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Dalai Lama visit triggers heated debates on the Net

Latest update : 2009-09-01

Our daily round-up of the Web takes you to Taiwan, where the Dalai Lama has landed on a controversial trip to comfort the victims of Typhoon Morakot. Also in today's show: bloggers react to the wildfires that are threatening Los Angeles.

Dalai Lama's visit to Taiwan

The Dalai Lama is in Taiwan until Friday to comfort victims of typhoon Morakot which left 600 dead at the start of August. The web reacts.


Tibetan citizens living in exile in Taiwan have great expectations from the visit, as demonstrated by this calendar of ceremonies, updated daily by local sympathisers, determined to track the spiritual leaders’ slightest movements.


But the visit has incurred the wrath of China who considers the island to be one of its provinces. Beijing accuses the Dalai Lama of wishing to destabilise the growing relations between China and Taiwan. An opinion largely shared by Chinese net users on the rare discussion forums on which the subject can be tackled.


And opinions are shared in the Taiwanese blogosphere. This net user feels that the visit aims to manipulate public opinion, exploiting the storm victims’ suffering for political motives.

Others focus on the spiritual reasons for the visit, considering that the Dalai Lama’s prayers will allow the typhoon’s victims to rest in peace.


This blogger finds the political games between the nationalist party in power in Taiwan, the local opposition and the Chinese communist party amusing. The Dalai-Lama was in fact invited by the opposition, who are hostile to bridge-building with Beijing, placing President Ma Ying-Jeou in a delicate position.


Finally, this Taiwanese blogger living in the US is more optimistic. He hopes the visit will be an opportunity to prove that Tibetan, Chinese and Taiwanese cultures are intimately linked.

California wildfires

California is on fire. Since Wednesday, forest fires have been raging in the LA suburbs, leading Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to decree a state of emergency in several of the states’ counties.

And as shown by these videos posted online by net users, thousands of homes are threatened by the flames, which are spreading across a heavily populated area about thirty kilometres from Los Angeles, where a thick cloud of smoke hangs in the sky.


Others filmed the endless comings and goings of water bomber helicopters and planes which are taking it in turns to provide back up for the 2,500 fire fighters working in the area.


This photographer even followed these fire fighters in their battle against the flames. It was a way in which to applaud their courage following the news that two firemen died on Sunday combating the blaze.


And on the web, several interactive maps allow users to follow the fire’s progress in real time. This one directs net users to webcams installed in the mountains currently ravaged by flames.


This second map indicates which areas should be evacuated, as well as shelters available to those who have fled their homes.


Information is also available on this Twitter link. Set up during the 2007 fires, it allows residents who have been evacuated and are therefore without computers, to remain informed via their mobile phones.

Death 2.0

If you think that life in cyber space is complicated, wait to see what death has in store for you. You can bequeath belongings in a will, but what happens to your blog, or Facebook page content? More and more sites like ‘Legacy Locker’, are offering the possibility to leave all your digital information, including pass words, in a safe which will be handed over to your loved ones upon your death. 21

Football fields

A few months before the FIFA World Cup South Africa, an innovative project has been launched on the web concerning this very popular sport. ‘Canchas 2010’ is a platform which aims to collect audiovisual documents about football pitches around the world. From Greenland to Mauritania, passing through Vietnam, its creators hope that the 1001 images of improvised pitches, born out of a universal passion for the round ball, can be used to celebrate humanity.

Video of the day

This video of a failed hold up in a UK jewellery shop is currently circulating online. Net users have mocked the robbers’ apparent cowardliness. But luckily the thieves in question did not intend to harm anyone in order to grab their loot. They ran off as soon as the shop assistants decided to defend themselves with whatever came to hand; which happened to be a chair and a fire extinguisher.


Date created : 2009-09-01