HRW: Excerpts about Falun Gong from: We Could Disappear At Any Time: Retaliation and Abuses Against Chinese Petitioners (December 2005)
Once handed over to the retrievers, petitioners are forcibly returned to their home provinces. As many petitioners go to Beijing because of complaints of official or police violence, sending them back to the provinces often exposes them to grave dangers.
While most petitioners are released in their hometowns and simply board the next bus back to Beijing, some are imprisoned without charges, or are sentenced to reeducation hrough labor camps. In prison and in the reeducation camps, some petitioners say they have been tortured. Falungong practitioners appear to be singled out for frequent arrest and harsh treatment.
Several petitioners reported that the longest sentences and worst treatment were meted out to members of the banned meditation group, Falungong, many of whom also petition in Beijing. Kang reported that of the roughly one thousand detainees in her labor camp in Jilin, most were Falungong practitioners.
The government’s campaign against the group has been so thorough that even long-time Chinese activists are afraid to say the group’s name aloud. One Beijing petitioner said:
“Petitioners are usually locked up directly. But the worst is [she whispers] Falungong. They have terrible treatment, not like the others. There was one sixty-nine year old lady [in prison with me] who had lost her right hand in a farming accident, and she was sentenced to two and a half years—for what? For trying to push a letter through a gate.”
Case Study: “I’m going to tell the national leaders what happened to me”
The petite, soft-spoken thirty-nine-year-old woman from Henan has just arrived in Beijing, and she shows signs on her face and clothes of having slept on the streets the past few nights. […]
She goes on to describe conditions in the local prison, where ten women shared a cell:
“They shackled my hands and feet. […]The fourth time it was 6:30 in the morning, and the sky was light, and people were singing because they couldn’t sleep. They were Falungong people singing, and I sang along with them. I’m not Falungong, but I joined in the song. [The guards] asked me if I had started them singing, I said that I hadn’t, I just joined in. So they chained my hands and feet, like this [demonstrates]. Four men held me down to shackle me. I was shackled for seven days.”
For the full text of the report, visit: http://www.hrw.org/reports/2005/china1205/china1205web.pdf