WASHINGTON — An official who handled student affairs at the Chinese Embassy here announced today that he has defected to the United States, saying there is "totalitarian repression" in his homeland.
The official, Xu Lin, 33, a third secretary of the embassy, said that he was in the process of seeking political asylum in this country. He said he left the embassy Wednesday night.
Xu appeared at a news conference sponsored by the Independent Federation of Chinese Students and Scholars.
"China has stepped backwards into tragedy and totalitarian repression," he said.
Xu said that because of his sympathy with the students' goals, the Chinese government had told him that he would be recalled to China in July, two years earlier than his tour of duty in Washington was scheduled to end. He said that if he returned to China he expected he would face arrest.
The student federation, based in Washington, was formed last year to protect the rights of an estimated 40,000 Chinese students in the United States. It also says it seeks to promote democracy in China.