(TibetanReview.net, Jun05’19) – Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and Uyghur activist Rebiya Kadeer had been denied visa to attend a conference organized by the Taiwan International Religious Freedom Forum in Hsinchu on May 30, reported taiwannews.com.tw Jun 5, citing a Radio Free Asia report May 30.
The report said that while several religious groups had confirmed news of the Dalai Lama and Kadeer being denied entry into Taiwan, the country’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) denied receiving a visa application for the Dalai Lama.
The report cited an unnamed exclusive source from Washington DC as saying the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen had promised to invite the Dalai Lama to the forum.
The Radio Free Asia report was cited as saying the news about the denial of visa for the two exiled leaders was confirmed in interviews with several participants at the forum, including Bob Fu, founder and president of China Aid; Umit Hamit of the World Uyghur Congress; and Dawa Tsering, chairman of the Tibet Religious Foundation of His Holiness The Dalai Lama.
But the MAC has insisted in a written statement that “it has not received any visa application for the Dalai Lama from the Taiwan International Religious Freedom Forum.”
The report cited some forum participants as telling the press that the Secretary-General to the President, Chen Chu, had promised up to five times that Taiwan would invite the Dalai Lama for a visit.
However, the report said a government official frankly admitted in private that Taiwan had not planned to invite the Dalai Lama or Kadeer.
And yet, when speaking at the forum, President Tsai was quoted as saying she was “sorry that the Dalai Lama could not visit Taiwan.”
The report also said that in an attempt to explain to the Dalai Lama why his invitation was revoked, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs had sent representatives to visit him in Dharamshala, India, in mid-May.
The Dalai Lama had previously expressed an interest to visit Taiwan for religious purposes but recently curtained much of his travels, especially international ones, citing his advanced age.