Agam's Gecko
Saturday, June 11, 2005

third Chinese "refusenik' from the PRC's security aparatus has surfaced in Australia, and has revealed more about the operations of the notorious 610 Bureau, and the gross abuses this gestapo-like group carry out against peaceful Falun Gong believers in China. I use that comparative term very consciously. In consonance with what I wrote this week about overblown rhetoric about gulags and Nazis, this is not an imaginary gestapo-like group, but a real one.

The man, who cannot be named due to fears for his family still remaining in China, has already been granted refugee status in Australia. His lawyer was interviewed the other night on ABC's Lateline, and described the man as a senior security official who found he could not tolerate the extreme behaviour of his comrades in the 610 Bureau. His lawyer Bernard Collaery, a former attorney general for the Australian Capital Territory, described the last straw:
"He witnessed, and has given affidavit evidence, of a horrific beating of a Chinese citizen... who was beaten to death with the use of electric prods," he said.

"He hears the beating in his police station, he intervenes, he's told to go away.

"He goes upstairs to his office. He's conscience-stricken, he comes back downstairs and says, 'This must stop' and then sees this naked man with his head in a chair, his legs poking out, clearly deceased.

"He's horrified by it. That's the last straw."
The man apparently copied the contents of the hard disk of his police computer, and brought it with him when he fled to Australia. Mr. Collaery said that the asylum seeking process actually puts such people at risk, even after they arrive in democratic Australia. The authorities did nothing to ensure his safety, and while sympathisers and friends arranged for a safe house, "About two months after we placed him in hiding, while he was out his entire premises were ransacked criminally," Mr. Collaery said. The long arms of the PRC.

At the ABC news page linked above, you may also view the video interview with Mr. Collaery, as well as a video of Mr. Hao Feng Jun (the second of these recent defections to come to light) speaking through an interpreter. He says that the Chinese spy network is not administered through diplomatic channels, but that these people report directly to Beijing. Another Australian citizen also describes how he was asked to spy on Chinese in Australia, when he was strongarmed on the street in Beijing by around 15 plain clothes officers. Apparently arrested due to being a Falun Gong practitioner (how did they know?), he was held for three days while the gestapo demanded that he spy on fellow Chinese in Australia, and report everything back to them.

The Chinese authorities are still denying everything, but sound now a little more careful with their phrasing: "They have on various occasions expressed views and used words which we believe are only fabrications and lies," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said.

The government of Australia has now made clear that the diplomat, Mr. Chan Yonglin who started this tide of revelations last weekend in memory of the June 4, 1989 Beijing Massacre, will not be sent back to China. But he's still in hiding, and I've read nothing about any special measures to ensure protection for he and his family. For an interesting comparison between this diplomatic defection, and another one 50 years ago with a Soviet diplomat, see this analysis in The Bulletin.
After his defection in April 1954, Petrov was whisked to an ASIO safe house on Sydney North Shore. He had not told his wife about his decision to defect. Petrov was immediately offered asylum. Chen Yonglin, who is now applying for a protection visa, was advised to seek a tourist visa.
That's the difference between a Cold War environment, and a Hot Trade environment -- even though the political nature of the respective communist regimes is much the same. I certainly hope Mr. Chen, and his wife and daughter, are able to stay one step ahead of those long gestapo-like arms.


hope I haven't overdone it, but I've changed the news headline feeds on the sidebar, and it's now producing feeds from a single generator. I like this one because it offers a short description for each as a tool-tip, so I can do away with the visible ones. Hover your cursor over each headline to see the first bit of the text. Firefox users will see this title attribute truncated, but a small extension will remedy that. This will give you an idea of what RSS readers are like, several of which are available as Firefox extensions.

The search facility at the top of the bar, Twingine, is something that I've found very useful lately. Previously known as Yagoo!Hoogle, he was hassled by both search engines about trademark infringement, so he changed the name. See your search results from both engines side by side for comparison.

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