Ahead of the Asian Games opening ceremony on Friday, three Indian martial arts competitors from a territory claimed by China were forced to withdraw from the Asian Games in Hangzhou after not gaining approval from the host nation.
The three women who were set to compete in wushu, a multidisciplinary martial art originating from China, belonged to Arunachal Pradesh, India, a region claimed almost in full by Beijing as “South Tibet.”
The Hindustan Times reported that the trio, who were approved to participate in the Hangzhou Asian Games, were unable to download their accreditation cards, which serve as visas to China, on Wednesday as they left for the games with the rest of the squad and coaching staff.
Neither the Indian Olympic Association nor the Ministry of External Affairs have commented on the news, AFP reported.
The Indian wushu team did not attend the World University Games in Chengdu due to the issue of stapled visas, indicating Beijing’s refusal to recognise India’s territorial claim over Arunachal Pradesh, causing anger from India’s foreign ministry, which deemed the move “unacceptable.”
Arunachal Pradesh, located in India, shares a Buddhist cultural heritage with Tibet. The Dalai Lama fled the state in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule and has lived in India ever since.
Beijing briefly occupied most of the territory in a bloody conflict three years later.
This year, India strongly reacted to China’s renaming of 11 places in the disputed region, asserting that the state remains an “integral and inalienable part of India.”