Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
Part III: Falun Dafa Information Center 2008 Annual Report
The use of torture against Falun Gong practitioners remains commonplace and continued throughout 2008. Amnesty International published several urgent actions on behalf of adherents at risk of torture, while the UN Committee Against Torture issued a binding decision calling for an independent investigation into abuse of Falun Gong adherents in custody.
In a report on his 2005 mission to China, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Novak, stated that 66 percent of the reports of torture in China that his office received had Falun Gong practitioners as victims. Photographic evidence from inside China, statements of former prisoners of conscience, investigations by Chinese human rights lawyers and testimonies from former security personnel indicate the widespread use of torture against Falun Gong adherents for the purposes of forcing them to renounce their beliefs or extracting information about other practitioners. The most commonly used torture methods include beatings, electric baton shocks, injections with psychotropic drugs, forced-feeding, and rape and other forms of sexual abuse. As detailed in the previous section, over 100 adherents died during the year, often as a result of injuries incurred from abuse in custody.
Amnesty International Urgent Action: Fear of Torture, Chen Zhenping (F):
“Falun Gong practitioner Chen Zhenping was arrested without a warrant on 9 July  at her home in the city of Zhengzhou, Henan province. Her family have not been allowed to visit her, and it is unclear where she is now held. She is in grave danger of torture…”
She was first held for 10 days at Matougang Village Detention Centre, and then moved to Zhengzhou City No.1 Detention Centre. Zhengzhou City Jingshui People’s Court officials told one of her relatives on 10 October that Chen Zhenping had been sentenced to between seven and 15 years’ imprisonment. However, the family have not been served an official notification of a trial by court authorities…. According to a fellow inmate, Chen Zhenping has been held in a cell with over 30 people and forced to sleep on the floor. She was reported by a former cell-mate to have been forced to work up to 19 hours a day producing rugs, Q-tips and other goods, with strict production targets: if she did not meet these targets she was beaten and otherwise ill-treated.”
Chinese lawyer Jiang Tianyong described in an interview with overseas Chinese-language radio station Sound of Hope the abuse suffered by one of his Falun Gong clients from early August 2008: “When I met Hu Yuyuan, he described how he was treated after he was arrested: Guards put a head bag to wrap around his head, and used plastic bottles filled with water to beat his head. Then, they wrapped electrical wires around his fingers and turned on the switch. After electrically shocking one hand, they moved on to shock the other hand in the same manner.”
In a recent article in the New Statesman magazine, Leeshai Lemish writes of interviews he and Ethan Gutmann recently conducted for an upcoming book: “Chen Jie [a Falun Gong adherent who recently escaped to Thailand] said: ‘Their [other practitioners’] bellies, chest and backs were … covered with black bubbles from being shocked with cattle-prods.’ The over 100 people we interviewed, and the torture scars some showed, left no ambiguities—this persecution is ongoing and nationwide.”
See: New Statesman “China’s Other World”
Contributing to a culture of impunity surrounding such abuses was the appointment of former Beijing mayor Liu Qi as head of the Beijing Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games (BOCOG) and his general acceptance as a legitimate host by the international community. This was despite his having been found liable in 2004 for the torture of Falun Gong adherents by a San Francisco court.
According to the Center for Investigative Reporting, which publicized the case in April 2008: “In an extensive legal opinion, the U.S. District Court in San Francisco determined in 2004 that Liu Qi was responsible for the illegal detention and torture of two Chinese nationals and a sexual assault against a French woman in China… The plaintiffs, who were represented by the Center for Justice and Accountability, presented evidence that as mayor, Liu directed security forces to violently crush Falun Gong. In addition, police under his command subjected the plaintiffs and other Falun Gong adherents in Beijing to severe beatings, sexual abuse, and ‘electric shocks through needles placed in [the] body.”
For more information visit: http://centerforinvestigativereporting.org/node/3625
· For a summary of the case and relevant legal documents visit: http://www.cja.org/cases/liuqi.shtml
United Nations Committee Against Torture – Fourth Periodic Review of China
In November 2008, the United Nations Committee against Torture (UNCAT) evaluated the Chinese authorities’ adherence to the 1984 Convention against Torture, which the PRC ratified in 1988. Submissions to the committee by Amnesty International, the Conscience Foundation, Chinese Human Rights Defenders, and Interfaith International cited persistent reports of torture and death in custody of Falun Gong practitioners in recent years, as well as the culture of violence and impunity surrounding them.
Chinese Human Rights Defenders, in particular, highlighted the complete absence of redress mechanisms for Falun Gong torture victims: “In theory, Falun Gong practitioners can petition its Letters and Visits Office or sue Office 610 for torture. In practice, even these limited complaint mechanisms are closed to Falun Gong practitioners because they are treated as a special category and their complaints are not accepted by government offices. Falun Gong practitioners rarely lodge official complaints for fear of being subjected to even worse persecution due to their membership in [Falun Gong]. It is believed that Office 610 is responsible for the torture and cruel treatment of many Falun Gong practitioners and that its officers are never punished or held legally responsible for their crimes.”
See: FDIC Press Release
In a legally binding decision issued on November 21, the UNCAT expressed its concern over information received that “Falun Gong practitioners have been extensively subjected to torture and ill-treatment in prisons and that some of them have been used for organ transplants (arts. 12 and 16).” It further stated that: “The State party should immediately conduct or commission an independent investigation of the claims that some Falun Gong practitioners have been subjected to torture and used for organ transplants and take measures, as appropriate, to ensure that those responsible for such abuses are prosecuted and punished.”