Thai Police Taking Orders from Beijing, Again?
Falun Gong refugees in Thailand suddenly detained
NEW YORK – As many as thirteen Falun Gong practitioners residing in Thailand under the protection of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) have been detained by Thai police raising concerns Beijing is, again, pressuring southeast Asian countries into suppressing Falun Gong.
“Over the past 15 years, dozens of Chinese Falun Gong refugees in Thailand have successfully sought freedom and happily settled down in other countries through the help of UNHCR,” says Falun Dafa Information Center spokesperson, Mr. Erping Zhang. “However, these recent arrests raise a significant concern that we are seeing Thai police bow to pressure from Beijing to arrest Falun Gong practitioners who are seeking asylum from arbitrary imprisonment and torture in China.”
The thirteen UNHCR refugees are being held at Immigration Detention Center in Bangkok.
Additionally, the Thai police in the tourist town of Pattaya recently arrested six UNHCR refugees who are now currently on bail. Four of them were arrested at their residence while the other two refugees were taken into custody while they were at the local sightseeing pier – these six UN refugees are scheduled to appear in court on April 16, 2015.
On April 10, 2015, two more UNHCR refugees in Pattaya were taken to a local police station.
The flurry of arrests are not the first time Thai police have sought to suppress Falun Gong practitioners in Thailand. In 2005, Thai police began manhandling and detaining Falun Gong practitioners in Thailand who were either lawfully demonstrating in front of the Chinese Embassy in Bangkok or handing out leaflets exposing the human rights abuses against Falun Gong practitioners in China. Some Thai officers at that time reportedly confessed that pressure from the Chinese Embassy prompted the unlawful suppression. (news)
“When you have innocent people fleeing torture or even death, they should be protected by the UN conventions for refugees,” says Zhang. “Thai authorities need to ensure they are honoring these conventions and not bowing to pressure from Beijing.”
The Falun Dafa Information Center calls on Thai authorities to unconditionally release these detained Chinese Falun Gong refugees and treat them as other UNHCR refugees in accordance with UN conventions for refugees.