His Holiness the Dalai Lama has visited Taiwan in 1997, 2001 and 2009 after which he has never been granted a visa to visit the autonomous country again, which has been a concern to many people in Taiwan as he is followed as a religious leader by more than 1 million Taiwanese.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Apollo Chen (陳學聖) has urged the outgoing President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to issue a visa to the Dalai Lama so the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader could visit before Ma’s term which ends this May.
Apollo Chen is said to have initiated a Signature campaign urging Ma to grant a visa for Dalai Lama’s visit to the country. Moreover, Chen feels that there is no reason for Ma’s government to deny a visit for the Dalai Lama who has already given up all political roles as the Taiwanese followers worship him for his role of foremost representative of the Tibetan Buddhism and Tibetan culture.
Most recently Ministry of Foreign Affairs Taiwan rejected the Dalai Lama’s visa in November 2012.
In March last year, then premier Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) said that the government should decide on the Dalai Lama’s visa with a view on the ‘benefit of the Nation as a whole’ when 15 Taiwanese groups jointly issued the Dalai Lama’s invitation.
Although no visa application has been filed from the Dalai Lama’s side according his office in India, the Taiwanese groups conviction to invite the Dalai Lama is strong. Moreover, the new Taiwan President-elect Tsai Ing-wen and her government is also facing a dilemma of whether to host the Dalai Lama or not because her historic victory of the election also attraction Beijing’s warnings to maintain the “status quo of peace and stability” with China to which she vowed.