Hotel creates yummy 'Dalai Lama' latte


Posted at Sep 02 2009 04:43 PM | Updated as of Sep 03 2009 12:43 AM

TAIWAN - The Taiwan hotel hosting the Dalai Lama during his controversial visit is offering a Dalai-themed cup of coffee.

Controversy may be raging over the Dalai Lama's visit to Taiwan, the first in 8 years, but the hotel hosting him has found a way to capitalise on its famous guest.

The establishment is now offering cups of coffee with a milk froth-based cartoonish rendering of the Dalai Lama's face on top.

The 120 Taiwan dollar (3.65 U.S. dollars) lattes seem to have proved popular, since the cafe has sold around 120 lattes over 2 days. They plan to continue their signature design even after their famous guest has left.

On Tuesday (September 1), the Dalai Lama led an audience of around 10,000 in prayer for the victims of Typhoon Morakot in Taiwan. The storm and resulting floods killed about 570 people.

Hot issues

The Dalai Lama steered clear of talking about Tibet issues during his visit but said he was dedicated to the promotion of democracy, a comment apparently aimed at Communist-ruled China. He told reporters that his trip was of a "non-political nature."

China lambasted the visit by a man it brands a separatist. In a statement on the Xinhua news agency, the China State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office was quoted as saying that the Dalai Lama's visit to Taiwan "is boung to have a negative influence on the relations between the mainland and Taiwan."

Some Taiwanese residents also opposed his visit.

Frosty ties

Ties between Tibet and China have been frosty after a failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule. The Dalai Lama went into exile in 1959.

China has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since 1949, when Mao Zedong's forces won the Chinese civil war and Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists fled to the island. Beijing has vowed to bring Taiwan under its rule, by force if necessary.

Beijing calls the Dalai Lama a "splittist" who seeks to separate nearly a quarter of the land mass of the People's Republic of China.

The Dalai Lama, however, denies the charge and says he seeks greater rights, including religious freedom and autonomy for Tibetans. Reuters.