Beijing criticized a planned visit by the Dalai Lama to Taiwan after Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou announced its approval, the Wall Street Journal reported. However, Beijing did not target Ma directly. The Dalai Lama had been asked by local officials of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party to visit areas damaged by Typhoon Morakot, which left 461 people dead and 192 missing when it hit the island on August 8. Beijing said it was "resolutely opposed" to the Dalai Lama’s visit. "[He] is not a pure religious figure, but uses the banner of religion to engage in activities to split the nation," the government said in a statement. Ma has been criticized in Taiwan for what was seen as a slow government response to the typhoon.