China clarifies visa rejection for ex-Norwegian PM

Updated: 2012-06-13 21:26


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BEIJING - A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman on Wednesday warned against reading too much into China's rejection of the visa application of a former Norwegian prime minister.

Spokesman Liu Weimin made the remarks at a regular press conference in response to a question on the visa rejection case.

China has denied the visa request of former Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik, who had been invited to attend a meeting of the World Council of Churches this week in the Chinese city of Nanjing, Aftenposten, the largest Norwegian newspaper, reported Tuesday.

It is a common practice for Chinese embassies and consulates, according to the mandates of relevant Chinese administrations, to grant visas to foreigners who have been invited to visit China, said Liu.

However, he asserted that China has the right to determine whether or not to issue an applicant a visa.

Chinese citizens are rejected for visas every day in some foreign embassies and consulates, he said, adding that visa policies vary by country and this case should not be "over-interpreted."

The Nanjing meeting is the first in China for the Geneva-based World Council of Churches, and one of the themes of the meeting is understanding China's religious practices.