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Japan visa to Uygur leader Kadeer sparks China furor
By Zhang Xin (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-10-21 07:27

China strongly condemns Japan's issuing of a visa to Uygur separatist Rebiya Kadeer, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday.

"We have exchanged views with the Japan side on the issue and we express strong dissatisfaction that Japan has granted Kadeer the entry to facilitate her separatism activities despite China's severe objection," Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu told reporters at a regular news briefing yesterday.

"Any separatism scheme to split China will not result in anything," Ma said.

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Kadeer was expected in Japan yesterday and intended to stay through early November, after the government of Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama issued her a visa on Monday, Kyodo News reported yesterday.

The alleged mastermind behind the July 5 riots in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, during which at least 197 people were killed and more than 1,700 were injured, was allowed entry into Japan with a visa granted by Taro Aso's government in July, which was also protested by China.

Kadeer's second visa-granting this week, by Hatoyama's government just days after his goodwill trip to China, is likely to raise another wave of protest from Beijing.

Chinese observers believe the visa decision will interrupt the refining of Sino-Japan relations.

Lu Yaodong, a Japanese studies scholar with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the new Japanese government's visa issuance to Kadeer is "going against the basics" of the Sino-Japan strategic relationship.

"Japan's new government led by Hatoyama has vowed to develop a more stable and healthier relationship with China but it is actually doing things obstructive and contradictory to the goal," Lu said.

He considered the Japanese action "unfavorable", even though Hatoyama's visit to China and his determination to forge better relationships with its neighbors has given the Chinese people confidence of a closer bond between the two neighbors.

Yuan Mindao, deputy secretary-general of the Sino-Japanese Friendship Association, said Japan's offence is "unwise" when Japan is wooing China's cooperation to push ties forward and to work together against the financial crisis. The decision is also likely to anger the Chinese public, he said.

On Monday, the leader of Japan's opposition Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Sadakazu Tanigaki paid a visit to the controversial Yasukuni war shrine that also enshrines many class-A World War II criminals, raising another protest from China.

Yesterday, more than 50 Japanese politicians visited a controversial war shrine in Tokyo, but Hatoyama and his Cabinet stayed away, as the new prime minister had pledged during the election campaign.

Reuters contributed to this story