World Uyghur Congress secretary-general Dolkun Isa has not entered Taiwan ahead of the World Games, a Criminal Investigation Bureau official said yesterday.
The Chinese-language Next Magazine reported that 15 members of the East Turkistan Liberation Organization, two of whom it said had been “red-listed” by Interpol, had made their way to Taiwan, raising security concerns ahead of the World Games in Kaohsiung City.
The bureau received information about Isa’s possible attempt to enter Taiwan, but he had not entered the country, said Lee Chia-chin (李佳進), chief of the bureau’s International Criminal Affairs Division.
“We confirmed with the police that he made a brief visit to Taiwan in August 2006, but he has not entered Taiwan since then,” Lee said.
The bureau said it would step up surveillance efforts to ensure safety during the Games.
National Immigration Agency acting Deputy Minister Hu Jing-fu (胡景福) said his agency was confident it could safeguard national security and would prevent any suspicious characters from entering.
“There is no need for the public to worry. We have everything under control and we have full grasp of the information. Those who are eligible to enter the country will be let in and those who are prohibited will be barred,” he said.
The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) is an international organization that represents Uighurs in Xinjiang (East Turkestan) and abroad. Its president is Rebiya Kadeer, whom Beijing exiled in 2005.
China lists the East Turkistan Liberation Organization as a terrorist group but the UN and the US do not consider it to be one.
Opening tonight, the 8th annual World Games run until July 26.
Some 1,600 athletes have already completed registration with the Kaohsiung Organizing Committee (KOC) of the Games, said Chang Chun-yang (張俊陽), director of Kaohsiung City’s Department of Information Management.
Up to 4,800 athletes and related personnel have received visas to attend the Games, but two journalists from the Middle East were denied visas due to security concerns, the KOC said. Another person from the Middle East was denied a visa because of past misbehavior in Taiwan, it said.
Ppeople attending the opening ceremony are being urged to arrive early because tight security measures will be in place at the stadium. Spectators will not be able to bring in drinks, liquids, alcohol, lighters, musical instruments, long umbrellas or flags longer then 2m or wider than 1m, the KOC said.
Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) said yesterday that the International World Games Association’s (IWGA) decision that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) could preside over tonight’s ceremony was in line with the consensus of the people of Taiwan.
The IWGA issued a written statement through the KOC on Tuesday confirming Ma’s attendance at the opening ceremony in his capacity as president of the Republic of China.
Ma’s attendence had become an issue because the IWGA sent the city a letter stating that no head of state had ever presided over the opening of the Games, but that Ma could be invited as a “special guest.”
Chen said the city had upheld the nation’s sovereignty during its negotiations with the IWGA on the issue and the IWGA’s decision was a major diplomatic breakthrough.
“We are thankful that the IWGA made the right decision after hearing the voice of Taiwanese people,” she said.