Chinese diplomat flees to Australia

He says it’s because of China’s relentless repression of dissidents.

A senior Chinese diplomat has sought Australian government protection for himself and his family, claiming he faces persecution if he goes home, Australian officials said on Sunday.

Analysts said Chen Yonglin’s defection could muddy Canberra’s relations with Beijing, its third-largest trading partner with annual exchanges now worth A$28.9 billion ($22.7 billion).

The Weekend Australian newspaper said Chen, 37-year-old consul for political affairs at China’s consulate in Sydney, had applied for political asylum but officials had ruled this out.

It said Chen was now seeking a protection visa that would enable him, his wife Jin Ping, 38, and their six-year-old daughter to remain in Australia.

The newspaper said Chinese consular security staff were searching for Chen, who had walked out of the mission a week ago, saying he could no longer support China’s persecution of dissidents.

“They are searching for me. I heard they are looking for me everywhere, especially in the Chinese community,” it quoted him as saying.

“I feel very unsafe, so I seek protection.”

This could be a real mess for Australia, where trade with China is soaring. And we may find out there’s more to it than this initial article implies. Still, what Lenin referred to as the “vote by foot” is an exceptionally powerful statement. When people exercise that option, you know they’re pretty desperate.

The Discussion: 57 Comments

I was there [by chance] at the Sydney demo when Chen declared he was seeking asylum. I was stood right by the stage snapping pictures of him, and he was so scared he was shaking, poor guy. He kept looking round him, and his mouth was so dry he couldn’t speak. His revelations are amazing – and yet they have hardly raised any headlines here. In one case he mentioned, the talked about a former senior Party member from Henan who was wanted by the PSB but who had escaped to Australia. I think his name was Tan Fu. They couldn’t get him so they kidnapped his son from university here and put him on a fishing boat that took him out to a Chinese registered cargo ship beyond the 100km limit. They then used his son as a hostage to get the father back. When he returned to China, he was tried and executed, according to Chen.

I’ll post some pictures when I get them developed tomorrow.

June 5, 2005 @ 12:33 am | Comment

Mike, I look forward to it.
I could be wrong, but about a year ago, I heard a lot of details about a Chinese diplomat who had a young daughter … but whose name I was never told. I’m not going to say anything further in a public forum, but I’d say that yes, there is almost certainly more to this than meets the eye.

One more thing: there is no way that Australia can refuse this guy a protection visa. None. Even if the Australian government tried to have him expelled, the courts would overturn the decision, and force them to let him stay. Besides, I’m sure ASIO is dying to get their hands on him.

And you’re right … it’s likely to cause a real stink between China and Australia … though depending on what details Chen has to spill, it might well be China that is the one on the back foot.

June 5, 2005 @ 2:45 am | Comment

I know nothing about these cases, but I just wanted to point to the fact that not everybody who is on the run must be a dissident. There where two articles in a German online magazine some time ago reporting about corrupt cadres fleeing with the money they stole. According to that magazin btw the opening of China and 2003 at least 4000 cadres have fled with approximatley 5 Billion US Dollar in their luggage.
Certainatly kidnapping of innocent people is allways to be considert a capital crime

Here are the links to the articles, unfortunately only in German:
http://www.heise.de/tp/r4/html/result.xhtml?url=/tp/r4/artikel/18/18798/1.html&words=China%20Korruption
http://www.heise.de/tp/r4/artikel/18/18797/1.html

June 5, 2005 @ 3:34 am | Comment

Shulan, I’m certain you’re right. But I doubt very much that it applies in this particular case.

June 5, 2005 @ 3:36 am | Comment

We’ll hear more about this certainly.
Just thought that even if someone who robbed the bank of China would’t be handed over that easiely by most European states cause in China he would face death penalty.

June 5, 2005 @ 4:04 am | Comment

Don’t know what really happened, but he becomes a selfish traiter by any means, by saying that there are thousands of Chinese spies operating in Australia and he would help dig them out.

June 5, 2005 @ 5:37 am | Comment

He seemed genuine to me. He looked nervous and I overheard his minders saying how he recognised some Chinese Embassy security people in the crowd. He wouldn’t leave the side of the media people as he didn’t want to be shuffled off into a van all of a sudden. His accounts of abductions sounded real as well. He was just babbling on about names, dates and places, trying to get it all out while in the public spotlight. After a while the organiser of the demo had to go on stage and whisper in his ear that it was time to wind up as there were eight other speakers on the program. Given that it’s already on the record that China has abducted dissidents from places like Vietnam and Macau, his stories sounded quite plausible. If he was just seeking to stay on in Australia I could think of many easier ways of getting permanent residence.

June 5, 2005 @ 5:40 am | Comment

I don’t believe he would have resorted to this radical way if all he did was what he said “disagreed with China’s treatment of political dissidents” and “going easy” on them.

When he was sent out as a diplomat, he knew much better than most of us about dissidents and the CCP as one of Tiananmen Square protestors and also one of the CCP elite cadre. Why has he not done this until he was due to return home after four years.

June 5, 2005 @ 5:50 am | Comment

And in terms of abducting Chinese in other countries, that is for sure a violation to others’ sovereignty. But I personally have no problem with that if they are real criminals and for some reason can not be extradited to China. Bash me you may, but that is my opinion.

One example that upset so many Chinese is the Lai Changxing of YUAN HUA case.

Refusal to sending them to China because of our death penalty is a plausible excuse.

Those countries care about their own judicial integrity and humane rights record and ignore the justice of Chinese people owed by those fugitive.

June 5, 2005 @ 6:03 am | Comment

I do not think China should make a big fuss about this young man. If he wants to stay in other country, let him stay.

If he really has 1000 spy name, he does not have to announce it in public. Australian is not stupid. They should have acted already. Spies will not stay and wait to be caught.

To my knowledge, the diplomates like him are not paid well. Many people like them seek to stay after their term ended quitely by other means.

June 5, 2005 @ 6:28 am | Comment

Bing, I would like to see your reaction if some US-agents kidnaped someone in China to prosecute him in the US.
Bash me you may, but I think death penalty is barbaric.
It’s not an excuse and has nothing to do with ignorance towards “the justice of Chinese people owed by those fugitive”, when countrys like Germany won’t hand over such criminals, but it’s about the rule of law. If you want the rule of law you have to play after the rules even if you don’t like it and you know that a criminal goes unprosecuted. Our constitution says in the first paragraph: “The dignity of man is unviolable” (my English is not good enough to translate it better), so deth penalty is against our Constitution and handing over someone who will eventually face death penalty is also against it. It realy is not about the human rights record but about a lection learned after a crule dictatorship. If you once make an exaption others will follow.

June 5, 2005 @ 6:42 am | Comment

Shulan

“Bing, I would like to see your reaction if some US-agents kidnaped someone in China to prosecute him in the US.”

If they committed crime in US and absconded to China that refuses to hand them out, I don’t bother US agents “kidnapping” them back.

“Bash me you may, but I think death penalty is barbaric.”

It might be barbaric in some countries but the only effective and justifiable treat for some criminals in other countries. Don’t apply the same rule to all countries out of context.

“If you want the rule of law you have to play after the rules even if you don’t like it and you know that a criminal goes unprosecuted.”

Sure you are right. The problem is many western countries don’t have such “rule of law” with China in terms of extradition for reasons like death penalty, which means at times they go unprosecuted.

“Our constitution says in the first paragraph: “The dignity of man is unviolable” (my English is not good enough to translate it better), so deth penalty is against our Constitution and handing over someone who will eventually face death penalty is also against it. It realy is not about the human rights record but about a lection learned after a crule dictatorship. If you once make an exaption others will follow.”

Again, with full respect to your constitution, don’t apply that to other countries. I personally don’t regard some criminals as “man” and believe many others think the same.

June 5, 2005 @ 7:07 am | Comment

Like FSN9 and I have said, there’s lamost certainly more here than we know at the moment. I am skeptical, like you, Bing, that his sole reason for fleeing was revulsion at the treatment of dissidents, which has been the same for half a century. I suspect that is a part of his reason, but we’ll surely learn much more in the weeks ahead. That said, I reject your assertion that he is a traitor. Like anyone fleeing a police state, be it North Korea or Cuba or China, I wish him well and look forward to what he has to tell us.

June 5, 2005 @ 9:34 am | Comment

“That said, I reject your assertion that he is a traitor. Like anyone fleeing a police state, be it North Korea or Cuba or China, I wish him well and look forward to what he has to tell us.”

I don’t really care about the reasons of his defection. What is very worng with him (read what other Chinese call him) is his bluffing about Chinese spies and China threatening Australia, which is the usual ploy for many of those exiled activists and the main reason that many Chinese spurn at them.

June 5, 2005 @ 9:52 am | Comment

The definition of Traitor from Webster (sorry, I have to resort to Webster at times for my poor English):
1 : one who betrays another’s trust or is false to an obligation or duty
2 : one who commits treason

It seems he is one.

June 5, 2005 @ 9:58 am | Comment

one question: why would anyone need 1,000 spies for australia? sure, you can recruit or insert a few spies in government ministries, the Chinese dissidents, the F*L*G movement and the US listening posts. but why would you need 1,000 spies. there is nothing valuable or complex enough in australia that requires 1,000 spies to keep track of (disclosure: i lived in australia for four years). by proportion, china would need to have about 25,000 spies in the united states. you couldn’t even manage them if you try. conversely, it would be like the united states will need to have 125,000 spies in china (i mean real spies, as opposed to people who were forced to confess).

June 5, 2005 @ 10:45 am | Comment

He probably counts any Chinese that has anything to do with “information gathering” as SPY.

June 5, 2005 @ 11:04 am | Comment

Bing, so was Mao a traitor? Was George Washington? If your country betrays YOU and you fight back, you are not a traitor.

ESWN, good questions. It sure sounds absurd to me.

June 5, 2005 @ 11:14 am | Comment

Bing, I was just pointing to the difficulties the different leagal systhems produce. It’s not disrespect to China if those people won’t be handed over; it’s a problem of different standarts as you pointed out.

What concerns death penalty, even if you don’t regard some people as man (I disagree with that fundamentaly), no legal system is so good that the judges or the jury don’t make mistakes, that’s just human and so the state will unavoidably murder someone innocent.
And, death penalty is in no way effective that’s a myth.

June 5, 2005 @ 11:50 am | Comment

Richard,

Mao could be called a traitor for the concession he made to other countries and the sins to Chinese people and defintely a tyrant.

And George Washington, if he was a british and appointed by British government, he was a traitor from their point of view, though a hero for Americans.

“If your country betrays YOU and you fight back, you are not a traitor.”

Sure you should fight back, but not at the expense of the national interest (no to mention bluffing) which matters to millions of thousands of others.

June 5, 2005 @ 12:11 pm | Comment

Well, we’ll see what the story is soon enough, Bing. Some people may call him a hero, others a traitor. It’s a bit early to know.

Lisa, read this to see what I am referring to re. Zhou.

June 5, 2005 @ 1:10 pm | Comment

Shulanm, I fully agree. Both the US and CHina should be ashamed of their embrace of the death penalty. Many Americansa are obsessed with the death penalty, in love with it, and I find it a national sickness. Of course, they are the same Americvas who lecture us that we should always “err on the side of life.” What bullshitters.

June 5, 2005 @ 1:11 pm | Comment

Oh, and Mike, I can’t thank you enough for this bird’s-eye view.

June 5, 2005 @ 1:17 pm | Comment

Shulan

“Bing, I was just pointing to the difficulties the different leagal systhems produce. It’s not disrespect to China if those people won’t be handed over; it’s a problem of different standarts as you pointed out.”

For us, it is disrespect to China if those people won’t be handed over as a result of different standards we both pointed out. That’s how we look at it. Let’s keep our different views on that.

“What concerns death penalty, even if you don’t regard some people as man (I disagree with that fundamentaly), no legal system is so good that the judges or the jury don’t make mistakes, that’s just human and so the state will unavoidably murder someone innocent. And, death penalty is in no way effective that’s a myth.”

As to death penalty, I have to be clichรฉ one more time. Countries like yours have evolved enough to do without it. Congratulations (genuinely)! That might be the ideal model that every country should “finally” achieve. But the abolishment of death penalty didn’t happen overnight, did it? We may not need death penalty any more when we have the same crime rate and wealthy society as yours (really clichรฉ). Please don’t assume something is suitable to everyone else just because it suits your case.

And, should we let true criminals get away in case innocents are wronged? I don’t think so. Let’s, again, keep our own views on that.

June 5, 2005 @ 2:27 pm | Comment

You know they are subject to our law, so if you do repect that and still want to keep them from being returned in case of death penalty, why not just give those fugitives citizenship?

June 5, 2005 @ 2:43 pm | Comment

Bing, my country loves the death penalty. So I am not inflicting the American viewpoint on you when I say I don’t like the death penalty in China, or anywehre else. I think that of all the highly developed nations only the US has clung to the death penalty. It’s time top recognize it for the cruel and unusual punishment it is, whether it’s performed in China or Texas or anywhere else. The monsters who truly deserve it will be better punished if they’re allowed to languish forever in a jail cell.

June 5, 2005 @ 2:48 pm | Comment

Richard, thanks. I actually have that book, but my Chinese is still not up to reading it (god knows when it will be, seeing as how the book is also in traditional Hanzi). I also heard a talk by the author – again, I could only understand bits and pieces of it. But he didn’t seem as negative as he comes across in that review.

June 5, 2005 @ 4:59 pm | Comment

Why do you see it as disrespect, Bing? Every country has cases like that. Acctualy there is a German criminal called Schneider enjoying live in Kanada because the legal systems are different. Some Al Quaida suspect are sitting in German jails and due to the threat of death penalty won’t be handed over to the US. No one in either of these states sees it as disrespect. Some people might be angry that it is like that but don’t see it as an embarrassment.

I don’t see the effectiveness of death penalty, Bing. You say that only societys with high living standart can have the luxus to abolish death penalty, why? Death penalty has something to do with revench, not with preventing crimes. Everyone who commits a crime thinks he won’t be caught, otherwise he wouldn’t do it. The frightening effect of death penalty is a myth. It’s all about revench. I don’t have statistics, but if it where that effective all the sates in the US which don’t have death penalty would have much higher rates of capital crimes. I don’t think that’s the case.

“And, should we let true criminals get away in case innocents are wronged? I don’t think so. Let’s, again, keep our own views on that.”

I just can say: in dubio pro res.
No legal system will have the trust of the citycens if it works after your model.

June 5, 2005 @ 5:03 pm | Comment

“Everyone who commits a crime thinks he won’t be caught, otherwise he wouldn’t do it.”

That’s not true. Many serial killers or rapists “know” they will finally be caught. They continue because they know there is no essential difference between killing or raping 10 persons and 100+.

June 5, 2005 @ 5:58 pm | Comment

“No legal system will have the trust of the citycens if it works after your model.”

That is true either.

I was specifically referring to the death penalty that we can’t abondon just because of the possiblity of innocent being wronged.

Many countries have death penalty which not all the people of those countries have no trust in.

June 5, 2005 @ 6:10 pm | Comment

“No one in either of these states sees it as disrespect.”

Maybe that is true in these states, though I would have used “MOST” rather than “NO ONE”.

I don’t argue your case but that is not true in China. BTW you said “angry”, yes we are very angry too.

June 5, 2005 @ 6:17 pm | Comment

“The monsters who truly deserve it will be better punished if they’re allowed to languish forever in a jail cell.”

Will they necessarily do languish at all? Or maybe somebody else will.

Have you ever seen a grinning criminal at court with no remorse after being handed over life sentence, while the family of his victims “languish” the rest of their lives?

June 5, 2005 @ 6:30 pm | Comment

Death doesn’t replace the victim. Most civilized societies have rejected the death penalty as barbaric. I wish America would, and China, too.

June 5, 2005 @ 6:38 pm | Comment

Bing, how do you know so much about serial killers and murderers? I feel like you are speculating a lot here.

One of the key points here is that many people don’t agree with China’s characterisation of what it classifies its “internal affairs.” The guy is a diplomat in Australia. Therefore, it does have something to do with Australia, because the AUSTRALIANS HAVE TO MAKE A CHOICE AS TO HIS FUTURE, and if the Australians don’t send him back because he’s likely to get shot in the head with a rifle at close range while kneeling, then it’s because they feel they have a moral perrogative to help the poor bugger. What China means when they say “respect our internal affairs” is really “you think you have a choice, and you do, but we want you to give up your power over the situatioin and do exactly as we say.” Internal affairs is kind of bull – if countries want to be able to use that argument faithfully, they need to close their borders to immigration, imports and intellectual exchange. And even then, like with North Korea, I don’t think you can totally say it’s an “internal affair” because if someone is killing innocent people, violating the universal bill of rights, committing genocide, etc, it’s my business, quite honestly, and I’d ask my politicians in the Senate to try to get them to stop. Is that detestable?

June 5, 2005 @ 6:54 pm | Comment

I’m sorry, maybe that was too harsh. I get emotional when people get shot in the head at close range while kneeling.

June 5, 2005 @ 6:58 pm | Comment

1000 spies is hardly unexpected in my book. And 25,000 spies in the US wouldn’t be surprising either, though some would like to spread doubts about the story for their politics.

Having heard tales about the efforts of Chinese “security” as students on a small campus deep in Kansas and at MIT of Chinese “student” spies, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

Keep in mind that the spies aren’t there just to learn the secrets of Australia or the US, but to keep an eye on Chinese communities and Chinese nationals studying abroad.

If you want to keep a close eye on all the Chinatowns and all the campuses in the US or Australia, you’re going to need a LOT of spies.

June 5, 2005 @ 6:59 pm | Comment

Laowai

“Bing, how do you know so much about serial killers and murderers? I feel like you are speculating a lot here.”

Apart from watching movies and dramas, I do read newspapers and watch news channels.

“The guy is a diplomat in Australia. Therefore, it does have something to do with Australia, because the AUSTRALIANS HAVE TO MAKE A CHOICE AS TO HIS FUTURE, and if the Australians don’t send him back because he’s likely to get shot in the head with a rifle at close range while kneeling, then it’s because they feel they have a moral perrogative to help the poor bugger. ”

I don’t argue Australia has a say, so does China. Is he still a Chinese citizen and subject to Chinese law?

June 5, 2005 @ 7:10 pm | Comment

“I’m sorry, maybe that was too harsh. I get emotional when people get shot in the head at close range while kneeling. ”

That’s not harsh at all. I saw pictures of people getting shot, like what you described.

June 5, 2005 @ 7:11 pm | Comment

Bing, the guy is defecting, or at least trying to. Defectors are protected by the country taking them in. If and when he successfully defects, he no longer answers to China.

June 5, 2005 @ 7:16 pm | Comment

Right, so I think that yes, he is subject to Chinese law, if in China. But he’s not in China. He’s in Australia. This is the problem with and advantage of sovereignty, and the reason that some extraditions don’t happen – because of differening political goals. Australia may want to send him back out of respect for China, but may not because the larger goal of Australia is to call itself a liberal democracy that protects human rights. Or not. Howard is a bit of a prick when it comes to protecting non-australians from harsh political persecution.

June 5, 2005 @ 7:19 pm | Comment

That might explain why sometimes kidnapping happens.

June 5, 2005 @ 7:20 pm | Comment

I’m not aginst any defections of Chinese. Just for this particular case, he becomes a selfish traitor at the moment he says that spy and China threatening Australia rubbish. Read some Chinese forums you know that’s not just me thinking that way.

June 5, 2005 @ 7:25 pm | Comment

“I’m not aginst any defections of Chinese” should be:

I’m not aginst all defections of Chinese.

Laowai, it’s BST 02:32 :-). I’d better go sleep before sun rise.

Richard, every time I visit you blog, I try hard not thinking your blog title, especially now I’m kind of hungry.

June 5, 2005 @ 7:33 pm | Comment

Bing, were are you? In China? I see you’re starting your own blog — the name makes me wonder if you are in Xi’an. ๐Ÿ™‚

June 5, 2005 @ 7:38 pm | Comment

Richard,

Yes, Xi’an, before coming to UK. (and probably going back soon)

I won’t have much time to look after that blog, just trying something I haven’t done before. Maybe some pictures lalala…later.

June 5, 2005 @ 7:42 pm | Comment

Bing – I think it’s interesting that you don’t mind the kidnappings, because in a kind of funny way it’s showing that China isn’t respectful of Australia’s ‘internal affairs’ in the sense that Australia has the sovereign right to keep anyone they want in their country. And it becomes politically acceptable to a lot of countries in the international community to do so if they say that they are protecting him.

anyway, I’m betting howard kicks him out.

June 5, 2005 @ 8:07 pm | Comment

I’m no fan of Howard (understatement) but could he be that stone-hearted? Wouldn’t it be a PR catastrophe? I realize he’s in a bind, but after Chen’s claims it would seem like a death sentence to send him back to China.

June 5, 2005 @ 8:38 pm | Comment

Bing, I really like you and appreciate your posting. One word of friendly advice: Don’t point to what people are saying in a Chinese forum as proof that something is true! These forums are breeding grounds for some of the weirdest, most nationalistic raving I’ve ever heard. I followed some of them during the Japan protests — bizarre.

June 5, 2005 @ 8:42 pm | Comment

As someone said earlier, countries have no morals, only interests. Certainly, the Australian goverment could send him back. That’s why it was necessary for him to go on public record with his speeches. It becomes politically impossible to send him back, as well as ensuring that any Australian court will recognise that he has a “well founded fear of persecution on the grounds of his political beliefs.” (UNHCR requirement to be considered a refugee). In my view, that’s what that public announcement was all about … it was an astute move by Chen, guaranteeing that Australia MUST grant him asylum, no matter what the Australian government may think.

Bing, I agree that he is a traitor, but I disagree over who he is a traitor to. Certainly, he is betraying his political masters in Beijing … but does that mean that he is a traitor to the Chinese people? I’d say not. I’m sure that Chen loves China, and considers that his actions are in the best interests of the Chinese people. Are the spies that he has threatened to name agents of the Chinese people? Or are they the agents of those who seek to keep the Chinese people down? As it has been said before, the majority of them would be in Australia to spy on Chinese people, not on the Australian government itself. The day may come in future when the Communist party in China falls, and all the history books will be rewritten to call the prominent communists “traitors” and dissidents will be hailed as the “true patriots” … after all, what do you think the Qing government had to say about people like Sun Yixian? Was he a filthy stinking traitor, or the beloved father of the nation? He’s been called both.

In answer to your question over “why now, when he’s due to be sent back”, Chen himself has offered an answer to that one: because his successor would uncover things that he has already done to help dissident groups.

June 5, 2005 @ 10:54 pm | Comment

And with regards to the “internal affairs” debate, there is no way that the DIMIA (the Australian immigration department) can legally turn down his application … It simply isn’t a matter of government policy. China might be unhappy about it, but to ask the Australian government to intervene would be to ask the Australian government to break the laws of Australia.

So think about this for a moment: the Australian government isn’t stupid. They know this. So, how do you have your cake and eat it to? You give no public support to the applicant, and you go on the record saying “our hands are tied, and the applicant will be handled through normal channels.” With all honesty they can go to the Chinese embassy, and explain how this is all very embarrassing, and how it would have been better for all if it never happened, but the matter is now out of our hands, and has to be dealt with according to the laws of Australia. The Australians get to keep Chen, and suffer a hell of a lot less political damage than they would by coming out and granting him as a long lost friend, and making all sorts of statements about what a nasty place China is. As eswn (I think?) said … give the Australians some credit.

June 5, 2005 @ 11:02 pm | Comment

Ooops … maybe I’m wrong. The Chinese ambassador is one impressive lady … she’s been handling the media circus incredibly well … and, most cleverly, saying that Chen will not be punished if he goes back. Everyone knows it’s not true, but by saying so, it really makes his application a lot more difficult …

June 6, 2005 @ 8:09 am | Comment

Apparently she’s taken that back – giving no gaurantees anymore

June 7, 2005 @ 2:15 am | Comment

“Bing – I think it’s interesting that you don’t mind the kidnappings, because in a kind of funny way it’s showing that China isn’t respectful of Australia’s ‘internal affairs’ in the sense that Australia has the sovereign right to keep anyone they want in their country. And it becomes politically acceptable to a lot of countries in the international community to do so if they say that they are protecting him.

anyway, I’m betting howard kicks him out.”

Laowai, are you a real laowai? ๐Ÿ™‚

June 7, 2005 @ 3:07 am | Comment

Depends upon what your definition is, I guess. ๐Ÿ˜€

If certain chinese concepts of ethnicity were applied to the UK, and if by Laowai you mean “foreign, not native” than no, I’m not. Is that cryptic enough?

June 7, 2005 @ 4:34 am | Comment

GReat debate. I can understand bing’s opinion that Chen is a traitor, I might disagree with it but I’m not Chinese, but I can understand it.

FOr once I think ESWN is off the mark here. Australia is:

1. A fervant ally of the US and therefore privy to information not available in many other places in Asia.

2. A favoured destination of Chinese cadres fleeing China with their families with money they have stolen from China (this is where I have much sympathy for BING’s fellings here).

3. It’s the only “western” nation in Asia.

4. 1,000 isn’t a huge amount when you look at the big picture.

ESWN also just looking at the populations of the US/China and multiplying this with the ratio of Australian population and 1,000 is simply misleading.

On a seperate point, it’s terrible when some threads are spread out really wide and I have to click on the bottom scroll bar and scroll back and forth as I read each line of a post. Is there anything I can do on my computer to reduce the posts to the same size as the comments box?

Can Richard do something to prevent this?

June 8, 2005 @ 4:21 am | Comment

Zoe, that happens when people add long URLs that throw off the margins. I have asked readers to use tinyurl, but I’ll have to ask agaoin. Try opening the post itself and not the comments section by clicking opn the time, not on “Comments.”

June 8, 2005 @ 7:23 am | Comment

I’m so silly Richard, I didn’t even know I could click on the time and open a post like I do when I read your Archives.

Thanks very much. This is much better!

June 8, 2005 @ 11:28 am | Comment

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