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Anurag Thakur cancels China visit for Asian Games after entry denied to Indian players

September 22, 2023 4:58 PM IST

19th Asian Games | China denies entry | Indian athletes | Anurag Thakur

In response to three Indian Wushu players being denied entry into 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting and Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Thakur has cancelled his scheduled visit to the country for the Games.

The Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson, Arindam Bagchi in an official statement said, “Chinese authorities have, in a targeted and pre-meditated manner, discriminated against some of the Indian sportspersons from the state of Arunachal Pradesh.”

According to the reports, the three athletes, who were participating as wushu fighters representing the state of Arunachal Pradesh, received stapled visas instead of the traditional stamped visas.

MEA Spokesperson Bagchi informed that a strong protest has been lodged in New Delhi and Beijing against China’s deliberate and selective obstruction of some of Indian sportspersons. He further stated, “China’s action violates both the spirit of the Asian Games and the rules governing their conduct, which explicitly prohibits discrimination against competitors from member states.”

Responding to a question about the Indian athletes, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson told reporters on Friday, “The Chinese government has never recognised the so-called Arunachal Pradesh, and the South Tibet region is part of China’s territory.” The issuance of visas on a loose sheet has been perceived as China’s means of challenging India’s sovereignty over Arunachal Pradesh, as it is located near the border shared by the two countries.

In a resolute statement, Bagchi asserted, “India firmly rejects differential treatment of Indian citizens on the basis of domicile or ethnicity. Arunachal Pradesh was, is and will always remain an integral and inalienable part of India.”

While speaking to the media, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju said, “I strongly condemn this act by China to deny visas to our Wushu Athletes…Arunachal Pradesh is not a disputed territory but an inalienable part of India. This step of China will not change the status of the state… The steps taken by China are unethical and illegal… The International Olympic Committee should reign in China’s illegitimate action

The Opening Ceremony of the Asian Games will be held on Saturday (September 2023) and will continue till October 8. The 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, featuring over 12,000 athletes from 45 nations participating in 40 sports, is taking place after a one-year delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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