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Australia denies asylum to Chinese diplomat

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4612497.stm Monday, 6 June, 2005, 04:37 GMT 05:37 UK China defector accuses Australia A fugitive Chinese diplomat has
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 6, 2005

      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
      special treatment.

      The defection attempt has come at a delicate time, as
      Australia and China are trying to deepen economic and
      political ties.

      'Thousand spies'

      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 Australia.

      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
      26 May.

      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.
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