"Tokyo News" Covers Falun Gong Activities in Japan
On January 6, 2000, one of the top-six newspapers in Japan, "Tokyo News", carried a follow-up report exposing the vicious conduct of the Chinese government and how they are extending their suppression of Falun Gong into other countries. The report also included a picture from a candlelight vigil that was held by Tokyo Falun Gong practitioners on December 31st in front of the Chinese Embassy. This vigil was held in remembrance of the 107 practitioners who have died as a result of China's vicious crackdown. The following is an excerpt from the report:
"Falun Gong has been labeled as an [slanderous word] and has been under a continuous crackdown in China. In Japan, Falun Gong practitioners' requests for passport renewal have been turned down, putting them in a situation where they can neither go back to China nor visit other countries. Gradually, the number of cases of Falun Gong practitioners holding invalid Chinese passports may continue to increase. This issue is attracting the attention of human rights organizations in Japan."
Applications for new passports were rejected.
Three Falun Gong practitioners experienced problems with getting their passports renewed. Ms. Wang, a Ph.D. student attending medical school at a state-run University in Tokyo was one of them. She came to study in Japan in 1996 and started practicing Falun Gong in 1998 after she learned about it from a friend. Last October, her passport expired so she went to the Chinese Embassy to renew it. The Embassy informed her that her renewal request was turned down because of her involvement in Falun Gong.
Mr. S came to Japan in 1989, he is a doctor of Chinese medicine and an acupuncturist. Last December, he went to the Chinese Embassy to renew his passport. Similarly, his application was rejected because he practiced Falun Gong. For the same reason, another lady had her passport confiscated when she tried to renew it at the Chinese Embassy.
The Number of Deaths that have Resulted from the Persecution Increased to Over 100.
The Chinese authorities were extremely irritated by the mass appeal of Falun Gong practitioners outside of the Zhongnanhai compound in 1999. After this incident they began a nation-wide crackdown on Falun Gong and labeled it as a [slanderous phrase] in order to justify their actions. However, Falun Gong practitioners have displayed compassion and tolerance in response to the nation-wide crackdown. On several occasions, including New Year's Day, and the 1st anniversary of the official ban on Falun Gong, many practitioners staged large-scale protests involving several hundred people.
Some overseas Falun Gong practitioners also risked being arrested, and bravely traveled directly to China in order to protest the crackdown. The above-mentioned three practitioners had gone to Beijing to appeal and had been consequently detained and put onto the "name list". Although Japan has a radically different situation from that of China, Ms. Wang received the same ultimatum as she did in China. Officials from the Chinese Embassy told her: "If you pledge to break away from Falun Gong, we will issue you a new passport immediately." Ms. Wang replied abruptly, "Since the crackdown began last year, more than 100 people have died. All Falun Gong practitioners are good people who only seek to become better citizens. It's impossible for me to give up the practice."
Collecting the Name list of Falun Gong Practitioners
Local Falun Gong practitioners said that the Chinese authorities dispatched numerous agents who pretend to be practitioners in order to collect personal information about the practitioners who plan to return to China during the Spring Festival. It is estimated that more than half of the Falun Gong practitioners in Japan have been put on the name list. Therefore, it is expected that more people will be facing rejections when trying to renew their passports.
According to Amnesty International's Japanese Branch, the passport renewal rejection from the Chinese authorities also happened in the aftermath of the Tiananmen event in 1989. The victims at that time were backbone members of the democratic movement. The victimized students either explored channels to go to the United States or applied for special permission to stay in Japan. To Chinese people in Japan, the most important piece of ID is their passport. The expiration of a passport results in a lot of inconvenience for them.
Due to their strong stance on human rights protection, the Japan's branch of Amnesty International has expressed their concern over the plight of Falun Gong practitioners. They indicated that the possibility of Japan providing asylum to Chinese citizens is very slim. Therefore, it becomes even more important to provide the factual proof of the political persecution and suppression of Falun Gong practitioners after they return to China. According to international law, the Japanese government has the obligation to provide protection to these people.
(Translated and compiled by practitioners in Japan)
January 6, 2001