(CN) - A Chinese man is not entitled to asylum because his girlfriend had a forced abortion - the couple must be married to qualify for protection under the Immigration and Naturalization Act, the 11th Circuit ruled.
Chinese officials allegedly forced Zhuang Ping Lin's girlfriend to have an abortion because the couple did not meet China's age requirements for marriage and did not have a birth permit. A Chinese official then allegedly fined Lin for violating family planning policy.
Lin claims he ripped up the fine and then accidentally hit the official in the face during an argument. He fled to the United States after stopping in two or three other countries.
Although the INA considers forced abortion a form of persecution, the father of the aborted fetus is not legally considered a victim of persecution unless he is the spouse of the mother, the appeals court ruled.
Although Lin was fined and threatened with arrest, he was not detained or physically injured, suffering no harm that amounted to persecution, the court ruled in affirming the immigration board's denial for asylum.
The court also ruled that Lin's fear of prosecution for striking the family planning official is not grounds for asylum and that Lin's multiple stops in other countries before coming to the US suggests that he was "venue-shopping."