India lodged a strong protest in Beijing on Friday, September 22, after banning three Wushu players from participating in the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
The three players come from the State of Arunachal, in north-east India. Pradesh, which China considers entirely Chinese territory. Wushu, also known as Kung Fu, is a multidisciplinary martial art believed to have originated in China.
Seven more Indian players and coaching staff had already left for Hangzhou on Wednesday.
According to media reports, the Hangzhou Asian Games organizing committee has approved the candidature of the three participants from Arunachal. However, they were unable to download the accreditation cards, which serve as a visa to enter China.
In response to questions from the media, the official spokesperson of Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Arindam Bagchi said: New Delhi rejects "differential treatment of Indian citizens on the basis of place of residence or ethnic origin".
"China's actions violate both the spirit of the Asian Games and the rules of conduct that expressly prohibit discrimination against competitors of the Member States," the statement continues. .
The ministry also reiterated that Arunachal was Pradesh, is and will always be an integral and inalienable part of India.
In protest, India also canceled the visit of one of its senior ministers to China. "India's Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Youth Affairs and Sports has canceled his planned visit to China for the Games," the Ministry of External Affairs announced.
The Chinese reaction
Beijing justified its decision on Friday to refuse entry to the three Indian athletes because they did not have "valid" documents.
Additionally, a senior Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) official was quoted by AFP on Friday as saying that he had obtained visas for the Hangzhou Asian Games, but denied being banned.
"These Indian athletes already have " They received a visa to enter China. China did not refuse the visa," Wei Jizhong, honorary life vice president of the OCA, of Chinese origin, said at a press conference in Hangzhou.
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs also reacted to the events
Asked about the trio at a regular Foreign Ministry briefing in Beijing, spokesman Mao Ning said: "China welcomes athletes from all countries with legal documents to come to Hangzhou and participate in the Games Asians. "
"The Chinese government I do not recognize the so-called Arunachal region you mentioned. Southern Tibet belongs to China,” he added.
The three athletes did not travel to the World University Games in China in July after Beijing issued them stapled rather than glued visas.