US State Department Report: Human Rights Violations Against Falun Gong and Other Groups in China

Based on an original report from Minghui.org

The U.S. Department of State published its 2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices on March 30. The section on China highlights human rights abuses by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), including those against Falun Gong practitioners and human rights lawyers. 

Human Rights Are Universal

Antony Blinken, United States Secretary of State, said during a press conference on March 30, “The United States is committed to working with its allies and partners to hold the perpetrators of these abhorrent acts accountable.”

Blinken stated that merely issuing the report is not enough. “These annual human rights reports are important, but of course they’re not enough. We will use a broad range of other tools to stop abuses and hold perpetrators to account,” he explained. “One way to do that is by working with the United States Congress, which has passed laws providing new authorities to sanction human rights violators, things like the Global Magnitsky Act, the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, other pieces of important legislation, and continues to demonstrate a bipartisan commitment to promoting human rights.”

Blinken also said, “One of the core principles of human rights is that they are universal”. “All people are entitled to these rights, no matter where they’re born, what they believe, whom they love, or any other characteristic. Human rights are also co-equal; there is no hierarchy that makes some rights more important than others.”

Atrocities Against Falun Gong Practitioners and Lawyers

The 79-page section on China mentioned forced organ harvesting: “…activists and some organizations continued to accuse 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.”

On illegal arrest and detention, the report said that the Chinese authorities used administrative detention to intimidate political and religious advocates and to prevent public demonstrations: “Forms of administrative detention included compulsory drug rehabilitation treatment (for drug users), ‘custody and training’ (for minor criminal offenders), and ‘legal education’ centers for political activists and religious adherents, particularly Falun Gong practitioners.”

Human rights lawyers were also targeted. The Chinese government suspended or revoked the business licenses or law licenses of some lawyers who took on sensitive cases, including defending pro-democracy dissidents, house-church activists, Falun Gong practitioners, or government critics. More specifically, authorities used the annual licensing review process administered by the All China Lawyers Association to withhold or delay the renewal of lawyers’ professional licenses.

One example is Qin Yongpei, a law practitioner of nearly twenty years who was disbarred in May 2018. According to the report, “In May [2020], Nanning authorities tried Qin Yongpei behind closed doors, not allowing his lawyer to attend; as of December there was no update on the trial’s outcome… Qin had worked on several human rights cases, including those of the ‘709’ lawyers (referring to the nationwide government crackdown on human rights lawyers and other rights advocates that began on July 9, 2015) and Falun Gong practitioners. 

The report also mentioned prominent human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who has courageously defended the rights of Falun Gong practitioners. Since 2006, he was tortured and kidnapped various times over the years and has been missing since 2017. 

Falun Gong practitioner Mr. Bian Lichao was also cited in the report. Mr. Bian was an outstanding teacher at the Kailuan No. 10 High School in Tangshan City, Hebei Province. He was sentenced to 12 years in 2012 and sent to Shijiazhuang Prison. 

According to reports from Minghui.org, because his family sought justice for him, his daughter Ms. Bian Xiaohui was sentenced to three and a half years in prison in April 2015 and his wife Ms. Zhou Xiuzhen was sentenced to a four-year term a month later. The detentions, torture, harassment, and stress took their toll on Ms. Zhou, who died on April 19, 2020.

Original Article: https://en.minghui.org/html/articles/2021/4/2/191692.html