Ritsuko Kawabata with Goro Ihara
Ritsuko brought tears to the audience reading
about Tokyo in 1945.
PRESS RELEASE 25
18 famous Chinese poets who we have invited to the XXI World Congress of
Poets, Sydney 7th - 11th October have been refused visas to come to
We were made aware a day ago that visas had been refused to all 18 of
the poets we have invited to come to the first time this Congress has
been held in the southern hemisphere.
The poets include academics, editors of literary magazines and other
well known poets from China and Inner Mongolia.
Some are supported by their government to come here. All have
already paid their registration fees. They were selected by the
Australian Chinese Writer's Association and we invited them here to read
their poetry, meet other poets and give papers at the Congress.
The main theme of the Congress is "Poetry for World Peace in the
New Millennium" - a particularly relevant theme.
The Congress Committee is extremely upset at the refusal, as these
poets are a vital part of our Congress. No reason can be given due
to privacy laws, officials in Canberra and at the Embassy in Beijing
advised me when I phoned yesterday and today. Applicants could
re-apply they said, but the
embassy will be closed for seven days from 1st October for the public
holiday of the Moon festival in China.
How does one suddenly reapply in the next two days from Sichuan,
Shanghai, Nanning or Inner Mongolia? Why should all 18 be refused?
There are thirteen different cultural origins represented on the
Congress organising committee, including Chinese, and it is supported by
a number of Australian writers' organisations and Writers' Centres. The
first held in 1969. Two hundred poets are expected to attend the
Congress which will be held at the Landmark Parkroyal Hotel, Potts