As part of Freedom House delegation, Falun Gong
practitioners participated in the U.N. Human Rights
Commission's meeting, and gave a speech at U.N.'sá
NGO (Non-Government Organizations) hearing on Chinaá
issues on April 6, 2000. They gave audience an
overview about China's abusing and detaining Faluná
Gong practitioners and brutal restrictions on freedom
of speech and freedom of belief.
Below is the text of the speech by a Freedom Houseá delegate (Falun Gong practitioner).
Mr. Chairman, distinguished delegates and guests:
The Freedom House would like to address two issues regarding China's human rights abuses in its crackdown on Falun Gong practitioners, the first being Torture and Detention; the second, Freedom of Expression and Religious Intolerance.
Since July 22, 1999, the world has been shocked by the Chinese governments massive arrests of Falun Gong practitioners in over 30 cities. Li, Lanqing, Chinas vice premier, has admitted in a speech that in the three short months between July and October, of those who had gone to appeal to the government in Beijing, more than 35,000 were arrested. At least 5,000 have been sent to labor camps without trials or legal representation. Since December of last year, the Chinese government has held show trials for over 500 Falun Gong practitioners, and it has handed out stiff sentences of up to 18 years in prison. In addition, many are being sent to mental hospitals and drug rehabilitation centers where they have been forcibly subjected to anti-psychotic or sedative drugs, and electric shock treatment.
Huang Jinchun, a civil court judge in Liuzhou of Guangxi Province, was one of those who was detained in a mental institution. He was injected with tranquilizers because he continued to practice Falun Gong meditation while being detained. Dr. Jian Tang, a female physicist from the U.S., was force-fed with high-density salt water when she went on a hunger strike to protest the police brutality in a detention center in Guangdong Province, where she was detained for the crime of meeting with a few local Falun Gong practitioners. It is indeed a sad state of affairs that, in this day and age, the Chinese government can still arbitrarily detain a woman for questioning, torture her to death, and then cremate the body to hide the evidence, as they did with Zhao Jinhua, a 42-year-old field farmer.
A recent report revealed an appalling story that Lu Yunzhen, a 31-year-old pregnant practitioner in Jiangxi Province, was pressured by the police to have an abortion just because they decided to detain her for a longer term. 11 cases of death by torture have been reported thus far. Tens of thousands of people have lost their jobs, schools, pensions, and even their homes. These and similar incidents repeat themselves across China on a daily basis, though often unknown to the outside world. We ask that this Commission investigate the Chinese governments illegal detention and inhumane torture of Falun Gong practitioners, based on the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
Regarding the issues of freedom of expression and religious intolerance, Chinas one-sided, state-run media has flooded the printing presses and airwaves with fabrications about Falun Gong and its founder, Mr. Li Hongzhi, in attempts to justify the crackdown and mislead the public. At the same time, millions of legally published Falun Gong books, audio tapes, and videotapes have been confiscated and destroyed. When these innocent Falun Gong practitioners go to the governmental offices and appeal courts to peacefully present facts and appeal for justice, they are, however, sent directly to detention centers or labor camps without even an explanation or a trial; many of them are eventually tortured and sentenced to jail. Yet, the sad truth about ten of millions of Falun Gong practitioners has yet to be told in China and abroad.
Founded on the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance, Falun Gong is a peaceful, spiritual discipline rooted in ancient Chinese culture, and it shares the same goal as the great religions of the world: to create a better, spiritually enlightened person. Prior to the crackdown, the Chinese government, although atheist, publicly touted Falun Gong's great health benefits and moral contributions to society and encouraged people to practice it. Yet, when this traditional practice attracted more people than the Communist Party, certain members of the Chinese leadership apparently felt threatened and decided to ban it.
Mr. Chairman, the only "crime" these people have committed was their attempt to exercise their right to freedom of belief, conscience, assembly, and speech; yet these rights are enshrined in China's own Constitution and guaranteed by the U.N. Charter and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that China has signed. We request that this Commission investigate Chinas abuses on the issues of freedom of expression and religious intolerance, based on the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief.
Tens of millions of lives are at stake, making the above issues of grave, immediate concern. For religious freedom to take hold in China, the Chinese government must comply with the international standards of human rights and respect the rule of law. In the long-run, it can only be in everyone's best interests, including its own, for a large, influential nation like China to become a more benevolent member of the international community. We must remember that the concept of human rights is, at its core, really a MORAL issue.
Mr. Chairman, to peacefully resolve these issues, the Freedom House
calls on this Commission to urge the Chinese government to dialogue with
Falun Gong practitioners as they have repeatedly requested. The support
and assistance from this Commission and the international community would
be critical in facilitating this effort. Thank you for attention and