US Denies Visa for Relative of China Dissident
Ann Scott Tyson, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor
THE United States has denied entry to the daughter of a leading Chinese exile despite its stated efforts to reunite the families of Chinese who took refuge abroad after the 1989 Beijing massacre.
The decision to bar Hu Ainong, daughter of Chinese dissident Ge Yang, also contradicts recent attempts by Washington to push Beijing to grant exit permits to the families of "Chinese personalities" living abroad.
Ms. Hu has applied for a visa four times since August 1990 in an attempt to join her elderly mother, who lives alone on a meager income in Brooklyn, N.Y. The US Embassy in Beijing has rejected each application.
Ms. Ge, former editor of the outspoken New Observer magazine, has been forced to live in exile in the US since Beijing crushed the democracy movement on June 4, 1989. Chinese hard-liners have banned Ge's writings, expelled her from the Communist Party, and shut down the New Observer.
"It is very hard for me to understand. My mother is already 75 years old. She is alone. They should understand this," says Ms. Hu. US visa officers have treated her politely but have refused to listen to her attempts to explain her mother's situation, she says.
"I always thought China would cause problems for me. I never thought it would be the United States," Hu says.
The decision to bar Hu is apparently the result of a technicality in US visa-issuing rules explained in a March 4 State Department cable. The rules grant "sympathetic consideration" to the spouses and minor children of Chinese exiled in the US after the 1989 crackdown. Hu is not a minor, and is therefore not eligible for special treatment.
Given the restrictions, Hu is unlikely to receive a visa unless she can muster high-profile political support from US lawmakers, US officials say. …