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Japan 8 June 2007

Authorities finally let well-known Chinese dissident enter Japan

Leading Chinese dissident Wei Jingsheng left Japan today for the United States after finally being allowed to enter Japan yesterday. He was briefly hospitalised and met friends in Tokyo before departing.


Authorities deny entry to leading Chinese dissident Wei Jingsheng

Reporters Without Borders said it was outraged by the behaviour of the Japanese authorities in preventing Wei Jingsheng, a leading Chinese dissident and former editor of an underground publication in China, from entering Japan when he arrived at Tokyo’s Narita airport on 2 June.

Now an exile in the United States, Wei has been held at an airport hotel at Narita for the past four days, although has been having problems with his diabetes. He had intended to attend an event to mark the 18th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing.

"After Belgium’s recent refusal to admit the Dalai Lama, we now have the Japanese government refusing to let a Chinese dissident attend a Tiananmen Square massacre commemoration," Reporters Without Borders said. "What a lack of courage these governments have shown in the face of pressure from China. We call on the Japanese government and foreign minister Taro Aso in particular to quickly resolve this deadlock and let Wei move about freely in Japan."

The press freedom organisation added: "We extend our full support to Wei."

Aged 57, Wei told Agence France-Presse: "I am being held illegally in a hotel room. The police are preventing me from leaving it. I am watched by seven or eight policemen posted outside my room." Briefly hospitalised with exhaustion yesterday, Wei is refusing to leave Japan and is even planning to take his case before the Japanese courts.

Wei has had a US residence permit since 2000 and uses a travel document issued by the US authorities. The Japanese authorities say he only had a transit visa that did not allow him to enter Japanese territory.

Wei is famous for an essay about democracy entitled "The Fifth Modernisation" which he wrote in 1978. It resulted in his being jailed for 20 years.

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