Cao Qun

( My name is Zhang Youlai, citizen of Australia and permanent resident of Singapore. Right now I am teaching at the Ngee Ann Polytechnic Institute in Singapore.

My nephew Cao Qun was 22 years old when his school expelled him for persisting in his faith and practicing Falun Gong. Soon thereafter, he was illegally sentenced to two years of forced labor for speaking out the truth about Falun Gong. He is currently detained in the Dalian Forced Labor Camp.

Cao Qun began practicing Falun Gong when he was in high school. Falun Gong requires practitioners to be good students and good workers. Cao Qun took his schoolwork very seriously. Later, he was admitted to the renowned Liaoning Technical University. When I went to China for a visit, he talked to me about everything that happened at school, which gave me the impression that he loved school, his studies and the life there.

While he was happily enjoying his studies, though, the Chinese dictator began his persecution against Falun Gong. Cao Qun received pressure from the school. The officials asked him to write an announcement, to give up cultivation of Falun Gong, and even ordered him not to leave the school campus without permission. Once, he left the campus for several hours without asking for permission and was handcuffed when he returned. This is a blatant trampling of the law and of basic human rights!

Because he firmly refused to give up his faith, he was forced to leave the school. The school claimed he couldn't return unless he gives up cultivation of Falun Gong. A college student was forced to leave his classmates, teachers and school just because he wants to persist in his faith.

Because of pressure from the government, the educational institutions in China are deciding whether a person can continue his studies based on his belief. This is a serious violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is a blatant trampling of human rights and the United Nations Charter on Education.

Cao Qun stood up and clarified the truth to people after he was deprived of his freedom of belief and his right to an education. In 2001, police arrested and detained him for clarifying the truth in Dalian City. In the detention center, he was forced to put on an "earth ring," a brutal torture tool that cuffs the hands and the feet together, for more than 20 days, simply because he didn't cooperate with the evil and refused to give his name. He suffered all kinds of tortures there. Eventually he was sentenced to two years of forced labor and is still being detained in the Dalian Forced Labor Camp. He was deprived of his personal freedom after his right to education and his freedom of belief were taken away.

My grandfather is a professor, close to 80 years of age. He misses Cao Qun very much, but he does not know even now that his grandson is in jail. The family hides the news, fearing the grandfather won't be able to take it. When I went to China for a visit and saw how he missed his grandson but didn't know the truth, I couldn't express my feelings.

This is a disaster for China! This is a disaster for the human world!

During the whole incident, I often wrote to the university, Dalian Forced Labor Camp and the Dalian Judiciary Bureau and expressed my hope that they would respect freedom of belief, human rights, and the right to education. I requested them to release Cao Qun and restore his freedom, but I did not receive any response. I only heard news worse than before.

So all I can do is seek international understanding and support.

I wrote to the Australian government, the Singapore government, the United Nations and some other related international organizations. I expressed my hope that they would pay attention to this issue and immediately help to stop this ludicrous evil persecution in China. I urged the Chinese government, as a co-signer of United Nations Agreements of Human Rights, to immediately release him and give Cao Qun back his freedom of belief and right to an education.

In the response letter from the UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cutural Organization), it was clearly pointed out that:

" The Chinese government's treatment of Cao Qun violated rights officially agreed to by the United Nations, including [1].* the right to an education, [1]* the right to share in scientific advancement, [2]* the right to participate freely in cultural life, [2]* the right to information, including freedom of opinion and expression,[3]* the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, [4]* the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of national borders, [3]* the right to protection of moral and materials interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production, [2]* the right to freedom of assembly and association for the purposes of activities connected with education, science, culture and information [5].*"

They told me this incident has attracted their attention and is being investigated.

Here, I again strongly urge the Chinese government to:

Follow the UN Charter on education, abide by the UN Agreements on Human Rights, which China has signed, and immediately release Cao Qun who unjustifiably was sent to jail; immediately release other Falun Gong practitioners who were unreasonably deprived of their right to an education and of their right to live a free life.

I will continue to call on the international community and seek support until my request is fulfilled.

* [1] Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

[2] Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

[3] Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

[4] Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

[5] Article 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Address of Dalian Forced Labor Camp: Liaoning Province, Dalian City, Ganjingzi District, Jichangqian Street, Nanshan Village, Dalian Forced Labor Camp. Zip code: 116033.

February 16, 2003