In perhaps the least surprising bit of news this year, China has voiced its opposition to the Dalai Lama visiting Taiwan.
China’s State Council Taiwan Affairs Office spokesperson Ma Xiaoguang had this to say about His Holiness’s potential travel plans:
The intention of some forces in Taiwan to collude with separatists seeking “Tibet independence,” and to create disturbances will have a severe impact on relations across the Taiwan Strait.
We firmly oppose the Dalai Lama’s visit to Taiwan of any form.
At the regular Beijing press conference, Ma added that the Dalai Lama “wears religious clothes to carry out separatist activities.”
And for good measure, Ma also stressed China’s firm opposition to “Taiwanese independence.”
This all comes after last week’s trip to India by Freddy Lim, a veteran heavy metal singer and fledgling Taiwan legislator. Lim met with the Dalai Lama and invited him to Taiwan “to share his ideas and religious philosophy” in a speech to the Legislative Yuan.
The Dalai Lama last visited Taiwan in 2009 to comfort victims of the deadliest typhoon in the island’s history, allegedly resulting in numerous mainland tour groups cancelling their visits to Taiwan. During his visit, Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou failed to meet with the spiritual leader. After that, the Dalai Lama was refused entry to Taiwan several times during the rest of Ma’s presidency.
So far, new Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has not said if her government would allow His Holiness to visit Taiwan. When Tsai was elected as Taiwan’s first female president back in January, the Dalai Lama congratulated her on her “remarkable victory.”
Since Tsai’s new administration took over in May, relations with the mainland have been frigid across the board. At this point, the only person that Beijing might like less than Tsai is the Dalai Lama, who they have called a “wolf in monk’s robes,” and have compared to Saddam Hussein.