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A Chinese democracy activist who has been granted refugee status expressed his joy Friday at the Justice Ministry’s decision, 11 years after he first applied following the Chinese government’s crackdown on demonstrators in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989.

It is rare for refugee status to be granted to a Chinese antigovernment activist, although immigration authorities have in the past issued special visas to a number of Japan-based activists who cannot return to China for fear of persecution, according to lawyers for Zhao Nan.

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