TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Even though the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) approved applications from 120 people in China to travel to Taiwan in order to pay their respects to a Buddhist leader, Beijing decided to cancel the trip, reports said Saturday (Feb. 11).
Buddhist Master Hsing Yun (星雲法師), who was born in China but moved to Taiwan with the retreating Kuomintang (KMT) troops in 1949, passed away Feb. 5 at the age of 95. The founder of the Fo Guang Shan association received tributes from across the political spectrum, with even Chinese figures saying they wanted to pay their respects.
MAC announced Friday (Feb. 10) it had approved a list of 120 Chinese nationals to travel to Taiwan for a Feb. 13 memorial in Kaohsiung City, the seat of Master Hsing Yun’s group. However, 12 serving officials from Chinese communist, religious and propaganda groups were refused entry. As a result, China decided to scrap the whole trip, sending the delegation to a Fo Guang Shan temple in the province of Jiangsu instead.
In a statement, MAC said Saturday that China was playing politics with the issue and trying to blame Taiwan. There had been no mention of the Chinese group applying as one entity, but the 120 delegates whose trip had been approved, were still welcome to travel to Taiwan and share in the mourning for Master Hsing Yun, the MAC said.