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Polls show approval for humanitarian visit by Dalai Lama

September 4, 2009

Taiwan News - 2009-09-03

Over three fourths of the Taiwan people supported the visit by the Tibetan
spiritual leader Dalai Lama to pray for the hundreds of victims of Typhoon
Morakot and their survivors, according to an opinion poll conducted by the
opposition Democratic Progressive Party.

DPP Public Survey Center director Chen Chun-lin stated that 75.4 percent of
708 Taiwan adults over 20 years of age surveyed between Aug. 31 and Sept. 1
expressed support for the Dalai Lama's visit to pray for the disaster
victims, while only 18.1 percent opposed the journey.

Chen observed that approval for the Dalai Lama's visit transcended partisan
boundaries as the journey received backing by 90.6 percent of "pan-green"
supporters of the DPP, 75.8 percent of "middle" voters and 64.0 percent of
persons who identify with the pro-KMT "pan-blue" camp.

Moreover, the survey indicated that 67.2 percent viewed the Dalai Lama's
visit as a journey of compassion and religious prayer for the disaster
victims and was a non-political activity, while 23.4 percent disagreed.
Similarly, 50.7 percent disagreed with claims that the DPP camp had invited
the Tibetan religious leader to Taiwan "for political purposes," while 37.0
percent agreed with such claims.

Nevertheless, 77.7 percent of those polled stated that the series of
demonstrations against the Dalai Lama were "inappropriate," with just 13.1
percent approving of the protests.

Most of the protests were conducted by the pro-China Labor Party or the
pro-Beijing "Alliance for the Promotion of Chinese Unification," which has
been linked to former United Bamboo Gang chief Chang Pai-leh. The latter
group was involved in a violent scuffle at the Taoyuan High Speed Railway
Station Sunday evening.

In addition, 79.6 percent of those polled stated that the sharp criticism by
the PRC government was "inappropriate," with only 8.8 percent expressing
approval of Beijing's attacks on the Dalai Lama and on the DPP for inviting
the exiled Tibetan leader. Moreover, 48.6 percent agreed that President Ma
should meet with the Dalai Lama, with 36.4 percent disagreeing.

DPP Public Survey Center Director Chen Chun-lin said that disapproval of the
PRC criticism crossed partisan boundaries and that 81.1 percent of persons
who identified themselves as supporting the pro-KMT "blue camp," 89.2
percent of DPP supporters and 72.4 percent of uncommitted voters slammed
Beijing's actions.

In addition, 52.0 percent said they believed the Dalai Lama's visit would
not have an negative impact on cross-strait relations with the PRC, while
39.9 percent said ties with China would be affected to a greater or lesser

The survey of 708 Taiwan adults was conducted by the DPP Public Survey
Center and has a 95 percent confidence rating and a 3.7-percentage point
standard deviation.

The results of the DPP poll were broadly similar to a survey of 939 Taiwan
adults conducted by the TVBS cable television network, which found that 52
percent of respondents believed the Dalai Lama's visit was for religious and
humanitarian purposes.
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