China said on Tuesday it objects to Japan granting a visa to an exiled Uighur activist Beijing blames for deadly ethnic riots earlier this year.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said Beijing has expressed "strong dissatisfaction" to Japan over the visit of U.S.-based Rebiya Kadeer, who arrives in Japan on Tuesday on a private visit. "Some forces in Japan plan to facilitate Rebiya Kadeer's visit to Japan and despite China's great concern, Japan is allowing her to enter," Ma said at a regular briefing.
Dilxat Raxit, spokesman for the German-based World Uyghur Congress, said Kadeer will be participating in academic forums at about 10 Japanese universities during her 10-day trip. In Tokyo, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said Japan issued a visa for Kadeer for a private visit of about two weeks. Officials refused to comment on her schedule as it is not a government visit and she has no plans to meet with government officials.
"We issued the visa based on appropriate Japanese regulations. We see no reason why there would be any complaints," said a Foreign Ministry official on customary condition of anonymity. Beijing protested when Kadeer visited Japan in July, summoning the Japanese ambassador to the foreign ministry. This would be her first visit since Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama took office. Hatoyama has emphasized his determination to forge better relationships with Japan's neighbors.
Beijing accuses Kadeer of inciting riots in early July between ethnic minority Uighurs and members of the dominant Han Chinese group in western China's Xinjiang region. She denies it. The Chinese government says at least 197 people were killed and more than 1,700 were injured.
Kadeer has accused China of using its economic clout to try to intimidate nations into softening criticism of China's human rights record.
Details of Kadeer's visit in Japan could not immediately be confirmed, although she is scheduled to speak to a journalists' group Oct. 30.
Beijing also expressed objections to Kadeer's visit to Australia in August, where a documentary about her was shown at a film festival.
"We want to reiterate that China is firmly against national separatism and is firm in upholding national unity," Ma said Tuesday.