Protests in Tibet gather momentum; People’s Daily calls for effort to ‘resolutely crush’ Tibet independence forces; KMT wins March 22 Presidential elections in Taiwan
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  • Protests in Tibet against the Chinese oppression gathered momentum. In New Delhi, Tibetan protesters broke into the Chinese Embassy during the week, a few hours before the arrival of Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama in the capital. The Dalai Lama was to have discussed the unfolding Tibetan crisis with officials of the Indian government and the visiting US speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi1.

    People’s Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party carried out an editorial calling for an effort to “resolutely crush” the “Tibet independence” forces. A commentary in the same newspaper read: “We must see through the secessionist forces' evil intentions, uphold the banners of maintaining social stability, safeguard the socialist legal system and protect people's fundamental interests, and resolutely crush the ‘Tibet independence’ forces' conspiracy and sabotaging activities so as to foster a favorable social environment for reform and development and for people's happiness and welfare2.”

    At the same time, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang reiterated that Beijing’s offer of conducting a ‘dialogue’ with the Dalai Lama had not changed and called on him to give up his stance for Tibet independence and stop separatists activities3.

    In Taiwan meanwhile, Ma Ying-jeou belonging to the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) won the March 22 presidential election, defeating the DPP’s Frank Hsieh. The elections witnessed a turnout of over 76 percent out of the 17,321,622 registered voters4. The presidential victory followed the KMT’s success in the January 12 legislative elections, in which it had won 81 out of the 113 seats. The two victories assured the KMT of full control of Taiwan’s executive and legislative braches of government.

    Reports also noted that ‘referendums’ on launching Taiwan’s bid to join the UN – put forward by the DPP and the KMT, failed due to the complicated legal threshold they had to meet5. According to the terms of the Referendum Act, the measures required the participation of at least 50 per cent of the eligible voters as well as the support of more than 50 per cent of the participating voters in order to be passed6. The Chinese government on its part called on the major powers – including the United States and Japan, to stick to their ‘One-China’ policy and not support Taiwan’s independence or its proposed 'referendum’ on UN membership7.