The democratic island of Taiwan would welcome a visit from exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, the leader of its ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has said.
DPP secretary-general Lo Wen-jia told Tibetan and human rights activists in Taipei on Thursday that the Dalai Lama should be free to visit anywhere he wants, including Tibet.
"We would welcome the Dalai Lama if he is able to visit Taiwan," Lo said. "Actually, he should have the right to visit anywhere he chooses, including his homeland [of Tibet]."
Lo's remarks came ahead of a planned march in Taipei to mark the 60th anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising against Chinese Communist Party rule.
He also used the example of China's suppression of Tibetan religion and culture over the past 60 years to warn against heeding Chinese President Xi Jinping's Jan. 2 call for "peaceful unification" with Taiwan.
After the Chinese Communist regime signed 17 agreements with Tibet, the agreements were torn up and their army entered Tibet, he said.
During the occupation, 1.2 million Tibetans died of unnatural causes, more than 6,000 Buddhist holy sites were destroyed, and countless Tibetans were exiled overseas, he said.
"I believe that there should be no grey areas between democracy and dictatorship, human rights and totalitarianism," Lo told reporters.
"I hope that [any of our politicians] will be able to make it clear which side they are on."
He said there should be "no illusions" when dealing with Beijing.
"We should have no illusions about any dictatorship," Lo said. "Peace agreements will never bring peace; only massacres and persecution."
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen rejected Xi's proposal, saying the island's government wouldn't negotiate unless China itself became democratic, and that Taiwan had no intention of giving up its sovereignty as the Republic of China, which dates back to Sun Yat-sen's 1911 revolution that overthrew the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
Lo also hit out at the mass incarceration of Uyghurs and other minority ethnic Muslims in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).
"How is this different from the Nazis in the Second World War?," Lo said.
Tashi Tsering, founder of Human Rights Network for Tibet and Taiwan, said Lo's assessment of Tibet's history was accurate.
"The Taiwan government wants to be very careful with any negotiations with China," he warned. "Historically, we have Tibet on the one hand, and Hong Kong on the other."
The return of Hong Kong to Chinese rule in 1997 has seen a marked increase in Communist Party power and influence in the former British colony, with the gradual erosion of its status as a separate legal jurisdiction and its traditional freedoms, according to its own democratic politicians, journalists and lawyers, as well as overseas rights groups and governments.
Beijing is proposing to annex Taiwan "peacefully" under the same promise of "one country, two systems."
The Dalai Lama last visited Taiwan in 2009, after hundreds of people died in Typhoon Morakot.
Reported by Hsia Hsiao-hwa for RFA's Mandarin Service, and by Chung Kuang-cheng for the Cantonese Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.