A former Chinese diplomat trying to defect to Australia came out of hiding in Sydney yesterday to tell supporters that the last month had been hell for him and his family. Chen Yonglin , who fled his post as first secretary at the Chinese consulate in Sydney on May 26, said he had betrayed the Chinese government, but branded the communist authorities as evil. He said he was also disillusioned with the Australian government, which had refused his request for political asylum. Mr Chen, his wife and their six-year-old daughter are hiding in Sydney awaiting a decision on their application for protection visas. 'It has been one month since my betrayal of the Chinese communist government. It was one month of life in hell and my heart is heavy,' Mr Chen, 37, told a crowd of about 350 supporters at a Sydney park. 'I am an ordinary Chinese but I have to deal with two governments. One is the evil Chinese government and the other is the one I have lost my illusions about.' Mr Chen dropped a political bombshell in the days after his defection attempt when he went public with claims that Beijing runs a network of more than 1,000 spies and informers in Australia. He also said Beijing agents had kidnapped Chinese nationals from Australia and forcibly repatriated them. Mr Chen said he decided to defect because he could no longer continue at the consulate, where his duties were to monitor dissidents, pro-democracy activists and the Falun Gong movement. He took comfort from the support of so many ordinary Australians and said he could see 'light at the end of the tunnel'. Also appearing at the rally was a second defector, Hao Fengjun , a former security official from Tianjin who says he fled to Australia after witnessing the torture of Falun Gong practitioners. Mr Hao's lawyer, Bernard Collaery, a former Canberra attorney-general, said there was evidence to support Mr Chen's claims of an extensive spy network. 'Mr Chen wasn't exaggerating,' Mr Collaery said. 'In due course, you will see a great deal of further evidence of that allegation.' He contrasted the Australian government's apparent indifference towards Mr Chen with the attitude of western governments to Soviet defectors during the cold war. 'When Soviet intelligence officers defected, they were greeted as heroes and rapidly processed with their families for permanent residence.' Mr Chen has accused the Australian government of colluding with Beijing to prevent him gaining political asylum. At a press conference last week in which he sometimes wept, he blamed the inaction of the Australian authorities on the country's growing trade ties with China. He claimed Beijing had engaged in an all-out campaign to shift Australia away from its economic and strategic links with the US. Mr Chen also said Australia's rejection of his bid for political asylum within 24 hours had left him feeling abandoned.