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CTA official's remarks upset Tibet supporters in Taiwan
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-03-24 11:09 AM
A Taiwanese Tibet support group has criticized the Tibetan exile government’s representative in Taiwan for remarks that “hurt the sentiments of Taiwanese supporters” and “misinformed the public” about the organization. Taiwan Friends of Tibet demanded an apology from the Central Tibetan Administration for the Tibetan diplomat’s statement, saying that the remarks could potentially create a divide among Taiwanese Tibet supporters.

Dawa Tsering, the Representative of the Dalai Lama in Taiwan, said in a February 19 interview with the Tibet Times that Taiwan Friends of Tibet is an organization that seeks “independence for Taiwan” and claimed that “the issue of Tibet sometimes gets used as an instrument for Taiwanese independence.”

Taiwan Friends of Tibet responded promptly with a statement that Dawa had misrepresented facts that need to be clarified for the general Tibetan public.

Dawa told the publication, “There are three Tibet support groups. Han Chinese & Tibetan Friendship supports the Middle Way Approach. As for the Taiwan Students’ group, though their stand is independence they support and respect the Tibetan Administration’s Middle Way Approach. They support the Tibetan people’s aspirations. Regarding the Taiwan Friends of Tibet, they are among those who say Taiwan must seek independence, and that the Tibetan Administration must also seek independence. Not only do they support independence for Tibet but also criticize the Central Tibetan Administration. They even believe that if the status of Dalai Lama remains like this in the Tibetan community it would be difficult for a meaningful democracy to exist. Moreover, they indulge in disrupting Taiwan’s internal affairs by always stating, ‘Tibet wants independence, Ma Ying-jeou step down’.

Whether Ma Ying-Jeou steps down or not is irrelevant to Tibetans, said Dawa, adding that “sometimes there situations arise where the Tibet issue is used as an instrument for Taiwan’s independence, and it is hard to imagine how that could be of benefit to us.”

Meili Chow, head of Taiwan Friends of Tibet, said the group was and surprised by Dawa’s statement, which she said could potentially create disunity between Tibetans and Taiwanese and among Taiwanese Tibet supporters.

The TFT demanded an apology from CTA, saying such irresponsible remarks by a Tibetan diplomat could create discord among Taiwanese Tibet supporters and between Tibetans and Taiwanese at a time when unity among all Tibetans and Tibet supporters around the world is sorely needed.

“Taiwan Friends of Tibet is a group formed on the basic idea of freedom for the Tibetans. That a member of Taiwan Friends of Tibet supports independence for Taiwan or not is not the organization’s jurisdiction. Nor it is a requirement for the organization’s membership,” the statement said.

TFT said it is not possible for the organization to “influence the personal opinions of individual members among which there maybe members who support Taiwan’s integration with China and also members who support independence for Taiwan.” It is therefore baseless to say that the Taiwan Friends of Tibet is an organization supporting independence for Taiwan, said TFT.

The organization said it has sent a response to the interview to Tibet Times but has yet to hear back from them. Chow said approaching Taiwanese media with the statement would be “the worst scenario they could want.”

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