Mr Josep Borrell-Fontelles
30 June 2006
Dear President, Dear Josep,
In advance of your forthcoming visit to China, I would be grateful if you could raise two particular cases with the Chinese Authorities which arose from my visit to China, Hong Kong and Taiwan (21-29 May) as rapporteur-designate on the new European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights.
1 Mr Cao Dong: in my intervention on 22 June to the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee I have already raised the issue of the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners with Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner (please see attached letter).
On 21 May in a hotel room in Beijing I held a meeting with Mr Cao Dong, a Falun Gong practitioner (aged 36), who has served time in prison for his religious beliefs. He had discharged his sentence and was guilty of no crime.
Following this meeting, he was arrested and he has not been seen since. I fear for his welfare. His flatmate was arrested and questioned for five days and Mr Dong's possessions have been seized by the police. For completeness I also attach an article I wrote in the Yorkshire Post, my regional newspaper, which explains my visit a little more fully.
I sent a letter on 5 June to the Chinese Ambassador to the EU, which I also attach for your reference, urgently calling for the release of Mr Cao Dong. I repeated this request on 16 June. Both letters were delivered by hand to the Chinese embassy in Brussels. My office has been told that the Ambassador is receiving instructions from Beijing - it has now been almost a month and I have yet to have a response from the Chinese authorities.
2 Mr JINHUI LIANG: the second case I would like to raise with you is that of Mr Jinhui Liang (aged 36), who was arrested on 19 July 2005 by the Luzhou police for practising Falun Gong. On 10 May 2006 he was sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment on charges of downloading material about Falun Gong and publishing people's statements renouncing their CCP membership on the Epoch Times website. Mr Liang suffers from a mental illness which he believes is alleviated by practising Falun Gong and which has returned since his imprisonment. The Sichuan Xinan Judiciary Judgment Centre has submitted an assessment to the authorities detailing that he is not fit to be imprisoned. This has been ignored and he is not allowed familial visits.
I would be grateful if you could raise these cases with the Chinese authorities. I would also urge you to request meetings with dissidents such as the Human Rights lawyer, Gao Zhisheng, who has done so much to protect the rights of the persecuted.