Dharamsala (AsiaNews) - The Dalai Lama, visiting the south of Taiwan to bring comfort to the people affected by Typhoon Morakot, presided at a prayer ceremony today in memory of the more than 600 dead and missing people. The controversy is not dying down in Beijing, which has cancelled or postponed meetings already set with Taipei. Samdhong Rinpoche, Prime Minister (Kalon Tripa) of the Tibetan government in exile, explains to AsiaNews the meaning and purpose of the visit by the Tibetan Buddhist leader.
Over 20 thousand people attended today's prayer led by the Dalai Lama in Kaohsiung, the area hardest hit by the typhoon. People chanted together, some in Tibetan and others Mandarin. Local sources report that all involved were very moved and that the ceremony only had a spiritual and religious significance.
In response, Beijing has cancelled or postponed already agreed upon visits to Taiwan of two important Chinese delegations and said that its delegation will not attend the opening ceremony of the Olympics for the deaf, September 5, in Taipei.
Speaking to AsiaNews Professor Rinpoche is critical of the Chinese government position, saying it is meaningless and stressing that "the Dalai Lama visited Taiwan moved by compassion for the suffering of the population after typhoon Morakot and tropical cyclone Etau. He just wants to show his solidarity with the victims, share the suffering and give hope to help them rebuild their lives. "
He notes that the Chinese Communist Party not only oppresses the Tibetan and Uighur ethnic and religious minorities, but "55 minorities are unhappy under the CCP, which violently suppresses all protests. But the protests of the minorities can not be suppressed by force, they remain forever in the heart and mind and violence will never erase them. China's policy toward minorities has failed to be fair, but these authoritarian and repressive measures can not last forever. "
"Beijing has not resumed talks with the Tibetans in exile [which started shortly before the Olympics - ed], now we are seeking dialogue with the Chinese people to establish cultural exchanges and opportunities to meet. The Chinese population is not hostile, but they need to receive correct information about us. Recently, a Sino-Tibetan Conference in Geneva, called for the establishment of a research centre with scholars from both sides to study the history and culture of Tibet and to restore historical truth. "
"We have great confidence in the humanity of the Chinese people. The Tibet issue will have a solution sooner or later. "