DHARAMSHALA, September 15: A court in Taiwan has sentenced a Taiwan national to 55 days in prison on charges of “maliciously spreading false information” about the Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The Taipei District Court, in its verdict, said that the True Enlightenment Foundation and its founder, Hsiao Chieh-jen had slandered the Dalai Lama and spread rumours about the Tibetan leader and Tibetan Buddhism.
The foundation had spread such information by handing out flyers and booklets at public places across the country, as well as in newspaper ads, especially during the Dalai Lama’s 2009 visit to the country following the devastation caused by Typhoon Morakot.
According to the Taipei Times, the court rebutted Hsiao’s argument that he did not know about the details of the Dalai Lama’s visit, as major media outlets had reported on it at the time.
Representative of the Tibet Religious Foundation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Taiwan, Dawa Tsering, welcomed the court’s ruling.
“We are certainly happy about the verdict,” Tsering was quoted as saying by the Taipei Times. “We are happy that the judiciary in Taiwan could help prove that some defamatory statements made by the True Enlightenment Foundation against His Holiness are false, we are grateful.”
In the exile Tibetan headquarters of Dharamshala, a conference titled ‘Tibet and Taiwan: Prospects and Challenges’ was organised by the Tibet Policy Institute on September 12.
The conference involved exchange of ideas and opening of communication lines between Taiwanese and Tibetans, aimed at promoting and improving a better understanding on the issue of Tibet.
Addressing the conference, Kalon Dicki Chhoyang of the Department of Information and International Relations, recounted the experiences of her recent visit to Taiwan and said that Taiwanese people are taking great interest in Tibetan Buddhism, human rights and social justice. She said the Taiwanese people can play an important role in facilitating greater understanding of the issue of Tibet in the Chinese society.
Speakers, including Prof Tseng Chien Yuan of Chung Hua University, Cheng Chi Chu and Julie Coudere, PhD students of National Taiwan University spoke on issues ranging from democratic governance in Taiwan, transformation of the Democratic Progressive Party, challenges for cross-strait relations, and Taiwanese support for the issue of Tibet.