Thursday, May 28, 2015Thursday, May 28, 2015

US professor of Tibetan issues says China denied him entry

Published on Jul 8, 2014 1:55 AM

BEIJING (AFP) - China denied entry to a prominent United States scholar of Tibetan issues, he said on Monday, after he advocated on behalf of a detained Chinese minority academic.

Professor Elliot Sperling, of the University of Indiana, was ordered to return home shortly after arriving at Beijing's international airport this weekend despite having a valid visa for entry, he told AFP.

Several US-based scholars researching Chinese politics and its policies towards ethnic minorities have been barred from entering China in recent years, but they are generally denied visas rather than being turned away.

Prof Sperling said he was not given any explanation for the denial, but suspects that it was linked to his public support for Mr Ilham Tohti, a scholar from China's mostly-Muslim Uighur minority, who was detained in January and charged with "separatism".

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!