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Dalai Lama's visit criticised in Taiwan

world Updated: Aug 29, 2009 16:58 IST

Religious groups and pro-China activists have criticised the Dalai Lama's visit to Taiwan on Sunday, saying the trip is "inappropriate" as the island reels from a deadly typhoon.

The Tibetan spiritual leader is due to arrive in Taipei on Sunday for a five-day visit at the invitation of local government chiefs from the pro-independence opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

But the trip, during which the Buddhist leader is scheduled to visit typhoon-hit areas, has come under fire, with a pro-China group labelling him a "trouble-maker" while the Taiwan Mazu Association said the visit was "inappropriate."

"We hope Taiwanese people will believe in Taiwanese religions. Religious exchange is good in normal time but it is inappropriate at such a time," said Cheng Ming-kun, chief of the Taiwan Mazu Association.

"We urge politicians to stop taking advantage of religion... and toying with typhoon victims," he told reporters.

The association represents worshippers of the Taoist sea goddess Mazu, who has millions of followers.

Liu Chin-ho, chief of Mintzu village in Namasia Township, which was devastated by Typhoon Morakot earlier this month, said people did not have time to go to the Dalai Lama's convention as "we are busy settling down after the typhoon."