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Aug 28

Opinion:On Dalai Lama’s Upcoming Visit to Taiwan

Written by Allen on Friday, August 28th, 2009 at 8:58 pm
Filed under:-mini-posts, Analysis, aside, culture, General, News, politics, religion | Tags:, , , , ,
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Dalai Lama is set to visit Taiwan next week. The Dalai Lama has been invited a group of local DPP officials representing several southern counties – where DPP support is especially strong.

The Dalai Lama has visited Taiwan twice, once in 1997 and 2001. However, soon after Ma took office on a platform promising to amend ties with the Mainland, a request for the Dalai Lama to visit was turned down by Ma, citing the timing as not proper. A Dalai Lama visit then could have derailed Ma’s plan for closer ties with the Mainland – and still has the potential to do so the same.

I have commented before that these latest developments smack of political jockeying by opportunistic politicians (i.e. local DPP politicians), and I still stand by that statement. Annecdotal evidence suggest that while most Taiwanese do not object to the visit, the people on the ground – the true victims of the storm - appear only lukewarm. As is with the political circus that has developed in the aftermath of the storm, efforts are directed toward political jockeying rather than to helping people on the ground.

I am satisfied that Beijing clearly sees what is going on in Taiwan and has refrained from wholesale condemnation of the Taiwanese government. Personally, I think that as long as the Dalai Lama’s visit does not chill cross-strait relations, this visit may turn out to be a blessing … after all.

How???

Well – hopefully this high profile visit will debunk a few myths.

Over the years, many in the West seem to have come to believe that Tibetan culture and Han culture are mutually incompatible. This is far from the truth. The Dalai Lama is relatively popular in Taiwan, where the demographics / culture is predominantly Han. Most Taiwanese are Buddhists, and many look to the Dalai Lama as a well respected spiritual teacher. Both my mom and my uncle personally attended ceremonies held by the Dalai Lama both times the Dalai Lama visited Taiwan before. The temple I go to have many books by current Buddhist teachers, including many by the Dalai Lama. Han culture would not be Han without Buddhism. To the extent that we are talking about religion, Han culture is definitely not incompatible with Tibetan culture.

Some in the West believe that Han Chinese do not care about Tibetan culture. That is also far from the truth. Tibetan mysticism, Tibetan Buddhist teachings, and Tibetan art are wildly popular in Taiwan (as well as among the growing middle class all throughout the Mainland I hear). The last time I perused a bookstore in Taipei, books about Tibet – its history, its culture, its people, its religion – occupied two entire walls. Tibetan art motives and themes can be found in almost every temple you visit in Taiwan (and throughout the Mainland, including the ones that are being reconstructed). Tibetan art artifacts are popular in museums, art stores, and art shows and fairs in Taiwan.

Some in the West believe that Han Chinese and Tibetans cannot live peacefully side by side. This can be easily debunked by history – even without going to Taiwan. The Dalai Lama has stated many times that Tibetan and Han Chinese history are intermixed, and that most of this history can be characterized as one of peace and mutual cooperation rather than one of conflict. In Qinhai and Sichuan, Tibetans and Han Chinese – as well as other ethnic groups – have lived peacefully amongst each others for centuries if not millenia. If we must go to Taiwan, we will find that Tibetans in Taiwan (there are many) live their daily lives immersed with other Taiwanese people.

What this trip hopefully will reveal is that the controversy about the Dalai Lama is political – not cultural … or religious. There is nothing fundamentally incompatible about Tibetan or Han culture. Of course, this does not mean that Han and Tibetan culture are - or need to be - one and the same. But they can both represent important elements in the great tapestry making up the Chinese tradition.

The Dalai Lama has asserted many times that he intends to reach out more to all Chinese people – not just Westerners – or ethnic Tibetans. Taiwan can be a stepping stone. I hope the Dalai Lama will follow through by reaching out to Beijing and the people on the Mainland as a whole. The Dalai Lama is an important part of Tibetan – and more broadly Chinese – culture.  Taiwan, as part of the ROC, can provide a sort of home welcoming. But the real destination is Tibet. To get there, the Dalai Lama must learn to reach out to Beijing, not just the DPP, or the KMT…


There are currently 1 comments highlighted: 46519.

65 Responses to “Opinion:On Dalai Lama’s Upcoming Visit to Taiwan”

  1. Jason Says:

    Russia Today has a fascinating article called: How CIA helped Dalai Lama to end up in exile.

    http://www.russiatoday.com/Top_News/2009-03-18/How_CIA_helped_Dalai_Lama_to_end_up_in_exile.html

  2. Lime Says:

    I’m not sure what you mean by “many in the West seem to have come to believe that Tibetan culture and Han culture are mutually incompatible”, exactly? I doubt if anyone in the ‘west’ has ever put it quite like that, and I’m also skeptical about the probability that anyone in the mainstream media has even implied this. They’re different as you say, though how different is a difficult call because both cultures are just vague categories with quite radical internal variation. Compare Han culture on the mainland to Taiwan and Hong Kong, and I think it’s a safe bet that the ethnic Tibetans living in Taiwan probably have live lives that are quite different from the Tibetans in Tibet or in India. And of course the Han and Tibetans living in North America and elsewhere won’t have the same culture that are that similar to their Asian counterparts. I don’t think this is misunderstood by anyone in Europe or North America (save perhaps a fringe element that doesn’t really understand what the word ‘culture’ means). Tenzin Gyatso’s visit to Taiwan isn’t going to reveal anything about the relationship between Han & Tibetan culture that isn’t obvious.

    Now the bit about the ‘some in the west’ not believing that Han and Tibetans can live peacefully side by side might have a bit less straw stuffed into it if I understand you to mean that some people (perhaps many people) in Europe and the Anglosphere believe that Tibetan political culture and Han political culture are not compatible and thus cannot co-exist in one political system. It’s sort of true if you take the political culture of Gyatso’s Lamaist government and juxtapose it with the PRC’s. The PRC is a one-party dictatorship with communist trappings, and Gyatso’s was a theocratic dictatorship. Of course both are even more politically incompatible with the ROC than they are with each other, as it’s an presidential democracy. Deciding how compatible the political cultures are (and the thus the potential to peacefully co-exist), is plagued by the same problem of not being able to define either one. I don’t think the Dalai Lama, ex-despot though he is, visiting Taiwan proves much of anything that way either.

    Overall, your interpretation that this visit will shore up the notion of Han-Tibetan cultural closeness or compatibility is wishful thinking, especially as obviously neither of the active participants, the Minjindang and Tenzin Gyatso, sees it that way.

    (Good on you for posting about it, though.)

  3. Lime Says:

    Actually, the main thing it does demonstrate is that the DPP and Tenzin Gyatso have compatible interests, so the one thing I do agree with is that this is using the typhoon disaster for their respective political strategies. It sure does make Ma look foolish doesn’t it?

  4. David on Formosa Says:

    The Dalai Lama has made many attempts to reach out to Beijing over the past few decades. It is Beijing who are obstinate and unwilling to accept the Dalai Lama’s gestures in good faith. There have been many contacts between the Tibetan Government-in-Exile and CCP, both formal and informal. Last year the Tibetan Government-in-Exile abandoned official talks because they felt they were achieving nothing. i.e. Beijing was not reciprocating the goodwill.

    You also seem ignorant of the fact that the Tibetan Government-in-Exile is very democratic and modern. It is vastly different from the pre-1950s Tibet. The Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize as a sign of the widespread esteem in which he is held by many people around the world. That the CCP continues to see the Dalai Lama in negative terms is entirely a reflection of the CCP’s ignorance and stupidity. And also that many people tend to regard Beijing’s propaganda as fact rather than trying to understand the reality of the situation.

  5. qwerty Says:

    Yes tibetan can live with Han!
    But when the number of han increase too quickly (and soon will be the majority), than the Han do not adopt tibetan culture and often do not understand it… then of course live together become more difficult. furthermore when you do not control your politic which is decided 4000 km away in beijing by people who have not the same interest as you have, and who use all the propanda they have to say as bad as possible things about tibetan religious leader.

    Try to read: “藏区3.14事件社会、经济成因调查报告” it is a study about the cause of 3.14 in Tibet done by Chinese Han scholar who live in mainland china.

  6. Wukailong Says:

    @qwerty: That report has been translated into English and posted here, by contributors from this very site:

    http://blog.foolsmountain.com/2009/06/02/an-investigative-report-into-the-social-and-economic-causes-of-the-314-incident-in-tibetan-areas/

    Unfortunately, I think this thread as a whole is headed in the same direction as the one on “glorious China.” David on Formosa just mentioned the viewpoint of perfectly innocent Tibet. Soon we will see posts on perfectly innocent China, and the whole thing just gets going.

  7. Allen Says:

    @Wukailong #6,

    Thanks for reposting the link to that 314 report. I remember Khechog’s friend already translated the bulk of it before turning it to us, but many of us editors here (not me personally though, unfortunately, since I was travelling) also spent hours refining it.

  8. Allen Says:

    @Lime #2,

    Good for you for bringing up the concept of “political culture.”

    It was not my intent of this article to stipulate that there are no political differences. There surely are. Neither was this piece meant to elucidate a roadmap to a political settlment between the exiles and Beijing (although I wish I were genious enough to do so).

    But of the people on the streets I met on the streets of SF waving Tibetan flags during the torch relay last year, few really had any knowledge about Tibet. Of the five people I stopped to talk, all five did not know where Tibet was, but all knew for sure there was religious and cultural genocide and that Tibetan and Han people had been arch enemies since the origin of time…

  9. Wukailong Says:

    @Allen (#8): “But the people on the streets I met on the streets of SF waving Tibetan flags during the torch relay last year, they really had very little knowledge about Tibet. Of the five people I stopped to talk, all five did not know where Tibet was, but all knew for sure there was religious and cultural genocide and that Tibetan and Han people had been arch enemies since the origin of time…”

    That they didn’t even know where Tibet was is quite surprising, and amusing. ;) On the other hand, I hardly find it surprising that people don’t know about things they are upset about – for a Chinese example, I tend to marvel at the support people here show for Serbia (understandable in a sense) and their ignorance of what came before that. I was opposed to the NATO bombings, but the Serbs weren’t the saints many people here seem to believe.

  10. Allen Says:

    @WKL #9,

    All my friends on the Mainland believe the embassy was intentionally bombed. I personally actually believed it was an accident.

    In any case, here are a list of Serbia saints I found by googling – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Serbian_saints .

    Surely – many Serbs were indeed saints! :-)

  11. Wukailong Says:

    @Allen: Sorry, I didn’t mean the bombing of the embassy at all. I believe that was intentional, though I don’t understand the exact reasons behind it.

  12. Allen Says:

    @WKL #11,

    You believe it was intentional? Well … I guess I have been brainwashed by American media after all!

  13. Wukailong Says:

    @Allen: I’ve read a similar explanation in a couple of places, and I think it makes more sense than NATO’s official claim that it was using an outdated map:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/1999/oct/17/balkans

    I’m still not sure about the exact reasons, because I wouldn’t dare make such a gamble if I belonged to NATO’s top brass – of course, there might be a reason I’m working with what I am, rather than national security. ;)

  14. Wukailong Says:

    Looks like the row is for show, mostly:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/28/AR2009082801425.html

  15. Raj Says:

    Allen, I predicted you would write this piece which is why I let you comment first. I may pop another one up later. Never say I hog the good stories. :)

    A Dalai Lama visit then could have derailed Ma’s plan for closer ties with the Mainland – and still has the potential to do so the same.

    I know, it’s a real shame that China feels the need to make trouble whenever he visits other countries. It really damages foreign relations.

    I have commented before that these latest developments smack of political jockeying by opportunistic politicians (i.e. local DPP politicians), and I still stand by that statement.

    As was pointed out previously, KMT politicians also were opportunistic by surrounding Ma in the hope that they’d get noticed for the upcoming election, regardless of whether they held any official capacity in the areas they visited. They’ve also attempted to blame the victims for not evacuating fast enough. I don’t think you should focus simply on the political party you don’t like.

    The DPP’s reason to invite him had a lot to do with politics, but then the same applies to Ma’s acceptance. Politicians play politics – shock! ;)

    Well – hopefully this high profile visit will debunk a few myths.

    I don’t see why. Your argument seems to be “because Taiwan is Chinese and the Dalai Lama will go to Taiwan, it shows it’s ok”. If that’s not what you said, your argument isn’t clear. If it is then it’s fundamentally flawed because the foreigners you would like to change their view don’t see Taiwan as being part of China, or at the least they know the two territories are ruled separately.

    Incompatibility has little to do with culture and is more down to Beijing/CCP policies, though there’s an argument that China’s new “western culture” isn’t compatible with nomadic traditions still found in Tibet and that people shouldn’t be encouraged/forced out of them. Though again there are competing arguments that the desire to group Tibetans together is about politics and not culture.

    What this trip hopefully will reveal is that the controversy about the Dalai Lama is political – not cultural … or religious.

    How would that happen? The Dalai Lama isn’t going to make a speech saying “back the DPP/KMT in future elections” or “never agree to Chinese annexation”. He’ll go around visiting people affected by the disaster, religious sites, etc. Perhaps, Allen, perhaps you’re hoping for something that privately you know won’t happen.

    To get there, the Dalai Lama must learn to reach out to Beijing, not just the DPP, or the KMT…

    The Dalai Lama has reached out several times, by first giving up his claim to independence and then even suggesting not full political autonomy is needed. Beijing has done nothing of such magnitude, just held a few rounds of talks. Indeed it seems to prefer to see him die because, unfortunately, many people believe their own propaganda that he’s the cause of all trouble, when in reality he’s China’s last hope of a peaceful solution as many young Tibetans prefer direct action (sometimes violence).

  16. barny chan Says:

    David on Formosa Says: “The Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize as a sign of the widespread esteem in which he is held by many people around the world.”

    David, he might well be held in widespread esteem but citing his Nobel Peace Prize as a sign of international credibility potentially undermines rather than strengthens his credibility. For every Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan (two women who selflessly and bravely campaigned for peace) there are ten self-serving and compromised Henry Kissingers and David Trimbles who’ve received this highly dubious honour.

    Raj: “The Dalai Lama…in reality he’s China’s last hope of a peaceful solution as many young Tibetans prefer direct action (sometimes violence).”

    Exactly. More and more radicalised young Tibetans have concluded due to Beijing’s stance towards the Dalai Lama that the only thing that will result in change is violent insurrection. This would be very bad news for China because no amount of military power can easily quash a locally supported guerilla movement.

  17. hzzz Says:

    Taiwan politics is fun. I thought the KMT was finished when Chen came to power, but then I also thought DPP was finished after the ex-Preznit Chen admitted to fraud and put into jail. Now apparently it’s trying to make a come back, and that’s a good thing. The thing is, back when Chen first came into power DPP had TONS of political capital. The reason why it failed was because other than divisive politics and “nationalism” (weird, since I spent like 2 hours writing about in anther thread) it did not produce any real results in terms of domestic reforms. The new generation of Taiwanese are not as brainwashed as some think they are. Warning about the big bad China in order to unite people can only go so far when it comes to governing nations. For all of the talk about Chinese government’s using nationalism to deflect criticisms, without real improvements in standard of living for the masses, the Chinese government would not have gotten away with the things it did if all it did was blaming the Western governments.

    The Tibet issue is even more complicated. I can only hope people can realize that in order for Tibetans to be “free” or whatever the buzz word du jour is, they would first need to get sympathetic Hans to go along with the plan. For now, there is no plan because the Tibetan leadership based in India could not agree to exactly what they want, and even worse their road map all depends on the Western nations forcing China’s hand. Despite what the Western powers say about freedom, their foreign policy actions have always reflected self-interest to the core. History has shown that the Western powers have always favored manageable dictatorship over democracy as long as the dictator is capitalistic and willing to provide favors. Today China holds the key to not only its own economy but the world economy, as the rest of the world waits for China to rebound. That and China is funding US’ debts in the war against the “terrorists” in the muslim world. As such, relying on Western powers is not going to provide anything but disappointment for the Tibetans.

    Never mind the melting pot, I have always wondered if China grants Dali Lama’s return and expend on their religious freedom, can they live side by side with the Hans. I think many open minded Hans would think the same way. The problem is that every step the Tibetan community has taken so far only alienates the moderate Hans while fueling the Chinese hardline conservatives. In a time when Tibetans clearly need to convince more Hans instead of Westerners, its leadership instead is trying to pit Hans against those in the West.

    Finally, Western media’s clear favoritism of one ethnicity over anther is only making the matter worse. Countless times I have read about Western media’s criticisms over the migration patterns of Hans into Tibet, with many voices in the Tibetan community wanting to kick the Hans out. Even if Tibetans had their own government, how are they going to kick out all of the Hans without resorting to Nazi tactics of segregation and then purge? The reason why regions like Tibet/Xinjiang is popular for Hans is because there are opportunities there. It’s the same reason why my parents came to America and why so many Hispanics came to the US. In the US, do all of the difference races integrate? Of course not, many Hispanics can’t speak English and they don’t assimilate. But the mainstream media does not advocate the halting or the purging of Hispanics migration even though they are the fastest growing population and will be the majority race one day. So why does the Western media think it’s okay to simply advocating this idea for Tibet, and even more laughable why would Hans go along with that idea?

  18. hzzz Says:

    “You also seem ignorant of the fact that the Tibetan Government-in-Exile is very democratic and modern. It is vastly different from the pre-1950s Tibet. The Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize as a sign of the widespread esteem in which he is held by many people around the world.”

    This is a very LOL worthy comment because for all of the complaints about how brainwashed the Chinese are, here we have the perfect example of Westernized kool-aid drinking. For one, we all know that the head of the Tibetan exile government was not elected, and there has never been an election to elect this post. So how can anyone say that the Tibetan exile government is very democratic? Googling the term “dalai lama selection” I came across two articles, one in 2001 from the Telegraph stating that dalai lama was considering making the heir selection democratic. Good. The other is a Times article published in 2007.

    The Times article (http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1686573,00.html) stated this: “”If the Tibetan people want to keep the Dalai Lama system, one of the possibilities I have been considering with my aides is to select the next Dalai Lama while I’m alive,” he told the Sankei Shimbun in an interview published November 21st. That could mean either some kind of democratic election among senior Buddhist monks or a personal selection by the current Dalai Lama himself, who is the 14th of the line”.

    And this people, is the funniest thing I have read today. One of the possibilities? Some kind of democratic election among the senior Buddhist monks? That’s like saying that the Chinese Communist Party is democratic because the high level officers vote to elect the next leader. And this is the BEST thing Tibetans can hope for in the “democratic” election process of their next leader which has been announced, all they need to do now is to all become senior Buddhist monks. Of course, the author had to throw the word “democratic” in there to just to further confuse the koolaid drinkers. When you think about it, democracy and the whole reincarnation thing doesn’t make any sense. Unless you are god, how can you determine the process reincarnation? In other words, a free election process would make a mockery out of the whole reincarnation system. To be truly democratic, the Tibetans would need to abandon the fundamentals of their religion.

  19. hzzz Says:

    “Exactly. More and more radicalised young Tibetans have concluded due to Beijing’s stance towards the Dalai Lama that the only thing that will result in change is violent insurrection. This would be very bad news for China because no amount of military power can easily quash a locally supported guerilla movement.”

    I think this would be good news for China actually. Once the radicalized Tibetans start to bomb the Han owned stores, burn their homes, and chop off heads, the Chinese government could then easily label them as terrorists and then crack down on them with good justifications. Just look at the Uighurs. The Tibetans’ greatest asset is their image as peaceful monks. Any acts of violence will destroy that image, not to mention that China has the bigger guns.

    Furthermore, once this happens India would be under tons of pressure to give up or expel the radicalized Tibetans in order to protect its own citizens. When you are a guest you don’t want to make trouble for the host. Unless India is willing to take on China, the Tibetan community would only create more friction with the local Indian government. That would mark the beginning to end of the Tibetan exile government.

  20. Raj Says:

    hzzz

    I think this would be good news for China actually. Once the radicalized Tibetans start to bomb the Han owned stores, burn their homes, and chop off heads, the Chinese government could then easily label them as terrorists and then crack down on them with good justifications.

    1. Are you suggesting that victims of terrorism would be expendable?! China should work to ensure this doesn’t happen, rather than exploit violence for its own ends.

    2. China has never been shy about locking people up, regardless of whether they are violent or peaceful. Justification doesn’t come into it. Unless you’re suggesting that China would use violence as a pretext to crap down on Tibetans generally. That would be a bad idea because it would pour more fuel on the fire, as well as being unspeakable cruel.

    The Tibetans’ greatest asset is their image as peaceful monks. Any acts of violence will destroy that image

    Err, no, Tibetans are not all seen as peaceful monks. That peaceful monks are harrassed by Chinese officials adds sympathy to the Tibetan cause. There is a difference.

    not to mention that China has the bigger guns

    Which means that uninvolved people are more likely to get caught in the crossfire.

    Furthermore, once this happens India would be under tons of pressure to give up or expel the radicalized Tibetans in order to protect its own citizens.

    Indians would not come under attack. Moreover, the radical Tibetans would mostly be in Tibet, not India.

  21. hzzz Says:

    “1. Are you suggesting that victims of terrorism would be expendable?! China should work to ensure this doesn’t happen, rather than exploit violence for its own ends.”

    I think we all can agree that the Chinese government is not exactly the nicest government out there. The reason why it needs reform is because it wants to keep itself in power. Do you honestly think the top honchos at ANY GOVERNMENT really care about its own people? No, they care about power. They are helping people so that they can remain in power. Sure, there are genuinely good people out there but they cannot be politicians. Think how US exploited 9/11 to justify its own interests. Heck there are plenty of people who still think the CIA plotted 9/11. Why do they believe these things? Violence is a fantastic way to unite people. If the US/Britian, beacons of Democracy, can invade Iraq by exploiting 9/11, why wouldn’t the Chinese government exploit tragedies as well?

    “Err, no, Tibetans are not all seen as peaceful monks.”

    That’s the image of Tibetans abroad, and the image which Dalai Lama had worked so hard to project. The notion of the non-threatening nature of the Tibetans vs. the brutal Chinese government is also the reason why so many people support it rather than say, the Uighurs.

    “Indians would not come under attack. Moreover, the radical Tibetans would mostly be in Tibet, not India.”

    I thought you are Indian because of your name which is why I am surprised you would think this way. The entire leadership of the Tibetan exile government is in India. Radicalization elements don’t simply happen in a vacuum without some sort of organized movement. Such organized groups won’t happen in China because the government would crack down on them the moment they do anything significant. If there are radical Tibetan groups then, they have to be in India in order for the groups to grow. Here is a good article on India/Tibet/China relationships. http://www.indianexpress.com/news/indias-tibet-ambiguity/391206/3

  22. Jason Says:

    @David on Formosa

    You are living in fantasy la-la land. Come back to reality.

    Your statement is just like many Tibetan sites that people should forget the past of what some Tibetan nationalists has done .(CIA-trained Tibetan guerillas, NED donations, betrayals, etc.) and paint Tibetan nationalist as “good-gesture people.”

    China doesn’t deal with traitors.

    Also Tibetan in exile is not a democratic.

    Dalai Lama is God-king and to say that their theocratic government is democratic is hilarious.

    Oh and Dalai Lama is a Marxist: http://hhdl.dharmakara.net/hhdlquotes1.html#marxism

  23. Raj Says:

    hzzz

    I think we all can agree that the Chinese government is not exactly the nicest government out there.

    So what? You said that terrorist attacks would be good news for China. What does that have to do with the Chinese government being nasty? Can you justify or at least explain your comment so it doesn’t seem that you’re trying to find a positive in civilians being killed?

    Interestingly if I said what you did I’m sure I’d be screamed at, with the usual suspects demanding I’d be banned from the blog. But, hey, as you said somewhere you’re a Chinese nationalist so I guess that’s ok with them.

    Do you honestly think the top honchos at ANY GOVERNMENT really care about its own people?

    Not to the point where they would wish terrorist bombings to justify a policy of harsh repression against an ethnic minority. Some might, but not even a majority, let alone all of them. Furthermore, yes, I do believe the leaders of at least some governments out there care about their citizens.

    The notion of the non-threatening nature of the Tibetans vs. the brutal Chinese government is also the reason why so many people support it rather than say, the Uighurs.

    Most foreigners support Tibetans more than the Uighurs because they know so little about the latter. It doesn’t mean that they see the Tibetan cause as being more justified/peaceful than the Uighur one.

    I thought you are Indian because of your name

    Do you think Jason is a white guy, or Chinese?

    The entire leadership of the Tibetan exile government is in India.

    What you fail to understand is that it is not the Tibetan exile government that is radicalising young Tibetans. It is younger activists, in Tibet or in other countries, who are pushing this forward. Maybe in the future the exile government could be dominated by people who think the same way, but for the moment the general philosophy is the one the Dalai Lama follows – keep protest peaceful.

    Such organized groups won’t happen in China because the government would crack down on them the moment they do anything significant.

    Oh yes, I forgot that the CCP is omniscient. That’s why there is no organised crime in China, because as soon as anyone starts plotting illegal activities the Chinese version of Tom Cruise jumps in a la Minority Report and busts everyone.

  24. Wukailong Says:

    @James: Dalai Lama have occasionally said that he considers himself partly Marxist, and that he agrees with some of its tenets. That doesn’t make him a Marxist in my viewpoint.

    If he’s a feudalist who’s forever guilty for the CIA involvement, then is the Chinese government always guilty for the Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward?

  25. Allen Says:

    @Wukailong #24,

    You wrote:

    If he’s [the Dalai Lama's] a feudalist who’s forever guilty for the CIA involvement, then is the Chinese government always guilty for the Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward?

    That’s a good question. I never found a good answer myself, and I suppose many of the vehement anti-CCP attitude we find in the West is similar to the anti-DL attitude we find in Mainland China…

    But there might be one difference, I think. I don’t think anyone is arguing that China is still a communist state – or one that is springing for a chance at another cultural revolution and great leap forward.

    However many many people still doubt whether the DL is really for national unity. I don’t need to get into evidence here (we can do that for another thread if people think that’s useful) – but there are many who believe that the DL is still fighting for independence – and is only advocating for “autonomy only” as a tactical ploy…

  26. Raj Says:

    Allen (25)

    However many many people still doubt whether the DL is really for national unity. …. but there are many who believe that the DL is still fighting for independence – and is only advocating for “autonomy only” as a tactical ploy…

    That’s no different to the view of those who doubt the calls of senior Chinese politicians for political reform. Support for “democracy” can be seen as a tactical ploy too, such as to get measures like the European arms embargo lifted (failed) or win events like the 2008 Olympics (successful). You would prefer that those things be granted to China without it having to prove itself first by bringing in a political system the outside world is satisfied with, would you?

    Besides, even if the Dalai Lama did go back on his promises, China could still send the troops in like during 1950 and re-establish control. Hell, it’s unlikely it would withdraw its troops anyway – it would be more like a repeat of the suppression of the riots.

    Those who doubt the Dalai Lama are often those who don’t want to believe him. When Tibet was largely peaceful I can’t remember many comments giving him credit for keeping things calm. He was said to be an “irrelevance” who most Tibetans didn’t respect or if they did it was only as a figurehead. Then when violence happened it was down to him, that he was at the centre of it all.

    So he’s a powerless, irrelevant figurehead who is at the centre of a conspiracy to destablise Tibet whose actions have been painted across the international media. Right…..

  27. Michael Says:

    It might actually achieve the opposite of your mythical construct about westerners believing that Han and Tibetans cannot side by side. It might cause mainland Han to believe that they have nothing to fear from this
    ‘evil serpent Da-liar’.
    How will it look in mainland China to see their most hated enemy, the Dalai Lama, receive a sincere welcome from their Chinese compatriots across the straits? Might it not raise a few doubts about how this so called personification of evil and anti-Chinese splittist has become so welcomed by ordinary Han Chinese outside of the reach of CCTV and the vitriol-spewing propaganda organs of the glorious motherland? In the same way I wonder how any intelligent, thinking mainland Chinese person can compute how Falun Dafa is an evil cult in their motherland and yet everywhere else (including Chinese Hong Kong and Chinese taiwan) it is just a harmless bunch of yoga practitioners.

  28. Jason Says:

    @How will it look in mainland China to see their most hated enemy, the Dalai Lama, receive a sincere welcome from their Chinese compatriots across the straits?

    What? Have you looked at Taiwanese news this weekend. There’s growing anger over DPP’s political tactic to welcome Dalai Lama. Also many Taiwanese people knows that there’s almost none Taiwanese follow Tibetan buddhism.

    @I wonder how any intelligent, thinking mainland Chinese person can compute how Falun Dafa is an evil cult in their motherland and yet everywhere else (including Chinese Hong Kong and Chinese taiwan) it is just a harmless bunch of yoga practitioners.

    Falun Dafa is a quasi-political cult who lies and Li Hongzhi plays God on people’s lives.

  29. Raj Says:

    Jason (28)

    There’s growing anger over DPP’s political tactic to welcome Dalai Lama. Also many Taiwanese people knows that there’s almost none Taiwanese follow Tibetan buddhism.

    Whether Taiwanese follow Tibetan Buddhism or not is irrelevant, because he is still respected.

    As for “growing anger”, contrary to the usual propaganda from outlets like Xinhua, most Taiwanese approve of the visit. For example, Apple Daily published a poll on Friday that said 60% supported it, with only 26% opposed. Do you have a poll that says anywhere near a majority of Taiwanese don’t want him to visit? Or even that there is “rising anger”?

    Sure, some organisations are against it according to Xinhua. Let’s see who they are.

    - The “Alliance for the Reunification of China” – I’m sure they’re non-partisan, independent fellows.
    - The “Labor Party” – a radical, anti-capitalist, anti-”imperialist” party that holds a grand total of zero seats in the Taiwanese legislative. Indeed any support it may have seems to be so low that I can’t find information on it winning votes at a major election.
    - The “Labor Rights Association” – an off-shoot of the above party.

    If that’s all Xinhua can muster in support of its political masters, it goes to show how little real opposition there is to the Dalai Lama’s visit.

  30. Jason Says:

    Apple Daily is considered as legitimate news publication.

    HAHAHAHAHA!

  31. frank Says:

    The visit of dalai lama is a great thing to happen. Come on lets not fool ourself. The fact is that the Dalai lama is immensely respected worldwide and his popularity is only ever growing. Of course everyone is free to believe white is black but it wud be rather absurd to believe that. There remains no argument on that. What happened during his last visits to taiwan. Only the people of taiwan gained from the visit of the great buddhist teacher. They felt more at peace and more spiritual to live better lives.How many times wud the Dalai Lama have to reiterate that he is not seeking for independence and be happily ready to settle for Hong Kong like status and be with governement of China. He NEVER ever spoke ill of the people of China in fact always praised the chinese people and reffered them as brothers and sisters with a true heart. What more is there to ask for. Sometimes it seems few people of certain section is only afraid that they wud loose their power and job if the Tibet issue is resolved. That is why they behave so selfish and arrogant and cause so much harm to so many people at the both side. Since we all mortals have to die sooner or later please dont be so selfish and give peace a chance and leave behind a better world. Lets die with a positive heart and not with guilt and regret. To wait for the death of the Dalai Lama is a very big mistake. It all depends wether one wants to solve or prolong the issue forever. The teachings of Dalai Lama has taught me to strive towards a good human nature and so in my heart I empathise with the people of taiwan and pray for deceased and thoses effected by the this big natural disaster. I also pray for the people of Sichuan enduring the calamity of the massive flooding. om mane padme hun ! May all beings benefit from the teachings of the Buddhas and Bodhisattavas!

  32. Raj Says:

    Jason, it’s childish for you discount the polling because it was carried in the Apple Daily. I suppose that you’d rubbish it wherever it appeared because you don’t like the result. You have no contrasting facts to provide because there are no polls showing Taiwanese don’t want the Dalai Lama there. If you want to live in a fantasy world, fine, but you’re still deluding yourself.

    According to Associated Press, about 50 people turned up to the airport to protest the visit. Another clear example of the “depth” of opposition in Taiwan to the Dalai Lama’s visit. That’s why publications like Xinhua can only cite individual examples of opposition. If they tried to comment on the majority they’d be forced to admit the Dalai Lama is generally popular or lie. Better to lie by omission, eh?

  33. Jason Says:

    @Raj

    Okay I just found the original Apple Daily poll: http://tw.nextmedia.com/applenews/article/art_id/31897409/IssueID/20090828#

    It’s too bad that the poll doesn’t tell us how many of the 738 are Pan-Green or Pan-Blue or Non-Partisan.

  34. Allen Says:

    @Jason,

    Non-scientific polls are a joke. We all know that. If you don’t properly design for an experment, if you don’t choosen an objective sample, if you don’t properly frame your questions … you can get any result you want. Junk in – junk out.

    I know politics – and social sciences – are hardly scientific. Nevertheless, I rarely rely on a survey to make any point – unless it puts to hard numbers some trend that most of us can agree by simply putting our finger to the air… I usually refer to survey results as simply “annectdotal evidence” – something that’s not necessarily junk, but should be taken with a large grain of salt.

  35. Charles Liu Says:

    Saw this on Taiwanese media:

    “Dalai Arrives, Protest From North To South”

    Also read Taiwanese Tibetan Buddhist Association is holding their own prayer ceremony with help from ROC Tibetan/Mongolian Affairs Ministry:

    “[Taiwan] Tibetan Buddhists Holds Blessing Ceremony Before Dalai Arrival”

    Last week Taiwan media were talkng about local Buddhist and Christian religious figures unhappy with the green camp using Dalai for political gesturing, and decided to hold a joint memorial ahead of Dalai’s visit:

    Green Camp Compete on Blessing Ceremony? Gaoshong To Hold Joint Blessing Ceremony On 30th, Before Dalai

    While Ma is staying out of this, one of the invitee from mainland, PRC Religion Bureau chief, Yeh Shaowen, clearly took side with his “out-of-town monks can’t read local scroll” remark:

    Out-of-town Monk Can Read Local Scroll? Mainland Critical of Dalai

  36. Raj Says:

    Allen, although I wouldn’t normally use one poll to “prove” anything, they are highly useful when two people argue over their understanding of something.

    Out of curiosity, do you honestly think most Taiwanese don’t support the Dalai Lama’s visit?

  37. hzzz Says:

    >>”So what? You said that terrorist attacks would be good news for China. What does that have to do with the Chinese government being nasty? Can you justify or at least explain your comment so it doesn’t seem that you’re trying to find a positive in civilians being killed?”

    That’s simple. Acts of terrorism would give China the justification to squash the brewing radicalized elements in the region. Terrorism also unites a nation and force discussion on certain topics which the government tries to hide from the public. Think WWII, if Pearl Harbor did not happen the US would not have joined and turned the tide of war against the Nazis. Had the US not used the atomic bomb which killed hundreds of thousands of civilians the war would not have ended. I am sure there are alot of people who think both events are good things, although some are way too PC to admit. Unlike others, I would rather much be a truthful ass than a naive liar.

    >>”Not to the point where they would wish terrorist bombings to justify a policy of harsh repression against an ethnic minority.”

    Raj you are projecting your own beliefs. Who said that anyone would wish for this to happen? On the whole repression against ethnic minority theme, it’s the foreign journalists who hope they can see this happen so that they can do their editorials expressing moral outrage. After the riot in Uighur, the foreign journalists left rather quickly after realizing that their visions of Chinese cops slaughtering innocent Uighurs with machine guns did not exactly materialize. The posters who were waiting for evidence to back up their assertions about “that brutal Chinese crackdown” were sorely disappointed.

    >>”Interestingly if I said what you did I’m sure I’d be screamed at, with the usual suspects demanding I’d be banned from the blog.”

    It must suck to be so paranoid. I cannot speak for others, but If you scream “death to all Chinese” I wouldn’t be demanding you to be banned at all. Instead I would like to hear your reason for it. I will then either choose to mock you for blatantly trolling in a board populated mostly by overseas Chinese or use you as an example as to why we Chinese should all stick together.

    >>”Most foreigners support Tibetans more than the Uighurs because they know so little about the latter. It doesn’t mean that they see the Tibetan cause as being more justified/peaceful than the Uighur one.”

    I completely disagree with this and wonder why exactly do you think this way. There has been plenty of articles published by US liberals like Glenn Greenwald on Salon who argue that the main reason why the Uighur cause is not popular in the West is because it is made up of Muslims and are thus perceived as as more violent.

    >>”Do you think Jason is a white guy, or Chinese?”

    Oh please, I know plenty of Jasons who are of all races. The only Rajs I know are of Indian descent. Can you honestly say you know of any Rajs who are not of the Indian background? The term Raj means “reign” or “rule” in Hindi. Here is a list of all famous Rajs on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raj) and you know what, they are all of Indian descent.

    “What you fail to understand is that it is not the Tibetan exile government that is radicalising young Tibetans. It is younger activists, in Tibet or in other countries, who are pushing this forward. Maybe in the future the exile government could be dominated by people who think the same way, but for the moment the general philosophy is the one the Dalai Lama follows – keep protest peaceful.”

    I never wrote that it’s Dalai Lama who is radicalizing the young Tibetans, and I think once Dalai Lama is gone it’s almost certain that the Tibetan exile government will be populated by more militant elements. You and some others think this development would force China to treat the Tibetans better. I think you guys are being naive and that is the reason why I followed up with my posts with my own ideas.

    Despite political differences I do happen to think that the Dalai Lama knows how to play the political game better than anyone else in Asia, and has made the best choices he could make given the circumstances.

    “Oh yes, I forgot that the CCP is omniscient. That’s why there is no organised crime in China, because as soon as anyone starts plotting illegal activities the Chinese version of Tom Cruise jumps in a la Minority Report and busts everyone.”

    Who said anything about organized crime? There is very little opposition organized political activities in China, isn’t this what the human rights people have been screaming about all this time?

  38. Wukailong Says:

    @Michael (#27): “How will it look in mainland China to see their most hated enemy, the Dalai Lama, receive a sincere welcome from their Chinese compatriots across the straits? Might it not raise a few doubts about how this so called personification of evil and anti-Chinese splittist has become so welcomed by ordinary Han Chinese outside of the reach of CCTV and the vitriol-spewing propaganda organs of the glorious motherland? In the same way I wonder how any intelligent, thinking mainland Chinese person can compute how Falun Dafa is an evil cult in their motherland and yet everywhere else (including Chinese Hong Kong and Chinese taiwan) it is just a harmless bunch of yoga practitioners.”

    These are good questions. However, I don’t think that DL’s visit will change much perceptionwise (there I disagree with Allen too). There are several reasons for this:

    * The negativity is pervasive in the domestic press, and that’s what most people read. As a corollary, even though Chen Shuibian was probably seen quite differently on Taiwan compared to the mainland, most people [on the mainland] only see him as a separatist and not much else (and with the recent scandals and trials, people have even less reason to see him in any positive light).

    * Taiwan is traditionally seen as different anyway. I remember a news report here on TV back in 2000 saying that Taiwan supports FLG, and another person watching the show said “can you believe that Taiwan does that?”

    * The people who care about these reports probably live in the cities, and only a small minority of them have any interest in alternative views. What’s mainstream is mainstream, and it takes a certain courage (and analysis) to question that. I know many persons who do not hold to the majority views, but they hold these viewpoints to themselves.

    * We attach emotions to what we’ve learned, especially at an early age. Every country has its mythical worlds of gods and demons, and even though you don’t have any factual support you tend to believe these emotions. For that reason, unless you have taken care to construct or analyze your own opinions, I doubt much meaningful can come out of a discussion about contested figures like the DL (Chinese learn he’s evil, many in the West learn he’s good – and all this is brought to you by the respective mainstream media).

    Still, if this looks pessimistic and gloomy, don’t forget that China has already “peacefully evolved” into a capitalist society. ;) Who knows what other changes might come in the near future?

  39. Wukailong Says:

    By the way, here’s a crazy prediction: during the rule of Xi Jinping, there will be direct talks with Dalai Lama’s followers. DL will be asked to go back to China to prepare for his reincarnation and take a cultural and religious rule in Tibet, which he accepts. Some of the old guard are given the ceremonial roles they used to perform (to prepare for selecting candidates etc).

    I don’t think the possibilities are that great, but more open policies have been put forth with regards to religion in books like 攻坚, and the timeframe is right. Hu Jintao wants to be seen as having brought Taiwan closer to the mainland. In the same vein, wouldn’t it be nice for Xi to solve the Tibetan problem?

  40. Raj Says:

    hzzz

    Acts of terrorism would give China the justification to squash the brewing radicalized elements in the region.

    Exactly, so that’s greater repression. China would use terrorism as a pretext to round up political opponents.

    Raj you are projecting your own beliefs. Who said that anyone would wish for this to happen? On the whole repression against ethnic minority theme, it’s the foreign journalists who hope they can see this happen so that they can do their editorials expressing moral outrage.

    I am not projecting my own beliefs. You admit above that China would follow terrorist attacks with greater repression.

    However, if you want me to be clear that I will say some governments do care generally and would not want terrorist attacks for any reason.

    Think WWII, if Pearl Harbor did not happen the US would not have joined and turned the tide of war against the Nazis.

    Wrong. There is every possibility the US would have focused on defeating on Japan had Hitler not declared war on the US first.

    Had the US not used the atomic bomb which killed hundreds of thousands of civilians the war would not have ended.

    The war in Europe was already over. As for the war in Asia, it would have ended eventually. Either Japan would have been defeated through a land invasion, which would probably have led to a greater loss of life. Or Japan may have accepted a conditional ceasefire of some sort.

    Oh please, I know plenty of Jasons who are of all races.

    But I’m sure everyone here assumes he’s Chinese. I understand if you thought I was Indian, but you shouldn’t make assumptions about people based on the internet handle they use (unless it’s provocative).

    It must suck to be so paranoid.

    No, it sucks to be experienced.

    There has been plenty of articles published by US liberals like Glenn Greenwald on Salon who argue that the main reason why the Uighur cause is not popular in the West is because it is made up of Muslims and are thus perceived as as more violent.

    And people like Greenwald ignore the fact that, as an example, a majority of Americans almost certainly don’t know what and where Xinjiang is, let alone what’s happening there. They know about Tibet at least to a degree. You can’t form a sympathetic opinion if you don’t know what campaigners are going on about in the first place. Of course there are those liberals will say it’s all about racism not lack of media coverage, because the liberal media doesn’t always cover these issues significantly better than the conservative sections.

    I think once Dalai Lama is gone it’s almost certain that the Tibetan exile government will be populated by more militant elements. You and some others think this development would force China to treat the Tibetans better.

    I have never said that once – you’re making it up. What I may have said is that responding to terrorism with repression will make things worse. Then what – respond with more repression? What if that doesn’t work? What’s your Plan B?

    Who said anything about organized crime?

    Sigh, the point is that the CCP doesn’t know everything that happens in China. You expressed the naive belief that various “orgnised groups” won’t be able to exist in Tibet because the CCP will crack down on organisations. In reality it is not so powerful/all-seeing.

  41. scl Says:

    DL’s visit to Taiwan is just another example of politicians wasting tax-payers’ money for their own political gain. Who pay the traveling expenses? Local monks can do the same thing much cheaply. Taiwanese would really appreciate DL’s help if he stayed where he was and did some fundraising at his own expenses.
    It is interesting that several mainstream western media commented on DL’s recent visit and its possible impact on China-Taiwan relationship, while it received scant attention that hundreds of regular direct flight routes between China and Taiwan formally opened on 8/28/09.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/28/AR2009082801425.html

    Wukailong Says:

    “Still, if this looks pessimistic and gloomy, don’t forget that China has already ‘peacefully evolved’ into a capitalist society.”

    Not really, not until China allows private ownership of land.

  42. Allen Says:

    @WKL #38,

    You wrote:

    Taiwan is traditionally seen as different anyway. I remember a news report here on TV back in 2000 saying that Taiwan supports FLG, and another person watching the show said “can you believe that Taiwan does that?”

    This is another thing that support my point – I think. FLG is another political conflict. I personally don’t take as much interest because I see it just as political bickering between CCP and FLG. There is nothing in the teaching of FLG that is incompatible with Chinese culture / society. THe only problem is FLG plays a brand politics that is not welcome on the Mainland.

    I choose to make the point with DL, but it could have easiliy been made with respect to FLG too when a famous FLG practioner visits Taiwan.

  43. Steve Says:

    @ scl #41: Local monks should and are praying with the typhoon survivors but I think you underestimate the prestige that DL has in Taiwan among Buddhists. Even though they are not Tibetan Buddhists, most Buddhists have empathy with each other.

    I would take issue with your statement that the direct flights between China and Taiwan were ignored by the world press. Here’s one from the BBC News, the USA Today, Wikinews, the NY Times, Yahoo India, the Daily India and the Canadian CBC News. All the major wire services picked it up.

  44. scl Says:

    Steve, I meant the formal opening of 270 regular flight routes on 8/28/09. I agree with you that direct flight has been reported widely, though briefly, on many Western media since the negotiations completed successfully.

  45. Wukailong Says:

    @scl: You’re right about ownership of land. Though arguably, in the same way, many Western countries aren’t fully capitalist because healthcare is national, real estate prices are heavily regulated (at least in Scandinavian countries) and state-owned monopolies exist for a number of services.

    The communally owned land in China is a problem for several reasons, and this isn’t something I’m saying because I’m “Western.” I’ve talked to people who wonder what will happen to their apartment when the “lease” expires, and there have been frequent discussions about the close alliance between local politicians and real estate companies. Just imagine the corruption that could flow from that.

  46. FOARP Says:

    Had an interesting conversation with a cabby on my way from Taipei to Jhongli, and he asked a very simple but very effective question: “Just what is it that the people who are opposed to the Dalai Lama visiting Taiwan are objecting to?” The simple fact is that more than ten thousand people were willing to turn out to hear him speak in Gaoxiong, his words were important to them, and his advice useful to them. personally, I do not believe in Buddhism of any kind, but if they want this kind of advice, there is no reason whatever why they should be denied it.

  47. pug_ster Says:

    FOARP,

    As Allen says on #42 is the same reason why The DL is not welcomed like the FLG, ‘they play brand politics that is not welcomed in mainland China.’

  48. Steve Says:

    @ scl #44: Believe me, there is no one happier than I am about those direct flights. For a year, I used to fly from Taipei to either Shanghai, Tianjin or Beijing every six weeks and stay there for two weeks. Back then, that meant going through Hong Kong. I got to know that airport so well that I think I could have gotten around blindfolded. What should have been an hour and fifteen minute flight to Shanghai took all day and was very expensive; that’s why it was called the “golden route”. If there was one thing that grated on me about the Chen administration, it was their inability to even consider direct routes.

    Do you know if the direct routes are going through the big airport in Taoyuan or the Songshan Airport in Taipei, or both?

  49. FOARP Says:

    ‘they play brand politics that is not welcomed in mainland China.’

    And? If you hadn’t noticed, all Taiwanese politics is not only unwelcome, but illegal under PRC law. Open display of KMT regalia is illegal, open debate without (never forthcoming) permission is not permitted, multi-party politics is non-existent – why should Taiwanese care what is welcome there?

  50. Chops Says:

    Taiwanese politics is going downhill.

    An entire ex-president’s family sentenced to jail. Unprecedented.

  51. FOARP Says:

    @Chops – Yes, because none of Chiang Kai-Shek’s family was ever involved in major crime, fraud, extortion, misappropriation, theft, murder, drug dealing, prostitution, racketeering etc. etc. etc.

    . . . . or could it be that they were, but because Taiwan during the martial law period was a single-party dictatorship (as the PRC is now) none in power were ever punished for their crimes. Would you say that it is a positive sign or a negative sign if, say, George Bush Jr. were to be punished for his crimes whilst in office?

  52. Chops Says:

    @FOARP – punishing a President is a positive sign to his enemies and negative to his allies,
    and that Clinton impeachment was downright silly.

    Chen’s case is like in the days of old where the Emperor got rid of his political enemies.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nine_exterminations

  53. Raj Says:

    Chen’s case is like in the days of old where the Emperor got rid of his political enemies.

    You mean he’s being targetted by the KMT as revenge, or something? The case was brought before he left office.

    I don’t see how the former president’s case shows that Taiwanese politics is going downhill. It might be that he has received relatively harsh treatment, being detained as a “flight risk” despite being one of the most recognisable people in Taiwan, not holding any foreign nationality, having agreed to give up his passport and having a personal guard assigned to him that never leaves his side. Certainly it seems strange that members of the KMT/businessmen affiliated to it so frequently get bail, even if many of them flee.

    But that’s a different point.

  54. pug_ster Says:

    China knows that they can’t stop Dalai Lama from coming to Taiwan. But when China sends their strong disapproval, I think China has accomplished its task. It has caused an uproar within between KMT and DPP. Re-unificationists within Taiwan protested. Dalai Lama didn’t say anything political and just did what he had to do in Taiwan. And the fact that China also announced of the formal routes between China and Taiwan is brilliant because China is sending a signal that China is a extending a hand to Taiwan, but not to the Dalai Lama.

  55. misa Says:

    Michael Turton has some interesting comments on this issue:

    http://michaelturton.blogspot.com/

  56. pug_ster Says:

    @49 FOARP,

    And? If you hadn’t noticed, all Taiwanese politics is not only unwelcome, but illegal under PRC law. Open display of KMT regalia is illegal, open debate without (never forthcoming) permission is not permitted, multi-party politics is non-existent – why should Taiwanese care what is welcome there?

    Can you specify what clause in PRC law that Taiwanese politics are illegal? Second, recently there were KMT politicans who were welcomed in the mainland. Don’t tell me that they are they were smuggled into the mainland.

  57. Wukailong Says:

    @pug_ster: I’m not sure there is any law prohibiting it, but in general it seems that any ROC official that holds a ministerial post in the government are inadmissible both to the PRC and any country that has ratified the One China principle. Chen Shuibian has been refused a Schengen (EU) visa on at least one occasion because of the principle:

    http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-98901029.html

    I’m sure the visits by Wu Boxiong, Lian Zhan and James Soong were OK because they didn’t hold any governmental posts at the time. That’s what so interesting with Ma Ying-jeou’s recent chairmanship – it might enable him to bypass this problem by going to the PRC as party leader. It’ll be interesting to see if he meets with Hu Jintao during the last years of his tenure.

  58. Jason Says:

    What about Chiang Pin-kung? He was the Kuomintang’s vice chairman at that time and he still hold that post as of now.

  59. Steve Says:

    @ Jason: I believe that China allows Taiwanese party officials to visit but not in the capacity as a government official. That’s why Ma’s election as KMT party chairman might allow him to meet with Hu since Hu would only be recognizing him as a party official and not as the head of Taiwan’s government. China can then say they met with a Chinese political party official and not an official of a “foreign” government and still maintain the “one China” political position.

  60. Allen Says:

    Dalai Lama’s Taiwan visit did not surprise me too much. I don’t have much to add to this follow up report from Cindy Cui.

    http://atimes.com/atimes/China/KI05Ad02.html

    In the end, despite the politically driven motivations of the visit, I’m satisfied DL visit was relatively low profile, did not damage the Taiwan-Mainland reconciliation process … and that many Taiwanese people had the opportunity to obtain blessings from the Dalai Lama …

  61. Steve Says:

    @ Allen #60: Seems like it was all smoke and no fire. The DL drew big crowds, kept his message spiritual and many victims felt he gave them real comfort. China played it smart and kept Ma and the KMT’s name out of their complaints. Ma OK’d the visit but didn’t meet personally with the DL, placating China without appearing to do their bidding. Looks like it ended up a win/win situation for everyone.

  62. FOARP Says:

    @Steve – Not quite win/win, it would have been much better had the DL simply been left to it, and controversy avoided.

  63. Steve Says:

    @ FOARP: Well, there’s no way he could have visited without anyone saying anything. Ma had to figure out how to balance both sides, the DPP had to keep the national party organization quiet and China had to protest without undercutting Ma. All three seemed to take the wisest course so that’s why I said it was win/win, or in this case win/win/win.

  64. S.K. Cheung Says:

    I agree with FOARP. The Dalai Lama visited a disaster area at the request of the local government. A bunch of folks in a hard-hit area wanted the blessing of a spiritual/religious figure. It had nothing to do with Ma or the Taiwanese government. If China wasn’t so childish when it comes to all things Dalai Lama, it needn’t even have warranted a mention on their part. Yet there she was, complaining about nothing. As it was, nothing came of all the posturing, which is good news. Maybe next time, China can even spare us the posturing…I mean, we get it already.

    I do wonder about Allen’s assertion about the coexistence of Tibetan and Han culture. Certainly, there’s no reason why they can’t coexist. But the evidence of such coexistence in Taiwan merely illustrates that there is no natural impediment. That this coexistence is so strained on the mainland simply points to the fact that any such barriers are man-made, courtesy of your good ol CCP.

  65. Jason Says:

    I also heard that most of the locals was disappointed that they couldn’t meet DL and locals complain that why is DL here when he doesn’t meet the locals.

    I also heard that a planned one hour speech was cut down to 40 minutes.

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