Amnesty International (AI) first began researching and reporting on the persecution of Falun Gong in the days immediately following the ban on the practice on July 20, 1999. Since that time, abuses against Falun Gong practitioners have been a regular feature of the China section of AI’s annual report. Thanks to multiple Urgent Actions that have been issued for adherents in imminent danger of being tortured, thousands of AI members have written to the Chinese authorities on behalf of practitioners and in several instances, contributed to better treatment or early release.
In a special report on torture in 2001, AI highlighted the systematic use of torture by security agents in a nation-wide effort to force citizens to abandon the traditional Chinese practice.
More recently, AI featured Bu Dongwei, a practitioner serving a two-and-a-half year sentence in a Beijing labor camp, as one of the prisoners of conscience whose release it was calling for ahead of the Beijing Olympic Games. Thanks to these efforts, Bu was released in 2008 ahead of schedule and shortly thereafter, reunited with his wife and daughter in the United States.
Amnesty International, general description of persecution against Falun Gong (compiled from recent Urgent Actions)
“Falun Gong is a spiritual movement that gained large numbers of adherents in China during the 1990s. […]In July 1999, the government outlawed the group and launched a long-term campaign of intimidation and persecution.[…]
Tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have been arbitrarily detained since the spiritual movement was banned […]. Those accused of being Falun Gong leaders or organizers have been jailed. Others have been held in psychiatric hospitals, but the vast majority have been held in Re-education Through Labour facilities, a form of punitive administrative detention in which people can be deprived of their liberty without trial for up to four years.
The crackdown on Falun Gong intensified in the lead-up to the Olympics. Falun Gong sources reported over 8000 arrests of Falun Gong practitioners nationwide during this period, and say that in 2008 over 100 died in custody or shortly after being released, due to torture, starvation and lack of medical treatment.”
Excerpts from Recent Amnesty International Annual Reports
Amnesty International, 2010 Annual Report:
“The severe and systematic 10-year campaign against Falun Gong continued…Former [labor camp] prisoners reported that Falun Gong constituted one of the largest groups of prisoners…The government campaign against Falun Gong intensified, with sweeping detentions, unfair trials leading to long sentences, enforced disappearances and deaths in detention following torture and ill-treatment.”
Amnesty International, 2009 Annual Report:
“Falun Gong practitioners were among those most harshly persecuted by the government. In the run-up to the Beijing Olympics, thousands were reported to have been arrested, with hundreds imprisoned or assigned to Re-education through Labour camps and other forms of administrative detention where they were at risk of torture and other ill-treatment sometimes leading to death.”
Amnesty International, 2008 Annual Report:
“Falun Gong practitioners were at particularly high risk of torture and other ill-treatment in detention. […] During the year over 100 Falun Gong practitioners were reported to have died in detention or shortly after release as a result of torture, denial of food or medical treatment, and other forms of ill-treatment.”
Sample Individual Cases cited in Recent Amnesty International Reports
Ms. Ouyang Wen, Beijing, Amnesty International Urgent Action, March 2, 2009
“Falun Gong practitioner Ouyang Wen began a two-year term of Re-education Through Labour (RTL) in June 2008. While in custody her eyesight began to deteriorate, to the point where she is now almost blind, but she has been given no medical treatment. She was arrested without a warrant at her home in Beijing in May 2008, and sent to RTL, after she had been in custody for a month, for ‘hiding Falun Gong propaganda materials’ in her home […]. This is the third time Ouyang Wen has been persecuted for her religious beliefs.[…]
Shortly after her [previous] release Ouyang Wen resumed practicing Falun Gong and declared on a Falun Gong website that she regretted signing the letter [to denounce the practice] and had been coerced into doing so. Fearing the government would punish her for this; she fled her home and became destitute. She traveled for the next six years, only occasionally visiting her family at home. Her arrest on 14 May 2008 was a result of her visiting home to celebrate her daughter’s 17th birthday.”
Ms. Chen Zhenping, Henan, Amnesty International Urgent Action, April 1, 2010
“Chen Zhenping was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment in August 2008 for practising Falun Gong […]. She is currently being held at Women’s No. 5 Prison, Henan Province, where approximately 200 Falun Gong practitioners are held.
A former prisoner who was recently released from the same prison reported that Chen Zhenping is being held in a tiny cell where she is watched around the clock by other inmates, many of whom are criminals and drug addicts. The former prisoner reported that Chen Zhenping was often not allowed to go to the toilet and was tied to a bed and beaten. She was also forcibly injected with drugs and had been heard to cry ‘Don’t give me the shot. Don’t give me the shot. I don’t want to take the drug…’”
Mr. Jiang Feng, Shanghai, Amnesty International Urgent Action, May 10, 2010
“Falun Gong practitioner Jiang Feng went missing in Shanghai on 18 February and is believed to be detained by the Chinese authorities. He is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.
On 18 February, Jiang Feng went missing at Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport. He checked in for his flight to New York, but never boarded the flight. Airline staff said he was taken away by public security officials after passing through the security check point. The authorities have not told Jiang Feng’s family where he is held, and their efforts to obtain information from police in Shanghai about his whereabouts have failed.”
 Bu Dongwei, “Blog: My Life Inside a Chinese Labor Camp,” Amnesty International, December 7, 2009; http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/blog-my-life-inside-chinese-labor-camp-20091207
 Amnesty International, “Amnesty International Report 2010,” May 27, 2010; http://report2010.amnesty.org/sites/default/files/AIR2010_AZ_EN.pdf#page=51
 Annual Report 2009, “People’s Republic of China,” Amnesty International Report 2009, May 28, 2009; http://archive.amnesty.org/report2008/eng/regions/asia-pacific/china.html
 Annual Report 2008, “China,” Amnesty International Report 2008, May 28, 2008; http://report2009.amnesty.org/en/regions/asia-pacific/china
 Amnesty International, “China: Medical Concern/Fear of Torture or Other Ill-Treatment: Ouyang Wen,” March 2, 2009; http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA17/008/2009/en/97889f9b-24c6-4a5d-9f2f-8b50d39beea6/asa170082009en.html
 Amnesty International, “China: Further Information: Imprisoned Woman Tortured in China: Chen Zhenping,” April 1, 2010; http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA17/011/2010/en/9b14fc63-4dc0-467d-9867-5c2a1790f1ab/asa170112010en.html
 Amnesty International, “China: Falun Gong Practitioner Missing in China: Jiang Feng,” May 10, 2010; http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA17/021/2010/en/df9220a8-a89f-4d86-93a8-28ed2f15e915/asa170212010en.html