Chinese man loses court battle to stay in Northern Ireland

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A Chinese man who claims he faces persecution over his Christian faith if forced back to his native country has lost a High Court battle to stay in Northern Ireland.

Jun Wu, 50, issued a legal challenge after the Home Office turned down two separate bids for asylum since arriving in the UK more than a decade ago.

In the first he described himself as a teacher who came into conflict with local authorities for opposing plans to build a hydro-electric dam that would result in the demolition of his village.

He later mounted a fresh application based on his Christianity and involvement with a church in Belfast.

But a judge today dismissed his case, finding nothing perverse in the decisions taken.

Mr Justice Maguire said: “There also appears to be nothing of substance to support the contention that the applicant is or has been a proselytiser in regard to his church involvement, or that he would be someone who would attract attention to himself if he was returned to China.”

Although Mr Wu came to the UK in 2003, he waited nearly four years to make his first asylum claim.

He said he feared persecution due to an alleged conflict with local government officials at Quin Tiain in the Zhe Jaing province, where he lived with his wife and two young children.

The court heard he attended protest meetings against the building of a dam which would lead to 700 homes in his village being demolished.

Mr Wu claimed he was arrested and abused in custody before fleeing to the UK.

His first asylum claim was rejected amid inconsistencies in his accounts.

A second application lodged in January 2011 depicted a different case centred on fears or persecution due to his Christian faith.

He said he attended a church in Belfast every Sunday, and on Mondays for bible study.

Claiming to be involved in further activities, including distributing leaflets, Mr Wu also said his grandfather had been a Christian minister ill treated in China because of his religion.

Ultimately, however, immigration authorities denied him asylum for a second time.

It was noted that Mr Wu had not been baptised until October 2012, with his depth of understanding of Christianity assessed as being poor.

He was also held to be at no risk on return to China because of his faith.

Dismissing Mr Wu’s application for judicial review, Mr Justice Maguire said: “The case made by the applicant now that he was on a black list appears to be one based on an assertion without evidence to support it.

“There is, in the court’s judgment, no compelling reason which would support the grant of leave to apply for judicial review in this case.”