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China frightens Seoul into refusing visa to Tibetans for democracy conference

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(TibetanReview.net, Nov02, 2015) – Five Tibetans in India invited to attend an international conference in South Korea on democracy have been denied visas obviously because Chinese Premier Li Keqiang was arriving for an East Asia Summit the same day, namely Nov 1. However, three Tibetans or Tibet related activists from other countries also invited to the Eighth Global Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy beginning Nov 1 are taking part.

It was not clear whether South Korea gave any reason for denying the visas. However, when contacted by the organizers over the issue, Seoul has made it clear that its decision was final and could not be reconsidered, obviously underlying the political compulsion behind it.

Those invited by the organizers for the conference in Seoul but denied visa are exile Tibetan parliament MP Ms Dhardon Sharling, the parliament’s Speaker Mr Penpa Tsering, the Dalai Lama’s New Delhi-based representative Mr Tempa Tsering, head of the Tibetan centre for Human Rights and Democracy Ms Tsering Tsomo, and Mr Tenzin Jigdrel from the International Tibet Network.

However, Ms Migmar Dolma from Switzerland, the Dalai Lama’s Washington-based representative Mr Kaydor Aukatsang, and Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet’s Matteo Mecacci are attending the conference. The conference’s theme is “Empowering Civil Society for Democracy and Its Renewal”.

More than 450 democracy activists, practitioners, scholars, and donors from over 100 countries are attending the four-day conference. They are to address issues such as ways to prevent transitions to democracy from breaking down, getting established democracies to re-commit to support democracy, and help prevent new democracies from backsliding.

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