The Hon Alexander Downer MP

Minister for Foreign Affairs

7 January 2003

Dear Minister,

Re: Ms Li Ying (d.o.b.) -- Request for diplomatic assistance from Mr Cheezong LEE (Australian Citizen) to intervene in arrest and detention of Ms Ying currently being held in Shanghai China at Qinsong Female Labour Camp

I am writing on behalf of Mr Cheezong Lee. Mr Lee is the Fiance of Ms Ying. Mr Lee engaged Ms Li in January 2001. Ms Li is also an off-shore 309 Spouse Visa applicant.

On 16 January 2001, Ms Li was convicted for the offence of disrupting social order under the 1999 decision of Chinese Governments' Standing Committee of the National People's Congress banning certain religious groups held to be "[the Jiang regime's slanderous words]". The effect of this conviction is to deprive Ms Li her right to attend her medical cheek in preparation for her migration to Australia.

Attached please find a copy of the following documents:

  • Letter from Mr Lee dated 15 December 2002
  • Decision notice of Shanghai Municipal Commission for the Management of Re-Education Through Labour dated 16 November 2001 on Yang XIAOPING and Li YING

I also attach a copy of the two texts:

  • US Department of State 2002 Report on Religious Freedom and
  • Dr Orban's text titled Violence Against Christians in the Year 2001.

Whilst the text of Dr Orban involves persecution of Christians, the information contained in this text is equally applicable to any adherent of non-approved religions in China and is included so as to give similar fact case accounts of the application of the relevant Chinese Government provisions demonstrating persecution of a prescribed kind that would bring the Government's officially sanctioned persecution in conflict with its international obligations at a signatory to various international instruments, including:

  • United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
  • The International Convertion Against Torture (CAT)
  • The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

For this reason, your intervention and inquiry with the Chinese Government is sought concerning this case. In particular, your assistance is sought regarding:

  • The circumstances surrounding Ms Li's incarceration, including the Chinese law itself and the administrative processes leading to her arrest, conviction and incarceration, offend any or all of the three international instruments above in that the current and officially sanctioned Chinese policy under the abovementioned law offends human rights and other intrinsic rights of the person.
  • Notwithstanding the incarceration of the visa applicant under Chinese law, the visa applicant still holds rights relating to her Australian visa application to take all reasonable steps towards her visa application and that her incarceration ought not prevent her exercising her rights under Australian law.

It is the experience of my term as the Member for Lowe that , with the high multicultural composition of this Electorate, I have received an increasing number of complaints concerning the general degradation of human rights in China over the last two years, particularly with respect to religious freedom.

The two texts indicate there is an increase in violations of religious freedom in China particularly over the last year.

I believe that this increase in violation of human rights in China is either being ignored to otherwise denied by this Government and as a consequence this denial is resulting in further acts of systemic and officially sanctioned persecution by the Chinese Government against Chinese citizens on grounds of their beliefs. This persecution is recorded by verifiable sources such as the US Department of State as being broad based persecution of any religious group considered to be a '[Jiang regime's slanderous word]'by the Chinese Government.

In particular, I quote from the US Department of State's report at page four with respect to the Falun Gong practice:

'In 1999 the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress Committee adopted a decision to ban all groups the Government determined to be [Jiang regime's slanderous word], including the Falun Gong, under Article 300 of the Criminal Law. The Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate also provided "explanation" on applying existing criminal law to the Falun Gong. The law, as applied following these actions, specifies prison terms of 3 to 7 years for "[Jiang regime's slanderous word]" members who "disrupt public order" or distribute publications. Under the law, [Jiang regime's slanderous word] leaders and recruiters may be sentenced to 7 years or more in prison'.

'During the period covered by this report, government repression of the Falun Gong spiritual movement continued. There have been thousands of cases of individuals receiving criminal, administrative and extrajudicial punishment for engaging in Falun Gong practices, admitting that they believed in Falun Gong, or simply refusing to criticize the organization or its founder. The authorities and experts also wrote many articles characterizing the rise of religious groups that failed to register and [Jiang regime's slanderous word] such as Falun Gong as part of a plot to the west to undermine Chinese authority.'

It is the time that the Australian Government gave public recognition to the existence of the well documented and conclusive evidence that the Falun Gong and other significant Christian and other religious practices are being systematically persecuted under the provisions of the Chinese Criminal Law in particular Article 300.

Ms Li's case is but one of thousands of examples of demonstrated systematic persecution against people in China who are adherents of certain non-approved religious practices which forms body of clear breaches of the many United Nations international instruments that proscribe violations and persecution against the person on grounds of religious and other freedoms.

In light of the overwhelming evidence now available from authoritative sources such as the US Department of State, I call upon you to investigate this particular matter with a view to the public interest of Mr Lee, an Australian citizen who is the fianc?of a detainee in China.

The Chinese Criminal Law appears to operate without Magistrates Rules equivalent or reference to the Rule of Law and natural justice, in detaining Ms Li to a 're-education labour camp' without the most basic human rights being afforded to her.

I urge you to assist in the release of Ms Li from the re-education labour camp and thus permit her to continue with the processing of her spouse visa application in the public interest of the Australian citizen spouse visa sponsor.

I would also urge you to make appropriate diplomatic approaches to have Australia recognize the existence of the magnitude and widespread nature of persecution in China against all religious and the abrogation of the rule of law and human rights in China.

Thank you for your assistance and I look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely

Robert Balzola (for)

John Murphy MP

Member of Lowe