Surveillance and Arbitrary Interference With Home or Correspondence

Chapter 7, 2010 Annual Report

Falun Gong practitioners throughout China continued in 2009 to be subjected to systematic surveillance of their movements, random searches of their homes, and monitoring of their means of communication, including via e-mail and mobile phone. Such actions are used by security agencies to identify whether an individual is indeed a Falun Gong practitioner, possesses Falun Gong texts, or is in contact with other Falun Gong practitioners. The results of such surveillance continue to be used as a basis for detaining and imprisoning practitioners when they our found possessing documents related to Falun Gong, even ones solely meant for private religious practice.  

Even before the launch of the Chinese Communist Party’s campaign to wipe out Falun Gong, surveillance of practitioners had begun. Since then, over the past decade, developing the capacity to monitor actions and communications of Falun Gong practitioners has remained a key priority for the Chinese regime. Indeed, a 2002 PowerPoint presentation created by Cisco, as it sought to sell technology to the Chinese authorities, indicates that “one of the main objectives of the Golden Shield [surveillance and censorship project] was to ‘combat the ‘Falun Gong.’’” [1]

This trend of monitoring Falun Gong practitioners continued in 2009 amid a heightened security environment. The 6-10 Offices and public security agents monitored the homes of known adherents, as well as their private correspondence conducted by telephone or email. As part of the Communist Party’s “6521 Project,” Falun Gong adherents were regularly subject to arbitrary searches of their homes or persons by security agents. Such searches routinely resulted in incarceration if documents related to Falun Gong were found, even if the documents were solely for the purposes of private religious practice.

According to the 2009 Annual Report of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), “The 6-10 Office and public security bureaus throughout China surveilled and monitored communities, residences, and workplaces in order to identify and isolate Falun Gong adherents.”

In a reference that offers a glimpse at the scale of surveillance imposed on Falun Gong practitioners, the CECC report found that:

“In June 2009, Jiujiang city officials in Jiangxi province described a surveillance system focused on a group of 829 ‘key figures,’ composed primarily of former Falun Gong prisoners [of conscience]. In July, authorities in Shandong province’s Zibo city placed nine practitioners under a ‘‘system of 24-hour monitoring and control.”” [2]

Reports of adherents being imprisoned or sentenced to “re-education through labor” or prison camps were frequently accompanied by accounts of security agents ransacking the practitioners’ homes in search of Falun Gong materials and confiscating property, money, and electronics. Many of those detained in 2008 and 2009 were abducted after security agents, acting without warrants, found Falun Gong literature in their homes.

Incoming reports have also indicated that Falun Gong adherents frequently have their correspondence monitored by security agents, including emails and telephone calls.

  • In one instance, Ms. Cao Junping of Weifang City went into hiding in the home of a friend, fearing that she would be abducted as security officials sought to “prepare” for the Beijing Olympics. Ms. Cao was discovered by security agents after they tapped her phone calls. Her whereabouts were reportedly traced through phone calls made to her daughter in the United States. Ms. Cao was taken into custody on July 29, 2008, and later “sentenced” in a sham trial to 10 years in a prison camp for practicing Falun Gong. [3]

 


[1]  Shiyu Zhou, Testimony to Senate Hearing titled “Hearing on Global Internet Freedom: Corporate Responsibility and the Rule of Law,” May 20, 2008; http://www.internetfreedom.org/Hearing%20on%20Global%20Internet%20Freedom 

[2]  2009 CECC report, p. 122. 

[3]  Jin Pang, “Falun Gong practitioners get long sentences in China,” The Washington Post, Jan. 1, 2010; http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/31/AR2009123102601.html
 

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