Taiwan silent on expected meetings with Dalai Lama
March 25, 1997
Web posted at: 4:39 p.m. EST (2139 GMT)
TAIPEI, Taiwan (CNN) -- The Dalai Lama witnessed an
interfaith gathering of 20,000 people at a Taiwanese stadium
on Tuesday as the government remained tight-lipped on
expected meetings between officials and the exiled Tibetan
The Dalai Lama began the fourth day of his "enlightenment"
tour in Taiwan with an event in the city of Taoyuan that drew
representatives from the island nation's many religious
groups. It was the second of three stadium-sized
"enlightenment meetings" on the Dalai Lama's six-day tour.
This is the first visit to Taiwan by the 61-year-old Buddhist
monk, who is revered as a god-king by his followers in Tibet.
The trip has drawn strong objections from China, which views
both Tibet and Taiwan as its rightful territory.
The Dalai Lama went into exile in 1959 after a failed
uprising against Chinese rule. The mainland government refers
to him and Taiwan government officials as "splittists" intent
on breaking away from the mainland. The Taiwan government is
the remnant of Nationalist forces defeated by the Communists
in a civil war that ended in 1949.
On Monday, the Dalai Lama told reporters in Taipei that he
wanted self-rule for Tibet, rather than full independence
from China. Beijing Tuesday continued a series of attacks,
scorning the Dalai Lama's statement.
Taiwanese government officials were still tight-lipped on
whether President Lee Teng-hui or other top officials would
meet with the Dalai Lama. Given the mainland government's
opposition to the visit, such meetings could affect relations
between Taipei and Beijing.
The Government Information Office said it knew nothing about
a report in the United Evening News that Vice President Lien
Chan would dine with the Dalai Lama on Wednesday, in
preparation for a Thursday meeting between the exiled Tibetan
leader and President Lee.
The Dalai Lama has said he hoped to discuss "spiritual
reforms" with President Lee.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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