A robust protest was lodged by India against China on Friday, due to the prohibition of three wushu athletes from Arunachal Pradesh travelling to Hangzhou for the Asian Games. Consequently, Anurag Thakur, the union sports minister, decided to cancel his trip to the country. Arindam Bagchi, the spokesperson for the ministry of external affairs, conveyed this to the press, expressing India’s rejection of China’s discriminatory treatment of Indian citizens based on their domicile. He asserted that these actions by China breach the “spirit” of the Asian Games.
Bagchi reiterated India’s firm stance against any differential treatment of its citizens on grounds of domicile or ethnicity. He affirmed, “Arunachal Pradesh was, is and will always remain an integral and inalienable part of India.” He stated that a robust protest has been registered in both New Delhi and Beijing, against China’s deliberate and selective prevention of some of the Indian athletes. Such actions by China, he added, were in violation of both the spirit of the Asian Games and the rules regulating their conduct, which expressly forbids discrimination against competitors from member states.
The three wushu players – Nyeman Wangsu, Onilu Tega, and Mepung Lamgu – had already received their accreditation cards from the Hangzhou Asian Games Organising Committee (HAGOC), which also serve as entry visas. However, they were unable to download their travel documents on the day they were supposed to depart for the Asian Games. This problem did not affect the other ten wushu players.
“Once the athletes received the accreditation cards from the organising committee, it meant that they were cleared to travel for the Asian Games. But surprisingly only these three players could not download their document and they could not board the flight,” an official explained.
Amidst this controversy, Wei Jizhong, the chairman of OCA’s Ethics Committee, refuted claims that China did not grant visas to the players. He claimed that the athletes did not accept the visa. “I don’t think this is an OCA problem because China has an agreement to let all the athletes who have certified eligibility to come to compete in China. This is clear. The visa has already been granted,” Wei Jizhong clarified. Regardless, the incident has caused a significant disturbance, leading to a stern protest from India and the subsequent cancellation of the union sports minister’s visit to China.