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Thursday, June 20, 2024 | Back issues
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Chinese Man Can Pursue Asylum, 2nd Circuit Rules

(CN) - A Chinese man claiming he fled persecution from family-planning officials should not have been denied asylum just because the alleged persecutors were local officials and not national authorities, the 2nd Circuit ruled.

After hearing that family-planning officials took his wife and forced her to undergo an abortion, Dong Zhong Zheng said he ran to the home of an official and accused the official of being "inhumane" and "cursed that he was to have no offspring." Zheng said the official swore to have him arrested.

In a letter, Zheng's wife described the brutal circumstances surrounding her forced abortion. Officials allegedly broke into the couple's home and dragged Zheng's wife out of the house. At the clinic, officials allegedly gave her a shot and she describes feeling "a sharp pain in the belly." She claimed that officials threatened to put her husband in a labor penitentiary and policemen came to the couple's house looking for Zheng regularly.

In the initial denial of Zheng's asylum application, an immigration judge pointed out that Zheng "asserted that he was only being sought for violating a local family planning problem and that it was localized concerning his particular problem. Well that seems to be contradictory to the respondents assertion that the government of China wishes to do him harm or persecute him if he's forced to return."

Vacating the immigration judge's finding, the federal appeals court in New York stated that "calling Zheng's claim 'contradictory' upon such grounds is problematic as a matter of logic; and it is plainly unacceptable as a matter of law. It is simply not the case that an applicant for asylum may be denied relief if his claim focuses upon persecution at the hands of local, as opposed to national, political authorities."

The 2nd Circuit also took the opportunity to advise the immigration judges on rulings by reiterating the 1st Circuit's statement that "[i]mmigration [j]udges would do well to take pains to use more straightforward language."

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