Woman from Japan Disappears in Beijing after Police Beat Her to the Ground on Tiananmen Square

Missing for 7 Days, Husband Calls for Her Release

NEW YORK, May 31, 2002 (Falun Dafa Information Center) – In a press conference in Tokyo on Monday, May 27th, two Japanese Falun Gong practitioners told of their appeal and illegal detention in Beijing, and called for the immediate release of a third who disappeared after being taken into custody.

Ms. Ayumi Abe, Ms. Yoko Horie and Mrs. Yasuko Kaneko traveled to Beijing on May 23rd to make a peaceful appeal and clarify the truth about the Falun Gong and Jiang Zemin’s three-year campaign of defamation and persecution against it. They walked to Tiananmen Square the following day to distribute materials to passersby. A plainclothes officer noticed them, however, and with the help of other policemen, forced them to the ground and trod on their faces, they told reporters.

After being forced into a police van, the three were taken to the Haidian District Police District, where the police forcibly body-searched them and photographed them, they said. The police denied their request to speak with their Embassy. Mrs. Kaneko, a Japanese permanent resident traveling on a Chinese passport, was separated from Ms. Abe and Ms. Horie, both Japanese citizens. Mrs. Kaneko has not been heard from since.

During their detention, Ms. Abe and Ms. Horie stated that they faced multiple instances of physical and mental abuse. The police interrogated both of them individually, and when Abe attempted to leave the detention center, police caught up to her and struck her many times on the head.

During the press conference, Ms. Horie displayed the shirt she wore while in Tiananmen Square, now spotted with her blood because of the treatment she received while in detention. Ms. Horie commented that, “If the police treat Japanese citizens like this, I can’t imagine what their treatment of [Yasuko Kaneko] could be.”

After interrogating Ms. Abe and Ms. Horie individually, the police drove the two practitioners to the airport at noon on May 25th and deported them.

As of yet, the Japanese government has not obtained the release of Yasuko Kaneko. Kaneko’s husband, Atsushi Kaneko, expressed his worries at the press conference: “We are trying to get any information about her through the Japanese foreign ministry, but we still don’t know if she is dead or alive.” Mr. Kaneko said that he would continue to demand the return of his wife to Japan, “I am determined to do whatever I can do for her release.”

Though tens of thousands are believed to be in custody, labor camps, or house arrest, China’s leadership has responded to international attention in several cases during the three-year persecution of Falun Gong. Canadian resident Li Shenli was released from detention in February of this year following intervention from the Canadian Parliament and supporting human rights organizations after suffering two years of torture and forced labor for appealing for his right to practice Falun Gong. Mr. Zhao Ming, a university doctorate studying in Ireland, was also released earlier this year due to international appeals on his behalf following a two-year ordeal involving extreme torture, brainwashing, and poor conditions.

Background

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a practice of meditation and exercises with teachings based on the universal principle of “Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance.” It is a practice that was taught in private for thousands of years before being made public in 1992 by Mr. Li Hongzhi. Falun Gong has roots in traditional Chinese culture, but it is distinct and separate from other practices such as the religions of Buddhism and Taoism. Since its introduction in 1992, it quickly spread by word of mouth throughout China, and is now practiced in over 50 countries.

With government estimates of as many as 100 million practicing Falun Gong, China’s President Jiang Zemin outlawed the peaceful practice in July 1999, fearful of anything touching the hearts and minds of more citizens than the Communist Party. Unable to crush the spirit of millions who had experienced improved health and positive life changes from Falun Gong, Jiang’s regime has intensified its propaganda campaign to turn public opinion against the practice while quietly imprisoning, torturing and even murdering those who practice it.

The Falun Dafa Information Center has verified details of over 415 deaths since the persecution of Falun Gong in China began in 1999. Government officials inside China, however, report that the actual death toll is well over 1,600. Over 100,000 have been detained, with more than 20,000 being sentenced to forced labor camps without trial.