US State Department: 2022 Human Rights Report Highlights Repression of Falun Gong in China, Russia
The China section of the “2022 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices” published by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) on March 20, 2023, highlighted the suppression of Falun Gong and the forced organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners. In addition to the country report on China, the suppression of Falun Gong was also listed under the Russian government’s extremist ban on peaceful religious groups.
Country Report on China
The 87-page report on China listed 25 types of human rights violations the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) committed in the past year, such as politically motivated killings, disappearance, torture, arbitrary arrest or detention, and denial of a fair public trial. Many of the violations stemmed from the CCP’s focus on stifling freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, and religion.
In describing the persecution of Falun Gong, the report says, “Authorities used administrative detention to intimidate political and religious advocates and to prevent public demonstrations.” One form of administrative detention is to hold “political activists and religious and spiritual adherents, particularly Falun Gong practitioners” in “legal education” centers.
Many prisoners of conscience and human rights lawyers who attempt to represent their cases remain either in prison or in other forms of detention, according to the report. Currently, Falun Gong practitioner and teacher Bian Lichao is still in detention along with thousands of others. Human rights lawyers who defended Falun Gong cases like Gao Zhisheng, Xu Zhiyong, Tang Jitian, and Chang Weiping also remain in custody after they were charged for “disturbing public order” with their defense of Falun Gong practitioners.
The report also discussed forced organ harvesting, the 2022 country report on China stated:
Some activists and organizations accused the government of forcibly harvesting organs from prisoners of conscience, including religious and spiritual adherents such as Falun Gong practitioners and Muslim detainees in Xinjiang.2022 Human Rights Report, U.S. Department of State
In particular, the American Journal of Transplantation published a peer-reviewed research paper indicating that Chinese doctors violated the “dead donor rule,” which stipulates an organ donor must be formally declared braindead before any organs are removed. “The authors analyzed 2,838 papers from Chinese-language transplant publications and found in 71 cases that the cause of death was the organ transplant itself, carried out before doctors had made a legitimate determination of brain death,” according to the report.
Country Report on Russia
The DOS also made mentions to Falun Gong suppression efforts by the Russian government in 2022. Russian authorities misused antiterrorism and anti-extremism laws, as well as other measures, to wrongfully label peaceful religious groups like Falun Gong as “extremist,” “undesirable,” or “terrorist.”
“Among those designated without any credible evidence of violent actions or intentions were…a regional branch of Falun Gong and seven Falun Gong-associated NGOs,” documented the Russia country report. As a result, these designations effectively led to bans on the activities of Falun Gong practitioners, and the banned communities like Falun Gong became subject to prolonged imprisonment, harsh detention conditions, house arrest and house raids, discrimination, harassment, and criminal investigation.
For more information on the persecution trends from 2022, read the Falun Dafa Information Center brief below.