By Tenzin Dharpo
Tsai Ing-Wen with the Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 2009. file
DHARAMSHALA, Mar. 14: Echoing the remarks made by ruling party chief of Taiwan that his government will welcome the visit of the exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the country, a Taiwanese legislator has launched a petition to invite the Tibetan leader before the end of 2019.
New Power Party (NPP) Legislator Freddy Lim announced the initiative in Taipei earlier this month to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Tibetan Uprising.
During the March 10 ‘Tibetan Uprising Day’ commemorations, Lim said, “This is the best way to show to the world that Taiwan is different from China. A visit from the Dalai Lama would only focus on religion, as he is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people and the followers of Tibetan Buddhism. He would be coming to promote religious teaching and to interact with other faiths in Taiwan.”
In stressing that common Taiwanese should be the driving force behind the initiative, he added, “Therefore the petition is based on efforts by ordinary people, non-governmental organizations and religious groups, and is not led by our party.”
Fellow party member and Chairman Chiu Hsien-chih said, “This can be our collective message to the world, that Taiwanese are standing together with those who are suffering due to the brutality and atrocities committed by the Chinese government.”
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Secretary-General Luo Wen-jia, who also participated in the march said, “We welcome the Dalai Lama making a trip to Taiwan. He should have the freedom and the right to go wherever he wants — even to his homeland.”
Tibet Religious Foundation of the Dalai Lama chairman Dawa Tsering said that while he and fellow Tibetans look forward to the proposed visit by the Tibetan leader, the visit should not rub the wrong way as far as cross-strait relations are concerned.
“We do not want to make trouble for the DPP government... It would be up to the government to decide,” he said.
The Dalai Lama has visited the island nation on three occasions. He last visited Taiwan in 2009, after hundreds of people died due to Typhoon Morakot.