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  1. Detailed List of Violations of International Legal Commitments
    Violations of International Treaties

Detailed List of Violations of International Legal Commitments

September 1, 2008 | 10:51 pm

Table of Contents

U.N. General Assembly Declarations that China Supported

Conventions ratified

1948 U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide

China, then under Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist government, signed it on July 20, 1949, 50 years to the day before the persecution of the Falun Gong began. The Communist Party approved the signing by further ratifying the Genocide Convention in 1983.

Articles violated in the persecution of Falun Gong:

Article 2 defines genocide as below. All categories but (e) have been committed against Falun Gong, which legal experts define for these purposes as a “religious group”:

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a)Killing members of the group;

(b)Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c)Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d)Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(e)Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Indeed, international human rights lawyers are working to prosecute perpetrators of the genocide against the Falun Gong and dozens of lawsuits are currently in progress. For more, see: lawsuits filed around the world (link).

1984 U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Signed by the People’s Republic of China on December 12, 1986; ratified on November 3, 1988.

Convention’s definition of torture:

Art. 1 (1):  For the purposes of this Convention, the term “torture” means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.

Based on the above definition of torture, State parties commit to carry out the below articles, none of which the CCP has implemented regarding Falun Gong (link). On the contrary, evidence suggests that top Party officials have incited their subordinates to torture adherents (see section on the 6-10 Office):

Article 2: Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.

Article 12: Each State Party shall ensure that its competent authorities proceed to a prompt and impartial investigation, wherever there is reasonable ground to believe that an act of torture has been committed in any territory under its jurisdiction.

Article 13: Each State Party shall ensure that any individual who alleges he has been subjected to torture in any territory under its jurisdiction has the right to complain to, and to have his case promptly and impartially examined by, its competent authorities. Steps shall be taken to ensure that the complainant and witnesses are protected against all ill-treatment or intimidation as a consequence of his complaint or any evidence given.

Article 14: Each State Party shall ensure in its legal system that the victim of an act of torture obtains redress and has an enforceable right to fair and adequate compensation, including the means for as full rehabilitation as possible. In the event of the death of the victim as a result of an act of torture, his dependants shall be entitled to compensation.

1989 U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child

Ratified by the P.R.C on April 1, 1992.

The following articles have been violated in the persecution of Falun Gong, in which children have been deprived of their belief, expelled from school, incarcerated with their parents, beaten, shocked with electric batons and, in several cases, killed by the authorities; infants have also been jailed and beaten. Children of parents living outside China have been denied passports.

Art. 1: [Non-discrimination, including on religious basis]

1. States Parties shall respect and ensure the rights set forth in the present Convention to each child within their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child’s or his or her parent’s or legal guardian’s … religion …

2. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that the child is protected against all forms of discrimination or punishment on the basis of the status, activities, expressed opinions, or beliefs of the child’s parents, legal guardians, or family members.

Art. 6: [Right to life]

1. States Parties recognize that every child has the inherent right to life.

2. States Parties shall ensure to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the child.

Art. 8: [Right to identity]

States Parties undertake to respect the right of the child to preserve his or her identity… without unlawful interference.

Art. 13: [Freedom of expression]

The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds … through any other media of the child’s choice.

Art. 14: [Freedom of thought, conscience and religion]

States Parties shall respect the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

Art. 15: [Freedom of association]

States Parties recognize the rights of the child to freedom of association and to freedom of peaceful assembly.

Art. 16: [Right to privacy and reputation]

1. No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his or her honor and reputation.

2. The child has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Art. 28: [Right to education]

States Parties recognize the right of the child to education … and on the basis of equal opportunity, they shall, in particular: (a) Make primary education compulsory and available free to all; …

1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Ratified by the P.R.C on June 27, 2001.

The following articles have been violated in the persecution of Falun Gong, in which adherents have been fired from their jobs, expelled from schools and universities, and deprived of their pensions (see “Persecution at Work and School”).

The right to health has also been violated, both through the refusal of medical attention to adherents in custody, and more generally, the denial of adherents’ access to a health regimen that they have found to be beneficial for their physical and mental well-being.

Art. 7: [Right to work]

The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of just and favorable conditions of work, which ensure, in particular:
(c) equal opportunity for everyone to be promoted in his employment to an appropriate higher level, subject to no considerations other than those of seniority and competence;

Art. 9: [Right to social security]

The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to social security, including social insurance.

Art. 12: [Right to health]

1. The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.

Art. 13: [Right to education]
 
The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to education … to participate effectively in a free society, promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all … religious groups.

1960 UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education

Ratified by the P.R.C on February 12, 1965.

The most obvious phenomenon is students being expelled from schools because they or their parents practice Falun Gong. But the persecution has also seeped into other aspects of the Chinese educational system, violating several articles of this convention.

Elementary school children throughout the country have been forced to sign huge banners defaming Falun Gong, regardless of whether they or their family practice. Doctoral candidates have had to sign a form stating they do not practice Falun Gong in order to begin research at their department. Questions about Falun Gong appear on college entrance exams to weed out adherents (see “Persecution at Work and School”).

In addition, rather than directing education towards tolerance of religious groups, textbooks incite hatred against the Falun Gong. Middle school students have to write anti-Falun Gong essays and one of the CCP’s most comprehensive campaigns was aimed at forcing one million schoolchildren to sign a petition supporting the ban.

Art. 1:

For the purposes of this Convention, the term ‘discrimination’ includes any distinction, exclusion, limitation or preference which, being based on … religion … has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing equality of treatment in education …

Art 3:

In order to eliminate and prevent discrimination within the meaning of this Convention, the States Parties thereto undertake:

(a) To abrogate any statutory provisions and any administrative instructions and to discontinue any administrative practices which involve discrimination in education;

(b) To ensure, by legislation where necessary, that there is no discrimination in the admission of pupils to educational institutions;

Art. 4:

The States Parties to this Convention undertake furthermore to formulate, develop and apply a national policy which, by methods appropriate to the circumstances and to national usage, will tend to promote equality of opportunity and of treatment in the matter of education and in particular:

(a) To make primary education free and compulsory; make secondary education in its different forms generally available and accessible to all; make higher education equally accessible to all on the basis of individual capacity; assure compliance by all with the obligation to attend school prescribed by law;

Art 5:

1. The States Parties to this Convention agree that:

(a) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality an d to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; it shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace;

1951 U.N. Convention relating to the Status of Refugees

Ratified by the P.R.C on September 24, 1982.

Despite China being a party to this convention, the CCP has pressured a number of governments to forcibly return Chinese citizens who practice Falun Gong back to the mainland, including ones holding U.N. refugee status (press release). In at least one case, the adherent was sentenced to a labor camp shortly after his forced return.

While under Art 33, such action is primarily a breach of the expelling state’s obligations, the CCP is equally at fault, since its embassies are the ones who had pushed for the deportation in each case.

Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, Art. 33:

Prohibition of expulsion or return (“refoulement”): 1. No Contracting State shall expel or return (“refouler”) a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group

Convention signed but not ratified:

Under the Vienna Convention the Law of Treaties (Article 18), when states sign a convention, they are bound not to violate its object and purpose, even though they are not yet required to comply with all of its provisions. As is demonstrated below, 15 articles of the ICCPR (which the P.R.C signed in 1998) have been violated in the persecution of the Falun Gong – the CCP thus stands in gross breach of its international commitments.

1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights [ICCPR]

Signed by the P.R.C on October 5, 1998.

Art. 2: [Right to an effective remedy]

(a) To ensure that any person whose rights or freedoms as herein recognized are violated shall have an effective remedy, notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity;

(b) To ensure that any person claiming such a remedy shall have his right thereto determined by competent judicial, administrative or legislative authorities, or by any other competent authority provided for by the legal system of the State, and to develop the possibilities of judicial remedy;

Art. 6: [Right to life]

Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life. 1. Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.

Art. 7: [Prohibition of torture]

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.  In particular, no one shall be subjected without his free consent to medical or scientific experimentation.

Art. 8: [Prohibition of slavery and forced labor]

3. (a) No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labor.

Art. 9: [Right to liberty and security of the person]

1. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person.  No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention.  No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law…

3. Anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release.  It shall not be the general rule that persons awaiting trial shall be detained in custody …

4. Anyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings before a court, in order that that court may decide without delay on the lawfulness of his detention and order his release if the detention is not lawful.

5. Anyone who has been the victim of unlawful arrest or detention shall have an enforceable right to compensation.

Art. 10: [Right to dignity in custody]

All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.

Art. 14: [Due process rights]

1. All persons shall be equal before the courts and tribunals.  In the determination of any criminal charge against him, or of his rights and obligations in a suit at law, everyone shall be entitled to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law…

3. In the determination of any criminal charge against him, everyone shall be entitled to the following minimum guarantees, in full equality:

… (b) To have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defense and to communicate with counsel of his own choosing;

Art. 15: [Prohibition of retro-active legislation]

No one shall be held guilty of any criminal offense on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a criminal offense, under national or international law at the time when it was committed.

[Note: See Human Rights Watch’s report on this violation against the Falun Gong (link).]

Art. 17: [Right to privacy, including correspondence]

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honour and reputation.

Art. 18: [Freedom of thought, conscience and religion]
 
1. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

2. No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice.

Art. 19: [Freedom of expression]

1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.

2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.

Art. 20: [Prohibition of advocating religious hatred]

… 2. Any advocacy of … religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.

Art. 22: [Freedom of association]

Everyone shall have the right to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Art. 26: [Non-discrimination]

All persons are equal before the law and entitled without any discrimination . . . on any ground such as … religion …

Art. 27: [Minority rights]

In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practise their own religion, or to use their own language.

U.N. General Assembly Declarations that China Supported

While UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolutions are not binding under international law, they are generally considered by scholars to be evidence of customary international law and emerging norms because they reflect the views of the states voting for the resolution.

Below are three relevant declarations that China voted in favor of, indicating its commitment to their underlying values. Nevertheless, in persecuting the Falun Gong, the CCP has repeatedly violated many of their provisions.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)

Adopted by the UNGA on December 10, 1948. The UDHR, whose drafting committee included Chinese representative Peng Chun Chang, is perhaps the most well known UNGA resolution and the cornerstone of the international human rights movement and the United Nations itself. A U.N. website (link) describes its significance as follows:

“The Universal Declaration is built on the fundamental principle that human rights are based on the inherent dignity of every person. This dignity, and the rights to freedom and equality which derive therefrom, are undeniable.

Although the Declaration does not have the binding force of a treaty, it has acquired universal acceptability. Many countries have cited the Declaration or included its provisions in their basic laws or constitutions. And many human rights covenants, conventions and treaties concluded since 1948 have been built on its principles.”

The CCP has violated the following articles of the UDHR in its persecution of the Falun Gong:

  • Art 2 [non-discrimination based on religion]
  • Art 3 [right to life, liberty and security of the person]
  • Art 5 [prohibition on torture]
  • Art 6 [equality before the law]
  • Art 7 [right to an effective remedy]
  • Art 9 [prohibition on arbitrary arrest]
  • Art 10 [right to a fair trial]
  • Art 11 [right to be presumed innocent and not be punished under retro-active legislation]
  • Art 18 [right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion]
  • Art 20 [right to freedom of assembly]
  • Art 23 [right to work]
  • Art 25 [special care for motherhood and childhood]
  • Art 26 [right to education] 

U.N. Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women

The P.R.C assented when the UNGA adopted this resolution unanimously on December 20, 1993.

Despite the CCP’s proclaimed support for this declaration and its hosting of the 1995 Beijing Conference on Women, since 1999 woman have been the victims of some of the most brutal treatment meted against the Falun Gong. Abuses have included shocking women’s breasts and genitals with electric batons, rape, gang rape, and forcing items like hairbrushes and mops into their vaginas. Women have also been forced to have abortions as late as during their ninth month of pregnancy.

For a more detailed analysis, see: Falun Gong Human Rights Working Group, “The Chinese Government’s State Violence against Women,” 2002 submission to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women (link).

Art. 2:

Violence against women shall be understood to encompass, but not be limited to, the following:

… (b) Physical, sexual, and psychological violence occurring within the general community, including rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and intimidation at work;

(c) Physical, sexual and psychological violence perpetrated or condoned by the State, wherever it occurs.

Art. 3:

Women are entitled to the equal enjoyment and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other filed. These rights include:

(a) The right to life; (c) The right to liberty and security of person; … (h) The right not to be subjected to torture, or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.

Art. 4:

States should condemn violence against women… States should pursue by all appropriate means and without delay a policy of eliminating violence against women …

U.N. Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief

The P.R.C assented when the UNGA adopted this resolution unanimously on November 25, 1991.

Art. 1:

Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion. 

Art. 2:

No one shall be subject to discrimination by the State, institution, group of persons or person on the grounds of religion or other belief.

Art. 3:

Discrimination between human beings on the grounds of religion or belief constitutes an affront to human dignity and a disavowal of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and shall be condemned as a violation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights … and as an obstacle to friendly and peaceful relations between nations.

Art. 5:

1. The parents … of the child have the right to organize the life within the family in accordance with their religion or belief and bearing in mind the moral education in which they believe the child should be brought up.

2. Every child shall enjoy the right to have access to education in the matter of religion or belief in accordance with the wishes of his parents …

3. The child shall be protected from any form of discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief.

Art. 6:

In accordance with article 1 of the present Declaration, and subject to the provisions of article 1, paragraph 3, the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief shall include, inter alia, the following freedoms:

… (c) To make, acquire and use to an adequate extent the necessary articles and materials related to the rites or customs of a religion or belief;

(d) To write, issue and disseminate relevant publications in these areas;

… (i) To establish and maintain communications with individuals and communities in matters of religion and belief at the national and international levels.

 

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