Friday, August 28, 2009

A Precarious Position

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou is trying to win back political points after his administration's slow response to rescue and relief in the days following Typhoon Morakot's destruction of the island.

He has approved a proposal for his Holiness the Dalai Lama to come visit Taiwan next week to comfort typhoon victims.
However, the idea actually came from the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), mayors and local officials, trying to take advantage of Ma's missteps.
"We have jointly invited the Dalai Lama to visit typhoon-hit areas and pray for the victims," Chen Chu, mayor of Kaohsiung, one of the worst hit areas in the typhoon, said Wednesday.
Last year Ma turned down a proposal by the Dalai Lama to visit the island last December, saying "the timing is not right", even though the spiritual leader has visited Taiwan twice before.
And as expected, China is outraged by this visit.
"We resolutely oppose the proposed visit of the Dalai Lama to Taiwan in whatever form and capacity," said a spokesman for the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office. "The Dalai Lama is not a purely religious figure. Under the pretext of religion, he has all along been engaged in separatist activities."
The Chinese government is spinning this as an attempt by the DPP to ruin the progressively warming relations between Taiwan and the mainland.
"When people from all sectors on the mainland are lending a hand to help Taiwan reconstruct and overcome the typhoon disaster quickly, some DPP members have taken the chance to plot the Dalai Lama's visit to Taiwan," the Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman said. "Obviously this is not for the sake of disaster relief. It's an attempt to sbotage the hard-earned positive situation in cross-Straits relations, he said.
China can criticize the visit as much as it wants, but really Ma's political life is at stake; if he loses his mandate to continue ruling Taiwan, how can China continue having better cross-Straits relations?

1 comment:

gung said...

it is fair for the dalai lama to visit taiwan for strictly religious purposes only.