Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association
Chapter 11, 2010 Annual Report
Falun Gong practitioners were continued to be denied their rights to free assembly and association. During the year, security forces carried out “raids” on the homes of practitioners when they were socializing with other adherents, resulting in dozens of detentions and at least one death.
Falun Gong practitioners in China are denied the right to freedom of assembly. As stipulated in the original Public Security Bureau notice banning Falun Gong, Chinese citizens are prohibited from assembling in pubic for the purpose of practicing Falun Gong exercises or for the purpose of protesting the ban.
In the years immediately following the ban on Falun Gong, practitioners were frequently imprisoned and tortured for assembling to practice Falun Gong meditation exercises or for staging peaceful demonstrations, often either in public parks or in Tiananmen Square. In more recent years, practitioners in China have seldom employed these methods, preferring instead to engage in quiet, grassroots efforts to disseminate information about the persecution. There are, therefore, few recent examples of adherents being persecuted for assembling publicly.
There are, however, several recent instances of Falun Gong adherents being arrested for assembling privately.
On July 4, 2009, between 12 and 14 Falun Gong adherents were arrested from the home of practitioner Ms. Shi Guixiang by the security forces from Huanghe Road Police Station in Dalian city, Liaoning Province. The practitioners had gathered at her home to eat dumplings.
Among those arrested was Mr. Feng Gang, who passed away a month later, on Aug. 14, after being severely beaten by the security agents. Mr. Feng’s wife, Wang Juan, was also among the practitioners arrested in the raid. She has reportedly been sentenced to 1.5 years at the Masanjia Forced Labor Camp. Ms. Shi Guixiang has been sentenced to 2 years at the Masanjia labor camp, as was another practitioner detained in the raid. Other arrested adherents include Ms. Ma Yulan (75 years old), Ms. Liu Renfeng (70 years old), Ms. Jiang Lihua, Ms. Lin Jun, a young practitioner with the surname Ma, and another young practitioner with the surname Gong. A number of the older practitioners were released from police custody after the arrest due to their advanced age.
During the morning of June 18, 2009, 20 Falun Gong adherents from the Yuji township of Linghai City assembled at the home of Mr. Zhao Tingwu to exchange insights and experiences in their practice of Falun Gong. At approximately 8 a.m., several security agents from the Yuji Township Police Station forced entry into Mr. Zhao’s home.
The practitioners were detained and taken to the Public Security Office at Linghai City Police Department. Two individuals successfully escaped in the process, and the remaining Falun Gong adherents were interrogated through the night by the security forces. On July 1, several of the arrested individuals were sent to the Masanjia Forced Labor Camp in Shenyang. Six were rejected by the labor camp and sent instead to a brainwashing center in Fushun.
Practitioners from this group currently imprisoned at the Masanjia labor camp are: Ms. Pei Guixiang, Ms. Tong Wei, Ms. Yang Fengqin, Ms. Guo Baoyun, Ms. Wang Yanjuan, Ms. Xie Suxia, Ms. Liu Wenhuan, and Du Hongzhi.
Practitioners confined to the brainwashing class in Fushun City, Liaoning Province, are: Ms. Zhang Jingwen, Ms. Qi Fengzhen, Ms. Cui Jinxiang, and Ms. Yun Fuyun.
The whereabouts of the remaining individuals present at Mr. Zhao’s home prior to the raid, including Mr. Zhao Tingwu, Ms. Li Yanxu, Ms. Yin Guizhi, and Ms. Shi Lihong, remained unknown at year’s end.