Wife of Japanese Businessman Sentenced to One and a Half Years ‘Re-Education’ in Chinese Labor Camp for Supporting Falun Gong

Family, Falun Gong Practitioners in Japan Hold Rescue Activities

NEW YORK, July 17, 2002 (Falun Dafa Information Center)–Ms. Yoko Kaneko was sentenced to one and a half years labor re-education by Beijing police on June 24 for distributing Falun Gong-related materials on Beijing’s streets in May.

Although Ms. Kaneko’s husband has been trying to contact all parties involved since she was first detained in May, the Beijing Labor Education authorities did not notify him about his wife’s sentence. Instead, they sent the “Labor Education Decision Book” to the work unit of Ms. Kaneko’s sister on June 28. According to Ms. Kaneko’s mother, since Ms. Kaneko’s sister was out of town at that time, the family did not receive the notice until last week, on July 9.

Authorities in China have offered no further information on the whereabouts or status of Ms. Kaneko.

Ms. Kaneko’s husband Atsushi Kaneko, a 46-year-old Japanese businessman, along with Falun Gong practitioners in Japan have held numerous press conferences and public appeals calling for her rescue since she was first detained back in May. “The cruel fact that over 400 Falun Gong practitioners have died due to police brutality while in custody is vividly real for me now…. I am determined to do whatever I can do for her release,” said Mr. Kaneko.

Family Not Notified, Mother Distressed

The Labor Education authority’s notice does not tell Ms. Kaneko’s family where their daughter is being held. It does not list any work unit, address, telephone number or person in charge who can be contacted, either. The notice is only imprinted by a Beijing Labor Education Committee’s stamp. Ms. Kaneko’s mother has expressed extreme concern, “I can still remember when [Yoko] last visited me–she was dressed in shorts. Now, I want to see her very much, but I don’t know where to find her nor do I know how she is doing.”

Thirty-eight-year-old Ms. Kaneko lives in Niigata Prefecture in Japan. Her Chinese name is Luo Rong. Her hometown is Jixi City in Heilongjiang Province, in China. On May 24 2002, when Ms. Kaneko and two Japanese friends, Ms. Yuko Holie and Ms. Abe Ayumi, were distributing materials that expose the persecution of Falun Gong to pedestrians on Beijing streets, Chinese policemen beat them to the ground and took them into custody. On May 25, Chinese police deported Ms. Holie and Ms. Ayumi, yet detained Ms. Kaneko, who holds a Chinese passport.

Husband and Supporters Rally in Japan, Call for Rescue

Mr. Kaneko and local Falun Gong practitioners in Japan have held several press conferences calling for the rescue of Ms. Kaneko. June 30, Falun Gong practitioners from Japan went to the Chinese Embassy in Japan to conduct a peaceful appeal. On July 6, Falun Gong practitioners held a large-scale parade in Niigata Prefecture where Ms. Kaneko lives, with coverage by all major media in Japan, including the Daily Yomiuri.

Chinese authorities typically deport foreign Falun Gong practitioners, but treat practitioners holding Chinese passports or even foreigners of Chinese descent more harshly.

  • In 2000, U.S. permanent resident Teng Chunyan revealed the evidence of Chinese authorities abusing Falun Gong practitioners in mental hospitals to overseas media. For this she was sentenced to a 3-year prison term and is still in prison now, though her exact whereabouts have not been revealed.
  • Zhao Ming, a student in Ireland, appealed for Falun Gong when he went back home to visit his family last year. He was detained and sent to a labor camp where he was severely tortured because he is a Falun Gong practitioner. Due to international pressure, Ming was released earlier this year.
  • Artist Zhang Cuiying, an Australian citizen, as well as Professor Zhang Kunlun, a Canadian resident, were both detained and abused in China for their belief in Falun Gong. They were later released under their resident country’s and international community’s rescue efforts.

Falun Gong practitioners in Japan and Ms. Kaneko’s family say they are counting on the Japanese government and international community to secure Ms. Kaneko’s safe and prompt return to her family in Japan.