Feb. 12, 2010: Falun Gong News Bulletin

Monitoring the Falun Gong Human Rights Crisis in China

News on Events Inside China:

News on Events Outside China:

FDIC: “Nearly 100 Falun Gong Practitioners Killed in 2009, Documents New Report

Feb 4: Large numbers of Chinese citizens detained for practicing Falun Gong continue to die because of brutality suffered at police stations, labor camps and prisons across China, says a new Falun Dafa Information Center report released Monday.

Drawing on both Chinese and international sources, the 46-page report, titled “Killed for Their Belief: Falun Gong Deaths from Abuse in 2009,” documents the deaths of 96 Falun Gong practitioners in 2009. Due to frequent delays in reporting from China, the total death toll for the year is expected to climb further in the coming weeks.

The victims named in the report come from all age groups, strata of society, and geographical regions. The vast majority died due to physical and psychiatric torture or by being denied their right to health while in custody. Many were killed within days, or even hours, of their detention. In one particularly jarring case, in April 2009, police abducted a 39-year-old woman from her home in Beijing. By evening, she was dead, reportedly after being severely shocks with electric batons (case of Ms. Sun Min).

To read more: /article/956/?cid=84
To read the report: /article/971/?cid=6
For the detailed list of 96 documented cases, see here.

FDIC: “Prisoner of Conscience Detained on Olympics Opening Day Dies in Prison

Jan 26: A Falun Gong practitioner detained on the opening day of the Beijing Olympics died in a prison camp in northeastern China on January 14, 2010, the Falun Dafa Information Center learned this week. Mr. Yu Zhongzhu (???) from Heilongjiang is already the second Olympic prisoner whose death the Center has reported in 2010. Yu was 39 years old when he died.

On the evening of August 8, 2008, over a dozen agents from the local police and 610 Office, abducted Yu, his wife Ms. Sun Lijuan, and six other Falun Gong practitioners. In December 2008, the eight were “sentenced” in sham trials to prison terms ranging from three to six years. Judge Li Hengjiang from Hanjiayuan Court gave Mr. Yu a six-year term because of his identity as a Falun Gong practitioner.

In April 2009, Yu was transferred to Talai Prison, where he was reportedly abused in custody. On January 14, his family received a call from the prison authorities asking them to go to the facility’s hospital because Yu was in critical condition. They witnessed Yu’s death at 10pm that evening.

To read more: /article/948/?cid=84

FDIC: “Olympics Prisoner Dies from Torture Shortly after Release from Labor Camp

Jan 4: A middle-aged doctor detained in Tianjin during the Olympics died on December 4, only 22 days after her release from Banqiao “Re-education through labor” (RTL) camp. Ms. Gong Hui (??), had been detained by police on August 13, 2008 and then sentenced by fiat to the camp, where she was beaten, tortured, and kept in solitary confinement. She was 57 years old when she died.

Local police and security bureau officers detained Gong without a warrant on August 13, 2008, during the period of the Beijing Olympics. She was initially held at Nankai District Detention Center for 35 days, located in a portion of the city not far from Tianjin’s Olympics Stadium. She was then taken to Banqiao RTL Camp in the more suburban Dagang District on September 17, 2008. On November 9, 2008, Gong was reportedly subjected to a particularly harsh session of torture, lasting from 9:00am until 11:00pm and resulting in her near physical collapse.

To read more: /article/946/?cid=84

Freedom House: Congressional Testimony Cites Rights Violations against Falun Gong in China and Singapore

[FDIC editor’s note: On January 21, 2010, Dr. Robert Herman, Director of Programs at Freedom House, testified before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs. The following are excerpts from that testimony.] 

“The authorities’ paranoid handling of a series of politically sensitive anniversaries…included … harsh punishments meted out to democracy activists, petitioners, Tibetans, Falun Gong adherents, and human rights defenders.

[…] Subsequently, in 2009 the PRC government authorities embarked on a sweeping crackdown against leading human rights lawyers and nonprofits offering legal services… Beyond the infringement on the rights of these lawyers themselves, the crackdown  signaled a further curtailment of already weak rights protection in “politically sensitive” cases and for vulnerable members of society. Those affected collectively amount to millions of people and include … Falun Gong practitioners.

[…] Religious minorities… also faced heightened restrictions, partly due to the Party’s tightening surrounding the sensitive 10th anniversary of its ban on Falun Gong. Security agencies, particularly the extra-legal 6-10 Office, targeted Falun Gong adherents nationwide for surveillance, detention, and forced conversion, sometimes leading to deaths in custody.

[…] In October, 2009, the police [in Singapore] arrested four Chinese Falun Gong  practitioners who were putting up posters in a public park describing the persecutions of Falun Gong members in China.  The arrested practitioners came to Singapore to avoid being persecuted for their spiritual practice at home. The practitioners currently face possible deportation to China where they could be tortured.”   

To read more: http://www.freedomhouse.org/uploads/speeches/HermanTestimonySFRC1-21-10.pdf

Washington Post Letter to the Editor: “Falun Gong practitioners get long sentences in China

Jan 1: “Liu Xiaobo’s harsh sentence came as a surprise to many observers. But not to me. In October, my mother, Cao Junping, was sentenced to 10 years in prison in Shandong province. The same day, my aunt was sentenced to nine years.

Unlike Liu, they are not high-profile dissidents. They are simply two older women who practice Falun Gong. They meditate in their free time and try to follow a moral philosophy centered on the values of truthfulness, compassion and tolerance. They aren’t criminals, despite the Communist Party’s best efforts to label them as such. They were trying to peacefully follow the religious belief of their choosing. For that, shortly before the Olympics, security agents took them away. After being held illegally and tortured for more than a year, they were rushed through a sham trial and sentenced.

They aren’t the only ones. The Falun Dafa Information Center published a list last week of more than 800 other practitioners recently sentenced to prison for to up to 18 years. Unfortunately, Liu’s sentencing — and the “rule of law” veneer surrounding it — is only the tip of the iceberg.”

Jin Pang, Falls Church

To read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/31/AR2009123102601.html

Wall Street Journal: “Hong Kong and the Falun Gong Drama”

Feb 1: “Sunday was to be the triumphant closing of New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts’ seven-show, sold-out Hong Kong tour. Instead, the curtains at Lyric Theatre [in Hong Kong] remained closed. Just two days before the company was to embark on its trip, six “core production team members” were denied work visas, including the stage manager and a lighting engineer.

[…] Since then, Shen Yun and its Hong Kong co-organizers have staged protests and press conferences, and are even mulling a lawsuit. They say the visa matter was just “a pretext”—the implication being that the decision came from Beijing, motivated by a condemnation of Shen Yun’s dance program, which includes depictions of traditional Chinese tales but also “events in present-day China, such as the story of Falun Gong.”

[…] But this isn’t about a dance show. Hong Kong’s ambition to become a cultural center is commendable, but one of the keystones to a vibrant arts community is the freedom to express its creativity, even at the risk of provoking the sensitivities of the politicians among the audience. The Shen Yun case suggests that Hong Kong still lacks the capacity to resist political pressures from Beijing. And this drama may just be the opening act.”

To read more: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704491604575036212239254750.html
For a statement from Shen Yun Performing Arts about the cancellation of shows in Hong Kong, see: http://www.shenyunperformingarts.org/node/24270

FDIC: “Google’s First Step is Morally Clear; Others Should Follow

Jan 13: The Falun Dafa Information Center applauds Google’s initiative to challenge the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) over its Internet censorship and encourages other companies, governments, and individuals to do the same. The Center also questions some media references that this move is “risky” or “surprising,” as the human cost of Internet censorship in China could not be any clearer.

For the past ten years, the Chinese regime has dedicated hundreds of millions of dollars to censoring all channels of information inside China concerning Falun Gong, a group that still numbers in the tens of millions.

We welcome the efforts of Google or any other entity that sees the morally troubling state of the current Chinese Internet and works to make freedom of information a reality in China. With such freedom will come knowledge and greater understanding, and with that, it is our hope, an end to the torture and killing of Falun Gong practitioners. 

To read more: /article/947/?cid=84

Washington Post Op-ed: “What Hillary Clinton, Google can do about censorship in China

Jan 20: “If the State Department and internet giants really want to promote free access to the Internet worldwide, the most effective thing they could do is to support the Global Internet Freedom Consortium (GIF). GIF is a small outlet run by a group of Chinese-American computer scientists. Over the last ten years, they have developed a suite of censorship-circumvention software that allows users to safely evade internet firewalls and surveillance… they are responsible for approximately 90 percent of all anti-censorship internet traffic in China and Iran.

Even so, GIF hasn’t received a penny of funding from either the U.S. government or private corporations. That could be because the software engineers behind GIF are adherents of Falun Gong, a Buddhist spiritual discipline that is banned and brutally repressed in China. … GIF engineers began their work largely so that their compatriots in China could access and share information about the persecuted spiritual practice. In a Washington Post article last week, an unnamed U.S. official was quoted as saying that “the Chinese would go ballistic” if GIF received government funding.

But any truly effective measures to promote Internet freedom will irk dictatorships. If the U.S. government wishes to promote internet freedom, it must be prepared to cope with the blow-back. The United States already devotes considerable resources to promoting democratization, press freedom and human rights initiatives every year. For a small fraction of that budget, America can provide free access to information to tens of millions of people.”

The author, Caylan Ford, is a graduate student in international affairs at the George Washington University. She is a volunteer editor and analyst with the Falun Dafa Information Center, though the views expressed in this article are hers alone.

To read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/20/AR2010012002805.html

Washington Post Op-ed: “The U.S. must speak out against China’s offenses

Feb 4: “One year ago today, China kidnapped my husband. I don’t know where he is. I don’t know what is being done to him. The only thing I know is why he disappeared: My husband, Gao Zhisheng, defied Beijing by representing people the government finds threatening. As a leading human rights lawyer in China, he fought for those who had been abused by police, those who had their land stolen by the government and those who were persecuted for their religious beliefs [including Falun Gong practitioners].

And now my husband is one of those persecuted people he so vigorously defended. Chinese authorities abducted Zhisheng on Feb. 4, 2009. But they did not officially arrest him and won’t tell anyone where they’ve taken him […] I worry about the next generation of Chinese lawyers. Will disappearances like my husband’s deter them from becoming rights defenders? I imagine so. But if the United States were to speak out on my husband’s behalf, perhaps this would change.”

The author, Geng He, is the wife of Gao Zhisheng, a human rights lawyer and Nobel Peace Prize nominee who has been held incommunicado by the Chinese government since Feb. 4, 2009.

To read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/03/AR2010020302916.html and http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/03/AR2010020301783.html
FDIC statement immediately following Gao’s abduction in 2009: /article/850/