China yesterday warned Taiwan not to allow exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama to visit, after New Power Party Legislator Freddy Lim (林昶佐) issued an invitation.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has not said whether the government would allow a visit by the Dalai Lama, who congratulated Tsai on her “remarkable” victory in the Jan. 16 election.
Lim, an outspoken critic of Beijing, invited the Dalai Lama when he met him in India last week.
Ma Xiaoguang (馬曉光), spokesman for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, told a regular news briefing in Beijing that the Dalai Lama “wears religious clothes to carry out separatist activities.”
“The intention of some forces in Taiwan to collude with separatists seeking ‘Tibet independence’ and to create disturbances will have a severe impact on relations across the Taiwan Strait,” Ma said. “We firmly oppose any form of visit.”
Lim’s assistant, Kenny Chang (張庭瑜), said that the Dalai Lama is highly respected in Taiwan and that Lim invited him “to share his ideas and religious philosophy.”
Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times
On Tuesday, Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lee (李大維) told lawmakers that if the Dalai Lama decided to come, the ministry would review the matter carefully, Chinese-language media reported.
A ministry spokeswoman told reporters: “If he submits his [visa] application, the government will handle it based on relevant rules.”
Tenzin Taklha, an aide to the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India, the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile, declined to comment yesterday when reached by telephone.
The Dalai Lama is currently on a visit to Europe. Yesterday he met with a group of French lawmakers at the Senate in Paris.
Former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) refused the Dalai Lama entry several times after his last visit to Taiwan in 2009.
In 2008, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) criticized Ma’s administration for refusing to grant the Dalai Lama entry.
According to the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper), at the time Tsai characterized the Dalai Lama as “a friend of Taiwan” who was denied entry because Ma Ying-jeou was “afraid of China.”
She was quoted as saying that the nation should not be intimidated by China and that as DPP chairperson, she would be “steadfast in defending” this position.
Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) yesterday said that the office “would not comment on a hypothetical case.”
DPP spokesman Yang Chia-liang (楊家俍) last night said the DPP has long been concerned with religious freedom in China.
The government has rules it must follow in issuing visas and the DPP respects that, he said.
DPP Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬), approached as he was leaving a Central Standing Committee meeting at the DPP’s headquarters in Taipei, said that he hoped the government would “tough it out” to welcome the Dalai Lama.
“From the perspective of the freedom of speech and asserting Taiwan’s sovereign independence, we have no cause to follow the example of the Ma [Ying-jeou] administration in refusing the Dalai Lama’s visit,” Gao said.
Additional reporting by Su Fang-ho
The domestically designed Teng Yun 2 drone passed development milestones over the weekend, flying for more than 10 hours straight and circling Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), in the longest flight of an indigenous uncrewed combat aerial vehicle. Developed by the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology, the Teng Yun 2, or “Cloud Rider” (騰雲二型), recorded its longest flight yet over the weekend, after a three-hour test flight last month, followed by five and seven-hour stretches in the air. The Teng Yun 2 No. 1812 departed from Chiashan Air Base in Hualien County at 6:46pm on Saturday and flew on a
OVER THE HUMP: In a seven-day period ending on Wednesday, the nation reported 366,628 new cases, down 19 percent from the 451,358 reported in the previous week The nation might further open up to more arrivals in the next two months, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported 48,283 new local COVID-19 cases, down from more than 50,000 in the previous few days. Taiwan on Wednesday last week introduced a plan to allow up to 25,000 arrivals per week as part of efforts to gradually reopen borders, which includes reducing mandatory quarantines for inbound travelers from seven to three days, followed by four days in “self-initiated epidemic prevention.” The quota covers inbound Taiwanese arrivals, businesspeople and migrant workers. Former vice president Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) yesterday said
The Ministry of National Defense yesterday said it is monitoring Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy ship movements near Taiwan, after the Japanese Ministry of Defense disclosed that Chinese vessels made a rare voyage between Yilan County and Japan’s Yonaguni. The Japanese ministry on Wednesday said that two Chinese navy ships on Tuesday diverted from their usual route of entering the Pacific Ocean via the Miyako Strait and for the first time traveled there between Yilan and Yonaguni. The Japan Self-Defense Forces said that it picked up the presence of China’s Type-056A Jiangdao-class corvette 220km north of Yonaguni at 9am on Tuesday. The
A slew of new measures are to take effect on Friday, including nationwide bring-your-own-cup discounts. The new rule requires chain beverage shops to offer discounts of at least NT$5 (US$0.17) to customers who bring their own cups, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said. The policy would apply to more than 50,000 chain retail locations, including beverage shops, convenience stores, fast-food restaurants and supermarkets. It aims to cut down on waste from single-use plastic cups, more than 2.2 billion of which were used in Taiwan in 2020, the agency said. For convenience, the EPA said it has asked retailers to display signs stating how