(MENAFN- IANS) Hangzhou, Sep 22 (IANS) As the Indian government reacted strongly to China issuing stapled visas instead of proper accreditations to three wushu players from Arunachal Pradesh, a senior Olympic official from China defended his country saying it has the right to give different visas to different people.
Jizhong Wei, a member of the OCA Coordination Commission and Honorary Life Vice-President of the Olympic Council of Asia claimed that the three wushu players were not denied visas but given different types of visas, which they refused to take.
"The players were not denied a visa, they were given a different kind of visa which they refused to take because of which they could not fly out to China. The Chinese government has the right to give different visas to different people," he claimed during a press conference at the Main Media Centre here on Friday.
The three female Wushu players -- Nyeman Wangsu, Onilu Tega and Mepung Lamgu -- from Arunachal Pradesh were scheduled to fly out to China on Wednesday night from IGI Airport in Delhi. But could not take the flight as two of them were given stapled visas by the Chinese authorities after first being denied accreditation by the Hangzhou Asian Games Organising Committee (HAGOC).
The Indian government refused to take the stapled visa and the two players could not take the flight. One player, who was given the accreditation, was told at the airport that her visa was only to Hong Kong and therefore she too did not board the flight.
In a strong response, India's Minister of Youth Affairs and Sport, Anurag Singh Thakur announced that he has cancelled his visit to Hangzhou to represent the government during the opening ceremony as a mark of protest against the alleged discrimination by the Chinese government.
On Friday, the Olympic Council of Asia put up a defensive front as the Indian players were denied accreditation by the Chinese authorities.
India's Randhir Singh is the acting president of the Olympic Council of Asia while Vinod Kumar Tiwari is the acting director general of OCA. Both were sitting alongside Jizhong Wei when he made this comment about it being the Chinese government's prerogative to give different kinds of visas to different athletes.
Tiwari said they discussed the matter with the HAGOC after being informed about it on Thursday night.
"This matter was brought to our notice on Thursday night and we have raised it with HAGOC. They have taken it up with the Chinese government," he said.
Singh said the matter was discussed during the meeting of OCA Working Group here in Hangzhou and they are actively pursuing the matter with the organising committee of the Asian Games.
Now that the matter has blown into a full-fledged diplomatic row between the two governments, the OCA seems to have washed its hands off it. Its officials were not available for comment on the Indian government's strong response to the snub by the Chinese authorities.
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