Update on Falun Gong in Hong Kong within First Month of National Security Law
Presentation to International Religious Freedom Roundtable, July 29, 2020
Hello, Ambassador Brownback, Greg, and everyone,
I’m the spokeswoman of The Hong Kong Association of Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong). Thank you for inviting me to speak. I’d like to update you on the current situation of Falun Gong activities in Hong Kong, and the pressure from pro-CCP organizations and police that has increased after the National Security Law launched on July 1st.
As you know, for many years, Hong Kong Falun Gong practitioners have been able to practice our faith quite freely, although we have been consistently harassed by pro-CCP groups in recent years. Since the security law came into effect, however, we have felt increased surveillance, threats from police, attacks from pro-CCP thugs, and restrictions on our ability to hold certain banners. This fits with some of our fears of how the law might be implemented, but we are worried the situation could get even worse. Still, we also have had some situations where by standing up for our principles and pushing back, the police have relented.
The following are several incidents I want to raise:
Surveillance, arrests and threats from police to be sent to China:
On July 1st, the Hong Kong police arrested four Falun Gong practitioners who were spreading posters saying “Heaven will destroy the CCP” among some protesters on the streets. One practitioner said a police officer warned her the day before that Falun Gong practitioners might not be able to spread flyers on the street according to the new security law.
After the four practitioners were taken to the police station, they were all charged with “taking part in an unauthorized assembly”. One of the practitioners refused to sign any documents, nor to change clothes provided by the police (which she has the right to do so according to the law). A police officer behind her said “You didn’t sign the document nor change the clothes, we shall send you to mainland China for organ harvesting” The practitioner turned back with tears and asked how many practitioners had he sent to mainland China, and whether all the police officers agreed to do so. No one answered.
More generally, after the National Security Law came into effect, some practitioners or their families have been threatened by CCP agents in Hong Kong or from China.
Pro-CCP groups pressuring police to take action against Falun Gong practitioners
Since July 1st, pro-CCP groups have increased their complaints to police trying to pressure them to take action against Falun Gong practitioners peaceful activities. Most of them are from the Youth Care Association which has targeted on Falun Gong for years. Police have copied the ID card of practitioners and tried to ask Falun Gong practitioners to take off banners of “Heaven will destroy the CCP” or “Disintegration of the CCP”. Another group “We Rise As Citizens” held a protest on July 15th, and delivered a letter to the police. They made an announcement saying Falun Gong and the media Falun Gong practitioners founded were against the National Security Law and must be put into prison.
Police efforts to restrict Falun Gong banners
On July 20th, the anniversary of the CCP starting to persecute Falun Gong in China, Falun Gong practitioners were holding a protest at the front door of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Hong Kong. A police officer asked the practitioners not to hold the banner calling for the “Disintegration of the CCP” due to internal pressure. (The officer actually delivered the same message one day before the protest.) A practitioner said the National Security Law was not CCP Security Law, so they didn’t break this law. The police finally didn’t insist that they take down the banner.
The new security law also incites hatred. The Falun Gong booths on the street have been even more deliberately vandalized than before. On July 7th, some thugs destroyed the banner of “Heaven will destroy the CCP” in a booth, attacked a practitioner with a broken flagpole and ran away. The practitioner’s hand was injured and bleeding..
As Secretary Pompeo said, this persecution on Falun Gong has lasted for 21 years and it should be stopped. We hope the USG can take take strong actions to stop organ harvesting in China and organ tourism from US Citizens to protect Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience in China. We hope that the USG can also continue to pay attention to the threats facing Falun Gong practitioners in Hong Kong. We are concerned that the attacks from pro-CCP groups and their pressure on police to take firmer action against Falun Gong in Hong Kong will further increase in the new environment.