Chinese group seek asylum in New Zealand
Chinese asylum seekers are reportedly heading to New Zealand after they were forced to dock their boat in Australia. The Minister of Immigration for New Zealand said that he is worried about their safety during the journey.
Nathan Guy, New Zealand's Minister of Immigration, added that he is trying to get more details from Australian officials. The group's departure date has not been revealed but it is thought that they face detention if they do not leave Australia.
Ian Rintoul, a local activist, said that the asylum seekers believe that the strong relationship between China and Australia will prevent them from getting permission to stay in the country. He continued to say that the group believes that New Zealand is regarded highly by international officials.
The asylum seekers allege that the Malaysian UN Authorities gave them refugee status. The Australian Green Party said that the asylum seekers should be permitted to remain in the country, but the Prime Minister commented that they have not requested to live in Australia and that the authorities would not force them to stay against their wishes.
The group was traveling from Malaysia to New Zealand by yacht when they were forced to stop in Australia because of problems with the boat. They were granted temporary visas so that they could enter the country but they will be required to continue their journey in the next few days. The Chinese group says that they are members of the Falun Gong spiritual group and have been targeted in China because of this.
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