Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu has strongly criticized China for its recurrent denial of regular visas to athletes from Arunachal Pradesh stating that this is an unfortunate and familiar obstacle. In the most recent incident, three Arunachal Pradesh athletes—Nyeman Wangsu, Onilu Tega, and Mepung Lamgu—were slated to compete in individual events at the Guali Cultural and Sports Centre in Xiaoshan district as part of the ongoing Asian Games. Regrettably, they were refused entry and were consequently unable to participate in their respective competitions.
Commenting on China’s decision to prohibit Arunachal’s Wushu athletes from participating, Chief Minister Khandu expressed his disappointment, saying, “China denying our athletes and officials visas is not a new thing for us. It is very unfortunate that they keep creating obstacles, which is not good. They claim that Arunachal Pradesh is their territory, but in history, Arunachal has never been a part of China. Everyone knows this.”
Of the three athletes, Onilu and Mepung, who had received approval from the Hangzhou Asian Games 2023 Organizing Committee faced difficulties in downloading their accreditation cards which serve as visas for entry into China. Nyeman, the third athlete, managed to download her accreditation but was subsequently informed that she would not be allowed to travel beyond Hong Kong. These athletes had been scheduled to participate in individual events in the martial arts sport.
Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur condemned this discriminatory action and canceled his planned visit to China in protest, emphasizing that such actions run counter to the Olympic Charter and are deemed ‘unacceptable’ by India. He reiterated that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India.
“It is not acceptable to India, and I have cancelled my trip to China on these grounds as they have denied the opportunity to the players from Arunachal Pradesh to be a part of the Asian Games. Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India,” he stated in response to the incident.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor also expressed his dissatisfaction with China’s actions, labeling the incident ‘shameful’. He called on the Indian government to register a strong protest with Chinese officials in Beijing.
“While everyone is rightly celebrating the medals that India is winning daily at the Hangzhou #AsianGames, let’s not forget that China disgracefully refused to allow three Indian athletes entry into their country because they were born in Arunachal Pradesh,” Tharoor highlighted in a post.
Despite the setbacks faced by some Indian athletes, the Wushu events concluded with Roshibina Devi Naorem securing a silver medal in the women’s 60 Kg Wushu category at the Asian Games.
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