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Chinese Diplomat Granted Asylum in Australia With PM-China, Bjt

June 15, 1989

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) _ Australia granted asylum today to a Chinese diplomat and said that because of the crackdown in China none of the 15,000 Chinese citizens in the country need fear deportation.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman said Vice Consul Dong Qi, in hiding in Sydney since Friday, was allowed permanent residence on humanitarian grounds.

The prime minister refused to discuss news reports that the Australian Embassy in Beijing had granted refuge to prominent student leader Chai Ling.

Ms. Ling, a 22-year-old psychology student at Beijing Normal University, is No. 3 on the Beijing government’s list of 21 most wanted leaders of the pro- democracy movement.

In Japan, a news report said authorities there were protecting a Chinese diplomat who asked for political asylum in the United States. In Denmark, an immigration official said nine Chinese citizens had applied for asylum.

Australia’s Parliament today passed a motion condemning the military crackdown on protesters in Beijing on June 3-4 and the continued arrests of pro-democracy advocates. The Chinese government says nearly 200 people - half students, half soldiers - were killed in the crackdown. But Chinese witnesses and Western intelligence said up to 3,000 people, most of them civilians, died.

Prime Minister Bob Hawke, who met with foreign correspondents on Wednesday, refused to discuss whether the Australian Embassy in Beijing was sheltering a Chinese student leader identified by newspapers as Ms. Ling.

A Foreign Ministry official, who demanded anonymity, today said reports that Ms. Ling was at the Australian Embassy were ″way off the mark.″

Hawke said it served no purpose to ″speculate or talk about it.″ He said, ″There are obvious sensitivities involved.″

Two Norwegian legislators on Wednesday nominated Ms. Ling for the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize as a symbol of the movement for a freer China.

″In a clear way she speaks out about the values which are fundamental for a democratic society, against the brutal oppression by the authorities,″ said Kjellbjoerg Lunde and Tora Houg of Norway’s Socialist Left Party.

The South China Morning Post in Hong Kong reported today that China was prepared to break relations with Australia and the United States for harboring Chinese activists at their embassies.

The U.S. Embassy in Beijing is sheltering two leading Chinese dissidents: physicist Fang Lizhi and his wife, Li Shuxian, assistant professor at Beijing University. Chinese authorities accused Fang of leading the pro-democracy movement, even though he carefully avoided the protests in Tiananmen Square.

The newspaper said if Beijing broke relations, Chinese authorities would be free to enter embassy compounds and seize any Chinese citizens being sheltered.

The paper did not identity its sources for the report. The Foreign Ministry in Canberra, the federal capital, said it had been swamped with media calls about the report, which it said ″has no relation to reality.″

The Australian government said Chinsee Vice Consul Dong would be allowed to stay in Australia.

Hawke gave assurances that all 10,600 Chinese students in Australia need not worry about their visas lapsing and being deported.

″The government of Australia will be keeping their situation under close and sympathetic review,″ he said. ″We would consider sympathetically the cases of any student who could be considered in any sense in danger by returning to China.″

Of 15,405 Chinese citizens in Australia, two-thirds are students and 4,300 have overstayed their visas, Immigration spokeswoman Jenny Hoskin said, adding that nobody would be deported under the circumstances.

Immigration Minister Robert Ray proposed that Chinese students be placed in a special category outside the usual refugees and immigrants.

In Japan, Kyodo News Service quoted unidentified Japanese security officials as saying 27-year-old Ma Qiuyun, an attache at the Chinese Embassy’s consular office, had asked for U.S. asylum and remained in Tokyo.

The Japanese Foreign Ministry refused to comment. Kyodo said the office and security authorities were studying how to deal the case.

A Chinese Embassy official, who demanded anonymity, said by telephone: ″We hope Japanese government authorities concerned will act with prudence and the case will not affect the friendly relations between Japan and China.″

Seven Chinese students taking courses in Denmark and two people registered as businessmen applied for political asylum in that country in the past week, said Inge Thomsen, an immigration official.

Thomsen declined to discuss details of the asylum cases but said the authorities would be ″cautious″ about forcing Chinese back to their country in present circumstances.

Update hourly