TSU demands visa for Rebiya Kadeer

MODEL NEIGHBOR::Kadeer said that Taiwan should try to change China, not the other way around, adding that Taiwanese democracy sets an excellent example for Beijing

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Mon, Jul 02, 2012 - Page 1

World Uyghur Congress president Rebiya Kadeer said on Thursday in Washington that Taiwan and Turkey were the only countries in the world denying her a visitor’s visa, but added that she still hoped to visit Taiwan in the future.

The Uighur rights activist made the comments in her meeting with visiting Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝), who promised to demand that the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) grant her a visa.

“Taiwan should try to change China, not the other way around,” Kadeer was quoted as saying in a press release issued by the TSU yesterday as she noted that Taiwanese democracy serves as a good model for China.

However, Kadeer said she was concerned about Ma’s “keeping China happy” mentality and his unwillingness to promote democratic values in China.

Three countries had denied her a visa — Turkey, Taiwan and Saudi Arabia — under pressure from Beijing, the 63-year-old activist said, adding that Saudi Arabia recently agreed to let her visit.

Kadeer said she would visit the Middle Eastern country, where more than 20,000 Uighurs reside, shortly and encourage them to preserve Uighur culture and identity.

“I do not see any reason for Taiwan to deny Kadeer’s entry,” Huang said, adding that the TSU caucus supported her being granted a visas as soon as possible.

Speaking at the Taiwanese American Conference East Coast on Saturday in Danbury, Connecticut, Huang said that theories about “China rising” had been blown out of proportion, particularly in Taiwan.

There is a rising China, he said, but the dynamics of its rise are in constant flux as Beijing now faces a rapid changing global economic situation externally and social disorder internally.

“However, the pervasive perception in Taiwan is that if you don’t go west [to the Chinese market] then you’re doomed to fail,” Huang said.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lost the presidential election because it failed to challenge Ma’s China policy head on and falsely concluded that China policy was Ma’s strength.

More than 90 percent of Taiwanese oppose unification and that fact is significant. The DPP should have the courage to map out its own position, he said.

On bilateral engagement with China, Huang said his party was not opposed to all channels of exchange, but believed that Taiwan should not engage with Beijing under China’s “united-front framework.”

Huang was scheduled to speak at the Midwest Taiwanese Summer Conference in Elgin, Illinois, on Sunday before concluding his two-week US visit.