United Nations: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, Part 2 [Excerpt]
On 15 July 2004, the Special Rapporteur, jointly with the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences and the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture, sent an urgent appeal concerning:
- Geng Juying, resident of Luozhuang Hamlet, Chengbo Village, Mengzhou City, Henan Province, who in 2000 was arrested at her home and taken to a detention centre, together with her eight-month-old child, by the 610 Office in Mengzhou City and officers from the Mengzhou City Police Station (whose names are known to the Special Rapporteurs). She is said to have been arrested because she is a Falun Gong practitioner. Geng Juying did not have enough milk to nurse her child due to the poor nutrition at the detention centre. On 25 May 2002, after Ms. Geng's release, police officers (whose names are known to the Special Rapporteurs) jumped over the wall into the courtyard of her house and took her away to the police station, without a warrant. Ms. Geng was again pregnant at the time. It is alleged that the police officers forced her to have an abortion so that she could be sent to a labor camp. They are said to have forcibly given her an injection to induce the abortion, watched the procedure and mocked her when she was in pain. Then she was sent to a detention centre in Jiaozuo City, Henan Province. Later, she was transferred to the Shibalihe Labor Camp because she refused to give up Falun Gong. She is still there. Furthermore, it was reported that Geng Juying's father, Geng Xuecai, her mother, Shen Guangbai, her elder sister, Geng Xiaocui, and her brother, Geng Huaming, have also been detained many times because they practice Falun Gong;
- In April 2001 Chen Yaru, aged 46, resident of Xiaohaidi in Tianjin City's Hexi District, was taken from her home and sentenced to two years of forced labor at the Tianjin City, Jianxin, Women's Forced Labor Camp, No. 3 Squadron of the No. 6 Brigade, where she was tortured. On 13 May 2002, Chen Yaru practiced Falun Gong exercises in the labor camp and, as punishment, the camp police confined her to a small, dark room where they beat her and trampled on her arms. Then they handcuffed each of her arms to a bed, stretching her out spread-eagled. She remained handcuffed this way for 23 days. On 6 April 2003, Chen Yaru and another Falun Gong practitioner tore down the anti-Falun Gong slogans posted inside the Squadron. As a result, the guards dragged them into a room where they stripped them down to their underclothes and tied up their hands. Then the guards dragged them into the hallway and ordered them to kneel down. When they refused, six policemen (including officers whose names are known to the Special Rapporteurs) used six electric batons simultaneously on Ms. Chen. One policeman used the electric baton on her genitalia for 20 minutes. Then they did the same to the other female prisoner. They then shocked Ms. Chen again with electric batons all over her body, to the point that her teeth became loose. For more than one month after this torture, her right arm was paralyzed;
- Yan Shujun, in her fifties, was arrested by the Tianjin City, Heping District, Public Security Bureau in November 2000 because she refused to give up Falun Gong. She was taken to a police station where policemen violently slapped her face. She was sentenced to two and a half years of forced labor and detained at the No. 4 Brigade of the Banqiao Women's Forced Labor Camp in Tianjin City. On 1 June 2001 Yan Shujun was transferred to the Tianjin City, Jianxin, Women's Forced Labor Camp, No. 3 Squadron of the No. 6 Brigade. Because she refused to renounce Falun Gong, the female camp guards deprived her of sleep, allowing her as little as two hours of sleep per day. In protest, Ms. Yan went on a hunger strike for 12 days. Subsequently, the camp extended her term of detention. On 1 April 2003 the No. 3 Squadron attempted to brainwash Ms. Yan. The camp policewomen dragged her into a tiny, dark room and hit her all over her body with electric batons. They exposed Ms. Yan's body in front of the camp's male discipline instructors to demonstrate their electric baton torture. Then they confined Ms. Yan to a wooden cage measuring roughly 50 centimeters by 30 cm by 1.5 meters, where the 1.7 meter tall Yan Shujun was forced into a crouched position. Ms. Yan was tortured in this way for eight days. Afterwards she had significant muscular and skeletal problems;
- In April 2001, Guo Baohua, in her thirties, a resident of Tonggu District, Tianjin City, was arrested by the police who tied her up and subjected her to physical punishment because she refused to read anti-Falun Gong articles. They then confined her to a wooden cage for more than a month. Ms. Guo went on a hunger strike for 37 days to protest this persecution. During her hunger strike she was handcuffed and tied up, and afterwards she was put in solitary confinement for more than a month. Still refusing to abandon Falun Gong, police handcuffed her to a radiator, then handcuffed her spread-eagled between two radiators. Still later, the police handcuffed her and suspended her by her wrists, and subjected her to further torture. On 1 April 2003, the police shocked Ms. Guo with several electric batons simultaneously. Then they put her in a wooden cage for several days;
- On 15 April 2002, Su Yanhua, a resident of Lianjiangkou, Jiamusi City, Heilongj iang Province, was arrested at her brother's house by local police because she was a Falun Gong practitioner. She was sent to Lianjiangkou Detention Centre and two weeks later transferred to the Jiamusi Labor Camp. Upon her arrival at Jiamusi, she was tortured and forced to undergo brainwashing. In July 2002, the labor camp guards forced her to sit on a small stool and watch anti-Falun Gong videos. When she refused to watch, a guard (whose name is known to the Special Rapporteur) dragged her downstairs and handcuffed her to a bed. She began a hunger strike to protest the torture, so the guards force- fed her milk saturated with salt, which was extremely painful. They tortured her like this for seven days. In November 2002, guards forced Ms. Su to sit on a stool with sharp triangular ridges across its surface for more than 10 hours a day. They made her put both hands on her thighs and didn't allow her to move. Eventually, the skin of her buttocks tore and began to bleed. Meanwhile, she was monitored by several guards brandishing electric batons. Each time she moved, they shocked and beat her simultaneously. When she refused to read an anti-Falun Gong article, they beat her again. Her body was black and blue with bruises, and she was unable to walk for a long time afterwards. At the end of November 2002, because Ms. Su still refused to watch the videos, a guard (whose name is known to the Special Rapporteur) cuffed her to a bed in an awkward, asymmetrical position, her hands tied to two different steel bars. She was cuffed in the same position for two weeks. When she was finally released, she was unable to move any of her limbs. The conditions in Jiamusi Labor Camp are very unsanitary, and for a long time Ms. Su was not allowed to bathe. By February 2003, she had developed scabies, which prevented her from sleeping. At one point the guards sprayed her with a chemical that caused her severe chest pains and rendered her unable to move her head or hands. One morning in May 2003, Ms. Su began to practice the Falun Gong exercises. As soon as she was seen, two guards (whose names are known to the Special Rapporteur), rounded up some other inmates and they all beat her together. Then they dragged her to the second floor, where they forced her to sit on a cold cement floor with her hands cuffed behind her back for 10 days. The nights were bitter cold, and she was deprived of sleep. On the tenth day, guards (whose names are known to the Special Rapporteur) cuffed her hands in the forced backbend position (one arm is reaching down the back behind the head and the other hand meeting it from the lower back). She suffered this torture for 13 days. After her hands were released, she was unable to move her arms and could barely walk. In June 2003, a guard (whose name is known to the Special Rapporteur) slapped her face so hard that she temporarily lost her hearing. Ms. Su was not released after her term expired. She was, at the time this communication was sent, still being detained in the labor camp, and her health was in a critical condition.
- On 19 February 2004, five members of the Falun Gong movement, who were accused of helping to post news on a web site about ill- treatment in prison of a student member of the movement, appeared before the Court No1 in western Chongqing. In its verdict, the court said that the report published online "tarnished the image of the Government by broadcasting fabricated stories of persecution suffered by cult members". Lu Zengqi, accused of writing the incriminating document, and Yan Qiuyan, who helped him publish the article, were both sentenced to 10 years in jail. Li Jian, who reportedly posted the article on a site run by the movement, was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Chen Shumin, head of the company where Lu Zengqi worked, was jailed for 12 years. Yin Yan was sentenced to five years without any evidence being given of the part he played;
- On 9 March 2004, authorities in Beijing interrogated three reporters from the Hong Kong-based Apple Daily newspaper and then deported them to Hong Kong. Security officials arrived at the journalists' hotel and brought them for questioning. The reporters were held for six hours before officials escorted them to the airport and put them on a flight to Hong Kong. The three journalists were in Beijing to cover the annual meetings of the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference;
- On 4 October 2004, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent appeal concerning Tang Yiwen, a Falun Gong practitioner. According to the information received, in May 2000, she was arrested in Beijing for appealing for Falun Gong. She was detained for two years in Chatou Women's Forced Labor Camp, Guangdong Province, and later transferred to Sanshui Labor Camp. During her detention, she was reportedly subjected to torture, in particular she was hung up, beaten and forced-fed with hot chili. She was released in August 2003 and re-arrested in February 2004. Since then, she reportedly tried several times to leave the country but was never issued a passport. In June 2004, her passport application was rejected for the third time by Guangzhou Police Department and on her file it was allegedly noted that "This person's activity is limited". On 25 June 2004, Tang Yiwen reportedly lodged a lawsuit in Guangzhou City Baiyun District Procuratorate (BDP) against those who illegally sentenced, detained and tortured her. It was furthermore reported that, since August 2004, she has been constantly followed by agents from the 6-10 Office. Fears were expressed regarding her physical and mental integrity, which may have been at risk.
On 15 October 2004, the Special Rapporteur, jointly with the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture, the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health and the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, sent a letter of allegation concerning reports of systemic repression against the Falun Gong [...]. Over the past five years, hundreds of cases of alleged violations of the human rights of Falun Gong practitioners have been brought to the attention of the Special Rapporteurs. Many of these allegations have been reported back to the Chinese authorities and were reflected in reports of the Special Rapporteurs to the Commission on Human Rights. The Special Rapporteur is concerned that reports of arrest, detention, ill- treatment, torture, denial of adequate medical treatment, sexual violence, deaths, and unfair trial of members of so-called "heretical organizations", in particular Falun Gong practitioners, are increasing. He is concerned that these allegations may reflect a deliberate and institutionalized policy of the authorities to target specific groups such as the Falun Gong. According to information received, on 10 June 1999 the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party established what is known as the "6-10 Office", an institution which is linked to State Security Defense. The office reportedly was given a mandate to repress Falun Gong and other "heretical organizations", and is operating outside of the rule of law. Reports indicate that the Falun Gong was officially banned on 22 July 1999 through a decision of the Ministry of Civil Affairs and, since then, several decisions, notices, regulations and other judicial interpretations have been issued by the Government and judicial authorities to legitimize the official repression against "heretical organizations", including the Falun Gong. In addition, according to reports, a media campaign was launched against the Falun Gong and its practitioners in June 1999. It is believed that this campaign followed a protest gathering in Beijing on 25 April 1999, involving more than 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners. (1) Further reports indicate that, in February 2001, the Central Committee of the Communist Party called for a Central Work Conference of high- level party officials. The purpose of this meeting was reportedly to adopt a plan calling for the formation of local [so-called] "anticult task forces" in all universities, State enterprises and social organizations, to reinforce the "6-10 Office" and strengthen local control over the Falun Gong. An analysis of reports received by the Special Rapporteurs indicates that the alleged human rights violations against Falun Gong practitioners, including systematic arrest and detention, are part of a pattern of repression against members of this group. Most of those arrested are reportedly heavily fined and released, but many are detained and ill-treated in order to force them to formally renounce Falun Gong. Those who refuse are sent to "re-education through labor" camps, where torture is reportedly used routinely and in many cases has resulted in death. The Special Rapporteur is further concerned by reports that few Falun Gong practitioners are prosecuted. When charges are laid they reportedly include allegations such as "disturbing social order", "assembling to disrupt public order", "stealing or leaking State secrets" or "using a heretical organization to undermine the implementation of the law". According to the information received, those prosecuted have been unfairly tried and many have received lengthy prison sentences. In this respect, it is reported that on 5 November 1999, a Notice issued by the Supreme People's Court instructed all local courts to do their "'political duty' in bringing to trial and punishing 'severely'" those charged with "heretical organizations crimes", "particularly Falun Gong", and to handle these cases "under the leadership of the Party committees".
On 19 October 2004, the Special Rapporteur, jointly with the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture, sent an urgent appeal concerning Falun Dafa practitioner Zhao Yougang, 32 years old. In June 2003, he was arrested by the Nanjing police while he was composing materials regarding Falun Gong. In jail he was reportedly subjected to torture and inhumane treatment. On 29 December 2003, he was sentenced to nine years in prison. According to the information received, he was then detained in Wuxi Prison where he was subjected to further torture. He started a hunger strike in June to protest the persecution and the ill-treatment to which he was subjected. He weighed 35 kg at the time this communication was sent. It was reported that he was being force- fed seven to eight times every night by the prison guards.
On 26 October 2004, the Special Rapporteur, jointly with the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture and Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders, sent an urgent appeal concerning Zhang Bo, Wang Jie, and Cai Shaojie, three Falun Gong practitioners, and Li Weiji. According to the allegations received, Zhang Bo was detained at an unknown location at the time this communication was sent, Wang Jie and Cai Shaojie were detained in the Dabei prison, and Li Weiji was detained in the Panjin Prison. It is reported that the police broke both the arms of Li Weiji and caused him to develop a lumbar inter-vertebral disc protrusion. As a result of the treatment suffered, he can hardly walk.
On 5 March 2003, these persons were sentenced to imprisonment by the Yinzhou District Court in Tieling, Liaoning Province for collecting evidence of the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in Liaoning Province (i.e. persecution by the local authorities, including local governments and local police stations, related to the use of detention, torture and forced labor). Li Weiji was also convicted of assisting Falun Gong practitioners to go abroad. Zhang Bo and Wang Jie were sentenced to seven years' imprisonment, Cai Shaojie to four years' imprisonment, and Li Weiji to eight years' imprisonment. In view of the allegations of ill-treatment, concern was expressed that Zhang Bo, Wang Jie, and Li Weiji were at risk of torture or other forms of ill-treatment. Moreover, concern was expressed that the imprisonment of the four individuals was an attempt to prevent their activities to protect the human rights of Falun Gong practitioners in Liaoning Province.
(1) Editor's note: This event took place on April 25, 1999, when approximately 10,000 practitioners spontaneously went to Beijing to peacefully appeal at the Chinese State Council Appeal Office regarding the government's unconstitutional restrictions placed on Falun Gong, and to ask for the release of practitioners in Tianjin who had been illegally arrested.
Full report can be found at: http://www.clearwisdom.net/emh/article_images/Expression_chn.pdf