Thailand to ask Falun Gong members to leave before APEC summit

Bangkok, 3 October: Thai Interior Minister Wanmuhamadnoor Matha said Friday [3 October] he was preparing to ask key members of China's banned " Falun Gong" sect to leave Thailand.

Although international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are welcome in Thailand, they are not allowed to use Thailand as a base from which to denounce the governments of other countries, the minister stressed.

Confirming reports that two or three key members of "Falun Gong" had entered Thailand to protest against the Chinese government during the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Bangkok, Wanmuhamadnoor said the leaders in question would be asked to leave the kingdom.

He said any NGO members on the Thai government's blacklist would not be allowed to pass immigration at Don Muang Airport.

"In the case of foreigners, the Thai government does not allow them to use Thailand as a base to protest against any other government in the world. This is a question of Thailand's sovereignty. If they are coming for academic meetings, they must only engage in activities for which they have been given permission," he said.

He also urged Thai nationals to be good hosts for the APEC summit.

"I call on you to be good hosts, and act with good manners towards the guests from all 21 economic areas. Journalists from 100 countries across the world will be covering this event. If the news is good, it will have a positive impact on tourism and investment."