(Clearwisdom.net) On November 15th, 2004, Lat33, a monthly magazine in Chile that covers topics ranging from politics, economy, arts and different social topics, published a 4 page article written by Maria Eugenia Fernandez about Bo Xilai and his direct involvement in the persecution of Falun Gong in China. The following is an excerpt.

The powerful Chinese Minister of Commerce comes to Chile for the APEC summit, at a time when serious accusations in the matter of human rights fall upon him, as a result of the persecution against the Falun Dafa spiritual movement, with thousands tortured, killed, and people forced into labor camps or put in psychiatric hospitals. Could the same thing happen to him as to Pinochet; could he get detained in Santiago?


Bo Xilai has since five years ago participated in the persecution of the Falun Dafa spiritual movement, a "cultivation practice" that expounds on the study of three principles "truth", "compassion", "tolerance", along with five exercises similar to those of yoga, to enrich the inner life of people (see section below).

According to Amnesty International, since 1999 when the Falun Dafa movement was first forbidden in China, more than 800 people have died as a result of torture, tens of thousands have been detained and taken to labor camps without trial or forced into psychiatric hospitals, and 500 people have been sentenced to 18 years in prison.

A Shower of Accusations

Falun Dafa denounces that between 1999 and the year 2000, when Bo Xilai was Mayor of Dalian city, at least 15 followers of this movement died. Dalian was one of the areas with the harshest repression. Between 2000 and 2004 Bo was governor of Liaoning province, where by December of 2003 ninety deaths had been confirmed, caused by the same repression: this was the fourth largest in the country. Six months after the persecution began Human Rights Watch stated that 13 percent of those detained lived in Liaoning province.

From the ex President Jiang Zemin on downwards, numerous Chinese officials and ex Chinese officials face lawsuits abroad for genocide, torture and crimes against humanity. Bo is one of the ones who top the list. The reason? The violation of international laws regarding human rights, and the UN Torture Convention, signed and ratified by China in 1988.

Last August, while Bo was traveling in Russia, he was surprised by a group of Chinese citizens that filed a lawsuit for his involvement in the persecution of Falun Dafa. It was not the first time that this happened to him. In June of this year, while in Poland, he was legally accused of crimes against humanity. Last March he had to suspend his visit to Germany because of protests against him. In addition, he has accusations in England, where it has been asked that he be named persona non grata, as a last resort to a difficult situation: Bo Xilai has diplomatic immunity because he is a Minister.

In April, four Chinese citizens filed a lawsuit in the United States. "All of them were subject to Bo Xilai's jurisdiction and authority as governor of Liaoning, and they suffered and were mistreated with Bo's help and supervision", states the text of the complaint. In October, the US Congress passed Resolution 304, which requests investigating Chinese consular officials that abuse North American citizens and residents who practice or support Falun Dafa. It also asks for the prisoners of conscience in China to be freed and for an end to the persecution in China.

Sentenced to "Reeducation"

International human rights organizations have followed these events closely. In 2002, Amnesty International denounced that the trials against Falun Dafa followers were secret, that only a few were made known and that in these cases there was no evidence that the actions being tried constituted a crime, according to international standards.

On the other hand, a report this very year by Human Rights Watch states that very few Falun Dafa practitioners, currently detained, had been arrested legally. It also denounced that close to ten thousand people had received severe "reeducation" sentences, and also revealed the abuses against detainees which include heavy blows, electric shocks, force feeding and the administering of psychiatric drugs.

Falun Gong practitioner Mr. Tan Yongji, burned by police using heated irons

Some torture cases have become emblematic, such as the case of Tan Yongjie, a Falun Dafa member in Guangdong province, who ended up with more than ten third degree burns on his legs. Tan [escaped to] the United States and was treated in Houston, where doctors transplanted skin so that the gouges would close. Two months later his wounds were still too shocking to look at.

One of the difficulties these lawsuits face is that China is a great power that has grown at an infernal speed of 9% on average annually since 1986, according to the World Bank, and only the opportunity to trade with a giant market of 1.3 billion people usually causes the persecutions taking place over there to be forgotten. [...]

Millions of Practitioners

In the case of Falun Dafa, after the movement was first introduced in 1992, the government supported it to reduce the costs of healthcare. But everything changed in 1998 when a poll showed that 70 million Chinese were practicing it. The theory purported by the movement is that this number surpassed in popularity that of the Chinese Communist Party, and Jiang Zemin, the President in those years, may have seen his leadership overshadowed, - a thesis which Human Rights Watch shares.

In 1996 a campaign began outlawing the books, and the next year police harassment began. Until then in 1999, while in broad daylight, armed police attacked hundreds of practitioners in the city of Tianjin and detained 45 of them. Two days later ten thousand people peacefully gathered to appeal in Tiananmen Square to demand their liberation. Today, actions taken [by the Government] have gone so far as to close Internet sites and detain citizens of other countries in Chinese embassies or consulates.

According to Amnesty International, since 1999 when the Falun Dafa movement was first forbidden in China, more than 800 people have died as a result of torture, tens of thousands have been detained and taken to labor camps without trial or forced into psychiatric hospitals, and 500 people have been sentenced to 18 years in prison.

What is Falun Dafa?

Falun Dafa or Falun Gong is not a cult or a religion, but a cultivation practice. As a practice, it develops the body through five exercises. The cultivation aspect, is the improvement of mind and spirit through the study of three universal principles: truth, compassion, tolerance.

As with Chinese medicine, Falun Dafa is ancient: the practice states that for centuries it was passed down from teacher to disciple in the mountains and in remote placed in China. But it was in 1992 when its founder, Master Li Hongzhi, taught it as part of a series of seminars organized by the Chinese government itself, and from that year until 1999 its practitioners grew in an exponential fashion: they number between 70 and 100 million in sixty countries, according to the organization.

The movement has no political goals or interest. Participation is free and is taught voluntarily and free of charge. In Chile it is not well known, and it tends to blend in with yoga or tai-chi.

Falun Gong practitioners improve their physical and mental health through the practice of the five-set exercises.


In the middle of this year Pia-Maria Sandas, a [practitioner] of Falun Dafa, came to Chile to reveal the truth. Five media covered the topic, but mostly its spiritual aspects. Few of them spoke about the human rights violations. "I noticed that some of the media did not want to touch the topic of the persecution so as to not anger the powerful Chinese economy. It is very sad that economic benefits are more important than the lives of human beings", Sandas commented, visibly troubled.