By Tenzin Monlam
DELHI, February 22: The Taiwanese authorities have urged the exiled Tibetan Prime Minister (Sikyong) Dr. Lobsang Sangay not to attend a forum on religious freedom in Taipei last week in order to avoid angering China, reported the LA Times.
According to Bob Fu, the Founder of China Aid, which is co sponsoring the event said that the authorities in December have asked the Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer and the Tibetan PM Sangay not to apply for visas to attend the forum that opened last Thursday and attended by 99 participants from 26 countries.
“To talk about China’s religious freedom situation, if you don’t mention the Tibetan and Uighur minorities, a discussion of religious freedoms is incomplete,” Fu said at the forum last Thursday (Feb. 18).
“The whole application process feels political,” said the co-founder of the US-based NGO.
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry and immigration agency said that they had no information about what their offices in the US might have told potential visa applicants. “We have no way to comment; all we do is process the visas,” the LA Times quoted a National Immigration Agency spokesperson.
Earlier in the month, a foundation in Taipei representing the Dalai Lama said it too was told by Taiwanese officials that Sikyong should avoid the forum.
“Taiwan is in a tough spot because of pressure from China, that’s the reason,” said Bari Dawa Tsering, Director of the Religious Foundation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
“Of course, we hoped Sangay could do this. But Taiwan is small and right next to China, so their stance is not to add any new trouble,” he said.