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Ex-Nursing Assistant Wins Asylum Ruling

(CN) - A Chinese woman can't be blocked from seeking U.S. asylum simply because she served as a nurse's assistant to patients who underwent forced abortions in China, the 2nd Circuit ruled.

Yanqin Weng worked at a public hospital in Fujian Province, China. One night, she allegedly helped a pregnant woman escape before doctors could perform a forced abortion. Weng claimed that Chinese officials threatened to arrest her if she didn't reveal the location of the missing pregnant woman.

In September 2004, she fled China and entered the United States illegally.

An immigration judge refused to grant her political asylum and withholding of removal, citing her role as a "persecutor." Because she provided post-surgical care to women who had undergone force abortions and had helped a family planning official guard pregnant women, she "played a role critical to the effect of enforcement of the coercive population control policy in China," the immigration judge ruled.

The Board of Immigration Appeals upheld the decision.

But the federal appeals court in New York said Weng's role "was tangential, and not sufficiently direct, active, or integral to the administering of forced abortions as to amount to assistance in persecution."

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