(TibetanReview.net, Feb17, 2017) – Rebiya Kadeer, a prominent human right activist from Chinese ruled East Turkestan (Xinjiang) currently living in exile in Germany, has decided to back out from accepting an invitation to visit Taiwan next month, reported chinapost.com.tw Feb 15, citing a pro-Taiwan independence opposition party. The Uighur activist has cited obstruction from “certain people” for cancelling her visit.
While it was not clear who had pressured her to back out of the visit, the development followed strong criticisms and warnings from China.
The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), which had announced Rebiya Kadeer’s acceptance of the party’s invitation in January, has expressed disappointment over the development. TSU said it learnt of her decision during a meeting the party chairman Liu I-te and TSU department of Organization director Cheng Chao-lin had with her in Tokyo on Feb 13. It was held to supposedly discuss the details of her visit.
TSU said Rebiya Kadeer told them that she would need to think twice before visiting Taiwan. It said she had altered her decision after meeting with a “certain people” who had suggested to her that it was “not the right time” for her to visit the country. The party said it will continue to pursue the cause and keep inviting her and other activists from China.
Rebiya Kadeer’s decision would be a relief to President Tsai Ing-wen who belongs to the pro-independence Democratic Progression Party. She has already been under strong pressure from China for her refusal to endorse the ‘one China’ policy.
China accuses Rebiya Kadeer of being a separatist. She was earlier denied entry in 2009, during the pro-China Kuomintang administration of Mr Ma Ying-jeou, which cited “national security” for its decision.
Jiang Yi-hua, then minister of the interior, claimed that her organization maintained close relations with the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, which has been declared a terrorist organization by the US and the UN without any evidence of terror activities and purely under pressure from China.