UN Refugees in Cambodia Forced into Hiding after Chinese Embassy Instigates Deportation of Refugee Couple to China
Amnesty International Calls for Urgent Action
Illegally Deported Couple Being Held in Number One Prison of Changsha, China
NEW YORK, August 20, 2002 (Falun Dafa Information Center) — Two Falun Gong practitioners living in Phnom Penh under UN protection have been forced into hiding eight days after the Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh reportedly pressured Cambodian officials to violate the UN refugee status of two other Falun Gong practitioners by deporting them back to China.
Mr. Jiang Linzhong is a 61-year-old Chinese national who lives with his wife, Wang Minchun, 58, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, under the protection of the UN High Commission on Refugees. On August 17, a neighbor called to inform him that a number of Cambodian officials accompanied by at least two Chinese officials had visited Mr. Jiang’s home in search of the couple. Mr. Jiang says he was not in his house at the time and the neighbor advised him not to return home because it was too dangerous. “We are very concerned about what the Chinese Embassy might do, especially after they violated UN laws by forcing Cambodian officials to deport Li Guojun and his wife Zhang Xinyi last week,” Mr. Jiang told an FDI reporter by phone.
Mr. Jiang is not certain how many other people living in Cambodia may be in a similar situation. However, Mr. Jiang says that at least six others who had been attending local Falun Gong group practice are no longer coming out for fear of arbitrary arrest under pressure from the Chinese Embassy.
Amnesty International has called for urgent action regarding these Chinese refugees in Cambodia (for details, contact Amnesty’s Washington DC office).
“Individuals protected by the UNHCR office are having to go into hiding to protect themselves from the Chinese Embassy,” notes Falun Dafa Information Center spokesman Erping Zhang. “What does this tells us about the ability of agents of Jiang Zemin’s regime to operate above the law in countries under pressure from Jiang Zemin?”
Mr. Zhang continued, “Even here in the United States, Jiang Zemin’s illicit initiatives have sparked U.S. Congress to pass a resolution calling for, among other things, an investigation into ‘illegal activities in the United States of the Government of the People’s Republic of China…'” The resolution (HR 188), which passed unanimously last month, goes on to call for further investigation, “including allegations of unlawful harassment of United States citizens and residents who practice Falun Gong and of officials of State and local governments in the United States who support Falun Gong.”
Similar illicit pressure has recently raised concern in Hong Kong where 16 practitioners of Falun Gong were convicted last week on charges of obstruction for occupying a seven square meter area during a peaceful sit-in on a space of pavement in front of the Chinese Liaison Office in Hong Kong that defense attorneys described as “big enough to hold a small concert” (140 square meters). Other charges were also file by police who violently arrested the practitioners a few hours after they had started the sit-in.
Two Friends Disappear
Mr. Jiang Linzhong and his wife had come to Phnom Penh in April 2001 to escape persecution in China. They set up a small business in the Cambodian capitol and quietly continued practicing Falun Gong. Every morning, Li Guojun and his wife Zhang Xinyi — the couple who were illegally deported back to China on August 9 — would practice together with Mr. Jiang and his wife at Mr. Jiang’s home or in a local park.
On August 2, however, the couple did not come to Mr. Jiang’s home at the usual time, so he went to their house to make sure nothing was wrong. Li Guojun’s neighbors told Mr. Jiang that two Cambodian police and two Chinese officials had taken the couple away.
Mr. Jiang says he immediately went to the UNHCR Office and reported the detainment to officials there. He was assured that the case would be investigated. The UN office, however, was unable to locate the couple.
Finally, on August 9, Mr. Jiang received word that the couple had been deported back to Guangzhou, China, where they were handcuffed and taken away by Chinese police to Changsha, the capitol city of Hunan Province.
According to sources in China, the couple is now being held at the Number One prison of Changsha.