February 19, 2009: Falun Gong News Bulletin

Monitoring the Falun Gong Human Rights Crisis in China

FDIC Annual Report: “Fueled by Olympics, Falun Gong Persecution Escalated Sharply in 2008”

News from Inside China:
•    FDIC: “Brutal Torture and Disappearance of Renowned Attorney Demands a Clear International Response”
•    Nottingham Evening Post: “Sister Freed from Chinese Labour Camp”
•    Bloomberg: “China Vows Crackdown on Falun Gong, Tibet Separatists This Year”
•    Chinese Human Rights Defenders: Report on “Re-education Through Labor” Cites Falun Gong as One of Largest Groups in Camps

News outside China:
•    FDIC: “UN Review Must Address China’s Largest Population of Prisoners of Conscience”

FDIC Annual Report: “Fueled by Olympics, Falun Gong Persecution Escalated Sharply in 2008”
February 10: The Falun Dafa Information Center released today a comprehensive report that documents a variety of rights violations against Falun Gong adherents, both inside and outside China, that occurred in 2008. It indicates that the Communist Party’s campaign against Falun Gong escalated sharply during the year as China’s rulers took advantage of the Olympic games to catalyze and justify the large-scale arrest, imprisonment, and monitoring of Chinese citizens known to adhere to the spiritual practice.

The report draws on a wide range of sources including first-hand accounts from practitioners, their families, and human rights lawyers, Chinese government websites, foreign media reports, research by Amnesty International, and a thorough study by the Congressional Executive Commission on China.

Read full 2008 Annual Report online at http://www.faluninfo.net/topic/154/ of download PDF at http://media.faluninfo.net/media/doc/2009/02/FDIC-2008-Annual-Report.pdf

News from Inside China

FDIC: “Brutal Torture and Disappearance of Renowned Attorney Demands a Clear International Response”
February 14: “Chinese security forces’ severe torture and disappearance of leading human rights lawyer and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Gao Zhisheng highlights the life-threatening danger facing Falun Gong adherents and those who come to their defense in China and must prompt a strong international response.”

“The Falun Dafa Information Center calls for:

  • The Chinese regime to immediately and unconditionally release Gao Zhisheng.
  • President Barack Obama and other world leaders to make a personal, public appeal to the Chinese authorities to release Gao.
  • The United States and other nations to take an unequivocal and public stance against the persecution of Falun Gong in China, which has further escalated recently.”

To read more, see: /article/850/?cid=84

On Gao, see also: Wall Street Journal, “The Disappearance of Gao Zhisheng” by Jerome Cohen and Eva Pils: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123410699583160731.html

Nottingham Evening Post: “Sister Freed from Chinese Labour Camp”
February 10: “A woman has been released early from a Chinese labour camp after a campaign by her family in Nottingham. Wenjian Liang, 41, was imprisoned for practising the Falun Gong religion, which has its roots in Buddhism and is banned by the Chinese government. However, Wenjian’s sister, Jane Liang, has secured her release two months before the sentence was due to expire….

“I am not in the mood for a celebration. I always worry about her. This is the second time she has been released,” [says Jane Liang] “I have not even asked what happened in the labour camp. It is likely her phone has been tapped. I just ring her to say hello and make sure she is there.”

To read more: http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/homenews/Nottingham-campaigners-help-win-release-woman-s-sister-Chinese-labour-camp/article-682711-detail/article.html

For an Amnesty International urgent action issued when Wenjian Liang, her husband and other Falun Gong adherents were detained in 2007, see: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA17/014/2007/en/dom-ASA170142007en.html

Bloomberg: “China Vows Crackdown on Falun Gong, Tibet Separatists This Year”
February 11: “Cracking down on “ethnic separatist forces, violent terrorists, and … Falun Gong” will top the list of major tasks for the security forces in 2009, according to a statement released on the ministry [of public security]’s Web Site today…

This year marks the 50th anniversary of China’s quelling of an uprising in Tibet, the 20th anniversary of the crackdown on students and pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square and the 10th anniversary of the government’s outlawing of the Falun Gong movement.”

To read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601089&sid=aOW7Jd8oONrM&refer=china

Chinese Human Rights Defenders: Report on “Re-education Through Labor” Cites Falun Gong as One of Largest Groups in Camps
February 8: “More than half of our 13 interviewees [mostly petitioners] remarked on the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in RTL camps. They said Falun Gong practitioners make up one of the largest groups of detainees in the camp, and that they are often persecuted because of their faith: 

‘Inside the camp, disobedient detainees were made to sit on the ?tiger bench?, especially if they were Falun Gong practitioners. They were severely persecuted…Falun Gong practitioners were often not allowed to sleep until they promised to reform and wrote letters denouncing their beliefs.  Only then would their situations improve?, said Du Fengqin (Interview 6)’

‘Of all the detainees, the Falun Gong practitioners were the largest group… Normally, Falun Gong practitioners weren’t allowed to have visitors unless they admitted their guilt and worked especially hard,’ said Feng Xixia (Interview 11), who spent three months in a RTL camp in Shaanxi Province.”

To read full report: http://docs.law.gwu.edu/facweb/dclarke/public/CHRD_RTL_Report.pdf

News outside China

FDIC: “UN Review Must Address China’s Largest Population of Prisoners of Conscience”
Member states of the United Nations Human Rights Council must question the PRC over the ongoing—and recently escalated—persecution of Falun Gong adherents in China at Monday’s Universal Periodic Review session. the Falun Dafa Information Center said Friday. …

The year 2008 witnessed a clear escalation of the campaign against Falun Gong adherents, as thousands were arrested nationwide. Many of those arrested have been held in long-term pre-trial detention as the authorities were apparently waiting for the conclusion of the Olympic games to sentence them. Following this pattern, in the months since the closing ceremonies, there has been a spike in trials in which adherents have been sentenced to up to 13 years in prison.

To read more: /article/841/?cid=84