Fri, Jul 20, 2007 - Page 5 News List

Former Chinese diplomat says woman was abducted

AP , WELLINGTON

Beijing spies kidnapped a Chinese national from her home in New Zealand two years ago and took her back to China by ship, a former Chinese diplomat said yesterday.

Chen Yonglin, who defected from China's Consulate in Sydney in 2005 amid his claims that Beijing ran a vast spy network in Australia, said he would ask New Zealand authorities to investigate the alleged abduction. China has denied running a spy network in Australia.

Australia granted Chen and his family permanent protection visas - typically given to people fleeing persecution - after Chen claimed he feared retribution if he returned home because of his sympathy for the Falun Gong spiritual movement, which Beijing brands as an evil cult.

Chen told reporters he had contacted New Zealand's spy agency, the Security Intelligence Service, and expected to speak to a staff member about the alleged abduction before he leaves the country today.

"I will talk to them about the details I know," he said, adding he did not have the kidnapped woman's name, but got his information from a "reliable source" inside China's Ministry of Public Security.

"I will tell all I know to help prevent any future incident," Chen said, adding that "I think the family should have reported it but I don't know what happened there."

He said the woman was taken back to China by ship, but had no further details.

There was no immediate response to reporters' calls to the Chinese embassy in New Zealand seeking comment.

Chen was brought to New Zealand by a coalition of rights groups to highlight "ongoing human rights abuses in China," said a Green Party statement on behalf of the coalition.

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