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Last Updated: Saturday, 4 June, 2005, 05:29 GMT 06:29 UK
China diplomat makes asylum plea
Chen Yonglin
Monitoring dissidents in Australia was one of Chen Yonglin's tasks
A senior Chinese diplomat who left his job at his country's consulate-general in Sydney has addressed a rally to commemorate the Tiananmen events.

"I feel very unsafe," Chen Yonglin told a crowd of several hundred in Sydney.

"In 16 years, the Chinese government has done nothing for political reform. People have no political freedom, no human rights," he added.

Mr Chen, 37, has been refused political asylum, but Australian authorities might issue a protection visa.

In his surprise appearance, the former diplomat spoke at length explaining he had left the consulate because he opposes the persecution of dissidents.

He also gave examples of kidnappings, life imprisonments and executions carried out by the Chinese government.

Treason

Mr Chen's plight was first reported by the Weekend Australian.

The newspaper on Saturday said the man had got in touch to explain he had gone into hiding with his 38-year-old wife and six-year-old daughter after being refused political asylum.

Australian authorities later confirmed they had received an application for a protection visa from the diplomat, but did not expand on the asylum application they had allegedly rejected.

Mr Chen was involved in the Tiananmen Square protests and joined the diplomatic corps after being re-educated.

"I feel very unsafe, so I seek protection," the paper quoted him as saying.

If I leave the Chinese government it's a treason. I certainly would be punished."

The former consul for political affairs told the paper he was being sought within the Chinese community, and that we was afraid of returning to China for fear of being persecuted.

He said he had decided to defect because he disagreed with China's treatment of political dissidents.

Monitoring them had been part of his job, but he had been "going easy" on them, Mr Chen told the paper.




SEE ALSO:
China walks nationalist tightrope
03 May 05 |  Asia-Pacific
China's intolerance of dissent
07 Mar 05 |  Asia-Pacific
China defends human rights record
01 Mar 05 |  Asia-Pacific



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