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Protesters accuse Dalai Lama of staging 'political show' in Taiwan

September 1, 2009

AsiaOne News
August 31, 2009

KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan (AFP) -- A group of 30 people
who said they were Taiwan typhoon victims
demonstrated against the Dalai Lama Monday,
accusing him of using a visit to the island to stage a "political show."

The group, from Taiwan's aboriginal community,
were standing outside the Tibetan spiritual
leader's hotel in the southern city of Kaohsiung,
holding up banners, one reading: "We don't want Dalai politics."

"The Dalai Lama is only staging a political show
here," said the leader of the protesters, who declined to give his name.

"If the Dalai Lama really wants to help victims
and show respect, he should stay in an aboriginal
village, not in a big building like this," he said, pointing towards the hotel.

The Dalai Lama arrived in Taiwan late Sunday for
a five-day visit which he has said is entirely
"non-political" and meant only to provide comfort
for victims of Typhoon Morakot, which hit earlier
this month, killing at least 571 people.

His trip has angered China, which accuses the
Dalai Lama of being a separatist seeking
independence for his Himalayan homeland.

Beijing reacts angrily to any country hosting the
Dalai Lama, whom it accuses of trying to split
Tibet from China, a position that has only
hardened after deadly violence in the Himalayan region in March 2008.

But a trip to Taiwan is particularly sensitive.

Beijing has regarded the island as part of its
territory awaiting reunification, by force if
necessary, ever since it split from the mainland in 1949 after a civil war.

When the Dalai Lama arrived at Taoyuan
International Airport in the north of the island
late Sunday, a group of demonstrators favouring
Taiwan unification with China staged a brief protest.
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