Government defends cancellation of Uyghur leader Isa's visa

Government defends cancellation of Uyghur leader Isa's visa

Government defends cancellation of Uyghur leader Isa's visa

The government on Thursday defended cancellation of Uyghur leader Dolkun Isa’s visa, even as another exiled Chinese dissident was barred from attending a conclave in India.

Chinese pro-democracy activist Lu Jinghua, who is now based in New York, could not attend the conference being held at Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh as she was denied visa to travel to India. Ray Wong, a pro-democracy activist in Hong Kong, was also denied the visa to attend the conference, which commenced on Thursday and would continue till May 1.

New Delhi earlier cancelled a visa issued to Dolkun Isa, a front-line leader of the Uyghurs’ stir to liberate their homeland “East Turkestan”, which is now known as Xinxiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China. Isa’s visa was cancelled after Beijing cried foul and reminded New Delhi that China viewed the World Uyghur Congress chairman as a terrorist.

Isa fled China after being jailed repeatedly for his activism seeking political and religious freedom for Uyghurs. He is now a citizen of Germany.

“He (Isa) applied for a tourist visa under the electronic travel authorisation system. He was accordingly granted the visa. After obtaining the visa, Isa stated publicly that he was coming to attend a conference in India. (It was) a fact which was suppressed in the visa form and something that a tourist visa does not permit,” Vikas Swarup, official spokesperson of the MEA, stated on Thursday. He added that the visa issuing authorities had learnt that Isa had an Interpol Red Corner notice against him.

Isa was expected to take part in the conference, which will also be attended by other representatives of marginalised ethnic and minority communities of China as well as the exiled Chinese dissidents demanding democracy in the communist country. Seeking to counter the speculation about New Delhi buckling under pressure from Beijing, the MEA spokesperson also cautioned against “meanings being read, either on visa being given to Isa or its subsequent cancellation.”

“We are a democratic society, conscious of our responsibilities. Those would remain the guiding factors in such matter,” said Swarup.

Sources said that Lu Jinghua, a prominent exiled Tiananmen Square activist, had been denied visa as the documents she submitted with her application for the travel document had been found “illegible”.

There was also inconsistency with regard to the purpose of her visit. Ray Wong had not been issued visa due to “data inconsistency” with the purpose of her visit.  

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