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Chinese Activist Gets Visa For NZ

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Oct 9 NZPA - A controversial Chinese activist has been given a visa to enter New Zealand next week, but Auckland University has said she can not speak there as planned.

Rebiya Kadeer was due to visit from October 12 to 15, when she would speak at two public meetings, visit Parliament and meet MPs.

She is from Xinjiang, a mainly Muslim province of 20 million Uighur in western China.

Ms Kadeer was jailed for six years for speaking out on what she saw as human rights violations and discrimination against the Uighur.

Released after an international outcry, she now promoted the Uighur case from her base in the United States.

The Chinese government put pressure on the Australian and Taiwanese governments not to grant her a visa.

Ms Kadeer has been granted a visa for New Zealand, Auckland University Student Association president Darcy Peacock told NZPA.

She was to speak at the University, at the invitation of the Greens on Campus club.

However, when the club tried to book a lecture theatre they were told they could not because of security concerns.

It was normal for a club to book a lecture theatre and the university had hosted the prime minister, and many controversial speakers, Mr Peacock said.

He "doubted" security concerns were the real reason behind the denial and was "disappointed" the university was not allowing free speech.

Links with China were important for the university as international students were a significant revenue source, he said.

Mr Peacock had not received any complaints about Ms Kadeer's appearance.

Auckland University registrar Tim Greville said the university was not in a position to provide the appropriate levels of security and support.

"Whilst we appreciate the right of people to advance their views, I was not consulted on the security issues for the speaker or the audience as required by university policy and procedures.

"The University therefore cannot be expected to take the responsibility and costs on board."

NZPA

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