2009/08/27

Dalai Lama accepts green camp's invitation to visit Taiwan

AP reports that Dalai Lama has accepted the invitation to visit Taiwan (in Chinese here):

A joint statement by leaders from seven municipalities recently hit by deadly Typhoon Morakot said the Tibetan spiritual leader planned to be in Taiwan from Aug. 31 to Sept. 4 and would visit storm victims.

This certainly puts Ma regime in a very serious dilemma. I couldn't say it better than what's in the report (highlight mine):

Political scientist George Tsai of Taipei's Chinese Culture University (台北中國文化大學政治學家蔡信安) said the Dalai Lama announcement has put Ma in a bind.

"If the central government allows Dalai Lama to visit, relations with China will be damaged, but if not, the public will think the central government lacks humanitarian concern (for victims)," Tsai said.

It is understandable that Ma regime doesn't know how to respond:

Ma spokesman Wang Yu-chi declined to say whether Taiwan would allow the Dalai Lama to visit. Analysts said such a politically sensitive visit was unlikely, though the Dalai Lama has made three visits to the island over the past 12 years.

There must be some torturing struggle in Ma Ying-jeou's mind now. He has flipped his tongue 180 degree before and after he took the office, from praising Dalai Lama to denouncing him in the fear of angering the communist China. Ma has expressed in many occasions that he considers Taiwan as an area of China. So Ma couldn't possibly approve Dalai Lama's visit without the approval of the central government in his mind - the communist China government that is.

Considering this: China has always portrayed Dalai Lama as a separatist. Whichever country approves for Dalai Lama's visit is heavily condemned by the Chinese government. Allowing Ma to welcome Dalai lama will jeopardize this non-negotiable stand. So it's almost impossible for China to approve this.

However, Ma's credit and approval rate in Taiwan are in their historical low. If Ma denies Dalai Lama's visit again (Ma denied his visit openly last November, even that Dalai Lama never expressed his intention of visiting), it will drag him much deeper into the abyss and make his recovery much more difficult. It might even push Ma to the point of no return when Ma is currently on the brim of losing his political grip. That will result in either Ma being replaced, or his policy of annexing Taiwan being seriously challenged by his colleague. Either way is certainly not in Ma's nor China's best interest.

So China will have to approve Dalai Lama's visit to Taiwan, if they still want to take advantage of what's left of Ma's value. But, such a serious violation of their firm stand against Dalai Lama will have to come with something in return - something very very big, in proportional to what China has to give.

What will Ma Ying-jeou surrender in return for China's cooperation to allow Dalai Lama's visit in order to to save both of them himself?

Will this surrendering indeed save them, or lower people's trust on Ma even more ?

One thing is almost certain: if that kind of deal is made, expect a consensus between them, that China will criticize Ma heavily in order to keep communist China's face. But, that will inevitably raise questions that the two sides across the strait are not that buddy-buddy after all.

No matter how they fare it, Ma and the communist China are in lose-lose situation in this case. Strategically speaking, the green camp fires a perfect shot.

In the mean time, some blue politicians got angered immediately, going so far as to label Dalai Lama a disaster (高市政府:達賴允諾來台安慰災民 藍委:嫌災難不多嗎?):

國民黨籍立委邱毅聞訊後痛批,邀請的人真沒有頭腦,達賴來台將嚴重影響兩岸關係,更會惹麻煩,「他們是嫌台灣的災難不夠多嗎?」
KMT legislator Chiu Yi fired a broadside at the news, saying that those invited Dalai Lama are brainless. He said that the visit will seriously damage the cross-strait relation and will cause troubles. "Do they think that Taiwan's disaster is not enough?"

Well, it is indeed a disaster --- to Ma regime and his pro-China thugs. Whenever you see pro-blue politicians jump furiously like this, you know that a good move has been made.


Note:
Two Michaels just blogged about this:
Michael Turton: DPP invites Dalai Lama to visit disaster areas
J. Michael cole: Let’s bring things back to the center


8 comments:

Formosan at Heart [27/8/09 08:03] said...

WOW
Never thought there would be a positive turn for Taiwan with Ma and his Chinese love affair. XD

Anonymous [27/8/09 12:12] said...

It will show whether it's a horse or a donkey.

Anonymous [27/8/09 14:49] said...

"That will result in either Ma being replaced, or his policy of annexing Taiwan being seriously challenged by his colleague."

Hmm... I think things would have to be bad and getting worse for much longer than this for the KMT to seriously think about replacing him soon as a poster boy. It might cause him difficulties for securing the nomination in 2012, but the general stance of that candidate would still be one of accommodation with Beijing. The KMT Old Guard supports this. Ma's problem with the KMT has always been that he is not one of the Old Guard. He is a smiling face that those behind him use. And perhaps, for a while, he felt that he could use them too.

Upon reading more about this today, I could not suppress a smile. Because of the buddy-buddy policy towards Beijing, all of the Beijing sycophants will try to stay away from the Dalai Lama. And, of course, the greens will do everything they can to come close. This means that they will get all of the photo opps and the kudos for bringing the much-revered DL to Taiwan. Ma can't meet with him or even look like he approves.

The only thing that surprised me is that the DL would so clearly insert himself into such a political game. He is, of course, a politician. I wonder what he feels that he or the Tibetans get out of it? Is this just a finger in the eye of Beijing for him? Is this a finger in the eye of Ma for his previous flip-flopping? Does he think this will give him some sort of leverage in the future?

Taiwan Echo [27/8/09 23:44] said...

anon:"Hmm... I think things would have to be bad and getting worse for much longer than this for the KMT to seriously think about replacing him soon as a poster boy. "

I agree with you on this. After all, a deeply impressed divine figure will not fade away easily in one shot.

I think it is very possible that those KMT members who think they are much more capable than Ma is will start thinking that they have a chance. Before this happened, it will be very hard for any of them to even think about it. That might be the seed of major change when the time is right.

"Ma can't meet with him or even look like he approves."

Like I said in the article, Ma has to (at least) look like he approves, otherwise his power will be fading away even faster. The communist China must have realized this, so Ma is allowed to issue the approval.

Instead of the feeling the excitement of scoring high, Taiwanese should start worrying what deal Ma has to make with China to get to this.

"The only thing that surprised me is that the DL would so clearly insert himself into such a political game. He is, of course, a politician. "

Hehe, I don't know what's in his mind. But, everything is politics. Not to mention that Dalai Lama has been the victim of political manipulation all his life. It would be a surprise if he is still unable to recognize the significance of political means.

Maybe he is trying to help Taiwan in Taiwan's cause. Many Taiwanese groups have been very active supporters of Tibet's. Why not give something in return.

Taiwan Echo [27/8/09 23:45] said...

Formosan at Heart: "Never thought there would be a positive turn for Taiwan with Ma and his Chinese love affair."

I would start worrying, man.

pfge [1/9/09 08:01] said...

Nice work to describe the current issue in English.

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