TORONTO - Defecting Chinese diplomat Chen Yonglin said Wednesday that the Chinese government was carrying out a systematic plan to gain influence and control over the Australian government.
Speaking at a press conference in Sydney, Chen said, “The Chinese Government wanted to use economic means to compel Australia to give ground on issues like security and human rights.”
“The Chinese Government Believes that Australia Can Be Bought”
According to Chen, the former First Secretary of the Chinese Consulate in Sydney who earlier this month came public with the news of his defection, Chinese leaders have been forming personal, close relationships with top Australian officials for the last several years.
So close that the Chinese government has been receiving legal assistance from the Australian government in fighting off a torture law suit from an Australian citizen who was imprisoned on a return trip to China and says she was subjected to persecution because of her belief in Falun Gong.
Zhang Cuiying is seeking justice through a case in the Australian courts against former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin and the 610 Office, the organization created by Jiang to carry out the repression of Falun Gong.
Chen pointed to the bilateral dialogues between Australia and China, an exercise that is also criticized by human rights groups in Canada as ineffective in dealing with China’s human rights record, as an example of the increasing influence the Chinese government is having.
“When high level (Australian) officials were visiting China, I have read all the brief reports sent to the Chinese Embassy. They absolutely did not bring up human rights issues,” said Chen.
Chen added that Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Alexander Downer issued a certificate banning Falun Gong signage in front of the Chinese embassy a day before Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan was to arrive in Canberra in March 2002, claiming signs attesting to the persecution in China would “impair the dignity of the mission”.
Since then Downer has reissued the certificates each month.
Influence in Canada
A document obtained recently by the Epoch Times from another defecting Chinese agent suggests the influence extends to Canada as well. It suggests that the Department of Foreign Affairs had acted on behalf of the Chinese government in an effort to limit display boards depicting the persecution of Falun Gong in China from in front of the Chinese consulate in Vancouver.
The document, marked “confidential,” was authored by an agent of the Tianjin City Public Security Bureau stationed in Canada and dated January 13, 2005. It was obtained from defecting 610 officer Hao Fengjun, in Australia.
The document refers to a number of Falun Gong sit-in appeal sites established in front of the Chinese embassy and consulates in Canada that use display boards to highlight the torture of Falun Gong practitioners by the Chinese government.
“The Canadian government has already ordered the police to dismantle those memorials set up in front of Chinese embassy and consulates, especially the one in front of Vancouver’s consulate,” the document said.
According to Sue Zhang, a 59-year-old chemist at Vancouver’s Simon Fraser University and a participant in the appeals in front of the Vancouver Chinese consulate, that’s similar to what she was told by the City.
Zhang says City of Vancouver Deputy Manager Brent MacGregor did not deny that the Chinese consulate was pressuring the city to have the display removed in a December 21, 2004 meeting with Falun Gong practitioners.
According to Zhang, MacGregor also said an official in the federal Department of Foreign Affairs had asked the city to do something about the display.
Foreign Affairs spokesperson Pamela Greenwell told the Epoch Times “it is a matter of public record that the Chinese government representatives in Canada are unhappy with the displays outside of their missions.”
“Since the erection of the [Falun Gong] display in Vancouver, Foreign Affairs has been in ongoing dialogue with both the municipality of Vancouver as well as the Chinese authorities [about the display].”
Sheng Xue, a best-selling Chinese author and freelance writer in Toronto, said that if the contents of the secret document is confirmed true, it would amount to either the Canadian or Vancouver government purposefully aiding the Chinese government in violating Canadian principles and values such as human rights and democracy in exchange for trade interests.
Chen says he fears the Australian Government has made an "under-the-table deal" with China to reject his case for political asylum.
Chen, who left his position at the Chinese consulate in Sydney on May 26 and attempted to defect, has said he feels abandoned by the Australian government.