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Taiwan Tibet support group 'hurt' by CTA official's remarks
Phayul[Monday, March 24, 2014 01:26]
Dawa Tsering, Representative, Office of Tibet, Taiwan. Tibet Times/file
Dawa Tsering, Representative, Office of Tibet, Taiwan. Tibet Times/file
DHARAMSHALA, MARCH 23: A Taiwanese Tibet support group has accused the Tibetan exile government’s representative in Taiwan for “hurting the sentiments of Taiwanese supporters” and “misinforming the public” about the organization. Taiwan Friends of Tibet demanded an apology from the Central Tibetan Administration for the Tibetan diplomat’s statement which, it said, would potentially create a divide among Taiwanese Tibet supporters.

Dawa Tsering, the Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Taiwan, in an interview with Tibet Times published Feb. 19, 2014, had said that the Taiwan Friends of Tibet is an organization that seeks “independence for Taiwan” and that “the issue of Tibet some times gets used as an instrument for Taiwanese independence.”

Taiwan Friends of Tibet, in a statement, said that Representative Dawa Tsering has misrepresented facts that need clarification for the general Tibetan public.

Answering a question about Tibet support groups in Taiwan in his interview with Tibet Times, Dawa said,“There are 3 Tibet support groups. Han Chinese & Tibetan Friendship supports the Middle Way Approach. As for the Taiwan Students’ group, though their stand is independence they support and respect the Tibetan Administration’s Middle Way Approach. They support the Tibetan people’s aspirations. Regarding the Taiwan Friends of Tibet, they are among those who say Taiwan must seek independence, and that the Tibetan Administration must also seek independence. Not only do they support independence for Tibet but also criticize the Central Tibetan Administration. They even believe that if the status of Dalai Lama remains like this in the Tibetan community it would be difficult for a meaningful democracy to exist. Moreover, they indulge in disrupting Taiwan’s internal affairs by always stating, ‘Tibet wants independence, Ma Ying-jeou step down’. Whether Ma Ying-Jeou steps down or not is irrelevant to Tibetans. Whatever maybe the case, some times there arises a situation where Tibet issue is being used as an instrument for Taiwan’s independence and it is doubtful how beneficial it is for us,”(translated from Tibetan).

Meili Chow, head of Taiwan Friends of Tibet said they were shocked and surprised by Dawa’s statement, which she said could potentially create disunity between Tibetans and Taiwanese peoples and among Taiwanese Tibet supporters.

“That there may arise a situation whereby Tibet issue is used as an instrument for Taiwan’s independence is a serious allegation and implies that the support for Tibet from Taiwanese people thus far has been for Taiwanese people themselves,” she said.

The TFT demanded an apology from the CTA saying such irresponsible remarks by a Tibetan diplomat could create discord among Taiwanese Tibet supporters, between Tibetans and Taiwanese people at a time when unity among all Tibetans and Tibet supporters around the world is the need of the hour.

“Taiwan Friends of Tibet is a group formed on the basic idea of freedom for the Tibetans. That a member of Taiwan Friends of Tibet supports independence for Taiwan or not is not the organization’s jurisdiction. Nor it is a requirement for the organization’s membership,” the statement said.

The TFT said it is not possible for the organization to “influence the personal opinions of individual members among which there maybe members who support Taiwan’s integration with China and also members who support independence for Taiwan.”

It is therefore baseless to say that the Taiwan Friends of Tibet is an organization supporting independence for Taiwan, said TFT.

On the accusation that it criticizes the Central Tibetan Administration, the TFT said, that the Central Tibetan Administration is a democratically elected entity and that there is no system of any outside party influencing the Central Tibetan Administration what policy it should adopt. “We don’t have any right to do so. If any member of Taiwan Friend’s of Tibet has expressed in public his or her view about the Central Tibetan Administration’s policy then it is the individual member’s freedom of expression and not an official position of the Taiwan Friends of Tibet.”

The TFT said it is baseless to say that some members of the organization are of the view that it would be difficult for a meaningful democracy to exist if the status of the Dalai Lama remains like this in the Tibetan community. “This is a deliberate ploy to defame the TFT by accusing it of denouncing His Holiness the Dalai Lama. As everyone knows, the Tibetan democracy has been bestowed upon the Tibetan people by the Dalai Lama without anyone struggling for it. The Tibetan charter, the parliament in exile and the direct election of Prime Minister are all due to the Dalai Lama, without whom, it can be said that there would not be Tibetan democracy. On what ground have we been accused of criticizing the Dalai Lama?"

The TFT further said the members of Taiwan Friends of Tibet are citizens of Taiwan, and that therefore it is their right to assemble for protests against the Taiwanese government or Taiwanese President. “The organization has not held any position that Ma Ying Jeoh should step down for Tibet issue. Even if it was true, it is Taiwan’s internal matter and the CTA’s Representative has no right to interfere.”

The organization said it sent its response to the Tibet Times which published the interview but has not heard from them. Chow said approaching Taiwanese media with the statement would be “the worst scenario they want.”
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