ORDER 'FROM ABOVE' : Ji Xiaofeng said the government is making a blacklist so that it can reject activists' visa applications ahead of the World Games and Deaflympics
By Loa Iok-sin
Ji Xiaofeng, a Chinese dissident living in exile in Sweden, says Taiwanese intelligence agencies are trying to block Uighur and Tibetan independence activists from entering Taiwan ahead of two major sporting events.
Ji told the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) last month that on Aug. 23 he received a call from a Taiwanese military intelligence officer that he knew, inquiring about possible plans for demonstrations by activists from Xinjiang and Tibet during the World Games in Kaohsiung and the Deaflympics in Taipei.
Ji told the Liberty Times that the Taiwanese government intended to use the information to make a blacklist for rejecting visa applications.
When Ji asked the officer why he needed the information and why Taiwan would attempt to block Xinjiang and Tibetan activists, the officer replied that it was an order “from above,” Ji said.
Ji said he refused to give the officer any information and that he could not believe that intelligence agencies were trying to work with China to repress the Xinjiang and Tibetan independence movements, the report said.
Ji was quoted by the Liberty Times as saying that as long as the activists did not engage in violence, any Uighur or Tibetan demonstrations would make Taiwan more visible in the international community and that he was disappointed with how President Ma Ying-jeou’s government was handling the issue.
In response, National Security Bureau officials said the bureau had asked intelligence agencies to gather information about international terrorist groups, especially those that had caused problems at international sports events in the past, but stressed they were not targeting Tibetan or Uighur activists in particular.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spokesman Henry Chen was quoted as saying that it was “absolutely untrue” that MOFA would tighten visa controls to block Uighur and Tibetan activists from entering the country ahead of the World Games and Deaflympics.
Chen said that the handling of all visa applications would follow normal procedures.
The Ministry of National Defense also rebutted the accusation, saying that gathering intelligence on the activities of the Uighur and Tibetan independence movements was “not the business of the military intelligence bureau,” the Liberty Times reported.
Ministry spokesman Yu Sy-tue declined to comment on the matter when contacted by the Taipei Times.