(Clearwisdom.net) A member of the first team of investigators from the "Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong in China" (CIPFG) applied for a visa to China at the Chinese Consulate in Sydney, Australia. The application was rejected.

At about 10:00 a.m. (local time in Australia) on April 19, 2006, Sound of Hope radio reporter Linda Xu went to the Chinese Consulate General in Sydney to submit her application for an entry visa to China.

An Australian-passport holder, Ms. Xu was told a consular official that reporters needed to have an invitation from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs if they were to enter China.

Linda Xu explained that as a reporter for Sound of Hope radio, she hoped to enter China together with other representatives of the CIPFG to conduct an independent investigation into forced labor camps, prisons, hospitals and other facilities where Falun Gong practitioners are detained. Qin Gang, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, invited members of the media at a press conference on March 28.

When the official heard that she wanted to enter China to investigate the truth about the persecution of Falun Gong, she immediately said, "Then you go to find Qin Gang yourself for the invitation!"

Linda Xu continued to explain, saying, "I'm a reporter, and should have the right to apply for a visa. You should accept my application materials."

The official repeated, "It's impossible, impossible..." while pushing away the materials Linda Xu submitted.

At this time, many people in the visa application hall turned their attention to their conversation. In the face of a crowd of people who looked puzzled, Linda Xu explained, "I'm a reporter, because the Chinese Foreign Ministry has expressed to invite overseas reporters to come to mainland China to investigate the situation of concentration camps where Falun Gong practitioners have been detained, today, I come here to apply for a visa, preparing to join a team of investigators to go to China to investigate all forced labor camps, prisons and other facilities where Falun Gong practitioners are illegally detained, but they are unreasonably rejecting my visa application..."

Someone in the consulate called the federal police who were not clear about the situation. They escorted Linda Xu and her companion outside the visa application hall.

After Linda Xu explained to the federal police her identity and purpose of applying for a visa, the police officers realized what was going on. They expressed, "You are a reporter! That is completely different from what they (consulate staff) said."

On April 18, one day prior to going to the Chinese Consulate, Linda Xu visited a Member of Parliament in Sydney, and explained about her plan to go to China to investigate the persecution of Falun Gong. The MP said, "Good luck!" and expressed that once Linda Xu successfully obtains the visa, the provincial parliament will issue a letter to express their support, and urge the Chinese authorities to guarantee the Australian citizen's security.

While Linda Xu went to apply for a visa, the CIPFG held a press conference in front of the Chinese Consulate General in Sydney announcing the purpose of the CIPFG and that the first team of investigators has begun applying for visas to prepare to enter China.

Australia SDS radio station and other media interviewed spokesperson for the CIPFG Sherry Zhang.