05 October 2009

Exiled Uighur leader Kadeer to receive New Zealand visa

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The New Zealand visa for exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer is expected to be issued within days, allowing the leader to speak in New Zealand next week.

Kadeer will be hosted by New Zealand's Green Party foreign affairs spokesman Keith Locke from October 12 to 15. During that time Kadeer will speak at two public meetings and meet legislators.

The New Zealand Prime Minister John Key made the announcement today that the government will decide within days whether to issue her a New Zealand visa.

China objected to the granting of an Australian visa for Kadeer to attend the screening of a documentary on her life in August, but the Australian Government refused to bow to China's pressure on the matter.

Only last month Taiwanese officials banned Kadeer, accused by the Chinese Government of leading a separatist movement, from visiting Taiwan.

Prime Minister Key said he was not aware of any request from the Chinese government asking Kadeer be refused a New Zealand visa.

Mr Locke said there was no reason Kadeer should not be given a New Zealand visa as she advocates non-violent change and disassociates herself from violence.

"I think there would be quite an outcry from New Zealanders if she wasn't given a visa," he said.

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