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China Blocking Conferees' Visas, Groups Say

August 18, 1995| Washington Post

WASHINGTON — As the U.N. World Conference on Women approaches, thousands of women are being barred by the Chinese government from attending a parallel private forum outside Beijing, women's groups say.

Some women, particularly those representing Tibetan groups, have been refused visas outright. Others have encountered bureaucratic obstacles and delays in the visa process that some groups fear are aimed at limiting attendance at the forum.

Inevitably, women's groups say, the massive gathering of non-governmental organizations, known as NGOs, 35 miles from Beijing from Aug. 30 to Sept. 8 will challenge the Chinese government on freedom of expression. Many groups plan to bring in publications in defiance of Chinese warnings that politically offensive materials will be confiscated.

The United Nations, which is holding the official women's conference in Beijing, attributes the visa problems to bureaucratic overload rather than machinations by the government.

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