May 3, 2011: Falun Gong News Bulletin
Monitoring the Falun Gong Human Rights Crisis in China
News on Events Inside China:
- Northeast China prison under lockdown, detainees’ families beaten after deaths exposed online
- Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) documents new three-year campaign to ‘transform’ Falun Gong practitioners
- Restaurant owner in Liaoning dies from labor camp torture
- Husband of persecuted Beijing practitioner unable to seek justice
News on Events Outside China:
- FDIC: Human rights dialogue should cover Falun Gong, State Department acknowledges widespread detentions
Press and Internet Freedom:
- Vietnam to try local Falun Gong practitioners over China broadcast
- 11 Million People Accessing Uncensored Internet via Ultrasurf
Human Rights Defenders:
- UN Calls for release of human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng, as he receives Index on Censorship award
April 20: Dating as far back as September 2010, and possibly earlier, fraudulent emails originating from Mainland Chinese IP addresses have been sent to journalists, academics, NGOs, and elected representatives at all levels of government around the globe. In most cases, the emails deceptively claim to be from representatives of the Falun Dafa Information Center, or from local Falun Gong adherents. The content of the messages is crafted to portray Falun Gong as irrational, intolerant, and otherwise undeserving of sympathy or respect.
The Falun Dafa Information Center received copies of two recent such emails, sent on April 5 and April 14, to a list of recipients that included retired Canadian and Norwegian parliamentarians, newspaper editors, a collection of U.S.- and France-based human rights and press freedom NGOs, and members of the Nobel Prize Committee. The Center would like to encourage anyone who receives suspicious or bizarre emails purporting to be from Falun Gong practitioners to regard them with incredulity and report them to the Falun Dafa Information Center to determine their authenticity and enable the full tracking of this misinformation tactic.
* Falun Dafa Information Center: /article/1131/?cid=84 and /article/1122/?cid=84
* The Epoch Times: http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/content/view/53141/
April 26: A prison camp in Northeast China has been put under lockdown after three Falun Gong detainees died there within two weeks and detailed evidence of the sudden deaths was posted online. In an effort to prevent additional information from being leaked, guards and prisoners alike are having their phones monitored while security agents are monitoring their family members’ calls and movements. As the family members of Falun Gong practitioners held at the camp have reacted with panic to news of the deaths and demanded to see their loved ones, they have also been detained or beaten.
Torture and abuse intensified at Jiamusi Prison in Heilongjiang province in February after personnel received orders in early 2011 to increase the “transformation rate” among Falun Gong practitioners held at the camp. The orders were issued as part of a nationwide three-year Communist Party campaign to reinvigorate transformation efforts. As a result, three middle-aged male practitioners died between February 26 and March 8, 2011. Within days of the deaths, news of the incident and photos of the victims were posted on the overseas Falun Gong Minghui.org website. In response to information on the deaths being leaked online so quickly, the prison was put under lockdown.
* Falun Dafa Information Center: /article/1128/?cid=84 and /article/1132/?cid=84
* Photo gallery: Three Die at Jiamusi Prison: http://faluninfo.net/gallery/17/
Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) documents new three-year campaign to ‘transform’ Falun Gong practitioners
March 22: The CECC has published a brief analysis of the Communist Party’s three year reinvigorated “transformation” campaign against Falun Gong practitioners, whose implementation the Falun Dafa Information Center has reported since late 2010. Citing official documents dated March to August 2010 from across China, CECC researchers conclude that:
“Chinese authorities are currently in the second stage of a three-stage, three-year campaign to increase efforts to ‘transform’ Falun Gong practitioners—a term the government and Party use to refer to the process of pressuring Falun Gong practitioners to renounce their belief in and practice of Falun Gong. The campaign, which lasts from 2010-2012, originated from the central-level 6-10 Office—an extralegal, Party-run security apparatus created in June 1999 to implement the Party’s ban against Falun Gong. Some of the documents call on local governments to cooperate with Party organizations, or to make use of businesses or family members of Falun Gong practitioners to increase efforts to ‘transform’ Falun Gong practitioners. Some of the documents list quantitative ‘transformation’ targets, require local businesses to sign ‘responsibility agreements’ that require them to participate in the campaign, or call for the incorporation of ‘transformation’ work into the performance reviews of local government agencies.”
* CECC: http://www.cecc.gov/pages/virtualAcad/index.phpd?showsingle=154369&PHPSESSID=7f46f964fe6fd4a77df024703f93ad7f
* Falun Dafa Information Center: /article/1091/
Restaurant owner in Liaoning dies from labor camp torture
March 20: 42-year-old Mr. Shi Hongbo (???) from Northeast China died in his home at the end of February, unable to recover from one and half years of physical and mental torture in a Re-education Through Labor (RTL) camp. His is one of over 400 documented Falun Gong deaths in Liaoning province since 1999. Mr. Shi was abducted outside of his home in October, 2008 and then sentenced to the Dalian RTL Camp for one and a half years. As a result of severe torture Mr. Shi developed high blood pressure and heart problems. According to sources inside China, personnel at the RTL camp, with full knowledge of his medical condition, are known to have shocked him with electrical batons until he lost consciousness. He was released in April 2010, but continued to suffer from a persistent fever and cough and passed away, never recovering from the torture.
* Falun Dafa Information Center: /article/1124/?cid=84
March 24: A retired Beijing public servant is seeking justice for the abuse of his wife, a Falun Gong practitioner, in police custody, after she was mentally disabled within 25 days in detention. The Supreme People’s Procuratorate has denied his appeals, however, “because all Falun Gong cases are tossed around,” the husband Mr. Yang Zhengwen says. Judges in China have played a significant role in assisting the communist regime’s persecution of Falun Gong, routinely making decisions under political pressure that result in arbitrary prison sentences for Falun Gong practitioners or issuing rulings that avoid holding Communist Party officials accountable for torture.
* New Tang Dynasty Television (English): http://english.ntdtv.com/ntdtv_en/news_china/2011-03-24/husband-of-persecuted-falun-gong-practitioner-unable-to-seek-justice.html
April 24: As U.S. diplomats prepared to sit down with their Chinese counterparts in Beijing for the U.S.-China Human Rights Dialogue, the Falun Dafa Information Center urged them to have a direct and meaningful discussion about the 12-year-old campaign of suppression and violence of Falun Gong practitioners in China, the largest group of prisoners of conscience in the country. The State Department’s Michael Posner, who lead the U.S. side of the dialogue, stated at a press conference held after the release of the agency’s annual human rights report that: “there’s no question that … those affiliated with the Falun Gong have been subjected to detention. The reeducation through labor camps are full of people that have affiliation with Falun Gong.”
* Falun Dafa Information Center: /article/1133/?cid=84
* Agence France Press: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hI0hC5Bm1doEU9XsmCQWiDauROQA?docId=CNG.bbcb4ef9a 1162a2d7864b56a3d48a80a.331
* U.S. State Department 2010 Human Rights Report on China: http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2010/eap/154382.htm
April 8 – Two Vietnamese Falun Gong practitioners were scheduled to stand trial on April 8th for broadcasting uncensored news programs into China, following a request from Beijing to crackdown. The trial has been postponed, according to their lawyer. The pair remain in custody, however, and could be tried at any time. The postponement may have been due to the quick and forceful outcry from the international community. Reporters Without Borders issued a press release on the case and numerous international news agencies picked up the story, including the Associated Press, Agence France Presse, The Epoch Times, and the Economist.
The two Vietnamese men—Mr. Vu Duc Trung, a 30-year-old CEO of a high-tech company, and his 35-year-old brother-in-law Mr. Le Van Thanh—were scheduled to stand trial in Hanoi on April 8, 2011. The pair are charged with “transmitting information illegally onto the telecommunications network” for having broadcast news programs of Sound of Hope radio via short-wave radio into China. Sound of Hope’s programs typically report on human rights abuses, corruption, and repression of Falun Gong practitioners and other minorities. Trung initiated the broadcasts in April 2009. They face five years in jail if convicted.
* Falun Dafa Information Center: /article/1129/?cid=84 and /article/1130/
* Reporters Without Borders: http://en.rsf.org/viet-nam-two-radio-station-operators-to-be-05-04-2011,39961.html
* The Epoch Times: http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/content/view/54162/
* The Economst: http://www.economist.com/node/18587694
11 Million People Accessing Uncensored Internet via Ultrasurf
April 4: In a recent column, Pulitzer Prize winning author Anne Applebaum desribes the impact that the softwares Ultrareach and Freegate, which enable users to circumvent internet censorship, have had in China and other repressive countries. Falun Gong practitioners based in the United States invented the technologies for the purpose of exposing human rights abuses in China and enabling the free flow of information.
Applebaum relays the impact of a recent infusion of funds from the Broadcasting Board of Governors, stating that: “At first, [Ultrareach] saw an uptick in access in Iran, China, and Vietnam (where there are now some 80,000 users). More recently, UltraReach recorded a 700 percent jump in use of its programs in Tunisia from Dec. 17, when a desperate fruit vendor set himself on fire, to Jan. 12, the day President Ben Ali officially ended Internet censorship in Tunisia…As of Jan. 30, there were more than 11 million people accessing the Internet via UltraReach’s technology.” In addition to calling on the U.S. government to provide more funds to the circumvention tools, she also urges technology companies like Google and Facebook to support such efforts, highlighting that “a large financial reward awaits the company that finds a way to deliver uncensored Internet access to those deprived of it.”
* Slate.com: http://www.slate.com/id/2290334/
March 24-27: In late March, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued a statement calling for the Chinese authorities to release prominent human rights attorney, Gao Zhisheng. Gao, who had repeatedly spoken out against the systematic persecution of Falun Gong practitioners, has been missing since police abducted him in February 2009 and is believed to have been badly tortured. The U.N. agency found that his detention violates international law. During the same week, the U.K.-based Index on Censorship announced that Gao had been chosen to receive its Bindman’s Law and Campaigning Prize. His wife accepted the award on his behalf, via video. In a related op-ed in the New York Times, she called on President Obama to demand Gao’s release.
* The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/29/world/asia/29china.html?_r=2
* Index on Censorship: http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2011/03/gao-zhisheng-awarded-bindmans-law-and-campaigning-prize/
* New York Times op-ed: https://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/28/opinion/28geng.html