Agam's Gecko
Wednesday, June 15, 2005

wo more defectors from China have come to light in Australia, however their lawyers have instructed them not to give interviews. Professor Yuan Hongbing, a writer and former Professor of Law at Beijing University, along with his assistant Ms. Zhao Jing, have been waiting in Australia for almost a year while their asylum cases are considered. Prof. Yuan has written about the persecution of Mongolians and Tibetans in China, has had his works banned by the Chinese authorities, was forbidden from writing any more, his manuscripts were destroyed, and he was sent into remote internal exile after a period in prison. He continued to write secretly with Ms. Zhao's help, but fled China when he learned authorities were planning to arrest him again. He made his asylum application in July 2004, and is still waiting to hear anything.

Is the Australian government actually trying to dissuade freedom-loving Chinese dissidents seeking refuge, from even considering that Australia might be a beacon of hope? The shabby treatment of the young disaffected diplomat Chen Yonglin, seems not to be an aberration but a pattern. It appears now that not only do immigration officials feel it their duty to be the first to alert Chinese authorities that they've had a defector, but that they also find it good practice to allow Chinese government officials to interrogate asylum seekers being held in isolation. Think of it: you're seeking asylum from a totalitarian state; you are prevented from having visitors of any kind while your case is processed; and then one day you face interrogation by officials of the country you're seeking refuge from -- in this case, from China's National Security Bureau!

But back to Prof. Yuan, who is luckily not being held in such "isolation" by Australia. I guess it takes more than a word from a lawyer to make this good man keep his mouth shut, because he evidently had a few things to say (through interpreter) to ABC Radio. He vouched for the earlier claims by Chen Yonglin and Hao Feng Jun about a large network of PRC spies working in the country, but clarified that these are not used solely for monitoring or information gathering. He says that these people are sent out to actively influence Australian (also American, Canadian and New Zealand - see below) society and political thought, "to turn Australia to a political colony of China".
"Political colony means the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) will use their ideology to influence Australia's politics and gradually to turn Australia to betray its fundamental principles of freedom and democracy."
The professor had experienced some of these agents first hand during his long wait for his case to be decided:
"I have been in Australia for 10 months and during past 10 months, I've experienced CCP ... means to threaten people."

"I was followed by people sometimes and I received a harassment letter. Some of my friends also suffered some harassment, for example their car was destroyed by somebody unknown and some of them just received a dead cat."
Greg Sheridan of The Australian had a chance to do an in depth interview last week with the ex-diplomat Mr. Chen, and his story appeared in the paper on Saturday. Besides adding a lot of Chen's personal background -- such as the fact that his father had been tortured to death by the communist Red Guards in 1971, Sheridan offers much historical context which shows that the fantastic-sounding claims are not so far fetched at all. Accompanying the piece is an analysis by the paper's national security editor, Eyes on China's spies, looking at China's recent efforts and priorities as well as the Australian intelligence service's rather naive response.

But it isn't just the Australian government which has been giving Mr. Chen the cold shoulder. He had also called and faxed the US Embassy in Canberra. "My wife, my 6-year old daughter and I are now in a desperate status," he wrote in the fax, which he showed to a New York Times reporter on Monday. "I have no choice but seeking the only hope of political asylum of the United States." He added his cellphone number, for someone to call him.

The call came later in the day. An embassy official told him the United States could do nothing for him. Reporter Raymond Bonner continues:
Why Mr. Chen was dismissed without even an interview is not clear. Generally, in the past, defectors from Communist countries, whether athletes, dancers or diplomats, have been protected and assisted with their asylum claims.
There is also more background on the family in this story, as his wife Jin Ping describes her support for her husband's decision. She had also been a student democracy activist while studying law in Shanghai, and both were sent separately for "re-education" following the Beijing Massacre.
Ms. Jin said she was assigned to work in a family planning program in a rural area. One woman she tended to was eight months pregnant with her second child when forced into a hospital for an abortion, she said. The woman escaped, was caught, and an operation performed. The baby boy, born alive, was then killed by the doctors, she said.
Chen Yonglin, Jin Ping and their young daughter remain in hiding somewhere in Australia, with no help from anyone in authority and relying on the goodwill and assistance of private, freedom-loving citizens for refuge.

Meanwhile, the lawyer I cited on Saturday, Mr. Bernard Collaery (representing the third, as yet unnamed defector), says that his client has "compelling and horrifying" information which is much more valuable than that of Mr. Chen or Mr. Hao. The former attorney general for the Australia Capital Territory says that his client will remain unnamed due to fears for his family still remaining in China. But the encouraging news is that the unnamed former officer in the infamous 610 Bureau has now been granted refugee status in Australia.

The Epoch Times also has an interesting interview with Mr. Hao Feng Jun. He talks about his time at the 610 Bureau, and the information he gathered from "underground operatives stationed in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand."


wasn't satisfied with the RSS feeds I had pulling news for Indonesia and Thailand, so spent some more time fine-tuning Yahoo! searches which can be converted to RSS. It all seems to be loading quick enough on my measly dial-up connection, but let me know if anyone is having slow loading problems. I also changed the picture link for the Seismic Monitor into a static, smallish gif. So now you only need to load the 100+ Kbyte latest image if you choose to open the pop-up window. The "Breaking News" category is from ScrappleFace (click any of these headings to be taken to the source page). I decided to call it that, not in the sense of "posted 11 minutes ago" but rather "break it apart and see what's inside." I really love ScrappleFace, "News Fairly Unbalanced" -- but it's satire, just so's ya know.

Oh yeah, and the little pic of Tapaktuan just to brighten things up a little more.

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