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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Taiwan seeks to smooth ruffled Chinese feathers

September 2, 2009

By ANNIE HUANG
The Associated Press (AP)
September 1, 2009

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- China has canceled or postponed
several events meant to underscore improving
relations with Taiwan, apparently to show anger
over the Dalai Lama's visit to the island,
Taiwan's governing party said Tuesday.

The visit of the Tibetan spiritual leader --
aimed at offering comfort to the victims of
Typhoon Morakot -- has created the most serious
challenge for relations between the democratic
island and the communist mainland since Taiwanese
President Ma Ying-jeou took office 15 months ago
on a platform of ending 60 years of hostility.

China has canceled or postponed the planned
Taiwan visits of at least two important
delegations, and nixed ceremonies meant to mark
the expansion of direct air service between the
sides, said Nationalist Party spokeswoman Chen Shu-rong said Tuesday.

Beijing already had announced that its delegation
will not take part in Saturday's opening of the Deaf Olympics in Taipei.

The Chinese moves follow Sunday's statement from
the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office that
the Dalai Lama's visit "is bound to have a
negative influence on the relations between the mainland and Taiwan."

Speaking to The Associated Press, Chen said the
cancellations appeared linked to the Taiwan visit
of the Dalai Lama, whom Beijing reviles as a
"splittist" because he allegedly seeks independence for his native Tibet.

Chen declined Tuesday to comment on news reports
that the party sent an emissary to China last
week to seek its understanding on the visit, but
acknowledged that it is using its normal channels
of communications with the Communists to try to mitigate Beijing's anger.

"We have continued to keep up our contact," she said.

China and Taiwan split amid civil war in 1949.
Beijing regards the island as part of its
territory and routinely condemns any interference
in its affairs from outside parties.
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