By Tenzin Dharpo
Nyima Tsering-Young. Photo John Stone - Northern Advocate
DHARAMSHALA, July 1: A Kiwi Teen born to a Tibetan father and New Zealander mother has been withdrawn by his academy to play a football tournament in China after his visa was delayed and scrutinized by the Chinese government. 14-year-old Nyima Tsering-Young was selected to play in the prestigious Gothia Cup, known also as the "Youth World Cup” scheduled to be held from August 12 in Chengyang district in Qingdao, China.
Nyima’s visa process has been delayed and his application sent to China to be processed, unlike members of his team mate who have already got theirs. He suspects that his visa will most likely be denied because of his Tibetan parentage from his father’s side. His mother Megan told NZ Herald, "This sort of decision is about racism. There were no delays with any other visas, only Nyima's. All of the visas have been processed in New Zealand but Nyima's had to be sent to China, and the timeframe is indefinite, of course it's because he is half-Tibetan."
The teenager has been asked to write a letter after six weeks of unanswered calls and emails to the embassy, where he had to declare that he is only going to play football and 'not conduct any other activities' in China. His mother however questions, "I didn't think a New Zealand-born 14-year-old boy playing football would be a threat - what activities do they think he is going to take part in?
"What weighs heaviest on my heart is that if a New Zealand-born boy playing football is discriminated against like this then what daily life is like for people in Tibet,” she further said.
The Ricki Herbert Football Academy earlier said that Nyima has "stood out" and been "noticed" by coaches for his "ability and attitude" but the delay for his visa saw the name of the teenager withdrawn from the tournament by the academy.
The family has earlier travelled to occupied-Tibet to meet Nyima’s terminally ill grandmother but they were denied visa on another occasion when they applied to spend a vacation in Tibet. Megan also said that the denial of visa means that her son cannot meet his family in Tibet and that it is a discrimination by the Chinese government, all because he is born to a Tibetan father.
"I just don't think anyone should ever be discriminated against for their ethnicity and that is what has happened here," she said.
Tibet was occupied by Chinese communist forces in 1959 in a brutal invasion. Inside Tibet, the human rights of common Tibetans are harshly suppressed in a bid to what is seen as a colonial attempt to erase the identity and culture of its native people.