Wednesday, July 20

Speaking Up

Chen Yonglin, the Chinese defector, flew out of Australia yesterday to give evidence to a US congressional human rights committee.

The Australian Government described the hearing, as an opportunity for Mr Chen to substantiate claims that China spied on and harassed pro-democracy activists in Australia.

This move will definitely increase tensions between Australia and China.

Mr Chen was given a protection visa by the Australian Government last month, six weeks after he abandoned his position as first secretary at the Chinese consulate in Sydney and sought political asylum.

Mr Chen says that as a consular official he was ordered to spy on pro-democracy activists in Australia, notably the Falun Gong group, which Beijing brands a seditious cult.

The sub-committee is to examine alleged human rights abuses by the Chinese Government against Falun Gong members.

Good luck to Mr Chen. I think he is being incredibly brave and unselfish in speaking out like this.


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