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Dalai Lama says he plans to visit Taiwan as academic

Tibetan spiritual leader to give speech at Hsinchu's National Tsing Hua University

Dalai Lama (Facebook, video screenshot)

Dalai Lama (Facebook, video screenshot)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Dalai Lama said he will visit Taiwan in the capacity of a professor and deliver an address at National Tsing Hua University, reports said Tuesday (Oct. 6).

Preaching at the invitation of local Buddhist communities, the Dalai Lama made the announcement to Taiwanese followers during a three-day video seminar that began on Oct. 2 on Facebook, wrote Newtalk. He said he has agreed to give a speech at the Hsinchu research university as an academic rather than a religious figure.

In his sermons, the Dalai Lama encouraged Taiwanese to engage with China, not for economic purposes but for cultural exchanges. “Chinese culture is thriving in Taiwan but has been eroded in China owing to the Cultural Revolution,” the report quoted him as saying.

The Dalai Lama said he is not pursuing Tibetan independence. Rather, he said he believes the coexistence of minority ethnic groups, including the Tibetans, Mongolians, Uighurs, and Manchus, is what matters.

The Dalai Lama also said that while socialism has its merits, it cannot be genuinely realized without adhering to the principle of altruism.

The exiled Buddhist guru, who is based in the Indian city of Dharamshala, floated the idea of visiting China as a Nobel laureate. Such a visit would be his first in six decades since he fled Lhasa in 1959.

The spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism last month expressed his hope to visit Taiwan but did not disclose which organization had sent him a letter of invitation. He paid trips to Taiwan in 1997, 2001, and 2009 but has not set foot in the country since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) came to power.

In response to the Dalai Lama’s announcement, Joanne Ou (歐江安), spokesperson for Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), said on Tuesday (Oct. 6) that such a visit would be welcomed. To date, however, she said MOFA has not received any such application from the spiritual leader. Given that COVID-19 is still ravaging India, she added, the Taiwanese government would need to ensure disease control protocols are followed on both sides.