MURDER IN CHINA: "...Then several police officers forced the doctor to stop my husband's oxygen and intravenous drip and to give him an injection. Afterwards, they seized his 'corpse' and sent it to the city crematorium." ... See below for practitioners' accounts from inside China of ongoing brutality.
Monitoring News of the Persecution of Falun Gong
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WILL "MONITORING" BE ENOUGH? WHITE HOUSE OFFERS NEW PLAN TORTURE ON THE RISE: NEW EVIDENCE TO GO TO U.N. TORTURE BODY DESPITE POLITICAL DEBATES, ABUSE CONTINUES. READ NEW ACCOUNTS
THE WTO DEBATE AND HUMAN RIGHTS: "MONITORING" THE NEW ISSUE
WASHINGTON, May 3, 2000 -- (Reuters) Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives said they may support legislation setting up a watchdog commission to monitor human rights in China, boosting prospects for passage of President Bill Clinton's landmark trade agreement with Beijing. The announcement comes as the White House intensifies its lobbying campaign in what is shaping up to be this year's biggest legislative battle, pitting business against labor. To boost Democratic support, the Clinton administration has turned to Senator Sander Levin, who has drafted legislation that would set up a watchdog commission that would review Chinese policies and could recommend sanctions against Beijing as long as they were consistent with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. But Levin's proposal is under fire from labor unions and other opponents of the trade pact. Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch called it a "toothless sham." Under Levin's legislation, Congress would create a special "congressional-executive commission" that could investigate Chinese human rights abuses, analyze U.S. security concerns and issue recommendations to lawmakers. The House is scheduled to vote on PNTR (Permanent Normal Trade Relations) in the week of May 22-26. The Senate is expected to follow in early June.
WHAT CRITICS SAY: ATTACKS ON "FALUN GONG A MORAL AFFRONT."
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A federally constituted panel charged with probing the abilities of religious groups across the globe to practice their beliefs unhindered recommended that expanded trade privileges for China be withheld by the United States until the Chinese government ceases persecuting a variety of religious groups. Members of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom said that the rate of religious persecution by the Chinese government rose sharply in 1999. In its report, the panel outlines Beijing's treatment of the Falun Gong. The commission charged that the Chinese government has sentenced several Falun Gong leaders to lengthy prison terms, while detaining thousands of rank-and-file practitioners. "A few followers were even beaten to death or died suddenly in custody," the report stated. News Analysis: (Washington Post) "... people skeptical of White House policy counter that despite the 20-plus years of trade and investment, China remains a police state with a gulag of prisoners of conscience. "When is it supposed to work?" asked Daniel Goure, a security specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "How much do we have to invest? How much do we have to give Beijing before this so-called engagement leads to some kind of change?" Signing trade deals with a country that bans a spiritual movement such as Falun Gong is a moral affront plain and simple, in their view. The Communist Party reacts only to pressure. Its main source of legitimacy with its people at present is the rising standard of living brought by economic modernization. Any threat to that gets party leaders' attention, fast. Yet by abandoning the annual vote on market access, Congress would be giving up that leverage, opponents say.
TORTURE NOW ON THE AGENDA: MORE DENUNCIATIONS OF SYSTEMATIC ABUSE
BEIJING (AP) - Beatings, forced labor, bad food and poor medical treatment are common in Chinese prisons, indicating the government has failed to honor commitments to curb torture, a human rights group said today. Human Rights in China's critical assessment came in advance of a U.N. panel meeting in Geneva on Thursday to determine if the Chinese government has implemented the U.N. Convention Against Torture. Two years ago, Beijing reported that it was making progress. While top Chinese officials have expressed opposition to the use of torture, such policies are often not enforced at the local level. Cases of torture leading to death and disability have continued despite Beijing's commitment to comply with the treaty, New York-based Human Rights in China said. The narrow legal definition of torture, a lack of penalties and other faults in China's patchy legal system encourage police and prison officials to rely on ill treatment, the group said. The report cited incomplete statistics showing an increase in reports of torture since 1979. China's top police officer acknowledged that law enforcement officials routinely use torture to obtain confessions, the report said. The government has allowed the media to report some torture cases, though officials withhold information about cases involving political prisoners and people linked to the banned Falun Gong meditation movement. People who have publicized sensitive torture cases have themselves been imprisoned.
NEW ACCOUNTS FROM INSIDE CHINA FROM FALUN GONG WEB SITES
Mr. Li Hui-xi, 40 years old, a practitioner from Hou-yi Village of Hou Town, Shou-guang City, Wei-fang County, Shan-dong Province. Mr. Li went to Beijing to appeal. On April 21 of 2000, he was escorted back to the local police station of Hou Town. He was beaten to death on the same night by policemen. On the morning of April 22, 2000, the police cremated his body and informed his family members that he was already dead. The police warned his family members not to disclose his death and gave them 45,000 Yuan (about US$5,500). Currently, all practitioners in Shou-guang City have been closely monitored. Over 20 practitioners have been sent to labor camps for forced "education".
FOLLOW-UP ON PREVIOUS REUTERS ARTICLE ABOUT PRACTITIONER WHO MAY HAVE BEEN CREMATED ALIVE: The wife of Zhang Zheng-gang has released a personal account of the events leading up to the cremation of her husband. According to Mrs. Zhang, her husband was "murdered by the Chinese police." "My husband," she reports, "was a former contact person of the Falun Gong Assistance Center in Huai-an. He was detained in the Detention Center of Huai-an City from March 2nd to March 25th of 2000. Police tortured him brutally on March 25th and he was later sent to the First Hospital of Huai-an City for emergency treatment. After his surgery, he was receiving oxygen therapy and infusion. Suddenly, about 40 to 50 police officers came into the hospital and closed off the ward and the hallway." According to Mrs. Zhang, several police officers then forced the doctor to cut off her husband's oxygen supply and intravenous feed, and inject him with an unknown substance. They then seized her husband's body and took it to the city crematorium. According to the Hong Hong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy, Mr. Zhang may still have been alive when he was cremated.
MEDIA REPRESSION ALERT: Beijing to tighten screw on dissidents (South China Morning Post). Beijing will target dissidents such as the China Democracy Party members as well as criminals in its annual Strike Hard campaign which begins this week, according to a Party source. During the Strike Hard period, police are expected to redouble their activities against Falun Gong, which has continued to defy Beijing.
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