1000 Chinese spies here, says diplomat
By Frank Walker
June 5, 2005
A senior Chinese diplomat who wants to defect said he
can help identify many of the "thousand secret agents"
China has in Australia.
Chen Yonglin said he feared for his life and was on
the run with his wife Jin Ping, 38 and six-year-old
daughter because Chinese agents were after him.
Speaking at a pro-democracy rally in Sydney yesterday
to mark the 16th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square
massacre, Mr Chen said Chinese agents had kidnapped
dissidents in Australia and forced them back to China.
"I am seeking political asylum in Australia. I am in a
very dangerous situation. Chinese agents are looking
for me and they could kidnap me," Mr Chen said after
Mr Chen, 37, was consul for political affairs at the
Chinese consulate in Sydney. He fled the consulate a
week ago and went into hiding, fearing he would be
persecuted for his pro-democracy views.
Yesterday he was protected by two Anglo-Saxon men who
said they were part of a pro-democracy movement in
China, and was later hustled away by rally organisers.
"My job at the consulate was to monitor and persecute
the democracy activists and Falun Gong practitioners
"If I am sent back to China I will be persecuted. I
believe there are a thousand Chinese agents in
Australia . . . I told the Department of Foreign
Affairs that Australian security was threatened by the
Chinese Government. They have kidnapped dissidents
Mr Chen fears the Government is concerned about the
impact his defection would have on trade with China.
"They told me I was rejected. They said protection
visa would have serious consequences."
He told protesters that the Chinese people had no
political or religious freedom.
The Federal Government yesterday pulled down the
information shutters as it tried to work out what to
do with Mr Chen.
A spokeswoman for the Foreign Affairs Department
refused to say anything beyond the department was
"aware an official from the Chinese consulate-general
in Sydney has applied for a protection visa".
A spokesman for Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone
would say only that "any application that is lodged is
processed in the usual manner".
Prime Minister John Howard's office would not comment,
nor would the Attorney-General's spokeswoman.
No comment was available from the Chinese embassy in
Foreign affairs expert Keith Suter said Mr Chen's
application was a major headache because the
Government was expanding its relationship with China.
If the application had been made during the Cold War,
the Government would have welcomed the Chen family
with "open arms", Dr Suter told Sky News.
Australia has granted only three people political
asylum, all following the end of the Cold War.