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New Taiwan parliament Group for Tibet favours open attitude towards Dalai Lama visit

His Holiness the Dalai Lama. (Photo courtesy: Matt Dunham/AP)

(TibetanReview.net, Jul11’20) – A Taiwan Parliament Group for Tibet, newly formed after the country’s Jan 2020 general election, has said Jul 8 that it hoped the Dalai Lama will soon be able to visit the island. Earlier, on Jul 6, Taiwanese Foreign Ministry suggested that it would welcome the Dalai Lama after the latter said in a birthday message via video link to supporters in Taiwan the day before that he would like to visit the island again.

The hope for a Dalai Lama visit was expressed by Independent legislator Freddy Lim, the driving force behind the new group, reported taiwannews.com.tw Jul 8. The group currently has 46 members belonging to various political parties. Its aim is to collaborate and consolidate efforts to highlight the issue of Tibet in Taiwan as well as on the international platform.

The Dalai Lama last visited self-ruled Taiwan in Aug-Sep 2009 to comfort the victims of Typhoon Morakot. Ma Ying-jeou of the China-friendly Kuomintang (KMT) was the president at that time.

Any visit by the Dalai Lama is highly sensitive due to China’s staunch opposition which often translates into reprisal actions.

The report cited Lim as saying the government should maintain an open attitude toward plans for a trip by the Dalai Lama.

He has also said that although the Dalai Lama had visited Taiwan several times over the past decade, if threats from China make the journey impossible, they will not insist.

The report noted that Chinese protests against new travel plans for the Dalai Lama had grown louder.

Participants in the group’s founding event, held on Jul 8, have emphasized Taiwan’s role as a frontline state against Chinese expansionist ambitions and promised the island nation would stand by Tibet, Xinjiang, and Hong Kong in their struggle for freedom, human rights, and democracy.

Speakers were stated to have referred to China’s recently enforced national security law for Hong Kong as an ominous threat to Taiwan, with the island forming the next target for Beijing’s aggressive intentions.

A Taiwanese parliamentary group for Tibet was first formed in 2012 by Ms. Hsiao Bi-Khim who served as its Vice-chair.  The group was newly launched on Oct 27, 2016 after the general election that year under the Chairmanship of Freddy Lim.

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