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POLITICS: Defectors Claim 1000 Chinese Spies in Australia

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posted on Jun, 8 2005 @ 12:11 PM
Two Chinese nationals have applied for political asylum in Australia and have claimed that there are approximately 1000 spies operating in the country. The applications for asylum from diplomat Chen Yonglin, and former China security office Hao Fengjun, were initially declined but are currently being reconsidered amidst strong pressure from political opposition parties.
A Chinese diplomat's attempt to defect to Australia and explosive claims about Beijing's espionage activities has cast a shadow over Canberra's attempts to negotiate a free trade deal with China.

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Chinese diplomat Chen Yonglin holds up his Chinese consular identity card to the media at a rally to commemorate the June 4, 1989 crackdown on the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests in Beijing, in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, June 4. Chen is seeking political asylum in Australia (AP Photo/Mark Baker)Chen Yonglin, 37, worked as a diplomat at the Chinese Consulate-General in Sydney until he walked away from the mission last month to seek political asylum in Australia.

In an interview published Monday, Chen claimed his application for political asylum was rejected by Canberra within just 24 hours and without his meeting any senior government officials.

Chen's is the highest profile attempted defection to Australia since Soviet spy Vladimir Petrov in 1954.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

Chen Yonglin's claims have been backed up by Hao Fengjun, who claims to have been in charge of collating information gathered by Chinese intelligence operatives in Australia. He has passed supposed evidence of these activities to Australian security agencies.

Defector Claims to be China's Spy Master -

Mr Hao said he was assigned to China's "610 office" where his job was to collate and analyze reports from underground operatives in Australia, and other countries, who were gathering information on Falun Gong practitioners and pro-democracy activists.

In February Mr Hao, 32, came to Australia with his fiancee under the guise of being part of a tour group, bringing with him several secret mp3 files that he had downloaded from a computer.

Mr Hao echoed the claims of Chinese diplomat Chen Yonglin, 37, who is in hiding after abandoning his post at the Chinese consulate-general in Sydney on May 26.

Mr Chen has said China has around 1,000 spies in Australia and fears he will be persecuted if he returns to China after his four-year posting in Australia.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

Australian intelligence agencies are initiating an investigation into the defectors' claims that a Chinese spy network is operating within Australia to gather intelligence on Falun Gong practitioners and pro-democracy activists, as well as Australian political and military information.

Aust Investigating Spy Claims -

Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock has indicated the nation's intelligence agencies are looking into allegations that Chinese spies are operating in Australia.

Speaking on ABC TV's Lateline, Mr Ruddock has indicated the nation's spy agencies are investigating allegations that up to 1,000 Chinese spies are in Australia.

"It would be naive to think that an agency would not explore those issues that are relevant to their mandate," Mr Ruddock said.

The claim was first raised by defecting Chinese diplomat Chen Yonglin. It was then backed up by Hao Fengjun, a former security officer who has defected from China.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

Beijing has denied the claims made by the two defectors, labelling the claims as "slanderous". The Chinese government insists the two will be treated fairly when they return to China, and implied that the two were simply seeking Australian citizenship.

China Labels Spy Claims Slanderous -

China says claims made by diplomat Chen Yonglin, who is seeking to defect in Australia, are slanderous and insists he will be treated fairly if returned to Beijing.

Mr Chen, formerly the first secretary at the Chinese consulate-general in Sydney, has been in hiding since May 26 saying he fears persecution if forced to return to China.

The diplomat says he does not support his Government's repression of pro-democracy activists, members of the Falun Gong meditation group and other dissidents.

"The rumors spread by Chen Yonglin are total slander and hopefully you will not take it in easily," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said.

"These rumors are detrimental to China-Australian relations."

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

Chen Yonglin has also contacted the U.S. consulate about his situation, but details of the communication have not been released. One can only assume Chen is attempting to cover all the bases and apply for asylum in the United States in the event that his application in Australia is denied.

The case of Hao Fengjun may simply be a copy-cat move and an attempt to ride on the coat-tails of Chen's defection.

The Australian government initially denied that Chen had sought asylum, but the opposition Green Party released a copy of Chen's letter to the government which states "I now seek political asylum from the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia".

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[edit on 2005/6/8 by wecomeinpeace]

posted on Jun, 8 2005 @ 04:06 PM
Its hardly surprising that Chinese spys are operating in Australia. Although 1000 seems an awful lot for a country as relatively small as Australia. Do people really think China is alone here? How many British spies and American spies are in Australia? More than zero, thats for sure.

[edit on 8/6/05 by subz]

posted on Jun, 9 2005 @ 11:51 AM

Its hardly surprising that Chinese spys are operating in Australia. Although 1000 seems an awful lot for a country as relatively small as Australia.

There are a great number of Chinese students and immigrants in Australia, so the number doesn't surprise me, particularly if they include amateur information gatherers that are simply given email encryption software and told to send back anything they learn. A lot of students and young professionals in China are members of the Communist Party and fiercely loyal to its doctrines.

I think it's laughable that the Howard government says that Sino-Australian trade relations won't affect their decision on the applications for asylum. The Australian government is notorious for bowing to international trade pressure, a source of much amusement for New Zealanders.

[edit on 2005/6/9 by wecomeinpeace]

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