent gangsters from harassing the Dalai Lama, while providing massive amounts of security during the visit by Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) in November last year.
Wang said Ma would not meet the Dalai Lama during his visit.
The spiritual leader of the Tibetan government in exile arrived on Sunday and is scheduled to leave on Friday.
The Dalai Lama also said on Monday that he would not meet Ma because he did not have a political agenda and didn’t want to “create inconveniences [for] anybody.”
Then-Taipei mayor Ma met the Dalai Lama in 2001. At the time, Ma presented him the key to Taipei and said “Taipei City always welcomes you.”
After taking office as president in May last year, Ma rejected a proposed trip by the Dalai Lama last December, saying the timing was “inappropriate.”
The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader’s visit this time marks his third trip to Taiwan. He first visited Taiwan in 1997.
The Presidential Office approved the visit on Aug. 26, saying the decision was based on religious and humanitarian considerations.
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