India denies visas to Chinese dissidents


India has declined to issue visas to two Chinese activists hoping to attend a conference on promoting democracy, days after it revoked a visa for an exiled ethnic Uighur leader who China says backs militant violence, Reuters reports:

Lu Jinghua (left), a U.S.-based dissident, and Ray Wong, a pro-democracy activist, had applied for Indian visas to attend the meeting this week in the northern hill town of Dharamsala, the base of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

India rejects accusations that it is caving into Chinese pressure to stop dissidents travelling to the country. On Monday, India said it had cancelled a tourist visa it had granted to exiled Uighur leader Dolkun Isa (right), who was due to attend the same conference.

Ms Lu, who represented a workers’ group in the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests in Beijing in 1989 and was described by Chinese authorities as a “major criminal”, said she had received confirmation of an electronic visa but was stopped from boarding an Air India flight leaving New York.

Quartz adds: India is this year’s host to the annual Interethnic/Interfaith Leadership Conference, a high-profile forum that brings together Chinese exiles and dissidents to discuss everything from democracy to human rights to religion. None of these are issues Beijing is comfortable with….The Interethnic/Interfaith Leadership Conference was launched by the US-based democracy group Initiatives for China in 2004, and co-hosted by Dharamsala-based NGO Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy this year.

Initiatives for China, initiated by Chinese dissident leader Yang Jianli “for advancing democracy in China” is supported by the National Endowment for Democracy.

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