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
BLUE WAVE: The KMT’s Chiang Wan-an defeated the DPP’s Chen Shih-chung and is to become Taipei mayor, while President Tsai Ing-wen stepped down as DPP chairperson after many of the party’s candidates, handpicked by the leadership, performed poorly The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday flipped key mayoral seats in Taipei, Taoyuan and Keelung, and won control of 13 out of 22 cities and counties in the nine-in-one local elections. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) last night resigned as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson over a poor showing by the party’s candidates, who were handpicked by the DPP leadership rather than chosen through primaries. The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) won its first high-profile race with Hsinchu mayoral candidate Ann Kao (高虹安) defeating Shen Hui-hung (沈慧虹) of the DPP with 45.02 percent of the vote to Shen’s 35.68 percent. Voters were choosing more than
UNDETERRED: The US chip designer’s plan showed that Taiwan remains attractive for investment by global companies despite cross-strait tensions, Wang Mei-hua said US graphics chip designer Nvidia Corp is planning to relocate its Hong Kong-based logistics center to Taiwan, Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) said on Wednesday. The government had been in discussions with Nvidia regarding tax incentives to facilitate the move since last year, Wang said in an interview with the Central News Agency, adding that the two sides had reached a consensus. Wang did not provide details about the timetable for the move or the planned tax arrangements for Nvidia. The relocation would boost the local economy, as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) is a major supplier of graphics processing
Kaohsiung police last week busted a money laundering operation suspected of seeking to interfere in tomorrow’s local elections. The operation was allegedly headed by a man surnamed Lee (李), who had received NT$9.5 billion (US$306.18 million) from China over the past six months, Kaohsiung police said yesterday, adding that Lee’s ring is suspected to be part of a larger Chinese effort to interfere in the elections and support pro-China candidates. Officers arrested Lee, 35, and his girlfriend, searched his mansion, and seized the money he had allegedly received from China and three luxury vehicles, police said. The operation was disguised as an online
CAUTION: Wearing a mask in crowded places and for people with chronic illnesses or allergies can help prevent COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, the CECC said The mask mandate for outdoor settings is to lifted on Thursday, and the weekly cap on international inbound travelers is to be removed on Dec. 10, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said at its regular news conference yesterday. The center also announced that starting from Friday, children aged five to 11 can receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster, and that rules for visiting hospital patients are to be partially eased from Dec. 10. While wearing a mask will no longer be mandatory outdoors, Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Victor Wang (王必勝) reminded the public that it would still be required