Two hundred Chinese citizens denied visas for Vancouver conference

The organizer of a recent conference in Vancouver organized in part by the Chinese government says around 200 would-be attendees, including dozens of high-ranking officials, had their visa applications rejected.

The ninth Conference of the World Guangdong Community Federation, which was organized by the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of China’s Guangdong Province and Guangdong Community Association of Canada, took place in Vancouver at the end of May.

Organizers expected about 2,000 people from around the world who were originally from Guangdong province, but about 200 delegates, including officials from the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office that helped organize the summit, had their visas rejected.

William Ma, a businessman who was among the local organizers for the conference, said most of the denied visas involved people from mainland China, including a team of more than 20 government officials from Guangdong province, as well as some from Thailand and Central and South America.

He said only one official from the Guangdong delegation team was able to attend the event, but this person applied the visa separately.

“Only one person [from the co-host team] came. This is absurd,” Mr. Ma said. “Of course, I am unhappy. Besides that, I feel why Canada is so nervous now? They came to spend money. Why deny their visas?”

The spokeswoman for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, Shannon Ker, said there would be a compelling reason why someone would be prevented from entering Canada, but she said privacy laws prevented her from discussing details of any specific case.

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