COURT SAYS CHINESE WOMAN ELIGIBLE FOR ASYLUM IN
FALUN GONG CASE
By Julia Cheever, Bay City News Service
February 8, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - A federal appeals court in San Francisco
ruled on Tuesday that a Chinese woman who is not a member of Falun
Gong but who brought news clippings about the spiritual movement
into China is eligible for asylum in the United States.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
said the woman, Ling Zhou, had a well-founded fear that she would
be persecuted because of her action if she returned to China.
Circuit Judge David Thompson wrote, "The evidence shows
that the Chinese government perceives Zhou's actions as a threat
to its political power - a threat that motivates the government
to locate and arrest her."
According to the court ruling, Zhou was formerly a supervisor
at a private software company in China and made repeated business
trips to Singapore.
In 2000, a college classmate who was a Falun Gong practitioner
asked her to bring back some news articles from Singapore that
would show how the foreign press portrayed Falun Gong and the
Chinese government's actions against it.
In May 2001, Zhou brought her friend 20 articles from Singapore
newspapers that were critical of the Chinese government's treatment
of Falun Gong.
Later that month, Zhou left for a previously planned trip to
the United States. While she was in the United States, Zhou learned
that her friend was arrested and that police searched her apartment
in Guangzhou and her parents' home in Loyang in an attempt to
arrest her for bringing "counterrevolutionary materials"
into China from overseas.
Zhou then applied for asylum, but lost before an immigration
judge and an immigration appeals panel.
The 9th Circuit overturned those rulings, saying that Zhou had
provided compelling evidence that she could be arrested, imprisoned
or assigned to hard labor on the basis of what the Chinese government
viewed as a political opinion.
The appeals court ordered the Board of Immigration Appeals to
block Zhou's deportation and sent the case to U.S. Attorney General
Alberto Gonzales to decide whether to grant asylum.
Copyright © 2006 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication,
Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent
of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.