U.S. Congresswoman Requests State Department to Help Secure Release of Detained Falun Gong Practitioner
U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California wrote to Secretary of State Antony Blinken on September 29, 2023 requesting the Secretary to contact his Chinese counterparts and the associated judicial agencies “in the strongest terms” to secure the release of Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Kong Qingping, who is incarcerated in China for her faith.
Ms. Kong, a resident of Dalian City, Liaoning Province, was arrested on October 22, 2022 for possessing Falun Gong books and informational materials to combat the persecution. The Ganjingzi District Court in Dalian tried Ms. Kong via a virtual hearing on September 22, 2023, but did not announce a verdict. She is now held at the Yaojia Detention Center and is awaiting a second hearing.
Ms. Kong has been denied family visits and access to her lawyer has been restricted, as she was only allowed to meet with them once in April 2023.
According to Ms. Kong’s family in China, she was found to have severe high blood pressure and a lung condition when she was admitted to the detention center. The family demanded that the Shahekou Police Station release her on bail due to her poor health, but the police have refused.
Congresswoman Lee wrote, “I have deep concerns regarding the well-being of Ms. Kong during her confinement by the authorities of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Therefore, I urge you to ask Ambassador Nicholas Burns to raise this case directly with his PRC counterparts and call for Mrs. Kong’s immediate unconditional release.”
Congresswoman Lee also said, “According to those familiar with her situation, Ms. Kong has been unable to contact any friends or family since her detainment in 2022. In addition to taking Ms. Kong into detention, these security officials also raided her home and confiscated Falun Gong materials that did not belong to her according to witness testimony. They have conveyed that Ms. Kong was only able to meet her lawyer once before her trial in April 2023, and there was scarce evidence against her. Her trial was remanded back to local authorities due to insufficient evidence; however, she remains in custody.”
Ms. Kong suffered from dizziness during the session and couldn’t hear the lawyer or the judge clearly. Her lawyer demanded to have her released for medical treatment, but the judge denied the request.
Congresswoman Lee ended her letter with, “It is well documented that Falun Gong practitioners have been arbitrarily detained and subjected to other human rights abuses. These actions by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) have garnered widespread condemnation from the global community. This case, among others, underscores the importance of raising awareness and unequivocally opposing such transgressions against human rights.”
Based on an original article by Minghui.org