Sun, Mar 24, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Tibetans urge closer ties with Taiwan to repel China

SHARED VALUES:Tibet is facing its own extinction, a situation that Taiwan Tibetan Welfare Association chairman Tashi Tsering said he hopes Taiwan manages to avoid

By Lu Yi-hsuan and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Tibet Religious Foundation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama chairman Dawa Tsering, left, and Taiwan Tibetan Welfare Association chairman Tashi Tsering visit Taipei on March 12.

Photo: CNA

Taiwanese representatives of Tibetans and the Dalai Lama have expressed hope for a strengthened relationship with the nation to counter China’s influence.

Taiwan plays an critical role as a “window to the Chinese-speaking world,” Tibet Religious Foundation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama chairman Dawa Tsering and Taiwan Tibetan Welfare Association chairman Tashi Tsering told the Chinese-language Liberty Times (sister paper of the Taipei Times).

Tibetans should work with Taiwan to get their message about countering China, which lies about the true state of affairs in Tibet, to Chinese speakers and the rest of the world, they said.

Taiwan should promote cultural exchanges with Tibetans in exile to further improve understanding between the two, they added.

“The truth is a sharp weapon,” Dawa said.

The Dalai Lama believes that the most peaceful way to solve Tibet’s troubles is by following the “middle way” — a Buddhist teaching that advises acting in moderation, avoiding extremes, Dawa said, adding that spreading the truth about Tibet to all Chinese speakers is the best way to accomplish this.

Beijing tells the world that it “liberated” Tibet, when in truth it was an invasion, Dawa said.

Tibet’s religion, culture and environment were all colonized by the Chinese, he added.

Beijing can only continue its occupation of Tibet at great cost, by suppressing dissent through the use of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and paramilitary forces, Dawa said.

“Without force, the communists could not keep control of Tibet for even one day,” he said, adding that Beijing keeps Tibet isolated to prevent the truth from getting out.

The Mongolian and Tibetan Cultural Center in Taipei should work with the Tibetan government in exile — at the Dalai Lama’s headquarters in Dharamsala, India — which lacks the resources to conduct cultural exchanges in Taiwan, Dawa said.

A declining number of officials in the exile government are fluent in Chinese, but that would change if second-generation Tibetans could learn Chinese in Taiwan, Tashi said.

All Tibetans would be grateful if that could happen, he added.

Only 15 monks per year are eligible for visas to Taiwan, severely limiting the possibility of exchanges, he said.

Tashi said that Tibet faces its own extinction, a situation that he hopes Taiwan can avoid, adding that freedom, democracy and human rights are values that Taiwanese and Tibetans both hold dear.

Recalling Deng Nan-jung (鄭南榕), a Taiwanese publisher and pro-democracy advocate who died of self-immolation in 1989 to support freedom of speech, Tashi said he hopes that Taiwanese youth can grasp the price that was paid so that Taiwan could have the freedoms and democracy it has today.

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