Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Archival Rescue 59 ~ Seeking Asylum

Diplomat in hiding fears persecution if deported to China, Australian government turns down first visa application;

Chen lodges second visa application

June 7, 2005 - 8:50AM Sydney Morning Herald

A Chinese diplomat, who fears persecution if he returns to his homeland, has lodged a second application for political asylum in Australia, this time making a direct request to Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer.

Chen Yonglin, 37, is seeking asylum in Australia, saying he fears for his life after he walked out of the Chinese consulate-general in Sydney 12 days ago.

He has been in hiding with his wife Jin Ping, 38, and their six-year-old daughter, and says he faces persecution if he returns home after his four-year posting in Australia.

Mr Chen was denied a visa in an application received by the Immigration Department on June 3 but, after meeting a lawyer provided by the Australian Greens yesterday, he has lodged another visa application with Mr Downer for a rare type of visa, called a territorial asylum visa.

"There is now no doubt Chen Yonglin has made a direct written application to the Minister for Foreign Affairs for political asylum in Australia and a copy of that has gone to the Prime Minister," Greens leader Senator Bob Brown told ABC radio.

He said a claim by the Chinese ambassador to Australia, Madame Fu Ying, that Mr Chen would not be punished if he returned to China was a lie.

"Anybody who believes the ambassador ought to go to the US state department's human rights report on China, the most recent one," Senator Brown said.

"That shows that there are forced confessions of prisoners, torture, arbitrary arrests, extra judicial killings.

"There's over a quarter of a million people in re-education camps.

"They're of course putting the spin that you'd expect from a police state."



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