Letter from US Department of State to Senator Phil Gramm Concerning Falun Gong Practitioners Jailed in China [October 15, 2002]
Dear Senator Gramm:
Thank you for your letter of September 24 discussing concerns of your constituent Dakun Sun, who contacted you about the persecution of the Falun Gong spiritual movement in China and the case of Mr. Wang Zhiwen, whose daughter is a student at the University of Texas.
We have raised our concerns over China's treatment of the Falun Gong repeatedly with Chinese authorities both in Washington and in Beijing. We have also voiced our concern about the numerous reports of Falun Gong practitioners in custody, including Mr. Wang Zhiwen. Approximately one year ago, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Lorne Craner raised Mr. Wang's case with Chinese officials during the U.S.-China Human Rights Dialogue. Assistant Secretary Craner called for the release of Wang and others detained for the peaceful expression of their spiritual or religious views. In July, we asked for an update on Mr. Wang's case and again urged that he and other Falun Gong practitioners be released.
The U.S. Government has made clear on numerous occasions our strong opposition to the detention of individuals solely for peaceful association and assembly. We have documented our concerns in our annual country reports on human rights practices and on international religious freedom, which can be found on the State Department website: www.state.gov. The steps the Chinese government has taken to restrict freedom of thought, conscience and belief are disturbing. These rights are protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
We will continue to raise these issues with the Chinese government through diplomatic channels, in addition to making our position clear in public statements.
We hope this is useful to you. If I may be of further assistance in this or any other matter, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Paul V. Kelly