Australia denies asylum to Chinese diplomat
Monday, 6 June, 2005, 04:37 GMT 05:37 UK
China defector accuses Australia
A fugitive Chinese diplomat has accused Australian
officials of refusing his asylum request within 24
hours and without interviewing him.
Chen Yonglin also told an Australian newspaper that
officials tipped off his bosses immediately after he
requested political asylum.
Mr Chen said he was defecting as he could no longer
support what he said was China's persecution of
The Chinese consulate said Mr Chen had made up stories
to avoid going home.
Mr Chen, 37, who worked as the Chinese consul for
political affairs in Sydney, has been refused
political asylum but he could be given a protection
Australian authorities have confirmed they had
received an application for a protection visa from the
diplomat, but did not comment on the asylum
application they had allegedly rejected.
Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone said the
diplomat's asylum application would not receive
The defection attempt has come at a delicate time, as
Australia and China are trying to deepen economic and
Mr Chen is believed to have gone into hiding with his
wife and daughter.
The diplomat said he had been responsible for
monitoring Chinese dissident activity in Australia,
including that of members of the spiritual movement,
Falun Gong, which is banned in China.
He also said that there were up to 1,000 Chinese spies
In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald
published on Monday, Mr Chen said he walked into the
Department of Immigration in Sydney with his family on
He said he had offered information on Chinese spies
and kidnappings in Australia, but had been turned
down. He was discouraged from applying for asylum and
denied a safe haven, he said.
He said officers also called the Chinese embassy. The
Chinese consulate then called his mobile, at which
point he decided to go into hiding.
When he finally met with Australian officials last
Tuesday, he was told to apply for a tourist visa, he
"I didn't think it would happen like this. Australia
is a democratic country," he added. "I thought they
would help me. My family is desperate. We are
helpless. We need to be in a safe place."
'No human rights'
China's consulate said in a statement on Sunday that
Mr Chen had reached the end of his four-year stint in
Australia and was making up his allegations because he
did not want to return to China.
"Chen Yonglin fabricated stories which are unfounded
and purely fictitious," it said.
On Saturday, Mr Chen appeared at a rally in Sydney,
saying that Chinese spies were trying to kidnap him
and take him back to China.
"I'm frightened that if they send [me] back to China,
I certainly will be prosecuted, because in my working
for four years in the consulate I have been helping in
some way the pro-democracy activists and the Falun
Gong people," he said.
"In 16 years, the Chinese government has done nothing
for political reform. People have no political
freedom, no human rights."
Mr Chen was involved in the Tiananmen Square protests
and joined the diplomatic corps after being re-educated.