Sat, Jul 27, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Lama-linked DPP to set up ‘Silk Road’

DIRECT CHANNEL:The project would connect Tibetans, Taiwanese, Uighurs, Hong Kongers and others who face Beijing’s oppression to promote democracy in China

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party’s public relations director Hsieh Yu-li, left, Secretary-General Luo Wen-jia, second left, and spokesman Lii Wen, right, pose with the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India, on Friday last week.

Photo from Lii Wen’s Facebook via CNA

Top Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials during a visit with the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India, vowed to forge closer cooperation with the exiled Tibetan government and to form an international “Silk Road of Democracy” (民主絲路) to fight Chinese oppression.

A direct channel has been established with the Dalai Lama after their fruitful talks from Wednesday to Friday last week, which focused on the strength of Taiwan’s democracy and protests in Hong Kong, DPP Secretary-General Luo Wen-jia (羅文嘉) said yesterday.

Luo was accompanied by party spokesman Lii Wen (李問) and public relations director Hsieh Yu-li (謝雨利) for their meeting with the Dalai Lama and officials from the exiled Tibetan government.

“Taiwan’s main strength lies in its democracy,” Luo quoted the Tibetan spiritual leader as saying.

Although it is threatened by Chinese missiles and other intimidation tactics, “Taiwan’s strongest countermeasures include democracy, freedom and the comprehensive preservation of traditional culture,” Luo added.

Taiwan would build a broad international alliance that brings together Tibetans, Uighurs, Hong Kongers, Inner Mongolians and overseas Chinese democracy advocates to promote freedom, human rights and democratic values in China, Lii said.

The project would be called the “Silk Road of Democracy” to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Lii said.

“The DPP and Tibetans share much of the same values and stand together under the same threatening force. Therefore, we shall forge a network with Tibetans, Uighurs, Hong Kongers and Inner Mongolians to pursue and consolidate democracy,” Luo said.

Asked whether there are plans to invite the Dalai Lama to Taiwan, Luo said that while he was representing the DPP and not the government on the trip, Taiwan is a free nation and the door is always open for people who seek freedom and democracy.

He said that the DPP welcomes the exiled Tibetan leader, who has not visited Taiwan since 2009.

“It is up to the willingness of His Holiness the Dalai Lama,” Luo added. “He has fond memories of his previous trips, but he said that his advanced age is not suitable for taking long flights.”

The DPP entourage also met with other key officials, including exiled Tibetan Prime Minister Lobsang Sangay, Legislative Speaker Pema Jungney, Secretary for Foreign Affairs Sonam Norbu Dagpo and Tibetan Youth Congress president Gonpo Dhondup.

Luo quoted the Dalai Lama as saying that he had not ruled out Taiwan as a location for his reincarnation, since it would take place in a Buddhist country.

Human Rights Network for Tibet and Taiwan president Tashi Tsering conferred hada, traditional Tibetan silk scarfs, on Luo, Lii and DPP Deputy Secretary-General Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆) to thank them for the party’s efforts in helping him obtain Republic of China citizenship.

As an exile, he has never seen his Tibetan homeland and has lived in Taiwan for 21 years, Tashi said.

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