Sat, Jan 01, 2005 - Page 4 News List

Lee banned from alma mater campus in Japan

RENT-A-MOB University authorities were afraid of demonstrations `organized' by Chinese students

STAFF WRITER , WITH AFP

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) was prevented from returning to his alma mater during a visit to Japan yesterday, said local Chinese-language newspapers.

Lee, currently on a week-long visit to Japan with his wife Tsen Wen-hui (曾文惠), granddaughter Lee Kun-yi (李坤儀) and daughter-in-law Chang Yue-yun (張月雲), was scheduled to visit Kyoto Imperial University yesterday morning, the school which Lee attended during 1943-1946.

He was, however, reportedly turned away at the door by the school on the grounds that his police escorts were barred from entering the campus under a university law.

A Chinese-language newspaper said the university's large number of Chinese students had prepared to protest once Lee set foot on the campus, raising security concerns.

Lee's Japan visit has drawn strong protests from China, which called Tokyo's decision to issue Lee a visa a "rude" interference in its internal affairs. Beijing brands Lee a "separatist" who is pushing for formal independence for Taiwan, which separated from China in 1949 but is considered by Beijing as part of its territory.

Lee, who was president for 12 years until 2000, last went to Japan in April 2001 for medical treatment. Beijing filed a strong protest to Tokyo over that visit.

Tokyo switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1972 and has since barred official contact with Taiwan, a position it says is not changed by the granting of a visa to Lee.

Upon his arrival in Kyoto yesterday, Lee was welcomed by a crowd of supporters who waved either Japan's national flag or party flags of the Democratic Progressive Party.

While in Kyoto, Lee yesterday also visited one of his former professors who is now 98 years old. Lee and his family intended to spend their New Year in the ancient city of Kyoto before flying back from Osaka to Taipei tomorrow.

China's deputy foreign mininster said Thursday that China was considering banning Japanese companies from taking part in bidding for a contract to build a multi-billion dollar high-speed train from Beijing to Shanghai, in reprisal for Japan granting Lee a visa.

Also see story:

Editorial: Lee's visit lends Taiwan dignity

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