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<-Back to WTN Archives China Blocks Visas for Participants in Women's Forum
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World Tibet Network News

Monday, August 21, 1995



5. China Blocks Visas for Participants in Women's Forum


By William Branigin
Washington Post Foreign Service


As the U.N. World Conference on Women approaches, thousands of women are
effectively being barred by the Chinese government from attending a parallel
private forum outside Beijing, women's groups say.

Some women, particularly those representing Tibetan groups that China
considers hostile, have been refused visas outright. Many others have
encountered bureaucratic obstacles and delays in the visa process that some
groups fear are aimed at limiting attendance at the forum generally.

Inevitably, women's groups say, the massive gathering of nongovernmental
organizations, known as NGOs, 35 miles from Beijing from Aug. 30 to Sept. 8 will
challenge the Chinese government on freedom of expression. Many groups plan to
bring in publications and other material in defiance of Chinese warnings that
politically offensive materials will be confiscated.

The
had lobbied hard to host into a major international embarrassment.

A growing chorus of complaints about the situation comes amid debate in
the Clinton administration over whether First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton should
head the U.S. delegation to a gathering that nominally represents half of
humanity.

"The reduction of numbers [at the NGO Forum] is clearly one goal of the
China Organizing Committee," which is in charge of arrangements for the
conference, said Alice M. Miller of the International Human Rights
whose members range from Australian Aborigines and native Hawaiians to Taiwanese
and Tibetans. China regards Taiwan as a breakaway province and forcibly occupied
Tibet in the 1950s.

Berriault said that although she had submitted all the required
documentation and paid a $40 fee last week, the Chinese Embassy returned her
passport Wednesday with no visa or explanation. She said a consular official
told her only, "This is the Chinese way. We reserve the right to deny a visa to
anyone." Pressed further, another official simply repeated, "I think you know
the reason," Berriault said.

The embassy's press office did not reply to questions about the matter.

In another case, Dechen Wangdu, the American daughter of prominent Tibetan
activists, said she received her passport from the Chinese consulate in San
Francisco with a visa in it stamped "canceled." She said the consulate gave no
explanation.

More common than outright rejections, women's groups say, are delays in
accepting visa applications on grounds that the women do not have letters
confirming their hotel accommodations or that their names are not on a Chinese
list of those registered with the forum.


Articles in this Issue:
  1. India, China agree on troop cut in disputed region
  2. China Criticised over handling of Visas for Women Conference
  3. China-Keeping the Lid On Conference
  4. U.S. presses China on visas for conference
  5. China Blocks Visas for Participants in Women's Forum
  6. China's Nuclear Test will not affect Mrs. Clinton's visit to Beijing



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