Dalai Lama Says Nothing to Hide
Dalai Lama Says Nothing to Hide From China
Press Release: Tibet govt in exile
TAIPEI, 31 Mar - Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, arrived in
Taiwan amid protests on Saturday and said he has nothing to hide from Beijing,
which has accused him of colluding with the island's separatists.
``I want someone from Peking (to) come here while I'm here and watch my
movement here and investigate whether I (am) involved (in) some kind of
anti-Chinese activities,'' the Dalai Lama told a packed news conference,
using Beijing's old name. On the eve of the Dalai Lama's arrival,
the flagship newspaper of China's Communist Party had accused him of
colluding with Taiwan separatists. The globetrotting Buddhist monk
said he is not seeking Tibet's independence from China, which has ruled
his Himalayan homeland with an iron fist since 1950. He said China was
a great nation with a huge population -- the world's most populous at
1.3 billion -- but that its rigid authoritarian system was not the
answer to its many problems. Attempts by Chinese authorities to hide
information or give just one side of the story was not the right way to
face problems, he added. Favor Democracy, Openness ``I always favor
democracy, openness,'' said the ochre-robed Buddhist monk, who swayed
in his seat while an interpreter translated his remarks.
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate said Taiwan should maintain a close
relationship with its giant communist rival. ``Taiwan should have
one very unique, close relationship with mainland China because
of the economy and because of the political situation...and defense,''
the Dalai Lama said. Beijing has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since
routing Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist troops in a civil war on the
mainland in 1949. The Dalai Lama's March 31 to April 9 visit has
inflamed political and religious passions on the island of 23 million.
He was greeted by supporters and protesters on arrival at Taiwan's airport.
A tiny group of activists for reunification with China shouted anti-Dalai
Lama slogans and scuffled with police when they tried to storm the plush
Taipei hotel, where he is staying. ``If he is indeed a holy monk,
he should not be staying in a T$41,000 (US$1,200) a day presidential suite,''
Wang Chin-ping, vice-chairman of the Alliance for the Reunification of China,
told Reuters. ``He's here to grab money,'' the university lecturer said,
denouncing island-wide mass ``enlightenment'' lectures to be presided over
by the Dalai Lama. Taiwan's Buddhist Association, which organized the
lectures, has sold out 30,000 tickets for T$1,000 each. Near the hotel,
a group of activists from the other end of Taiwan's political spectrum,
seeking to marshal the Dalai Lama to their independence cause, staged a
counter-protest chanting: ''Free Tibet. Free Taiwan.'' The Dalai Lama
has tried to play down the political significance of his second visit to
Taiwan apparently to avoid antagonizing Beijing. But the visit will
inevitably take on a political tone when he meets Taiwan President
Chen Shui-bian of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party
next week. Beijing has threatened to attack Taiwan if it declared
independence or dragged its feet on unification talks. Taiwan Vice President
Annette Lu has said the island's ties with rival China would enter a
`sensitive period'' due in part to the Tibetan spiritual leader's visit.
The Dalai Lama fled his Himalayan homeland after an abortive uprising
against Chinese rule in 1959 and won the Nobel Peace Prize three decades
later for his peaceful campaign for autonomy.