2009 Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Philip Alston

Addendum A/HRC/11/2/Add.1

[FDIC Editor’s Note: This addendum to the May 2009 report of the Special Rapporteur contains, on a country-by-country basis, summaries of reliable and credible allegations of extrajudicial killings that were brought to the attention of the Special Rapporteur, and were transmitted to the Governments concerned. The following are excerpts from the China section of the report.]

China:  Deaths of Falun Gong practitioners

Violation alleged: Deaths in custody owing to torture, neglect, or the use of force, or fear of death in custody due to life-threatening conditions of detention

Subject(s) of appeal: 7 females; 9 males

Character of reply: No response (recent communication)

Observations of the Special Rapporteur

The Special Rapporteur looks forward to receiving a response concerning these allegations.

Allegation letter dated 13 March 2009, sent with the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture and the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief. We would like to bring to your Government’s attention information we have received regarding the cases of 16 deaths of Falun Gong practitioners due to injuries allegedly sustained in custody in China. While the circumstances under which the deaths occurred differ, all the victims were Falun Gong practitioners and they all died under the supervision of law enforcement officers or soon after their release from custody. Concern is expressed that the arrests and deaths of these individuals were solely connected with their activities as Falun Gong practitioners. In the Annex of this letter, we have reproduced detailed information on each of the 16 cases. 

While we do not wish to prejudge the accuracy of these reports, we would like to refer you Government to the relevant principles of international law. In order to overcome the presumption of State responsibility for a death resulting from injuries sustained in custody, there must be a “thorough, prompt and impartial investigation of all suspected cases of extra-legal, arbitrary and summary executions, including cases where complaints by relatives or other reliable reports suggest unnatural death in the above circumstances” (Principle 9 of the Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions). [...]

The Council added that this obligation includes the obligation “to identify and bring to justice those responsible, […], to grant adequate compensation within a reasonable time to the victims or their families and to adopt all necessary measures, including legal and judicial
measures, in order to bring an end to impunity and prevent the recurrence of such executions”.

These obligations to investigate, identify those responsible and bring them to justice arise also under Articles 7 and 12 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to which China is a Party [emphasis added].

In addition to the above, we would like to appeal to your Government to ensure the right to freedom of religion or belief in accordance with the principles set forth in the 1981 Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination based on Religion or Belief and article 18 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.  [...]
 
Moreover, it is our responsibility under the mandate provided to us by the Human Rights Council, to seek to clarify all cases brought to our attention. Since we are expected to report on these cases to the Human Rights Council, we would be grateful for your cooperation and your observations on the following matters:

 1. Are the facts alleged in the case summaries in the Annex accurate? If not so, please share all information and documents proving their inaccuracy.

 2. Please provide the details, and where available the results, of the investigations, and judicial or other inquiries carried out in relation to each of the cases mentioned in the Annex. 

 3. Please provide the details of any disciplinary measures imposed on, and criminal rosecutions against persons found to be responsible, as perpetrators or as responsible commanders, for the killings mentioned in the Annex.
 
 4. Please provide the details of any compensation payments made to the families or dependants, if any, of the victims in the cases mentioned in the Annex. 

Annex

Ms Hu Yanrong, from Xiaoyushulin Village, Beilu Township, Lingyuan City, Liaoning Province

On 1 August 2007 around 10 p.m., police officers blocked the entrance of the home of a Falun Gong practitioner, where some 40 persons including Hu Yanrong were present. About midnight, a dozen police officers arrested those practitioners trapped in the house. They beat the practitioners with electric batons and two-inch long metal rods and forced them into police vehicles. The police claimed that Hu Yanrong tried to jump out of a police car. She sustained severe injuries and fell into a coma after being taken to the Lingyuan Prison Hospital. Her head was swollen, her eyes, nose and mouth were bruised, the area between her temples and eyes was coloured in dark purple. There were traces of blood on her face. Doctors at Lingyuan Prison hospital performed two brain surgeries, but Ms. Hu died at 2 a.m. on 5 August 2007.

[FDIC Editor’s Note: It is common practice in both Falun Gong and other cases for the Chinese authorities to claim that an individual who died from abuse in custody had committed suicide. Specifically for Falun Gong, instructions have reportedly been issued within the security apparatus that if a practitioner dies in custody, it should be recorded as a suicide in order to avoid legal responsibility]

Mr. Huang Fajun, resident of Acheng District, Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province

 On 24 July 2007, policemen from the Sougfengshan Town Police Station arrested Mr. Huang and beat him until both of his feet broke. The police detained him in the Acheng District First Detention Centre. He went on a hunger strike to protest the detention and was force-fed. He developed open sores, and his hands and feet were swollen and showed deep scars caused by shackles and cuffs. On 2 November 2007, the police notified his family that he was dying and that they could visit him at the Archeng District Traditional Medicine Hospital. He was allowed to return home on 4 November 2007, where he died at around 8 p.m. on 6 November 2007. 

Mr. Xiong Zhengming  [Wanyuan City, Sichuan Province]

On 15 March 2007, police officers took Xiong Zhengming to the Wanyuan City First Detention Center, indicating that they had detected that Mr. Xiong visited overseas websites. ollowing eight months of detention, the police sentenced Mr. Xiong to one year of forced labour. Later, he was transferred to the Wanyuan City Second Detention Center. On  December 2007, he was informed of a second transfer to a forced labour camp outside the own. He refused to go, but was taken away at around 9 a.m. on 4 December 2007. On 5 December 2007, Mr. Xiong’s family was notified that he had committed suicide while on his way to the Sichuan Province Xinhua Forced Labor Camp, by jumping out of the vehicle.

Mr. Xiong’s father was forced to sign the paper authorizing his body to be cremated immediately. He was also asked not to leak any information to the public; otherwise, his other two sons would lose their jobs. According to information received, the authorities gave inconsistent accounts of the cause of death, saying that he committed suicide in one instance and that he died in a traffic accident in other instances.
 
Mr. Bai Heguo, lived in Xiguangshan Village, Liutiao Town in Dengta City, Liaoning Province

Bai Heguo was taken into custody on 9 June 2002 by police officers from Tongerpu District Police Department, for practicing Falun Gong. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison and was held in Liaoning Province Huazi Prison. He was secretly transferred to the Nanguanling Prison in Dalian city at the end of December 2007. On 5 January 2008, at 3 p.m., the prison administration notified Mr. Bai’s family that he had died. His body was covered in bruises and he had a bump on his head and a cut in his tongue. His leg was broken and his testicles had been crushed. Authorities hurriedly cremated the body. The Nanguanling prison authorities claimed that Mr. Bai had committed suicide. 

Ms. Zong Xiuxia, lived in the Fangzi District in Weifang City, Shandong Province

In February 2008, Zong Xiuxia was taken to the Guangwen Police Station in Kuiwen District, at around 11.30 a.m., after she had discussed issues relating to Falun Gong at a supermarket. Police said that they took Ms. Zong to the Weifang City People’s Hospital for a physical check-up at around 1 p.m., where she died at 3 p.m. The family was told that she died from jumping out of the elevator in the hospital.

Mr. Yu Zhou, a well-known singer from Beijing

Yu Zhou was arrested in Tongzhou District, Beijing, on 26 January 2008, along with his wife, Xu Na. The police stopped their vehicle when they were on their way home, arrested them and took them directly to the Tongzhou District Detention Centre. On 6 February 2008 Yu Zhou died at the Qinghe District Emergency Centre. The police claimed that this was a result of him going on hunger strike although he had diabetes. However, other sources indicate that he had been healthy and had never been suffering from diabetes. When the family requested to see the body and to have an autopsy performed, the authorities refused and threatened them. 

Ms. Gu Jianmin, lived in Pudong New District, Shanghai

 Gu Jianmin was arrested on 1 March 2008, by officers from the Yangjing Police Station in Pudong New District, Shanghai. Her husband was called and told to go to the Pudong New District Police Department and to the Neighbourhood Administration to do some medical parole paper work. When he arrived at the hospital, he saw that his wife’s eyes were protruding, her pupils were enlarged, and that she was bleeding from the mouth. No one treated her although more than thirty agents of the 610 Office were present. She died on 13 March 2008.

Mr. Gu Qun

Gu Qun was arrested and taken to the Tianjin Street Police Station, for distributing Falun Gong materials, on 16 March 2008. On the following day, he was transferred to the Yaojia Detention Center. To protest his detention, he went on a hunger strike, but was forced-fed. On 7 April 2008, the detention centre took him to the Dalian City Third People’s Hospital. The doctor there said he was in need of treatment, but the detention staff indicated that he would be taken to the Police hospital. However, they returned him to the detention centre. At 9 a.m. on 8 April 2008, he was taken to the hospital once again, but died on the way.

Mr. Fan Dezhen, lived in Huludao City, Liaoning Province

On 25 February 2008, Fan Dezhen was arrested with eleven other Falun Gong practitioners, by the Suizhong Country Domestic Security Division Leader. He died at around 7 a.m. on 20 April 2008, in the Suizhong Country Detention Centre. Officers notified his family after 4 p.m., indicating that, if they wanted to see the body, they had to do so on that same evening, because on the following day, an autopsy and cremation would be performed. 

Mr. Liu Quan, lived in Benxi City, Liaoning Province

On 4 May 2008, the Nan’guanling Prison Administration in Dalian City called Mr. Liu Quan’s family to inform them that Liu Quan had died at 2 a.m. due to a heart attack. His face was yellow, the flesh around his eyes and lips was purple, there were large purple bruises on his back, and his nose was filled with cotton balls. No autopsy was carried out and the authorities refused to authorize the transfer of Liu’s body to Benxi City, where he had lived.

Mr. Wu Xinming, a resident of Xuanwuo Town, Hanyin County, in Shaanxi Province

Wu Xinming was arrested on 15 June 2006 after talking about Falun Gong to people in the countryside. The police sent him to Zaozihe Forced Labor Camp. There, the guards tied him with a rope. When he went on a hunger strike to protest the detention, the guards force-fed him with a highly concentrated salt solution, chilli powder, water and even laundry detergent. They also tied up his body, and whipped him with wire, resulting in his whole body being covered with bruises. He was returned home on 25 June 2008 after he began coughing up and vomiting blood. He died on the following day, 26 June 2008.

Ms Chen Yumei, resident of Shenyang City, Liaoning Province
 
On the evening of 3 July 2008, officers from the Chang’an Police Station in Dadong District, Shenyang City, arrested Chen Yumei on Pangjiang Street. During the arrest, they beat and kicked her. Her family was asked to identify her in the ambulance, at around 9 p.m. of the same day, before she was taken to #463 Military Hospital. Having detected bleeding in her skull, the doctor had to perform an operation, for which the family paid. Her arms and legs were covered in bruises, and there were deep scratches on her body. Doctors said the marks were caused by beating or dragging. She died at around 8.30 p.m. on 4 July 2008. 

Mr. Zhong Zhenfu, lived in Zhongjia Village, Changle Town, Pingdu City, Shandong Province

 On 4 May 2008, Zhong Zhenfu was arrested at his house at around 6 p.m., as officers from the Pingdu City 610 Office and the City Police Department stormed into houses rented by Falun Gong practitioners in Pingdu City. The police confiscated some of their possessions and interrogated them at the police station. When they refused to reveal any information, the officers poured boiling water over their necks and bodies. Three days later, they were taken to Pingdu City Detention Centre. Guards put shackles on Zhong Zhenfu and whipped him about the head with metal wires. He was detained in a metal cage with the shackles still on, and the guards ordered other inmates to ill-treat him. The latter tried to force him to curse the founder of Falun Gong. When he refused, they beat him for over an hour. He was sent to the hospital and released on medical parole, after having been forced to pay over 100,000 Yuan in medical expenses. He died on 20 July 2008.

Ms. Yang Jingfen, a resident of Panjin City, Liaoning Province

 At approximately 7:30 a.m. on 18 August 2008, six police officers from the Xinglongtai District State Security Division entered the apartment of Ms. Yang Jingfen, aged 59, and her husband to arrest her and search the apartment on the ground that she practiced Falun Gong. At around 9 a.m., her husband had to run an errand and left Ms. Yang alone with the police officers. When he returned at around 9:30 a.m. he found Ms. Yang’s lifeless body in front of their apartment building. The police officers claimed that she had jumped out of a window of her sixth floor apartment to commit suicide.

Ms. Sun Aimei, resident of Xinhua Village, Zhucheng City, Shandong Province

 Sun Aimei, aged about 60, was sentenced to detention at the Wangcun Women’s Forced Labour Camp on 28 March 2008, three days after being arrested for distributing literature about the persecution of Falun Gong. At the end of 2008, her family was informed that she had suffered a stroke and had undergone surgery. They were not, however, allowed to see her. On 1 February 2009, Ms. Sun’s family was told to go to Wangcun Women’s Forced Labour Camp to collect her ashes. 

Ms. Hou Lihua, resident of Dongan District, Mudanjiang City, Heilongjiang Province

Hou Lihua was arrested at her workplace on 17 November 2008 and taken to the Mudanjiang City State Security unit. According to witnesses, she was beaten and otherwise ill-treated while in custody there. She was released in December 2008 but died on 14 February 2009 due to the injuries sustained in custody.

To view the full report, see: http://daccess-ods.un.org/TMP/3067876.html