Russia: Falun Gong Practitioners under Pressure of Persecution (Part 1)
(Clearwisdom.net) Falun Gong practitioners in Russia are mainly local Russian people. By reading the Falun Gong books translated into Russian and learning the five sets of Falun Gong exercises, they stepped onto the path of Dafa cultivation one after another. Consequently, their physical and mental health was greatly improved, with joy and tranquility beyond description added to their lives. Yet this kind of joy and tranquility was destroyed by the persecution happening in China. Many Russian people found that they who were in favor of the Chinese ancient culture were overnight turned into "enemies of the Chinese government." Many of the Falun Gong practitioners asked themselves, "What on earth is Falun Dafa?" "It's a righteous cultivation method," answered the voice in their mind. "Did I step onto the wrong path?" "No!" the inner voice replied. "Then what could I do for Falun Gong?" Through a several-year exploration, Russian practitioners are walking their own path of cultivation. This article describes the difficulties encountered by Russian practitioners and the practitioners under arrest in June 2006.
The Persecution Happening in China
The large-scale persecution of Falun Gong was launched by the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) former leader Jiang Zemin on July 20, 1999. Driven by his personal jealousy and paranoia, he used any possible methods to obtain and maintain his political power.
On June 7, 1999, Jiang made statements at the Central Politburo Meeting concerning taking urgent measures to "handle and solve the Falun Gong problem." In his speech, Jiang described the introduction and widespread popularity of Falun Gong as "a political struggle between opposing forces at home and overseas and our party for the scramble for the masses and positions." Jiang barked, threatened, and wrote letters to forge deceitful lies as a means to force other members of the Central Politburo to approve of his personal decision to "crack down on Falun Gong." In October 1999, Jiang Zemin openly defamed Falun Gong as a [slanderous words omitted] when interviewed by the media during his visit to France. Jiang created the falsity of "acknowledged facts" in his attempt to deceive the international media and to silence the opposing voices inside the Chinese government.
In July 1999, Jiang Zemin ordered China's Public Security Ministry to announce a "Six Forbidden Activities" notice (to forbid Falun Gong practitioners from practicing exercises and appealing for Falun Gong in Beijing). But China's Public Security Ministry is not a law-making organization. Therefore, the "Six Forbidden Activities" notice is legally invalid. In October, the "Anti-[slanderous term omitted] Law" announced by the Congress of People's Deputies is also unable to label Falun Gong as a [slanderous term omitted]. Because when making a law, the lawmakers can only define certain behavior as a crime, but cannot state that one person committed a crime. Whether that person committed a crime should be judged by the judicial judgment; it is the court that judges if he/she violates a law. As a result, the statement that "Falun Gong is a [slanderous term omitted]" is made by Jiang Zemin and the People's Daily, both of which have no authority to make a law. Then judicial judgment could not be based on their statement.
Nevertheless, Jiang Zemin had never offered any basis and reasoning to support his own conclusion. Nor had he taken into consideration the fact that Falun Gong is peaceful, rational, and has greatly improved the mental and physical well-being of over 100 million people. Arbitrarily, he ordered all Communist Party members, members of the Communist Youth League, present government officials and retired officials, heads of party units and governmental agencies to stop practicing Falun Gong and to "ideologically draw a clear line between themselves and Falun Gong."
In 1999, Jiang Zemin's daily main job was to plan the persecution of Falun Gong. In order to try to make foreign governments acknowledge and help with the persecution of Faun Gong, Jiang Zemin even personally handed pamphlets to leaders of governments present at the Global Summit so as to spread his deceitful lies to demonize Falun Gong. However, the international community did not show respect for him. On the evening of November 18, 1999, the U.S. House of the Representatives passed the H. Con. Res. 218 demanding the Chinese government to stop persecuting Falun Gong. On the afternoon of the following day, the Senate also passed the S. Res. 217 with similar content.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Falun Gong practitioners who were labeled as "enemies" overnight, along with Falun Gong practitioners worldwide, united their individual efforts to oppose the persecution and gradually formed a stream of civil power that could never be ignored and destroyed. The voices from the international community calling for justice and the unyielding determination of practitioners in China and overseas let Jiang Zemin clearly be aware that it was never possible to keep his pledge to "destroy Falun Gong in three months."
Jiang Zemin Sought International Support for the Persecution
Under such circumstances, Jiang Zemin turned to countries for support which were infamous for their poor human rights conditions or could be bribed with economic interests. Russia, bordering China, is one of them.
On July 6, 2001, Jiang Zemin secretly held talks with Russian President Yeltsin. Jiang secretly "represented" China to sign the Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation Between the People's Republic of China and the Russian Federation. The treaty was said to be valid as of February 28, 2002. Article 8 of the treaty states:
"The contracting parties shall not enter into any alliance or be a party to any bloc nor shall they embark on any such action, including the conclusions of such treaty with a third country which compromises the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of the other contracting party. Neither side of the contracting parties shall allow its territory to be used by a third country to jeopardize the national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of the other contracting party.
Neither side of the contracting parties shall allow the setting up of organizations or gangs on its own soil which shall impair the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of the other contracting party and their activities should be prohibited."
Since then, Jiang Zemin has used China's governmental system to bribe Russia with economic interests. Particularly, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, embassies and consulates often used Article 8 to force the Russian government and its Ministry of Foreign Affairs to suppress Falun Gong. On one hand, the Chinese Communist Party's secret agents spread flyers on various occasions to defame and slander Falun Gong. On the other hand, the CCP embassies and consulates kept using diplomatic measures to influence the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Sometimes they even directly faxed or called the units concerned. The excuse they made up is: Falun Gong has been labeled as [slanderous words omitted] and a [slanderous word omitted] organization, and the Russian government should stop the activities held by Falun Gong in Russia based on Article 8 of the treaty.
Due to their own interests and political factors, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Security Department apparently yielded to the CCP pressure. In this way, Russia hoped to maintain its relationship with China as its "strategic partner" and "trading partner." The Russian media rarely reported the facts of Falun Gong; statements made by some Russian leaders tilted the balance toward China. Russia's attitude toward China can be reflected by its cooperation with China to lay oil pipes.
What the Russian Government Agencies Have Done to Comply with the Persecution since 2005
The Falun Dafa Assistance Center in Irkutsk, Russia is a center nearest China. The staff working for the Russian government agencies interfered with activities held by local Dafa practitioners to tell people the facts, and even monitored or threatened them.
Dafa practitioners in St. Petersburg filed a lawsuit against Chen Yichu, the chief diplomat of the Chinese Embassy in St. Petersburg. But the St. Petersburg court refused to accept the lawsuit due to Chen's claim to diplomatic immunity. The St. Petersburg local government has denied Dafa practitioners permission to stage a peaceful demonstration in front of the Chinese consulate.
Recently, Dafa practitioners in Moscow have asked several local governments for permission to stage a peaceful demonstration in front of the Chinese Embassy. But the request has been rejected by four local governments. In the past, the request had been rejected sometimes, but the local governments used to deal with our request in a friendly and kind way. But recent situations appeared different. The letters of refusal from the local governments to Dafa practitioners cited Article 8 of the treaty signed by Jiang Zemin and Yeltsin as their reason to deny practitioners permission.
In addition, the Russian immigration office recently has openly announced the denial of immigrant visas to several Dafa practitioners. The immigration office told the court that the Security Department has a so-called "secret document" related to the treaty signed by the PRC and Russia.
Russian Dafa practitioners felt that the Russian government agents used the Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation Between PRC and Russia as an excuse to limit Falun Gong activities. Russian practitioners, particularly practitioners of Chinese nationality, faced troubles and pressure. What the Russian government agents have done is against the Russian Constitution, human rights, morality and conscience, and sometimes infringes on the privacy of Russian and alien citizens.
The treaty signed by the PRC and Russia (particularly its Article 8) has violated Russian law and tarnished Russia's image as an independent country of sovereignty and democracy. The above-mentioned Article 8 implies that behaviors of the Russian government have curtailed Russian democracy and civil freedoms, and deceived many Russian citizens.
What the CCP Secret Agents Have Done to Target Russian Falun Gong Practitioners
First, in the past few years, the CCP has sent numerous secret agents to Russia in the name of trading business and further studies
Since 2003, the number of undergraduate and graduate students sent by the CCP to Russia has dramatically increased. As far as we know, Moscow University and People's Friendship University have the most foreign students from China. The CCP has arranged a "director" in each department to specifically monitor the overseas students from China. When Dafa practitioners visited the two universities to distribute Dafa truth-clarification materials, there were often students reporting the event to their "director." The secret agents also had some students spy on their own classmates. Staff of the Chinese Embassy also invited Dafa practitioners (who are overseas students) to a meal to form some kind of relationship.
Second, based on reliable sources of information, the CCP also sent secret agents into the delegations to gather intelligence; further, the secret agents disguised themselves as businessmen to mingle themselves with overseas Chinese in Russia. Some of the secret agents are from the CCP military intelligence.
According to some veteran overseas Chinese practitioners, during the 2003 Chinese New Year holidays, the CCP invited some overseas Chinese back to China to attend a "meeting." After their returning back to Russia, they organized some "Anti- [slanderous term omitted] Association" and "Association to Support Cross-strait Reunification." Heads of these associations directly gathered the so-called "Falun Gong intelligence" and committed wrongdoing to interfere with Russian Falun Gong practitioners. The head of the "Anti-[slanderous term omitted] Association" had even openly caused interference in a peaceful demonstration organized by Dafa practitioners and threatened practitioners of Chinese nationality.
Furthermore, the Falun Dafa Minghui/Clearwisdom website received a list in 2006, revealing that China's Public Security Ministry again secretly organized a group of persons. These chosen persons would receive short-term intensive language training, and then would be sent overseas. These persons were picked up from the public security system in each province. Their activities were a guarded secret, and they revealed no word of their actions to their family. The language training includes an English class and Russian class. Members who attended the current Russian class are as follows, with their present work units and titles listed.
1. Lin Xueyong--Deputy Commander in Chief of the Border Control Bureau of Heilongjiang Province
2. Zhang Guicai--Chief of Hulin Frontier Inspection Station of the Border Control Bureau, Heilongjiang Province
3. Hao Yingnan--Staff of Public Security Bureau of Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province
4. Li Ming--Section Chief of Division of Exit & Entry Administration Department of Public Security Bureau, Heilongjiang Province
5. Zheng Zhongyuan--Staff of Exit & Entry Administration Department of Jiamusi Public Security Bureau, Heilongjiang Province
6. Yuan Jinbao--Staff Officer of Frontier Inspection Station Command of the Manzhouli Border Control Bureau, Inner Mongolia
7. Wang Dayong--Deputy Section Chief of Qingdao Frontier Inspection Station of the Border Control Bureau, Shandong Province
8. Feng Xiguang--Secretary of Discipline Committee of Public Security of Xinjiang Area
9. Li Xingang--Chief of National Protection Section of Public Security Department of Xinjiang Autonomous Region
10. Cai Zhixiong--Deputy Section Chief of Secretary Section of Exit & Entry Administration Department of Nanjing Public Security Bureau, Jiangsu Province
11. Jiao Wei--Deputy Commander of National Protection Section of Beijing's Xicheng Police Department
12. Guo Feng--Staff of Exit & Entry Administration Department of Beijing's Haidian Police Department
13. Wang Xinnian--4th team of Criminal Investigation Crew of Heping Police Department in Tianjin City
14. Hu Juntang-- Chief of Nanguan Substation of Changchun City Police Department, Jilin Province
15. Sun Guoen--Staff of Public Security Bureau of Jilin City, Julin Province
16. Liu Baoyou--Chief of Criminal Investigation Team of Nanguan Substation of Changchun City Police Department, Jinlin Province
Third, over the past few years, the Chinese Embassy officials in charge of the persecution have kept monitoring and harassing Chinese practitioners who live in Russia.
For example, since July 20, 1999 (when the persecution began), the Chinese Embassy officials have kept calling an elderly Chinese couple, asking them to give up practicing Falun Gong. The couple in turn told the officials that Falun Gong is good and that it cured them of numerous diseases, and that they enjoy physical and mental health and are aboveboard persons. Realizing that their firm belief in Falun Gong could not be altered, the Chinese officials started monitoring and wiretapping the couple.
In addition, the CCP state security secret agents conducted a so-called "investigation" into the old couple's relatives, classmates, colleagues and their former work units. The secret agents still offered the Russian police station disinformation that they were "heads of a certain terrorist organization," spreading slanderous rumors against them. The secret agents even threatened to deport the elderly couple back to China, who have resided in Russia for a long time and maintain their Chinese passports.
Russia's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Security Department have kept monitoring and harassing practitioners of Chinese nationality. Based on this as well as the information from the Chinese consulate and embassy, it can be determined that the CCP offered Russia a "blacklist," on which are the names of Chinese practitioners in Russia and practitioners of foreign nationality. In 2004, the Russian customs denied a Swedish practitioner named Sven entry into Russia, while the CCP forbade Russian practitioner Nachia from entering China with her husband and children. The Russian police station had postponed several times practitioners' application for residence permits, and postponed or refused to grant practitioners political asylum. These are all examples of interference with Russian practitioners.
Fourth, the secret agents working for the CCP consulate and embassy bought some Russian and Chinese people to spy on the activities of Dafa practitioners in every possible way
One person who claimed himself as a reporter of certain newspaper in Hong Kong often came to attend all kinds of exhibitions, news conferences held by practitioners, even when not invited. He was particularly interested in these activities. Even on the certain sensitive dates called by the CCP, he would call practitioners to ask for information of activities and sometimes even invited an individual practitioner to a meal in a restaurant.
Sometimes Chinese embassy staff are found taking photos at the Falun Gong practice site in Moscow. Russian or Chinese people are hired to watch practitioners, particularly practitioners of Chinese nationality.
During the summer vacation of 2004, a Dafa practitioner accompanied her daughter to return to Dalian, China. On the second day of her arrival, she was called by the state security secret agents to have a talk. The secret agents tried to both threaten and entice her to reveal information of Dafa activities in Russia, and even directly named certain senior practitioners in Russia and inquired about them. The secret agents said, "We are well informed of your situations in Russia." They even knew when and where Chinese practitioners in Russia gathered to practice exercises and study the Fa, and when the practitioners gathered at her home to make banners and display boards. Every week the Chinese practitioners in Russia would gather at a practitioner's home to study the Fa. The practitioners found that secret agents hid themselves in cars to monitor them.
(To be continued)