Just when
you thought this government’s attitude to asylum seekers couldn’t be
more contemptible, along comes the case of would-be Chinese defector
Chen Yonglin.

Chen told The Weekend Australian
he was seeking to defect because he could no longer support his
country’s persecution of dissidents. He claims Foreign Affairs told him
at a meeting that his request for political asylum had been rejected,
but he could apply for a protection visa.

The Washington Post
has broadcast the weasel words of our pencil pushers around the world:
“A spokeswoman for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and
Trade (DFAT) told Reuters that the government knew of the matter but
that it was a case for the Immigration Department… A spokeswoman for
immigration officials said it was against policy to comment on
individual cases for visas, but that if an application were filed, it
would be given a fair hearing.” Amanda Vanstone was predictably amoral on Meet the Press yesterday.

Amnesty International’s detailed report on human rights abuses in China is available here. The introduction includes these words:

Tens of thousands of people continued to be detained or
imprisoned in violation of their fundamental human rights and were at
high risk of torture or ill-treatment. Thousands of people were
sentenced to death or executed, many after unfair trials. Public
protests increased against forcible evictions and land requisition
without adequate compensation.

Somebody send a few copies around Canberra.