Rebiya Kadeer in Japan: The Usual Procedures

World Uighur Congress chairwoman Rebiya Kadeer arrived in Japan for a three-day (BBC News) or five-day (Radio Australia News, July 28, 18:00 GMT) visit on Tuesday. Japan’s Foreign Ministry Press Secretary, Kazuo Kodama, said Mrs Kadeer had been granted a visa “based on the usual procedure”, so the visit should not cause any diplomatic problems. Meantime, Beijing has kicked off its own usual procedure.

Mrs Kadeer is likely to attend the Melbourne International Film Festival next week and she will give a televised speech there, reports the BBC. Beijing made repeated representations concerning her visit to Australia, too.

While the Chinese government wasn’t successful in blocking Mrs Kadeer’s visits to Japan and Australia, Beijing did initially succeed in persuading South Africa’s government not to allow the Dalai Lama to visit the country earlier this year. More or less informal Chinese organizations such as the United Chinese Association in New Zealand also lobbied against a visit by the Dalai Lama, but were less successful. Less than two months after the Tibetan spiritual leader’s visit to South Africa had been blocked, the country’s new government under president Jacob Zuma reversed the decision and said that the Dalai Lama could visit South Africa anytime. The Dalai Lama also visited France, Iceland, and the Netherlands in June this year.

India has apparently heeded advice from China’s government and denied a visa to Mrs Kadeer, while  Turkey intends to grant her one.

So long as Beijing’s representations stand a chance of being successful, even if only in some cases, they will probably remain a regular feature of international diplomatic routine.

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