WORLD IN BRIEF : WASHINGTON, D.C. : Chinese Ballet Star Applies for Asylum

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

A rising Chinese ballet star, who disappeared last month while performing with the Houston Ballet Company, said he has asked for asylum in the United States. At a press conference in Washington, Lin Zhen said he dropped out of sight because his plan had been uncovered and dance officials threatened to return him to China. He said that a lack of freedom since Beijing's pro-democracy crackdown last year has made it impossible for him to continue his career there.

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