Court sends Falun Gong men back to China

6 Nov

Two Chinese nationals linking to Falun Gong will be sent back to China.

Both men, when applying for refugee status, had claimed they feared persecution if they returned to China because they were practitioners of Falun Gong.

The claims were refused by the minister.

Subsequent appeals to the Refugee Review Tribunal and Federal Magistrates Court were also rejected before the Federal Court ruled a person’s conduct in Australia must be disregarded for the purposes of granting refugee status.

However, the High Court on Wednesday upheld a subsequent appeal by Immigration Minister Chris Evans.

One of the men, referred to as SZJGV, arrived in Australia on January 25, 2006. The following week he applied for a protection visa, claiming to have been a practitioner of Falun Gong in China since 1997.

The tribunal backed the original decision by the minister to dismiss the claim.

It found that SZJGV’s interest in Falun Gong was a recent invention designed to assist him in his endeavour to remain in Australia by strengthening his claims.

The other case involved a man, referred to as SZJXO, who arrived in Australia on April 22, 2006, and who also claimed to have been practising Falun Gong since 1997.

He claimed he would be imprisoned if he returned to China because of his participation in Falun Gong activities, including protests in Australia against China’s treatment of Falun Gong practitioners.

But the tribunal considered that his claims lacked credit his evidence.

The tribunal was satisfied that SZJXO’s involvement in Falun Gong in Australia was aimed at strengthening his claim to be a refugee and disregarded his evidence.

A majority of the High Court on Wednesday determined the tribunal had not erred in either matter and ordered that the minister’s appeals be allowed.

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