Please Release My Ailing 66 Year-old Father
My father's name is Chen Quanchang. He is 66 years old and from Dongting County, Jiangsu Province.
Four years ago, my father had many illnesses, including extreme high blood pressure, heart disease, and severe kidney problems. Due to his deteriorating health, he and my mother were unable to visit us in Australia despite numerous invitations from my brother and I.
In 1997, my parents started to practice Falun Gong and all of my father's illnesses disappeared.
Finally, in 1998, my parents were able to realize their wishes and came to visit us in Australia. We were very pleased to see that they had become so healthy and energetic, looking much younger than their age.
In January 2000, my parents visited Australia again. They looked even healthier and younger than on their previous visit. They chatted with many of my Chinese and Western friends and everyone was very happy.
Everyone was shocked to learn that my parents were arrested by the Chinese police at the Shanghai Hongqiao Airport on June 16, 2000 when they arrived back in China. My mother was released two days later. My father was released after 20 days charged with "practicing Falun Gong and conspiring with foreigners."
On the afternoon of February 15, 2001 my father was again arrested. A fax machine was confiscated and so were our personal letters to our parents. He remains in police custody to this day.
Two months later, my father was transferred to house arrest, kept under the surveillance of three policemen in his own home. They refused to let my mother stay with him. She had to move in with my uncle, who is supposed to be her guarantor. Once, my mother visited my father and discovered that his previous illnesses had returned and that he was in a critical condition. She demanded that the police send my father to the hospital. The staff in the hospital requested that he stay for further treatment. However, the police refused with the excuse that there are doctors at the police station. Demonstrating their cruelty, they imprisoned my father, a very ill 66 year-old man, in the local police station.
Since that time, I have contacted the Jiangsu Province security and police departments numerous times to ask about my father's situation but have received no accurate reply.
Instead, on May 9, 2001, I received the astonishing news that my father was terminally ill. All of my Australian friends and relatives were shocked. How could a perfectly healthy and happy person like father suddenly become critically ill in a few short months? This shows how much torture my father had been going through.
On May 1st, Chinese National Labour Day, the officers at the detention center had a seven-day break. They locked 20 "detainees" in a 10 square meter room for seven whole days without letting them out. When they came back from their break and opened the door to the room, they found my father in extremely serious condition. He was sent to the emergency unit at the hospital, still handcuffed and chained. They unchained him only after strong requests from the hospital staff.
Good heavens! What crime has my father committed to deserve such heartless treatment? Is it a crime for an elderly person to practice Falun Gong in order to gain better health? How can we accept this?
My overseas Chinese and Western friends are expressing their anger at such a cruel violation of human rights and freedom. They all say that practicing Falun Gong is not a crime.
My overseas friends and relatives and I strongly call for the immediate release of my father. We ask that the police grant him basic human rights and freedom and return all the personal possessions including passports so that both he and my mother may join us in Australia.