Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) yesterday denied that the government had referred to Rebiya Kadeer, president of the World Uyghur Congress, as a terrorist, but insisted that her organization has close relations with terrorist groups.
“The government never said Kadeer was a terrorist. We never said that nor did we accuse the World Uyghur Congress led by her of being a terrorist organization,” the premier said during a question-and-answer session with Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator John Wu (吳志揚).
Minister of the Interior Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺), who was fielding questions from John Wu, reiterated that the government’s decision to prevent Kadeer’s entry was made to protect the nation’s interests and security.
“This [decision was made] because the World Uyghur Congress is closely related to one or two terrorist groups although it itself is not a terrorist organization,” Jiang said.
Jiang said the groups he was referring to were the East Turkestan Liberation Organization and the East Turkestan Islamic Movement.
“We are being very cautious because the World Uyghur Congress secretary-general [Dolkun Isa] is also affiliated with the two organizations,” Jiang said.
Jiang said the secretary-general, along with 15 other people, had been put on the National Immigration Agency’s “red alert” category after they tried to enter Taiwan during the World Games in July.
Jiang was referring to allegations that appeared in a Next Magazine report in July. Isa rebutted the claims when contacted by the Taipei Times.
The Criminal Investigation Bureau also told the Taipei Times at the time that there was no intelligence indicating that Isa was linked to terrorists or involved in terrorism and that there was no reason he should not be let into the country.
Isa lives freely in Germany, which granted him citizenship in 2006. He visited Taiwan in 2006 to attend an event hosted by the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy.
The premier and the minister reiterated the government’s stance against Kadeer’s planned visit on the legislative floor after its stance drew ire from Kadeer, the congress and sections of the public.
Jiang announced on Friday last week that the government would not issue Kadeer a visa because Kadeer’s planned visit would harm Taiwan’s national interests.
Kadeer immediately accused the government of bowing to pressure from China and demanded an apology from President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and the administration for linking the congress and her to terrorists.
The premier said yesterday that the visit by exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and Kadeer were different cases.
“Kadeer is not a religious figure, but a politician,” Wu Den-yih said. “The Dalai Lama was not involved in any political activities during his visit [last month].”
But DPP Legislator William Lai (賴清德) said it was ridiculous for the government to ban Kadeer based on that argument.
“Isn’t [China’s Association for the Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chairman] Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) a politician, too?” Lai said.
Wu Den-yih also dismissed Lai’s speculation that Taipei had received information from Beijing to deter the screening of a documentary about Kadeer — The 10 Conditions of Love — during the Kaohsiung Film Festival next month.
Wu Den-yih said the government agreed to screen Kadeer’s film in Kaohsiung.