Report of the Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Manfred Nowak

Addendum 19 February 2008 A/HRC/7/3/Add.1

This addendum to the report of the Special Rapporteur contains, on a country-by-country basis, summaries of reliable and credible allegations of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment that were brought to the attention of the Special Rapporteur, and were transmitted to the Governments concerned.

During the period under review, i.e. from 16 December 2006 to 14 December 2007, the Special Rapporteur sent 79 letters of allegations of torture to 51 Governments and 187 urgent appeals to 59 Governments on behalf of persons who might be at risk of torture or other forms of ill-treatment.

22/12/2006 / JUA [Joint Urgent Appeal] / WGAD [Working Group on Arbitrary Detention], RINT [Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief], TOR [Special Rapporteur on Torture] / Allegations transmitted:

Cao Dong, a Falun Gong practitioner. On 21 May 2006, Mr. Cao Dong met with the vice-president of the European Parliament in Beijing. Following this meeting, he was arrested and transferred to Gansu Province State Security Bureau Detention Centre. On 29 September 2006, Mr. Cao Dong was charged with “producing Falun Gong material”. His current whereabouts are unclear and his family has not been allowed to visit him since the arrest. Gansu local authorities informed Mr. Cao Dong’s family that he will be on trial soon. He has previously been placed in administrative custody for being a Falun Gong practitioner.

25/01/2007 / JAL [Joint Allegation Letter] / RINT [Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief], TOR [Special Rapporteur on Torture] / Allegations transmitted:

Organ harvesting (see also A/HRC/4/33/Add.1, para. 40). A critical issue was not addressed in the Government’s previous responses, in particular: It is reported that there are many more organ transplants than identifiable sources of organs, even taking into account figures for identifiable sources, namely: annual estimates of executed prisoners by whom a high percentage of organs are donated, according to the statement in 2005 of the Vice Minister of HLTH, Mr. Huang Jiefu; willing donor family members, who for cultural reasons, are often reluctant to donate their organs after death; and brain-dead donors. Moreover, the short waiting times that have been advertised for perfectly-matched organs would suggest the existence of a computerized matching system for transplants and a large bank of live prospective donors. It is alleged that the discrepancy between available organs and numbers from identifiable sources is explained by organs harvested from Falun Gong practitioners, and that the rise in transplants from 2000 coincides and correlates with the beginning of the persecution of these persons.

The Special Rapporteurs note reports that on 15 November 2006, Vice-Minister Huang reiterated at a conference of surgeons in Guangzhou that most organs harvested come from executed prisoners. And notwithstanding the reported stringent criteria in place for donors, including for those sentenced to death, the Government informed in its response of 28 November, that voluntary donations, and donations between relatives are the two other legitimate sources of transplant organs. According to the allegations, based on data from the China Medical Organ Transplant Association, between the years 2000 and 2005 there were 60,000 transplantations performed, or approximately 10,000 per year for six years. This period coincides with the alleged rise in the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. In 2005, it is reported that only 0.5% of total transplants were accounted for by donations by relatives; non-relative brain dead donors were around nine in 2006; and estimates—given that the Government does not make public statistics on executions—for 2005 indicate 1770 executions were carried out, and 3900 persons sentenced to death. It is alleged that the discrepancy between the number of transplants carried out and the number of available sources is made up from the harvesting of organs from Falun Gong practitioners. However, it is also reported that the true number of executions is estimated to be around 8,000 to 10,000 per year, rather than the figure of 1770 executions referred above.

As the Special Rapporteur on torture recommended in his report on his visit to China, he reiterates that the Government (E/CN.4/2006/6/para. 82, recommendation q) should use the opportunity of the restoration of the power of review of all death sentences by the Supreme People’s Court to publish national statistics on the death penalty. A full explanation of the source of organ transplants would disprove the allegation of organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners, particularly if they could be traced to willing donors or executed prisoners. The request for an explanation for the discrepancy in the number of transplants between the years 2000 to 2005 and the numbers from identifiable sources of organs is reiterated.

29/3/2007 / JUA [Joint Urgent Appeal] / WGAD [Working Group on Arbitrary Detention], TOR [Special Rapporteur on Torture] / Allegations transmitted

Ms. Liang Wenjian, aged 39, her husband, Lin Zhiyong, aged 40, Ms. Li Dongmei, Wang He, Wu Jiangyan, and three other persons whose identities have yet to be established. All eight individuals were arrested on 10 February 2007 by around ten plain-clothed police officers for participating in an illegal gathering at the residence of Liang Wenjian. The police also searched their home and confiscated Falun Gong literature and a computer. About one month later seven of the eight individuals mentioned above were assigned to two years of “Re-education through Labour” (RTL) in connection with their Falun Gong activities without formal charges, trial or any other judicial process. One person, an elderly woman whose identity has yet to be established, was assigned to one and a half years of “RTL”. All eight persons are currently being detained at Panyu detention centre in Guangzhou city, Guangdong province, awaiting transfer to an “RTL” camp. Their families have not been notified of their orders of detention and have not been allowed to visit them. Liang Wenjian had previously been assigned to “RTL” at Guangzhou Chaitou Xiaodao from February 2000 to April 2001. During this period she was subjected to ill-treatment. She was hung up by her wrists so that her feet could barely touch the ground for two hours for practicing Falun Gong in detention. Liang Wenjian was also required to work for up to 14 hours per day to make artificial flowers.

A full copy of the report is available at the following link, under the title “2008 Human Rights Council – Communications – A/HRC/7/3/Add.1