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 has 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 is calling for ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games.
General Amnesty International 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. […I]n July 1999, the government outlawed the group and launched a long-term campaign of intimidation and persecution, directed by a special organization called the 610 Office.
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.”
Urgent Actions and Appeal Cases for Falun Gong practitioners
Urgent Actions and Reports on Lawyers Who Had Defended Falun Gong Adherents
- Urgent Action: China: Further information: Wang Yonghang formally arrested (28 August 2009)
- Urgent Action: China: Human rights lawyer detained, tortured: Wang Yonghang (28 July 2009)
- Urgent Action: China: Fear for safety/ possible incommunicado detention (September 28, 2007)
- Background briefing on Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng (December 22, 2006)
- Urgent Action: China: Further information on: Fear for safety/ death threats: Gao Zhisheng (October 23, 2006)
- China: Amnesty International fears for missing hunger-strike activists