(Clearwisdom.net) Falun Gong practitioners of Chinese nationality who currently live in Canada, Japan and other 15 countries recently published an open letter calling on people to pay attention to the issue that their passports have been withheld or not renewed over the past few years. At the same time, travel certificates of more than 30 Falun Gong practitioners from Hong Kong have been either postponed or confiscated. The following is excerpted from a report on June 21 by Radio Free Asia's Hong Kong correspondent Yan Ming.

The Chinese Falun Gong practitioners expressed in their open letter that over the past several years, when Falun Gong practitioners of Chinese nationality sent requests to the Chinese Consulates in their country to apply for renewal of their passport, these Consulates either withheld or refused to renew them.

Practitioners from 17 countries including Canada, Japan, Italy, Switzerland, Hungry and United Kingdom encountered this problem.

On Monday, June 21, a reporter called Japan where this situation is relatively serious, to learn about the issue. A practitioner with the last name of Xiao said, "Because I had been back to China, I was deported to Japan later. In the very beginning, if Falun Gong practitioners went back to China, they would be refused. At present, if they go back to China, they will be arrested. Some were barred from entering China when they went back. In addition, previously, when I went to Hong Kong, I was deported back to Japan by the Hong Kong authorities. I also experienced this. Besides, some practitioners are unable to get their passports renewed. There are more than 100 of such cases. This is only what we are aware of. There could be some cases that we don't know about."

The open letter claimed that when Chinese Consulates withhold or refuse renewal or extension of practitioners' passports, they did not show any document indicating the withholding of refusal, and they refused to provide any written explanation or document. The practitioner from Japan said that the passport issue has brought them significant problems.

Ms. Xiao: There was one time, in the very beginning, when we were not allowed to go abroad. Later, after a relatively long period of time, some practitioners probably consulted the Japanese legal department about related policy, some of them could get a kind of certificate that they can go abroad without being affected by the passport issue. This situation has been going on for quite some time. I can give a simple example. For instance, shortly before, some practitioners' visas were about to expire, it would be very dangerous for them to go back to China. Therefore, some of them applied for refugee statues.

Cosigners of the open letter believe that according to related Chinese regulations and laws, only the public security department and the institution which issued the passport have the authority to suspend or invalidate the passport. Only procuratorate and court have the authority to withhold identification cards. The Chinese Consulates' behavior violates the law.

In the meantime, in this open letter to the Chinese State Council, the Public Security Ministry, the Supreme Court and the Supreme Procuratorate, the cosigners believe that a person's nationality is a fundamental human right. Any individual, organization or government that randomly deprives a person of his or her nationality violates the "United Nations Declaration of Human Rights"

In addition, in Hong Kong, some Falun Gong practitioners' travel certificates were also confiscated or withheld. As a consequence, they are unable to go back to Mainland China. Hong Kong Falun Gong spokesperson Mr. Kan said that since 1999, about 30 to 40 practitioners, including spokesperson Mr. Chen Yongguang, have been affected.

Kan: "From our previous statistics, more than 30 Hong Kong practitioners' travel certificates were confiscated under different situations. Among them, some certificates were confiscated at customs. One of our contact persons, Mr. Chen Yongguang, had his certificate confiscated during a business trip to China.

The above is an edited version of a report from Radio Free Asia correspondent Yan Ming.