When Ma Ying jeou became president of Taiwan, thereby bringing once more back into power the KMT, he made it a point to bring the island republic closer into mainland China's orbit. Beijing received him with much fanfare; travel restrictions between the two Chinas dropped; and trade turned more brisk.
Mother Nature in her dark form of heavy rains and mudslides which destroyed many Taiwanese villages and buried alive thousands, has put a spin of Ma's rapproachement with the mainland regime. Like the US president George W. Bush and his 'benign neglect' in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Mr. Ma's response to the destruction and loss of life and need of homeless survivors of the rains and the mudslide, was an echo of Mr. Bush's callousness to the plight of his own people.
Ma's poll numbers dropped so fast that as an act of utter frantic panic, he invited the Dalai Lama to come to Taiwan, to pray for the souls of those perished under the mud and in the torrents of rains, as well as offering the much needed solace of a revered religious figure, which the KMT in its neglect of duty, had forfeited in the eyes of Taiwanese.
Everyone in the world is not unaware of Beijing's utter contempt and hatred of the Dalai Lama, and what he represents to the Tibetans inside China who suffer under the harsh yoke of Han rule, and on whom it excoriates in feverish diatribes as a 'splittist' wanting to rend asunder mainland China; as a relic of the dark night of religious obscurantism because the Dalai Lama is a symbol of resistance to a corrupt Communist ruling class, amotng scores of other ills of China's own making that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) wishes to pin on him.
Ma's invitation does not require years of training as a shaman, a reader of cattle bones. He committed a major faux pas which risks to send him and the KMT back into the night of political exile. So, the curry the favour of the 'vox populi', he extended the hand of welcome and friendship to Dalai Lama.
Curiously enough, his calculated move to remain in office has two interesting effects. One, he has shown a side of independence from mainland China's assertion that Taiwan is a rogue or runaway province. His invitation is clearly the privilege and the right of a head of state. Secondly, southern Taiwan was the most heavily hit by the typhoon rains and the mudslides that followed. Now, it is precisely in Taiwan's south that the KMT's opposition, which it triumphed over at the last elections, is strong in numbers and influence and in its call for the declaration of Taiwanese independence. Ma's Machiavellian move has at one and the same time, put a chill in his opening towards the mainland, and what's more strengthened the hand of his opponents, who if the Dalai Lama comes, will roll the yellow carpet!
Is mainland China chastened by the 'dialectical' nature of politics? Hardly, it may seem. Mention Tibet and the Dalai Lama, and the rulers in Beijing go ballistic!