Chi­nese de­fec­tor re­jected for asy­lum by U.S., Tai­wan

The Washington Times Weekly - - From Page One - By Bill Gertz

A for­mer high-rank­ing Chi­nese tech­nol­ogy spe­cial­ist has de­fected and is seek­ing po­lit­i­cal asy­lum in the United States in or­der to pro­mote demo­cratic change in China.

Jia Jia, un­til re­cently the head of the gov­ern­ment-backed China Shanxi Science and Tech­nol­ogy Ex­perts As­so­ci­a­tion in Shanxi, north-cen­tral China, said in a tele­phone in­ter­view from Hong Kong that he de­fected Oct. 23 dur­ing a visit to Tai­wan be­cause he op­poses Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party rule.

“China right now is not free,” Mr. Jia said. “I left China be­cause I want to make use of the demo­cratic en­vi­ron­ment out­side the coun­try.”

Once China has taken steps to match its eco­nomic re­form with demo­cratic po­lit­i­cal re­form, Mr. Jia said he will re­turn to China.

Mr. Jia was re­fused po­lit­i­cal asy­lum in Tai­wan be­cause, he said, Tai­wanese of­fi­cials feared al­low­ing him to stay would up­set China.

The U.S. Con­sulate in Hong Kong, where he is stay­ing tem­po­rar­ily, also has re­jected Mr. Jia’s ap­peal for po­lit­i­cal asy­lum, telling him that he did not meet the qual­i­fi­ca­tions.

The for­mer tech­nol­ogy of­fi­cial said he has been granted per­mis­sion to stay seven days in Hong Kong un­der rules gov­ern­ing tourist vis­its, while he seeks per­mis­sion to move to an­other coun- try. Be­cause Hong Kong is part of China, he could be ar­rested af­ter that pe­riod.

Mr. Jia said that if he is forcibly repa­tri­ated, he faces tor­ture and pos­si­ble death be­cause he has spo­ken out against the rul­ing Com­mu­nist Party and in sup­port of democ­racy.

Mr. Jia ad­vo­cates the cre­ation of a non-com­mu­nist fed­eral gov­ern­ment in China to re­place the rul­ing-party sys­tem.

The in­crease in protests and civil un­rest in China is the re­sult of op­po­si­tion to com­mu­nist rule, he said.

“I hope Pres­i­dent Bush will help me go [to the United States] and that U.S. cit­i­zens will help me to re­al­ize a demo­cratic China,” Mr. Jia said.

“If Pres­i­dent Bush can do that, the Chi­nese peo­ple will thank Amer­ica for gen­er­a­tions,” he said.

Mr. Bush vowed to sup­port prodemoc­racy ad­vo­cates in his 2005 in­au­gu­ral speech. He said demo­cratic re­form­ers fac­ing re­pres­sion, prison or ex­ile around the world should known that “Amer­ica sees you for who you are: the fu­ture lead­ers of your free coun­try.”

How­ever, pro-China of­fi­cials in the White House and else­where in the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion have blocked ma­jor U.S. gov­ern­ment ef­forts to help Chi­nese dis­si­dents since do­ing so would up­set re­la­tions be­tween Wash­ing­ton and Bei­jing.

Mr. Jia said he be­lieves “mil- li­ons” of Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party mem­bers want demo­cratic re­form, as do mil­lions of oth­ers among China’s 1.3 bil­lion pop­u­la­tion.

As many as 14 mil­lion of China’s 78 mil­lion Com­mu­nist Party mem­bers have left the party in re­cent years, a fac­tor that prompted his de­fec­tion, Mr. Jia said.

Last year, China’s rul­ing party is­sued a white pa­per stat­ing that China will never adopt Western­style democ­racy.

Mr. Jia said he is not a mem­ber of the banned Chi­nese spir­i­tual group Falun Gong, which ad­vo­cates the ouster of the Com­mu­nist Party in China, but he said he has been sup­ported by the group in his ef­forts to seek asy­lum.

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