Taiwan denies entry to Tibetan, Uyghur activists for religious freedom forum

By Chen Heying Source:Global Times Published: 2016-2-18 1:13:01

Tibetan and Uyghur activists were denied entry to Taiwan to attend a forum which begins on Thursday, a decision made out of consideration for the Chinese mainland, analysts say.

Lobsang Sangay, the "prime minister" of the "Tibetan government in exile," and Rebiya Kadeer, president of the World Uyghur Congress, an organization mainland considers as a terror group, cannot enter the island, former "vice-president" Annette Lu Hsiu-lien was quoted by Taiwan news site bcc.com.tw as saying on Tuesday.

"As of now, we have yet to receive their visa applications," Hsu Chien-lin, public relations director of Taiwan's "National Immigration Agency," told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Sangay and Kadeer were invited to attend the first Asia-Pacific Religions Freedom Forum in Taiwan from Thursday to Saturday.

"We were informed last week by the Taiwan representative office of the Tibetan government in exile that the Ma Ying-jeou administration signaled that it is inconvenient for Sangay to enter," Lu said.

An employee at the Department of International Information Services of Taiwan's "Ministry of Foreign Affairs" said there was no other information apart from the statements made by its spokeswoman Eleanor Wang.

Wang had said that their visa applications should be accepted and reviewed by relevant departments, while the "foreign ministry" was not the responsible government body, local newspaper Liberty Times reported on Tuesday.

"The regional government has taken into account the possible fierce reaction from the mainland if the two sensitive figures had been allowed entry," Hu Benliang, an associate research fellow at the Institute of Taiwan Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

Besides, the two separatists' stance is like "Taiwan independence," which is against the consensus of the one-China principle reached across the Straits, Hu said. He noted the Lu may attempt to warn newly elected regional leader, Tsai Ing-wen, not to abandon the party's pro-Taiwan independence stance when dealing with cross-Straits ties.

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