Taiwan bars Uyghur human rights activist for 3 years: Daughter Rebiya Kadeer attends documentary screenings

Originally published by Taiwan News, 18 July 2010

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – World Uyghur Congress President Rebiya Kadeer has been barred from entering Taiwan for three years, a group which invited her to visit the country announced Sunday.

Kadeer was first refused entry last year when a documentary about her life and resistance against oppression by China, “The 10 Conditions of Love,” was to be screened in Taiwan.

Rock singer Freddy Lim, chairman of Guts United Taiwan which is organizing a new round of screenings, said he filed the necessary documents for her visit with the Ministry of Interior last April and May, but instead of its approval, he received the news that she had been barred from entering Taiwan for three years.

Kadeer’s daughter Raela Tosh, who was present at Lim’s news conference, said she wasn’t concerned her mother could not visit Taiwan because she believed it was a free country. If the Dalai Lama could enter Taiwan, then Kadeer would also have an opportunity one day, she said.

Lim said there had been no chance to argue with the MOI about the ban, since it was imposed unilaterally.

Omer Kanat, the vice president of the WUC, also wanted to attend the screenings, but was unexpectedly told by the Taiwanese visa office in Washington, D.C., just before his scheduled departure that his visa application needed a more extensive one-month review.

Kanat was told that the order for a more thorough inspection of his application had come directly from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taipei, reports said.

Asked about the ban on Kadeer, Premier Wu Den-yih said he supported the MOI decision because “it was based on national security needs.”

He said the case proved that Taiwan was a sovereign nation, since the government had the right to bar individuals based on the principle of international mutual trust. Wu added that there were many countries he wanted to visit which also barred him.

Lim said the incident showed that government promises that closer economic relations with China would not influence human rights and democracy were not credible.