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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

What Taiwan can learn from Dalai Lama visit

September 4, 2009

Taiwan News

Taiwan society should reflect on what we can learn from the visit by the
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tenzin Gyatso, otherwise known as the 14th Dalai
Lama, who ends today his six-day mission of prayer for the hundreds of
victims of Typhoon Morakot and compassion for survivors.

Democratic Progressive Party Kaohsiung City Mayor Chen Chu, who led seven
opposition city and county mayors to invite the Tibetan spiritual leader to
disaster areas to help in emotional recovery, and the Dalai Lama himself
repeatedly affirmed that the journey was "non-political" and only undertaken
for "humanitarian" concerns.

Nevertheless, virulent attacks on the Dalai Lama as an advocate of "Tibetan
separatism" by the authoritarian People's Republic of China and its
state-controlled media and complementary criticism by right-wing Chinese
Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) politicians and pro China and pro-PRC
protestors has rivetted the attention of most Taiwan and international media
on externally imposed "political" side-effects.

Particularly prominent has been lurid speculation about possible negative
effects on the touted "reconciliation" between between Taiwan and the PRC
pushed by Ma's KMT administration.

The KMT government itself fuelled such speculation due to its obvious
reluctance to issue a visa in response to the DPP invitation and by the
refusal of all senior KMT government officials, lawmakers and politicians to
be seen together with the Tibetan Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Not surprisingly, the actual messages, whether concerning religious faith,
ethics, psychology, history, philosophy, ecology and even natural science,
sent by the Dalai Lama, who is undoubtedly one of the world's most
broad-minded, interesting and engaging personages, have been sadly

Ironically, the obsession with political posturing and conspiracies has
largely buried appreciation for messages of considerable relevance in
political substance, which were generally expressed by the Dalai Lama
between the lines but occasionally manifested quite frankly.

A noteworthy example of the latter was the appeal issued by the Dalai Lama
on the site of the devastated Siaolin Village to the Taiwan people to
cherish and preserve our democracy in the process of cross-strait
"reconciliation," an appeal whose weight is magnified by the fact that 2009
marks the 50th anniversary of his exile from his homeland in the wake of the
suppression by the PRC's People's Liberation Army of an uprising against
virtual colonial rule.

An important set of messages with relevance for Taiwan was contained in his
lecture Tuesday afternoon in Kaohsiung's Garden Villa Hotel on the theme of
"One World, Common Responsibility."

Colonialism is not peace

By noting that countries, such as the former Soviet Union, which shout their
"peace-loving" nature from the political rooftops usually have other
intentions, the Dalai Lama hinted that Taiwan citizens should remain wary of
the PRC's "peace" overtures even though he later expressed general approval
of the improvement in cross-strait relations and hoped that calmer ties
would help reduce "the fear of the Taiwan people" about PRC aggression.

Even more relevant was the Nobel Peace Prize winner's discussion about the
nature of peace and how such a state could be attained and sustained. The
Dalai Lama, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for his leadership
and advocacy of non-violence in struggle for the liberation of Tibet,
stressed that "peace is not just the absence of conflict" but must be
founded on "practical solutions" to conflicts in human society based on
"work and dialogue."

The Dalai Lama emphasized that dialogue that can lead to genuine peace must
be founded on "respect for the rights and views of others' and "a high
degree of political will, self-confidence, honesty, truth and transparency
and compassion."

Any one familiar with the touted "cross-strait reconciliation" realizes that
it is exclusively a process controlled by the KMT and CCP parties that lacks
all of the characteristics listed by the Dalai Lama, especially mutual
respect, honesty, truth, compassion and, last but not least, transparency.

The decision by the KMT to turn its back on democracy and slavishly accept
accept the CCP's "one China principle" and play on Beijing's skewed,
secretive bilateral playing field board is taking Taiwan into a quicksand of
eventual colonialism.

In a sense, the Dalai Lama's advice hints at the real reason why the PRC
wants to block contacts between him and the Taiwan people, namely his
potential as a mirror to show the Taiwan people that the CCP regime is now
employing a strategy hollow out our independence end erode our democracy and
basic freedoms that is strikingly reminiscent of the manner in which Beijing
took control over the previously independent land of Tibet in the early

The Dalai Lama's insistence that only the 23 million Taiwan people can
decide their future and his appeal for us to cherish, consolidate and
exercise our democratic freedoms and his call for news media to "use long
noses to sniff out everything" and "tell the truth to the people" is the
most significant and timely "political" aspect of his visit.
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