Vague regulations were used to tightly control publication of politically sensitive material, including references to the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations, human rights and democracy, Falun Gong, and Tibetan and Uighur issues.
The authorities renewed the campaign to “transform” Falun Gong practitioners, which required prison and detention centres to force Falun Gong inmates to renounce their beliefs. Those considered “stubborn,” that is, those who refuse to sign a statement to this effect, are typically tortured until they cooperate; many die in detention or shortly after release.
Falun Gong members continued to be targeted in security sweeps carried out prior to major national events. Falun Gong sources documented 124 practitioners detained in Shanghai prior to the World Expo, with dozens reported to have been sentenced to terms of Re-education through Labour or prison. Human rights lawyers were particularly susceptible to punishment by the authorities for taking on Falun Gong cases, including losing their licences, harassment and criminal prosecution.
Guo Xiaojun, a former lecturer at a Shanghai university and a Falun Gong practitioner, was detained in Shanghai in January and later charged with “using a heretical organization to subvert the law”. He was sentenced to four years in prison for allegedly having distributed Falun Gong materials. He was tortured in detention, kept in solitary confinement and eventually signed a confession that was used to uphold his sentence at a closed appeal hearing. He had already previously served a five-year prison term for his beliefs.
Lawyers Tang Jitian and Liu Wei had their licences permanently revoked in April by the Beijing Municipal Justice Bureau, on grounds of “disrupting the order of the court and interfering with the regular litigation process”. The two had represented a Falun Gong practitioner in April 2009 in Sichuan Province.
“Foreign nationals denied entry to Hong Kong included Chen Weiming, sculptor of the Goddess of Democracy statue used in the 4 June 1989 Tiananmen vigil, and six Falun Gong dance troupe technicians.”
Read the full Amnesty report.
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