Falun Dafa Information Center Urges Korean President to Protect Falun Gong Refugees

Three Falun Gong Practitioners Deported to China Recently, 30 More at Risk

NEW YORK — The Falun Dafa Information Center is calling upon South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to stop deportations of Falun Gong refugees back to China and to grant asylum to those remaining in South Korea. Three Chinese Falun Gong refugees were repatriated in recent weeks, placing them at serious risk of detention and torture, while an additional 30 refugees face imminent deportation.

“There is ample evidence that anyone known to the Chinese authorities as practicing Falun Gong – even in the privacy of their own home – is at risk of detention, imprisonment, torture—and even death,” says Falun Dafa Information Center spokesperson Erping Zhang. “We urge the South Korean government to resist the pressure coming from the Chinese Communist Party and to do whatever it can to permit Chinese Falun Gong practitioners to remain in the country.”

For several years, Falun Gong practitioners fleeing China have lived safely in South Korea. On July 1, however, a 45-year-old practitioner named Mr. Wu was forcibly sent back to China. On July 28, two additional refugees were returned. The Korean government has claimed the deportations were due to insufficient evidence that as individuals they would be at risk of persecution.

However, a wide range of eyewitness accounts and third party reports – including those from Amnesty International, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, and the United Nations – document the ongoing systemic and widespread nature of persecution against Falun Gong in China. Practitioners fleeing the country are regularly granted asylum in the United States and Western European countries, as well as protection from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees because of the risk they would face should they be forced to return to China. South Korea has ratified several international human rights treaties that prohibit repatriation of individuals to countries where they risk torture.

“It’s important to understand that even individuals who practice Falun Gong privately with no public demonstration of their practice or beliefs are at risk,” adds Zhang. “The case of popular folk musician Yu Zhou is a clear example of this.”

42-year-old Yu Zhou and his wife were stopped by Beijing police on January 26, 2009 while driving home from a concert. After discovering some Falun Gong materials in their possession, both were detained. Less then two weeks later, Yu was dead from alleged torture in custody. His wife was later sentenced to three years in prison. (report / London Times / Amnesty International)

For a detailed report documenting the full range of rights violations against Falun Gong practitioners that occurred in 2008, see: http://faluninfo.net/topic/154/