XU NA WAS WIDOWED DURING THE 2008 BEIJING OLYMPICS. Her husband, Mr. Yu Zhou, died in police custody just ten days after being incarcerated. Reports later emerged that he was tortured to death. Three weeks before the 2022 Beijing Olympics, Xu was sentenced to eight years in prison.
In response, a representative for the U.S. State Department has called for the release of Ms. Xu and the ten citizen journalists. Freedom House has also reported on her case.
The growing awareness about the CCP persecution of Falun Gong has resulted in government action across the globe, one of which is taking substantial steps in the United Kingdom. Lord Hunt penned an article about his recent “Squid Game Amendment” in the Health and Care Bill, aimed at stopping forced organ harvesting.
Finally, the film Unsilenced directed by the Peabody award-winning Leon Lee has just extended its showtimes in select U.S. theaters. Find the showtimes near you here: unsilencedmovie.com/tickets/.
Levi Browde, Executive Director Falun Dafa Information Center
For persevering in her faith in Falun Gong and exposing the crimes of the Chinese Communist Party, Mrs. Xu Na has been repeatedly incarcerated and tortured. Xu is an award-winning artist and freelance writer. In 1995, she began practicing Falun Gong with her husband Yu, a talented musician and member of the popular three-person band “Xiao Juan and Residents in the Valley”.
Xu was sentenced in 2001 to 5 years in prison, enduring torture at the notorious “7th branch” of the Beijing Women’s Prison. She was also put in solitary confinement, deprived of sleep, not allowed to take showers, and denied family visits. In 2022, she was sentenced again to 8 years.
“The CCP has completely decimated this family. Xu Na had already spent years in prison, and her husband was detained and died in police custody in the lead up to the 2008 Olympics. And now this brazen sentence is handed down as a message to the world.
Think about it: the CCP chose to sentence Xu at the most visible time possible — 3 weeks before the Olympics start as all eyes are trained on Beijing. It’s as if the CCP is intentionally flaunting to the world that it will imprison Falun Gong practitioners at will, and there’s no one to stop them. We can’t let that be true.”
The U.S. Department of State called on Beijing to “immediately end its depraved abuse and mistreatment of Falun Gong practitioners, release those imprisoned due to their beliefs, and address the whereabouts of missing practitioners.”
(Pictured: The National Stadium, also known as the Bird’s Nest, in Beijing is holding the 2022 Olympics opening ceremony.)
Freedom House’s China Media Bulletin is a monthly newsletter distributed in and outside of the People’s Republic of China, that provides unique insight on censorship, media freedom, and internet freedom issues. This month, the CMB featured Xu Na’s case and evidence of Falun Gong censorship vis-à-vis the 2022 Beijing Olympics.
“The Citizen Lab analysis of the MY2022 app (mandated for use by all attendees of the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing), whose functionalities include real-time chat and news feeds, found evidence of a latent censorship keyword list that flags phrases like ‘Falun Dafa is good.’
Meanwhile, Chinese activists and religious believers who were quietly targeted for harassment and detention as part of the heightened security controls surrounding the games could receive formal sentences of years in prison. Xu Na, a Falun Gong practitioner and artist whose husband was killed in custody around the 2008 games, was sentenced to eight years in prison in mid-January.”
She was also fined 20,000 renminbi ($3,100) on charges of “undermining the implementation of the law.” The penalty was imposed for sending photos and information about Beijing’s COVID-19 restrictions in April 2020 to the Epoch Times, an overseas newspaper founded by practitioners of the Falun Gong, a spiritual practice banned in China.
Referred to as the “Squid Game Amendment” in the Commons – following the Daily Mail’s comparison of the fictional Netflix TV series with China’s real life forced organ harvesting of prisoners of conscience – the Health and Care Bill has now entered the House of Lords where Lord Hunt has tabled a revised version of the amendment with cross-party support.
This amendment would “make it illegal to travel abroad for organs unless there is no financial gain involved.”
This would protect UK citizens from complicity in forced organ harvesting, as it would no longer be legal to travel to China for organs that have been forcibly harvested from prisoners of conscience. The amendment is not country specific in its wording, it is instead targeting unethical organ tourism and unethical plastinated human body exhibitions. So, it also has the added effect of preventing involvement in black market organ trafficking globally.
An additional amendment would also mean that any cadavers imported into the UK for use in exhibitions would require the same consent documentation as cadavers sourced from within the UK. This means that commercial plastinated body exhibitions that have possession of cadavers sourced from Chinese prisons – with no consent or identity documentation, and that may be from executed prisoners of conscience – would no longer be allowed to bring these cadavers into the UK.
Based on true events, “Unsilenced” follows Wang, a university student in Beijing, and his friends as their carefree days are shattered by the 1999 order that banned the spiritual practice Falun Gong in China.
As the state churns out lies and starts brutally suppressing voices of dissent, they cross paths with Daniel, a cynical American reporter struggling to find meaning in his profession in the country he loves.
With the risk of prison, torture, and even death looming over them, they must all make a choice: to go with their conscience and speak the truth, or to remain silent as atrocious crimes go on behind closed doors.