‘ . . . I’ll teach you how to respond’

28 Jun

AGENT: Susan Liang, owner of New-Asia Immigration Law Centre, Toronto. Neither a lawyer nor a CSIC member.

STAR PROFILE: Male, 32. High-school dropout. Factory worker from Guangzhou, China.

ADVICE: Apply for refugee status, claiming to be a Falun Gong member or a Christian. Join Falun Gong to make claim appear legitimate.

STORY: New-Asia’s ad touts it as an “immigration law centre” that offers “super-cheap” visas but can also do expedited divorces. On the phone with Liang, a reporter poses as someone inquiring on behalf of a relative wanting to stay in Canada. Liang suggests he make a refugee claim, promising to help “find a reason” for it.

In New-Asia’s office, atop a steep set of stairs above the din of Chinatown’s shopping district, the reporter, now playing the migrant, explains his situation. Liang, a tiny woman with short black hair, wire-rimmed glasses and a friendly face, marvels at his ability to acquire a visitor’s visa for a cousin’s wedding. It’s a hard thing for mainland Chinese citizens to do.

“Some came through the smugglers,” she remarks while preparing documents on another client’s file. “But you have to be mentally prepared. It’s tough in Canada.”

She suggests there are two ways to stay: get married or claim refugee status.

“I’ll explain to you the refugee process. First, I’ll take you to file a refugee,” she says. “You’ll get it in a week. To know what to say, you have to follow my instructions. Whatever they ask, I’ll teach you how to respond.
“Let me make it up for you. Now,” she explains, ” there can be two claims: one is Falun Gong; one is Christian. Both work.”

Star: “Do I have to answer questions or will you answer them for me?”

Liang: “You have to answer all the questions, but I’ll teach you. All you need to do is to sign it. It’s very simple. When you go and file a refugee claim, they will ask you a few simple questions. Then they accept it and give you a piece of `refugee paper’ …

“Then you have to wait for the hearing, and you can get $500 welfare a month … You will be covered for health care, you can go to school for free …”

Star: “What’s the success rate?”

Liang: “Recently it’s high. It’s low in 2006. It’s been high in 2007. I’m not sure what will happen to you, but you appear to be quite smart. It shouldn’t be a problem. Just respond to the questions properly.”

Star: “You will help?”

Liang: “I’ll train you, including a lawyer. I’ll help you with your story.” The reporter expresses concern that he’s not familiar with Falun Gong or Christianity. Liang suggests that he actually join Falun Gong after filing the application. There will be time to learn, she says. “I’ll teach you.”

Star: “But what would happen if they find out I am not a real refugee? Would they jail me?”

Liang, laughing: “Unless you tell them. No matter what, say that you’re a refugee. They won’t go to China to investigate. They don’t have connections in China …”

Star: “I’m afraid …”

Liang: “No, no, no, are you kidding? You will succeed and get your Maple Leaf (permanent resident) card.”

Total cost: $1,500 – a special price, she says, since the client doesn’t look like he has much money.

She says marriage is an option, but not as good as the refugee route, and she again assures, “You can use either Falun Gong or Christian …

“I’ll start making up the story for you from this moment. They just want to see if you are credible. It’s very easy.”

EPILOGUE: When informed of the secret shopping mission, Liang was angry. Why, she asked, did the Star reporter not disclose his identity and intentions?

Liang then said that she hardly remembered the encounter and was busy, and she proceeded to cut off the phone call.

The Star made several attempts to contact Liang. On a visit, reporters found her at her desk. She rose, said she was going to lunch and had no time to answer questions. She also refused to accept a letter requesting comment, placing it on the floor outside her office.

“I’m a Canadian citizen,” she said in English. “I know my human rights.”

text from: http://www.facts.org.cn/Reports/World/201011/t121135.htm

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