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US Congress lauds Chen's 'explosive' testimon -

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US Congress lauds Chen's 'explosive' testimony

Reporter: Leigh Sales

MAXINE McKEW: Members of the United States Congress have heaped praise on the Chinese diplomat who
defected to Australia, calling him a man of courage and honour. Chen Yonglin was in Washington
appearing before a congressional committee looking into China's record of persecution of members of
the falun gong spiritual movement. In contrast to the guarded reaction he received from the
Australian government at the time of his defection, members of the US Congress lauded Mr Chen,
describing his testimony as 'explosive'.

This report from North America correspondent Leigh Sales.

LEIGH SALES: Outside the capital precinct, hundreds of Falun Gong members protested the Chinese
Government's (CCP) persecution of their ranks. Inside, a congressional committee heard testimony on
the same thing from the Sydney-based former Chinese diplomat Chen Yonglin.

CHEN YONGLIN, FORMER CHINESE DIPLOMAT: The US and Australia are considered by the CCP as the base
of the Falun Gong overseas.

LEIGH SALES: Mr Chen also talked about broader issues.

CHEN YONGLIN: There are over 1,000 Chinese secret agents and informants in Australia and the number
in the US shall not be less.

LEIGH SALES: Mr Chen's testimony was met with effusive praise by members of Congress.

CHRIS SMITH, REPUBLICAN MEMBER OF CONGRESS: We thank you for your courage in stepping forward, as
you have, to provide this extremely explosive and useful and very damning indictment of the
Government of China.

JEFF FORTENBERRY, REPUBLICAN MEMBER OF CONGRESS: This is your moment that your sacrifice, your
willing to say what you have has brought tremendous honour to your name.

LEIGH SALES: The whole room erupted in admiration when Mr Chen's part of the hearing ended.

REPORTER: Are you happy to remain in Australia or would you prefer to have asylum in the United
States?

CHEN YONGLIN: Yes, I would be happy to stay in Australia as Australia, the Government, has already
given me the protection visa.

LEIGH SALES: Mr Chen's invitation to testify here illustrates the differing attitudes in the US and
Australian governments towards China. Human rights groups accused the Australian Government of
treating Mr Chen with scepticism because it was worried about offending China and losing economic
opportunities. The US Government is worried that China may be a threat and so it sees the former
diplomat as a useful source of inside information.

JOHN TKACIK, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: The US Government is generally sympathetic to this kind of a
defector.

LEIGH SALES: He says the US relationship with China is complex but that human rights are a central
issue.

JOHN TKACIK: There's no question now that the US is very sympathetic to plights of Chinese who are
quite clearly suffering, not just discrimination, but outright arrests, repression, torture in the
case of the Falun Gong.

LEIGH SALES: The Australian and US leaders were asked about their relations with China when they
met in Washington earlier this week.

GEORGE W BUSH, US PRESIDENT: We've got areas of issues when it comes to values. For example, I
happen to believe religious freedom is very important for any society.

JOHN HOWARD: We are unashamed in developing our relations with China and I'm well pleased with the
way the economic relationship has developed.

LEIGH SALES: Both leaders emphasise that they don't see conflict over China, or with China, as in
any way inevitable. The great unknown, though, is how China will behave as it continues its rise to
global superpower.