In the fall of 1999, with the first reports of deaths of Falun Gong practitioners in China just surfacing, the United States Congress passed what would be the first of five resolutions condemning the persecution of Falun Gong. Four other resolutions followed, including one expressing concern over attacks and harassment of Falun Gong adherents and their supporters by Chinese agents within the territory of the United States.
During floor debates and annual rallies held in Washington D.C., Members of Congress have reiterated their opposition to the Chinese Communist Party’s policy of banning Falun Gong and particularly, at the brutal methods used to force Chinese citizens to renounce their peaceful spiritual beliefs.
Last updated in 2022.
- Falun Gong Protection Act H.R.6219
(Introduced December 16, 2021)
Referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and in addition to the Committee on the Judiciary
“This bill requires the President to impose visa- and property-blocking sanctions on foreign persons that are knowingly responsible for, are complicit in, or have engaged in the involuntary harvesting of organs in China. The sanctions shall not apply to certain activities, such as authorized U.S. intelligence or law enforcement activities.
The President must (1) maintain an updated list of foreign persons subject to the sanctions, and (2) impose the sanctions according to the most recent version of the list..”
- Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act of 2021 S.602
(Introduced March 4, 2021)
16 cosponsors; referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations
“This bill establishes specified measures to combat forced organ harvesting and the international trafficking in persons for the purpose of removing their organs. These measures include (1) establishing property-blocking and visa-blocking sanctions, (2) prohibiting exports of certain surgery devices to entities that are identified as being responsible for forced organ harvesting or related human trafficking, and (3) requiring the Department of State to report on these practices.”
- Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act of 2021 H.R.1592
(Introduced March 3, 2021)
16 cosponsors; referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship
“This bill establishes specified measures to combat forced organ harvesting and the international trafficking in persons for the purpose of removing their organs. These measures include (1) establishing property-blocking and visa-blocking sanctions, (2) prohibiting exports of certain surgery devices to entities that are identified as being responsible for forced organ harvesting or related human trafficking, and (3) requiring the Department of State to report on these practices.”
- House Resolution 343 (June 13, 2016)
185 cosponsors; passed the House unanimously
“Expressing concern regarding persistent and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from non-consenting prisoners of conscience in the People’s Republic of China, including from large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners and members of other religious and ethnic minority groups.”
- House Resolution 605 (March 16, 2010)
81 cosponsors; passed the House nearly unanimously (412-1)
“Recognizing the continued persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China on the 11th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party campaign to suppress the Falun Gong spiritual movement and calling for an immediate end to the campaign to persecute, intimidate, imprison, and torture Falun Gong practitioners.”
- House Concurrent Resolution 304 (October 4, 2004)
75 cosponsors; passed the House unanimously
“Expressing the sense of Congress regarding oppression by the Government of the People’s Republic of China of Falun Gong in the United States and in China.“
- House Concurrent Resolution 188 (July 24, 2002)
100 cosponsors; passed the House unanimously
“Expressing the sense of Congress that the Government of the People’s Republic of China should cease its persecution of Falun Gong practitioners.“
- House Concurrent Resolution 218 (November 18, 1999)
72 cosponsors; passed the House unanimously
“Expressing the sense of the Congress that the Government of the People’s Republic of China should stop its persecution of Falun Gong practitioners.“
Speeches at Falun Gong Rallies
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) speaks at Capitol Hill to support Falun Gong
Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) speaks at Capitol Hill to support Falun Gong
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) speaks at Capitol Hill to support Falun Gong
Congressman Christopher Smith (R-NJ) speaks at Capitol Hill to support Falun Gong
Congressman Sam Farr (D-CA) speaks at Capitol Hill to support Falun Gong
Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) speaks at Capitol Hill to support Falun Gong
Floor Debate (C-SPAN)
U.S. State Department
Reports on Human Rights Practices
- 2020 Human Rights Report: China
“Authorities used administrative detention to intimidate political and religious advocates and to prevent public demonstrations. Forms of administrative detention included “legal education” centers for political activists and religious adherents, particularly Falun Gong practitioners.”
- 2019 Human Rights Report: China
“There was no direct evidence of an involuntary or prisoner-based organ transplant system. Nevertheless, some activists and organizations continued to accuse the government of involuntarily harvesting organs from prisoners of conscience, especially members of Falun Gong. The PRC government denied the claims, stating it had officially ended the long-standing practice of harvesting the organs of executed prisoners for use in transplants in 2015. One Australian National University study of PRC official statistics of organ donations said there was “highly compelling evidence” based on statistical forensics that the data was “falsified.” Furthermore, the research paper argued that the government’s organ transplant program involved donations from “nonvoluntary donors who are marked down as ‘citizen donors.’” In June the nongovernmental Independent Tribunal into Forced Organ Harvesting of Prisoners of Conscience in China released a report which found “direct and indirect evidence of forced organ harvesting” in China, citing “extraordinarily short waiting times” and massive infrastructure development of facilities and medical personnel for organ transplant operations.“
- 2018 Human Rights Report: China
“There were reports that authorities subjected individuals to death, forced disappearances, and organ harvesting in prison because of their religious beliefs or affiliation. The Wall Street Journal reported that Chinese authorities have subjected prisoners of conscience including Falun Gong to forcible organ extraction. Former prisoners stated that while in detention, authorities subjected them to blood tests and unusual medical examinations that were then added to a database, enabling on-demand organ transplants. On December 10, an independent tribunal established by the international NGO International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China issued an interim judgement that the panel was “certain – unanimously, and sure beyond reasonable doubt – that in China, forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience has been practiced for a substantial period of time, involving a very substantial number of victims.“
The Political Prisoner Database (PPDB) maintained by human rights NGO Dui Hua Foundation contained the following number of imprisoned religious practitioners at year’s end. The PPDB listed 3,486 Falun Gong practitioners imprisoned at year’s end, compared with 3,516 at the end of 2017. Dui Hua defined imprisoned religious practitioners as “people persecuted for holding religious beliefs that are not officially sanctioned.” Falun Gong reports say that during the year authorities arrested or harassed approximately 9,000 citizens for refusing to renounce Falun Gong. According to Minghui, authorities arrested 4,848 Falun Gong practitioners and harassed an additional 4,127. Of those arrested, 2,414 remained in detention at year’s end.”
- 2017 Human Rights Report: China
“Officials continued to hold “anticult” education sessions and propaganda campaigns affecting schoolchildren and their families. Some officials required families to sign statements guaranteeing they would not take part in unregistered churches and “cult organization” activities related to Falun Gong as a prerequisite for registering their children for school.
Authorities instructed neighborhood communities to report Falun Gong members to officials and offered monetary rewards to citizens who informed on Falun Gong practitioners. Prison authorities reportedly subjected detained Falun Gong practitioners to various methods of physical and psychological coercion, such as sleep deprivation, in attempts to force them to renounce their beliefs.”
- 2016 Human Rights Report: China
“Practitioners of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement reported systematic torture more often than other groups.”
- 2015 Human Rights Report: China
“According to a report published by Ming Hui, in Guangdong Province authorities “persecuted, intimidated, kidnapped, disappeared, sentenced, or sent to reeducation-through-labor camps” 91 Falun Gong practitioners in the first half of the year. Of these, 24 Falun Gong members were prosecuted and seven sentenced to terms of imprisonment from one to four years, according to the report.
The report stated many lawyers defending Falun Gong members were forbidden from meeting with their clients, faced harassment by police or officials from the justice department, and were threatened with revocation of their professional licenses unless they withdrew to allow for replacement by a court-appointed lawyer. Lawyers were unable to exercise normal legal functions in all Falun Gong-related court trials, such as by presenting defense statements or evidence or witnesses, according to reports by Ming Hui and legal advocates. Some lawyers were expelled by the judge on-site and ejected from the court by police.”
- 2014 Human Rights Report: China
“In March authorities in Heilongjiang Province sentenced 11 persons to administrative detention for “using cult activities to endanger society” after they were caught investigating illegal detention facilities for Falun Gong adherents. After their release, three human rights lawyers among the detained–Jiang Tianyong, Tang Jitian, and Wang Cheng–reported being they were tortured by police during their detention. Wang Cheng alleged police hoisted him from the ceiling, hooded him, and beat him. Police later forced the three to sign confessions that they had “disturbed public order.”
The government suspended or revoked the licenses of lawyers or their firms to stop them from taking sensitive cases, such as defending Falun Gong practitioners. Family members of Falun Gong practitioners were targeted for arbitrary arrest, detention, and harassment.“
- 2013 Human Rights Report: China
“In May authorities in Sichuan Province detained and beat lawyers Tang Jitian and Jiang Tianyong as they attempted to visit a black jail in Ziyang that reportedly holds followers of the banned Falun Gong movement.”
- 2012 Human Rights Report: China
“There were widespread reports of activists and petitioners being committed to mental health facilities and involuntarily subjected to psychiatric treatment for political reasons. According to Legal Daily, the Ministry of Public Security directly administered 24 high-security psychiatric hospitals for the criminally insane (also known as ankang facilities). From 1998 to May 2010, more than 40,000 persons were committed to ankang hospitals. In 2010 an official of the Ministry of Public Security stated in a media interview that detention in ankang facilities was not appropriate for patients who did not demonstrate criminal behavior. However, political activists, underground religious believers, persons who repeatedly petitioned the government, members of the banned Chinese Democracy Party (CDP), and Falun Gong practitioners were among those housed with mentally ill patients in these institutions”
- 2011 Human Rights Report: China
“Overseas and domestic media and advocacy groups continued to report instances of organ harvesting, particularly from Falun Gong practitioners and Uighurs.
According to China News Weekly, the country had 22 “ankang” institutions (high-security psychiatric hospitals for the criminally insane) directly administered by the Ministry of Public Security. Unregistered religious believers and Falun Gong adherents were among those reported to be held with mentally ill patients in these institutions.”
- 2010 Human Rights Report: China
“In June Guangxi Litang Prison authorities reported the April 2009 death of He Zhi, a Falun Gong practitioner who was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment in 2005. Authorities at Guangxi Litang Prison, where many Falun Gong practitioners reportedly are imprisoned, stated the cause of death was “falling from bed,” but He’s brother claimed he found other injuries and bruises on He’s body.
In February 2009 authorities detained rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who had represented Christians and Falun Gong practitioners. At year’s end his whereabouts and legal status remained unknown. According to NGO and media reports, he was seen in his hometown in August 2009 under heavy police escort. Gao was seen briefly in Beijing in March and April, but subsequently disappeared again.
In April 2009 Beijing lawyer Cheng Hai was attacked and beaten while on his way to meet with a Falun Gong client in Chengdu, Sichuan Province. According to Cheng, those responsible for the attack were officials from the Jinyang General Management Office, Wuhou District, Chengdu.”
- 2009 Human Rights Report: China
“Some foreign observers estimated that Falun Gong adherents constituted at least half of the 250,000 officially recorded inmates in RTL camps, while Falun Gong sources overseas placed the number even higher.”
- 2008 Human Rights Report: China
“Internet police were able to automatically censor e-mail and web chats based on an ever-changing list of sensitive key words, such as “Falun Gong”. In the past the mere belief in the discipline (even without any public practice of its tenets) sometimes was sufficient grounds for practitioners to receive punishments ranging from loss of employment to imprisonment. Falun Gong sources estimated that since 1999 at least 6,000 Falun Gong practitioners have been sentenced to prison, more than 100,000 practitioners have been sentenced to RTL, and almost 3,000 have died from torture while in custody.
Over the past several years, Falun Gong members identified by the government as “core leaders” were singled out for particularly harsh treatment. More than a dozen Falun Gong members were sentenced to prison for the crime of “endangering state security,” but the great majority of Falun Gong members convicted by the courts since 1999 were sentenced to prison for “organizing or using a sect to undermine the implementation of the law,” a less serious offense. Most practitioners, however, were punished administratively. Some practitioners were sentenced to RTL. Some Falun Gong members were sent to “legal education” centers specifically established to “rehabilitate” practitioners who refused to recant publicly their belief voluntarily after their release from RTL camps. Government officials denied the existence of such “legal education” centers. In addition hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners were confined to mental hospitals, according to overseas groups.
Police continued to detain current and former Falun Gong practitioners and used possession of Falun Gong material as a pretext for arresting political activists. The government continued its use of high-pressure tactics and mandatory anti-Falun Gong study sessions to force practitioners to renounce Falun Gong. Even practitioners who had not protested or made other public demonstrations of belief reportedly were forced to attend anti-Falun Gong classes or were sent directly to RTL camps. These tactics reportedly resulted in large numbers of practitioners signing pledges to renounce the movement.”
- 2007 Human Rights Report: China
“In March 2006 UN Special Rapporteur Nowak reported that Falun Gong practitioners accounted for 66 percent of victims of alleged torture while in government custody. Since the crackdown on Falun Gong began in 1999, estimates of the number of Falun Gong adherents who died in custody due to torture, abuse, and neglect ranged from several hundred to a few thousand.”
International Religious Freedom Reports
- 2020 Annual International Religious Freedom Report
“According to Minghui, police arrested 6,659 Falun Gong practitioners and harassed 8,576 practitioners during the year for refusing to renounce their faith, compared with 6,109 arrested and 3,582 harassed in 2019. The arrests occurred throughout the country. Hebei, Heilongjiang, Shandong, Jilin, Sichuan, and Liaoning were the provinces where the highest number of practitioners were targeted. Those arrested included teachers, engineers, lawyers, journalists, authors, and dancers. Minghui stated individuals were tortured in custody. Minghui also reported that authorities sentenced 622 practitioners to prison throughout the country during the year. The sentences ranged from three months to 14 years, with the average sentence being three years and four months.
U.S.-based NGO Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC) released a report, Organ Procurement and Extrajudicial Execution in China: A Review of the Evidence. In the report, VOC stated that Falun Gong practitioners and Uyghur Muslim prisoners of conscience were the most likely source of organs for sale in the country’s organ-transplant market. A related series of articles published during the year examining the country’s organ transplantation system questioned the plausibility of official government statistics about the sourcing of transplant organs, stating there was an overlap between medical personnel performing organ transplants and individuals involved in the anti-Falun Gong campaign.”
- 2019 Annual International Religious Freedom Report
“The CCP maintains an extralegal, party-run security apparatus to eliminate the Falun Gong movement and other such organizations.
In June an independent tribunal established by the international NGO International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China issued its final judgment that “forced organ harvesting has been committed for years throughout China on a significant scale and that Falun Gong practitioners have been one – and probably the main – source of organ supply.” The tribunal presented its finding to the United Nations in September.”
Sanctions of Offenders for Gross Human Rights Violations Against Falun Gong
- December 10, 2020 – Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State
“The State Department is designating Chief Huang Yuanxiong of the Xiamen Public Security Bureau Wucun Police Station for his involvement in gross violations of human rights in Xiamen, China. Huang is associated with particularly severe violations of religious freedom of Falun Gong practitioners, namely his involvement in the detention and interrogation of Falun Gong practitioners for practicing their beliefs. Today’s action also applies to Mr. Huang’s spouse. The world cannot stand idly by as the PRC government perpetrates horrific and systematic abuses against people in China, including violating the internationally recognized right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion or belief.“
- May 12, 2021 – Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State
“To that end, today I am announcing the designation of Yu Hui, former Office Director of the so-called “Central Leading Group on Preventing and Dealing with Heretical Religions” of Chengdu, Sichuan Province, pursuant to Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2021. He is designated for his involvement in gross violations of human rights, namely the arbitrary detention of Falun Gong practitioners for their spiritual beliefs. Yu Hui and his immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States.“
- December 9, 2022 – Office of the Spokesperson
“Tang Yong (Tang), former deputy director of the Chongqing Area Prisons in the PRC…Pursuant to Section 7031(c), the Department of State is designating Tang for his involvement in gross violations of human rights, namely arbitrary detention of Falun Gong practitioners, which also amount to particularly severe violations of religious freedom.“
U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom
In 2022, Falun Gong was the third-largest recorded group of prisoners of conscience behind Muslims and Christians in the USCIRF Freedom of Religion or Belief Victims List.
Annual USCIRF Reports
- 2022 Annual Commission Report
“Falun Gong source Minghui reported that in 2021, authorities harassed and arrested thousands of Falun Gong practitioners and sentenced 892 to prison terms. At least 101 practitioners died as a result of government persecution.”
Russia and Vietnam also increased its suppression of Falun Gong in the country.
“The Russian government continued to use an array of problematic legislation to persecute religious minorities, including…Falun Gong…”
“Authorities continued to persecute…adherents of other religious movements such as Falun Gong…”
- 2021 Annual Commission Report
“According to reports, thousands of Falun Gong practitioners were harassed and arrested during 2020 for practicing their faith, and some likely died due to abuse and torture while in custody. Credible international reports also suggested that organ harvesting, including from Falun Gong practitioners, likely continued.”
- 2020 Annual Commission Report
“According to reports, thousands of Falun Gong practitioners were arrested during 2019 for practicing the movement’s meditation exercises or distributing literature about their beliefs. Human rights advocates and scientists presented evidence that the practice of harvesting organs from prisoners—many of whom are believed to be Falun Gong practitioners—continued on a significant scale.
Under article 300 of the Chinese Criminal Code, belonging to certain religious movements, such as the Falun Gong, is punishable with three to seven years’ imprisonment.”
- 2019 Annual Commission Report
“As a Falun Gong practitioner, you may end up at a detention center where you are attacked with electric batons and forced to undergo medical and psychological experimentation. Meanwhile, more than 900 Falun Gong practitioners were arrested during the year simply for practicing their beliefs or distributing literature about the Falun Gong. In March 2018, jurisdiction over religious affairs was transferred from the government to an organ of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), further eroding the barrier between religion and party.
Throughout 2018, authorities harassed, detained, and intimidated Falun Gong practitioners simply for practicing their beliefs.
There were reports that many of the detainees suffered physical violence, psychiatric abuse, sexual assault, forced drug administration, and sleep deprivation. According to Falun Gong advocates, the government imprisoned at least 931 Falun Gong practitioners in 2018. During the summer, several Falun Gong practitioners were arrested for sending pro-Falun messages over social media and for distributing Falun Gong pamphlets in a marketplace.
Although the Chinese government claimed that as of January 1, 2015, it had ended the practice of harvesting organs from prisoners (many of whom are believed to be Falun Gong practitioners), in 2018, human rights advocates, medical professionals, and investigative journalists presented additional evidence that the practice continued on a significant scale. In November, the Justice Bureau of Changsha, Hunan Province, suspended for six months the law licenses of two attorneys who defended Falun Gong practitioners because they “denied the nationally recognized nature of a cult organization” in court.”
- 2018 Annual Commission Report
“Authorities regularly target Falun Gong practitioners and force them into labor camps or prisons; many disappear without being heard from again. While detained, Falun Gong practitioners suffer psychiatric and other medical experimentation, unnecessary medical tests, sexual assault/ violence, torture, and organ harvesting, often as efforts to force them to renounce their faith. Authorities have detained some Falun Gong practitioners multiple times. For example, on September 19, 2017, police in Nanjing detained Ma Zhenyu, who had been arrested five times previously for practicing Falun Gong, served time in prison, and was subjected to multiple interrogations and torture. Also in 2017, authorities continued to monitor Falun Gong practitioner and former prisoner of conscience Zhiwen Wang, restricting his freedom of movement and preventing him from reuniting with his family in the United States.
In February 2017, human rights advocates objected to a Chinese official’s prominent role at the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences’ Summit on Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism. Although China claims it ended the practice of harvesting organs from prisoners (many of whom are believed to be Falun Gong practitioners or other religious followers) on January 1, 2015, advocates believe the practice has continued. Dr. Huang Jiefu, a surgeon and former vice minister for health, represented China at the summit and spoke of China’s attempts to reform its organ transplant systems and processes; however, critics noted his direct role in performing transplant surgeries and directing China’s transplant program. In July 2017, the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG) added updated information to its list of more than 37,000 organizations and 80,000 individuals believed to have persecuted Falun Gong practitioners; the newest additions include government officials from the Ministry of State Security, as well as personnel from the 610 Office, public security, and the judiciary.“
- 2017 Annual Commission Report
“While detained, Falun Gong practitioners suffer psychiatric and other medical experimentation, sexual violence, torture, and organ harvesting. A new report released in June 2016 by the International Coalition to End Organ Pillaging in China revealed that 60,000–100,000 organ transplants are performed in the country each year, an alarming discrepancy from the government’s claim of 10,000. Organ donors often are nonconsenting, particularly executed Falun Gong prisoners and detainees.
Zhiwen Wang, a Falun Gong practitioner who was persecuted and imprisoned for 15 years, was released in 2014, but the Chinese government has prevented him from receiving proper medical care and reuniting with his family in the United States. In 2016, Zhiwen was granted a passport and U.S. visa to leave China, but a customs agent at the airport nullified his passport. This occurred after Chinese police and undercover agents harassed and intimidated Zhiwen and his family for several days. For the second year in a row, in 2016 Chinese authorities attempted to suppress Chinese-born human rights advocate and Falun Gong practitioner Anastasia Lin. Chinese authorities had denied her a visa and barred her entry into mainland China from Hong Kong when the country hosted the 2015 Miss World competition. She competed in the 2016 Miss World competition in Washington, DC, but Chinese journalists and other “minders” relentlessly followed her, and pageant officials interfered with her ability to speak to the media and initially barred her from attending a screening of “The Bleeding Edge,” a movie about China’s forced organ harvesting in which she stars.“
- 2016 Annual Commission Report
“Falun Gong practitioners often are held in “black jails” and brainwashing centers, with credible reports of torture, sexual violence, psychiatric experimentation, and organ harvesting. In 2015, thousands of Falun Gong practitioners reportedly were arrested or sent to brainwashing centers or other detention facilities. Brainwashing centers are a form of extralegal detention known to involve acts of torture. Based on statements from Chinese health officials, the long-standing practice of harvesting organs from prisoners was to end on January 1, 2015. However, many human rights advocates believe the practice continues. Imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners are particularly targeted for organ harvesting.
Chinese authorities denied a visa and barred entry into mainland China to Anastasia Lin, a human rights advocate and Falun Gong practitioner. As Miss World Canada 2015, Ms. Lin was scheduled to participate in the Miss World event held in China in December 2015.“
- 2015 Annual Commission Report
“In October 2014, Falun Gong practitioner Wang Zhiwen was released after 15 years in prison, but was immediately detained in what the Chinese government refers to as a “legal education center.” (In these centers, also referred to as brainwashing centers, torture reportedly is common.) Although this extrajudicial detention was temporary, his freedom of movement is still restricted, impacting his ability to seek proper medical treatment for the effects of the torture he endured while in prison. Li Chang, Yu Changxin and Ji Liewu are among the countless Falun Gong practitioners who remain imprisoned. While China in 2014 reportedly ended its deplorable system of “re-education through labor,” a form of extrajudicial detention used for many Falun Gong practitioners, other forms of extralegal detention remain, including secretive black jails.”
Chen Zhenping (f) is a Falun Gong practitioner who was detained in August 2008 for “using a heretical organization to subvert the law.” She is currently serving an eight-year prison sentence in Henan Provincial Women’s prison. Repeated attempts by her lawyer to visit her since her imprisonment have all been blocked by the authorities. Her family has not been able to see her since March 2009. She has been subjected to regular beatings, been forcibly injected with drugs, and given electric shocks on sensitive parts of her body. Since her imprisonment, authorities have blocked visits from her lawyer, and since November 2009, they have denied information on Chen’s wellbeing.
Wang Zhiwen (m, currently under house arrest) is a former Peoples Republic of China Ministry of Railways engineer, who was seized from bed on July 20, 1999 for his involvement and leadership in Falun Gong. The movement was banned two days after Wang’s arrest, and those who continue to practice are now considered to be dissidents of the state. On December 26, 1999, Wang was sentenced by the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court to 16 years in prison and four years deprivation of political rights. On October 18th, 2014, he was released from a Chinese prison after serving 5,475 days in jail. While incarcerated, Wang developed diabetes and high blood pressure, and suffered from a stroke immediately prior to his release. Upon Wang’s release from prison, he was immediately sent to what his family describes as a “brainwashing center” for 10 days, and on the 24th of October he was released to house arrest.
Li Chang (m) is a former high-ranking governmental official in the Ministry of Public Security, belonged to the Chinese Communist Party for over 39 years before becoming a member of Falun Gong. Li Chang was put under house arrest for three months on July 20, 1999, two days before the banning of Falun Gong in China. On October 19, 1999 Li was arrested formally and brought to trial on December 26, 1999. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison and five years of deprivation of rights. The courts decided to commute his sentence to 18 years, since he confessed to his involvement with Falun Gong. He is currently being held at Qianjin Prison in Tianjin and is expected to be released in 2017.
- 2014 Annual Commission Report
“China maintains an extrajudicial security apparatus, the 6-10 Office, to stamp out Falun Gong activities and created specialized facilities known as “transformation through reeducation centers” to force practitioners to relinquish their faith. As many as 2,000 individuals are estimated to be detained in these extralegal centers. There are 486 known Falun Gong practitioners currently serving prison sentences. Practitioners who do not renounce their beliefs in detention are subject to torture, including credible reports of deaths in custody and the use of psychiatric experiments and possible organ harvesting. Since 2011, more than 100 human rights defenders, many who often work on religious freedom cases, were forcibly disappeared, tortured, detained, stripped of legal licenses, or sentenced to prison terms. In the past year, officials beat lawyers who sought access to arrested Falun Gong clients in “black jails” where individuals are held without charge. In July, 13 lawyers were barred from assisting Falun Gong clients during their trial in the port city of Dalian.“
- 2013 Annual Commission Report
“Falun Gong face some of the most intense and violent forms of persecution. Reportedly, over 3,500 Falun Gong practitioners have died as a result of government-approved persecution. China maintains an extrajudicial security apparatus, the 6-10 office, to stamp out Falun Gong activities and uses specialized facilities known as “transformation through reeducation centers” to force practitioners to renounce their beliefs through the use of torture and medical experimentation. Provincial authorities were urged to conduct anti-cult campaigns, including public meetings and the signing of anti-cult “pledge cards.” According to the CECC, a government website provided training materials for these campaigns. Lawyers who have challenged the law and those who sought to defend Falun Gong have been harassed and detained, including in recent years lawyers Wei Liangyue and Wang Yonghang.
As of December 2012, the CECC’s prisoner database lists 486 Falun Gong practitioners as currently serving prison sentences, though the actual number may be much higher. One such prisoner is Wei Jun, currently serving a five-year sentence at the Heilongjiang Women’s Prison, her fourth incarceration since 1999. According to her testimony of torture and abuse while in custody, which was smuggled from prison, she suffers from partial paralysis from being beaten by both prison guards and other prisoners.“
- 2012 Annual Commission Report
“In January 2012, according to the NGO China Human Rights Defenders Network, officials in Hunan Province threatened parents with the expulsion of their children from school unless they signed a guarantee not to take part in the “evil cult” activities involving Falun Gong and house church Protestantism. Parents in Wugang City must sign such an agreement to register their children for school, which violates both the rights to education and freedom of religion or belief. To spread information about the requirement, the local government held more than 30 events related to “evil cults” during the Chinese New Year, disseminating tens of thousands of publications about opposing Falun Gong.
According the CECC, the government has increased efforts to “transform” Falun Gong practitioners in recent years. The Falun Dafa Information Center (FDIC), using information gathered within China, estimated that 2,000 individuals were detained in the extralegal “transformation through re-education centers” over the past two years, many in Hebei and Shandong provinces, but also in Shanghai and Beijing. As of December 2011, the CECC‘s prisoner database lists 486 Falun Gong practitioners as currently serving prison sentences, though the actual number may be much higher. The FDIC also provides evidence that 53 Falun Gong practitioners died in custody in 2011.
These include Ms. Wang Mingrong from Chendgu, Sichuan province, whose family was informed on September 17, 2011 that she had died 10 days after her detention, and Ms. Wang Yujie from Hubei province, whose family was informed of her death on September 3, 2011, after she had spent a year in a “transformation” center. Numerous allegations of government-sanctioned organ harvesting and psychiatric experimentation also continue to surface. The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has called for an independent investigation into these allegations.“
- 2011 Annual Commission Report
“In the year before the Olympic Games, police waged a concerted campaign to harass and detain known Falun Gong practitioners and brutally suppressed their activities. Between 2007 and August 2008, an estimated 10,000 people were detained. Of that number at least 700 were sentenced to prison term or RTL.
One Falun Gong-affiliated research NGO, using public sources from within China, confirmed that 2,513 individuals were detained in the past year, many in Hebei and Shandong provinces and also in Shanghai. Security officials reportedly offered rewards to anyone who would identify Falun Gong adherents, in order to “protect” the Shanghai World Expo. Almost all of those detained were sentenced to prison or RTL. Numerous allegations of government-sanctioned organ harvesting from incarcerated practitioners have surfaced within the last several years as well.“
- 2010 Annual Commission Report
“There is credible evidence of the systematic torture and mistreatment of Falun Gong practitioners in detention. Falun Gong adherents remain in detention, in home confinement, under surveillance, or have disappeared.
The Chinese government’s systematic campaign to suppress the Falun Gong using extrajudicial means is a severe human rights problem. Detained Falun Gong adherents are tortured and mistreated. In addition, Chinese officials harassed, detained, physically abused, and in the prominent case of Gao Zhisheng, forcibly “disappeared” attorneys who defended Falun Gong.
Targeting Falun Gong adherents continues to be a high priority for Chinese government security officials. There remains a nationwide campaign to suppress Falun Gong and “transform” its practitioners. A 2009 directive by the Central Committee on the Comprehensive Management of Public Security urged security officials to “strike hard against hostile forces…[including] the infiltration, subversion, and sabotage by ‘Falun Gong.’” Similar security instructions were issued in the provinces of Jiangsu, Hubei, Jilin, Guizhou, Yunnan, Henan, Hunan, Anhui, Sichuan, and Shandong, including recommendations for surveillance, cultivation of paid informants, and propaganda efforts.
In February 2009, public security officials in one municipality of Sichuan province reported that they had detained 114 Falun Gong practitioners. In April 2009, Zhang Xingwu, a retired physics professor from Shandong province, was sentenced to seven years in prison after police discovered Falun Gong literature in his apartment. In late November 2009, a Shanghai court sentenced Liu Jin to three and a half years in prison for downloading and distributing information about Falun Gong on the Internet.“
- 2009 Annual Commission Report
“Though it is difficult to determine with specificity the number of Falun Gong practitioners in detention during the past year, some estimates place the number at 8,000, with most arrests having occurred prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In the year before the Olympic Games, police waged a concerted campaign to harass and detain known Falun Gong practitioners and brutally suppressed their activity. An estimated 8,037 Falun Gong were detained between December 2007 and August 2008.
The Committee on Torture, a UN treaty- monitoring body, also called on the government during its 2008 review of China to conduct independent investigations to clarify discrepancies in statistics related to organ transplants and allegations of torture of Falun Gong practitioners.“
- 2008 Annual Commission Report
“Tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have been sent to labor camps without trial or to mental health institutions for re-education because of their affiliation with an “evil cult.” Falun Gong practitioners claim that nearly 6,000 practitioners have been sent to prison and over 3,000 have died while in police custody.“
- 2007 Annual Commission Report
“Some human rights researchers estimate that Falun Gong adherents comprise up to half of the 250,000 officially recorded inmates in reeducation through labor camps. The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture reported that Falun Gong practitioners make up two-thirds of the alleged victims of torture.
During the Commission’s August 2005 visit, high level Chinese government officials defended the crackdown on the Falun Gong as necessary to promote “social harmony.” Police continued to detain current and former Falun Gong practitioners and place them in reeducation camps. Police reportedly have quotas for Falun Gong arrests and target former practitioners, even if they are no longer practicing. In the past year, reports continued to surface regarding the re-arrest of Falun Gong practitioners who had been released after completing terms of imprisonment originating from the original crackdown in 1999 and 2000. For example, Bu Dongwei, a lawyer in Beijing working on legal aid issues for the Asia Foundation, was arrested for possession of Falun Gong-related literature.
Numerous allegations of government-sanctioned organ harvesting from incarcerated Falun Gong practitioners have surfaced within the last year.“
- 2006 Annual Commission Report
“Tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have been sent to labor camps without trial or sent to mental health institutions for re-education due to their affiliation with an “evil cult.” Falun Gong practitioners claim that between 1,000 to 2,000 practitioners have been killed as a result of police brutality. During the Commission’s August 2005 visit, several high level Chinese government officials reiterated official support for these crackdowns and defended labeling Falun Gong an “evil cult.” In the past year, a growing number of reports have surfaced regarding the re-arrest of Falun Gong practitioners who have been released after completing terms of imprisonment originating from the original crackdown in 1999 and 2000.“
Wei Yumei and Wei Yufen
Background: Sisters and Falun Gong practitioners. Arrested in May 2004 after they were found producing and distributing Falun Gong literature. Both were convicted of “using a cult to undermine implementation of the law” and sentenced to ten years imprisonment.
Chinese response to USCIRF: Both taken into custody “on suspicion of committing a crime” and sentenced to ten year terms on charges as specified above.
USCIRF Assessment: Response from the Chinese includes no new information. Fails to detail the justification for the government’s restriction on the manifestation of religion or belief, Chinese criminal law contains vague restrictions related to so-called “cults.“
- 2005 Annual Commission Report
“There is substantial evidence from foreign diplomats, international human rights groups, and human rights activists in Hong Kong that the crackdowns on the Falun Gong are widespread and violent. In addition, the Chinese government has reportedly continued to pressure foreign businesses in China to sign statements denouncing the Falun Gong and to discriminate against its followers in hiring. Local officials in foreign countries have also stated that they were warned by Chinese diplomatic personnel about the loss of potential business contacts if they continued to advocate on behalf of Falun Gong.”
- 2004 Annual Commission Report
“There are allegations that hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners have been sent to labor camps without trial or been sent to mental health institutions for re-education. According to the Falun Gong, the Chinese government has continued to pressure foreign businesses in China to discriminate against its followers. Many local officials in foreign countries have also stated that they have received warnings from Chinese diplomatic personnel to stop their advocacy on behalf of Falun Gong and its practitioners.”
- 2003 Annual Commission Report
“According to Falun Gong practitioners in the United States, in the last three years, over 100,000 practitioners have been sent to labor camps without trial, over 1,000 have been tortured in mental hospitals, and from that group, 430 have been killed as a result of police brutality.
The Chinese government’s crackdown against Falun Gong has apparently extended beyond its own borders. Many elected local U.S. officials also stated that they had received warnings from Chinese diplomatic personnel in the United States to withdraw their support of Falun Gong and its practitioners. On August 9, 2002, the Cambodian government, under pressure from the Chinese Embassy in Cambodia, deported two Chinese practitioners who had been designated as refugees by the UN High Commission for Refugees. In 2003, the Chinese government sentenced Charles Li, a U.S. citizen and Falun Gong practitioner, to three years in prison for alleged interference with Chinese television broadcasts.”
- 2002 Annual Commission Report
“In the past several months, the Chinese government has intensified its repression of… Falun Gong adherents (or practitioners). Recently issued Chinese government documents demonstrate support by some in China’ s top leadership for systematic efforts to repress religion in general and particularly the Falun Gong.”
- 2001 Annual Commission Report
“Since the second half of 1999, thousands of Falun Gong practitioners reportedly have been arrested and remain in some form of detention. According to the Falun Gong organization, since the second half of 1999, 162 followers have died as a result of torture and mistreatment by officials while in custody. The State Department and Amnesty International reported that police officials have tortured Falun Gong members who were detained or imprisoned.
The official Chinese press has confirmed that nearly 200 Falun Gong practitioners have received sentences of up to 10 years for using the movement to “create social chaos” or to “obstruct the law.” On October 1, 2000 (which was China’s National Day), security forces reportedly beat and detained hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners (perhaps up to 1,000) for holding peaceful demonstrations in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, protesting government policy against the group and official treatment of its followers. Hundreds of other followers reportedly have been confined to mental hospitals. More recently, as a part of the government’s intensified campaign against the Falun Gong, police and security forces reportedly raided the homes of more than 1,000 grassroots leaders of the movement in an effort to obtain evidence that these individuals have been conducting “cult-like practice,” engaging in economic crimes, or causing bodily harm to other Falun Gong followers.
The official crackdown on the Falun Gong has been extended to Hong Kong residents and foreign citizens. In September 2000, a Hong Kong-resident Falun Gong practitioner, along with a Chinese mainlander, reportedly were arrested nine days after they filed a legal complaint in Beijing against Chinese President Jiang Zemin and other high-ranking government officials for their part in the official crackdown. In November, a U.S.-resident Falun Gong practitioner reportedly was arrested on charges of providing national security information to foreigners. In December, she was sentenced to three years in prison. Also in November, a Canadian citizen was sentenced to three years of re-education through labor for practicing Falun Gong. He was reportedly tortured by police officials while in custody and was released in January 2001.”
- 2000 Annual Commission Report
“Chinese government violations of religious freedom increased markedly during the past year. The Communist authorities in Beijing launched a nationwide crackdown on the Falun Gong spiritual movement. Leaders were sentenced to long prison terms and thousands of practitioners were detained. A few followers were even beaten to death or died suddenly while in custody.”
Congressional-Executive Commission on China
Annual CECC Report
- 2022 Annual Report
“Public security and judicial authorities continued to use Article 300 of the PRC Criminal Law, which forbids ‘‘organizing and using a cult to undermine implementation of the law,’’ to persecute members of spiritual groups deemed to be illegal or to be ‘‘cults’’ (xiejiao), including Falun Gong…”
“Authors of a 2022 study published in the American Journal of Transplantation concluded that it was highly likely that transplant surgeons in China had participated in the execution of prisoners ‘‘by organ transplant’’ as recently as 2015. They further concurred with previous ‘‘anecdotal and textual’’ accounts provided by Falun Gong-affiliated organizations alleging organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience.
Call for the release of “Falun Gong practitioners Xu Na and Zhou Deyong, as well as those confined, detained, or imprisoned in connection with their association with those citizens. The Administration should use existing laws to hold accountable Chinese government officials and others complicit in severe religious freedom restrictions, including the sanctions available in the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (Public Law No. 114-328) and the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (Public Law No. 105-292). Ensure that conditions related to religious freedom are taken into account when negotiating trade agreements.”
THE FALUN GONG STORY
- Persecution in China
- Transnational Repression
- Peaceful Resistance
- Personal Accounts