Rising Chinese ballet star Lin Zhen said Thursday that he had applied for asylum in the United States because political pressures made it impossible for him to continue his career.
Speaking to reporters at a news conference, Lin said political pressures and lack of freedom since the bloody pro-democracy crackdown in Beijing last year made it difficult for him to practice. Lin, brought to the United States by the Houston Ballet Company, decided to defect in June, but later disappeared when the dance organization discovered his plan and threatened to return him to China. He reappeared Thursday.
Lin said that he hoped that the Chinese government will not try to retaliate by punishing his mother and father, who live in northeast China near the Korean border.