UK Falun Gong Woman Faces Deportation Back to China
LONDON (EFIC) — After being denied asylum in the UK, Ms. Lin Lili, a citizen of the People’s Republic of China and Falun Gong practitioner, is awaiting deportation to China scheduled for 7 March 2003.
Lili is sixty days pregnant. It would be extremely dangerous for her to be sent back to a hostile environment where she could be detained and tortured at any moment, especially as China is known to use late-term abortions to force female Falun Gong practitioners to renounce their beliefs.
Lili Lin, 28, applied for asylum in Manchester in October 2001 on grounds of being a practitioner of Falun Gong. In April 2002, Lili Lin was married to Jinfei Zhang, a PhD student at Liverpool University who is also a Falun Gong practitioner. She moved from Manchester to Liverpool to live with her husband, and informed the Home Office of her change of address. The Home Office refused her application for asylum and the letter of refusal was sent to her old address. She did not receive the letter until it was too late for her to appeal. Due to this error by the Home Office her right to appeal was denied and she was listed for deportation.
She has reported to the Home Office in Liverpool regularly. At 3pm, 26th February 2003, she reported to the Home Office as usual. Without any advance warning she was told that she was to be deported immediately. She was then taken to a deportation centre in Manchester. Finally, at around 1.20am, 27th February, she was able to contact her husband with the help of a kind-hearted staff member. By that time, her husband had become extremely worried as to her whereabouts, as she had failed to return home after midnight.
A medical examination carried out at the detention centre revealed that she is six weeks pregnant. Lili Lin’s life, and that of her unborn child, will be seriously endangered if she is deported back to China. She is an active Falun Gong practitioner in the UK, and voluntarily runs a free Falun Gong exercise-teaching class in Liverpool together with her husband. Her husband’s name appears in Falun Gong’s leaflets and website which are widely and openly distributed. She has frequently been to the Chinese consulate in Manchester and the Chinese Embassy in London to appeal against the persecution.
The Chinese Government’s persecution of Falun Gong is well known. Hundreds of practitioners have been killed and thousands of practitioners are in ‘Re-education Camps’. There is no doubt that the Chinese Government knows this family’s involvement with Falun Gong. Failure to protect this family will result in a tragedy, which the British Government and public will be sure to regret.
The European Falun Gong Information Centre has verified details of 580 deaths since the persecution of Falun Gong in China began in 1999. Government officials inside China, however, report that the actual death toll is well over 1,600, while expert sources estimate that figure to be much higher. Hundreds of thousands have been detained, with more than 100,000 being sentenced to forced labour camps, typically without trial.