Ma Ying-jeou, the Dalai Lama and Taiwan Part III, the Parting Shot

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Friday September 04, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

The Dalai Lama's visit is over and much went as according to script. Ma Ying-jeou and the KMT leaders avoided him; the DPP leaders welcomed him, China protested but not too much so that it would not put Ma in a bad spot (they put the blame on the DPP). On the ground, the people in the south were comforted, the Dalai Lama showed them more sympathy and empathy than Ma ever did. Overall the country was glad he came, but as always there were some protesters; in a democracy, you always will have protesters. During the same time period there was even a larger protest against the United State--that protest was about how Taiwan (because of its unresolved status after the 1952 Treaty of San Francisco) still belonged to the USA. But protests aside, there was one other interesting aspect.

In addition to comforting the people of the south and praying with them, the Dalai Lama left Taiwan with one other important point. In subtle and indirect ways, he several times reminded Taiwan that it was now a democracy and that it should never forget that fact. Further, he prayed that one day the People's Republic of China (PRC) would also some day be a democracy. That is a tall order but who could disagree with it except the leaders who controlled the people of China. Why not democracy? It was a parting shot and one on the mark.