Ma Ying-jeou, the Dalai Lama and Taiwan Part I: Whose Side is Ma on?

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Saturday August 29, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

After Taiwan's government issued a visa to allow the Dalai Lama to visit Taiwan, the People's Republic of China (PRC) quickly responded with a condemnation of the action. It had all along condemned any visit by the Dalai Lama regardless of motive, even religious or compassionate. But this time the PRC went further. Though it was the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) led government that granted the visa, the PRC blamed the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for the action, saying, "The DPP's evil motives will definitely be opposed by compatriots from both sides of the Taiwan Strait."

The PRC was more than throwing down its traditional gauntlet on wanting to control all religions as well as the free speech of people; it was stating clearly that it saw that it had "compatriots" living in and participating in the government of Taiwan. So who are these obvious traitorous compatriots of the PRC who care little for Taiwan's sovereignty? The answer was quick in coming.

Wang Yu-chi, the Presidential Office Spokesman stated that President Ma Ying-jeou and the Dalai Lama will not cross paths in the six days that the Dalai Lama (DL) is in Taiwan. Not cross paths? How could the nation's president refuse to meet or avoid meeting a foremost international religious leader as the DL on such a small island nation, especially since both (it is hoped) are concerned with the devastation in southern Taiwan?

The answer appears to be found in the PRC's above statement. It feels its "compatriots" on Taiwan will oppose the "evil motives" of the DPP in inviting the Dalai Lama. Who then are the compatriots? Everyone is free to make their assumptions, but when Taiwan's President refuses to meet and shake the hand of an internationally renowned religious leader as the Dalai Lama, it seems clear whose cause, Ma Ying-jeou is casting his fortune with.