By Tenzin Dharpo
Tsai Ing-Wen with the Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 2009. file
DHARAMSHALA, June 6: The incumbent Taiwanese President has reportedly denied exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama visa to visit the country last month to attend a religious freedom forum, according to the Taiwan News
which cited a Radio Free Asia report on May 30.
The Tsai Ing-wen government has denied visas for the Dalai Lama and Uyghur activist Rebiya Kadeer to attend the Taiwan international Religious Freedom Forum held at the end of May, Taiwan News
While Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) denies receiving a visa application for the Dalai Lama, several sources have confirmed the development to be true, including Bob Fu, founder and president of China Aid; Umit Hamit of the World Uyghur Congress; and Dawa Tsering, chairman of the Tibet Religious Foundation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The Taiwanese President while speaking at the forum said she was “sorry that the Dalai Lama could not visit Taiwan.” Taiwan News
reported that Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent representatives to visit him in Dharamshala after the visa was denied but the Dalai Lama “politely declined” to receive them.
In April, Tsai Ing-wen said she is willing to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping for “peace and stability” after years of publicly denouncing Beijing which claims the island nations as its own and has on several occasions said that China could use military might incorporate Taiwan. Observers say Taiwan’s ruling government might have denied visa to the Dalai Lama in bid to avoid Beijing’s wrath.
Earlier in March, Taiwanese legislator Freddy Lim from the New Power Party (NPP)
launched a petition to invite the Dalai Lama to the country for a religious visit after party 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.”
However, Tibet Religious Foundation of the Dalai Lama’s chairman Dawa Tsering at the time 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.