CHINA CRISIS NEWS BULLETIN #89 - 06/29/2001
- YING ZHU, STUDENT IN CANADA, RELEASED FROM DETENTION IN CHINA
- HONG KONG LEADERS: "WE ARE NOT LEGISLATING" AGAINST FALUN GONG
- CHINA STRIKING OUT AT MEDIA
YING ZHU RETURNS TO CANADA AFTER FOCUSED APPEAL
MONTREAL, Jun 23, 2001 -- (Montreal Gazette) Ying Zhu arrived back in Canada a free woman as suddenly and as secretively as she disappeared in China as a perceived threat to state security. The Montreal resident, Concordia University student and Falun Gong practitioner surprised the friends who had been working tirelessly to find her when she arrived home in the wee hours of Thursday morning. Yesterday she publicly recounted the tale of her disappearance, detention and imprisonment in China. "It was a nightmare," Zhu said, looking tired with bags under her eyes, but remaining composed. "I was kidnapped, I was thrown in a room for 30 days and I was mentally tortured." Zhu was last seen May 10 on a train platform in Hong Kong. She was on her way to her hometown in China to visit her parents and husband, but she never arrived. Friends back home were alarmed at first and then terrified when they learned she had been arrested at a "610" office, the security force responsible for enforcing China's ban on the Falun Gong, a spiritual meditation and exercise practice....
FALUN GONG CLAIMS 233 FOLLOWERS HAVE DIED IN CHINESE CUSTODY
HONG KONG, Jun 26, 2001 -- (Agence France Presse) Hong Kong followers of the Falun Gong spiritual group called Tuesday on Beijing to stop torturing mainland practitioners, claiming 233 of them had died in custody. Falun Gong spokeswoman Sophie Xiao said the death toll among followers of the quasi-Buddhist sect had reached an "alarming stage" with at least 20 reported to have died in police custody last month alone. This brought to 233 the number of deaths since Falun Gong was outlawed as an "evil cult" on the mainland almost two years ago, she said from Hong Kong, where the sect remains legal. "We hope to bring to people's attention to the inhumanity suffered by Falun Gong followers in China to mark the UN international day in support of victims of torture," on Monday, said Xiao. "We again call for global help to eradicate torture and inhumanity of Falun Gong practitioners on the mainland," she said.... They also prepared a petition to Chinese president Jiang Zemin calling on him to stop torture. "The brutality is beyond people's imagination and the methods used in torture is beyond the limit people can endure," said Xiao, citing the use of water torture as well as electrocution and sexual abuse....
HONG KONG STOPS SHORT OF LEGISLATING AWAY RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
BBC excerpt of a report by Radio TV Hong Kong audio web site, 21 June -- The chief secretary for administration, Donald Tsang, says the government is not legislating against the Falun Gong. Speaking at the Foreign Correspondents' Club, Mr Tsang said press reports that Hong Kong would craft an anti-cult law, along the lines of one recently passed in France, were pure speculation. Tsang said: "Hong Kong, as I said all along, survives on certain, very important convictions which makes up to me the strongest underpinnings of our prosperity. And one of these underpinnings is the freedom of religion, freedom, and that is certainly not a thing that we want to negotiate away. You said there was a rumour about legislating and that's exactly what it was. We are not legislating."
The South China Morning Post in Hong Kong reports (June 18) that Swiss journalist Daniel Wermus had interviewed Alain Vivien, who heads France's Inter-Ministerial Mission Against Sects. He was quoted as saying: "In France, this movement [Falun Gong] is quasi non-existent. It has never gone against the law. It is only a free association in conformity with French law. We cannot mistake the word cult, and use it for any religious movement, be it old or recent. "According to French law, it [Falun Gong] does not [deserve to be called a cult]."
ON THE MAINLAND, PARTY CRACKS DOWN HARD ON MEDIA
CNN.com, June 19, 2001 reports that an editor at a popular Chinese newspaper has been fired and other journalists forced to undergo political instruction in the latest spate of sackings signaling a new media crackdown. Ma Yunlong was removed as deputy editor-in-chief of a Henan province newspaper after he approved articles that exposed corruption among health officials and business regulators... Journalists and media watchers say a new spate of firings, closures and intimidation is under way to rein in the Chinese media, seen as challenging the communist party's controls on coverage.... "The party has no intention of allowing a free press, but now they have to contend with growing professionalism among journalists, profit seeking by media and the effects of exposure to media outside China," said Joseph Cheng, a China watcher at City University of Hong Kong.
On June 25, Reuters reports - Chinese propaganda authorities have temporarily shut a newspaper in the eastern province of Jiangsu for publishing a sarcastic article about President Jiang Zemin, a Hong Kong-based rights group said on Monday. The Business Morning Daily was the latest target of a crackdown on newspapers which pushed the boundaries of China's censors to attract readers in an increasingly competitive market, the Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said.
Things took a violent turn recently as Stephen Shaver, an American photographer with the Agence France-Presse (AFP), was punched in the head and ribs, knocked over, and dragged along the ground while taking photographs before the Three Tenors concert in the Forbidden City. The concert was staged to promote Beijing's bid to host the 2008 Olympics, AFP said. Reuters reports (June 26) that the U.S. embassy and an international news agency lodged protests with China's Foreign Ministry on Tuesday after the incident. "The allegation raises question marks over Chinese officials' pledge to allow the thousands of reporters who would descend on Beijing for the Olympics the freedom to report wherever and whatever they like. Half a dozen plainclothes and uniformed police officers attacked Shaver after he took a picture of a lone protester detained by police in front of the venue, AFP said. He was released but assaulted again when leaving the concert by a group of policemen including one of those involved in the initial incident, it said." [It is not known if the protestor was a Falun Dafa practitioner].
UPCOMING EVENTS: "SOS!" - Urgent: Rescue Falun Gong Practitioners Persecuted in China
Hundreds of people throughout America will journey to Washington D.C. from all over the country to raise global awareness about the urgent need to rescue Falun Gong practitioners from the brutal persecution in China. Some will be walking all the way from as far away as Boston and New York while others will bike several hundred miles from Orlando, Florida to the nation's capital. Once there, they will be joined by caravans from Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Houston.
- Boston to DC kickoff: June 26th, 2001, 10AM, Copley Square
- New York to DC kickoff: July 3rd, 2001, 10AM, Location TBA
- Other participating cities: Orlando, San Francisco, Atlanta, Houston, etc.
Contact: "Friends of Falun Gong": 1-866-343-7436 (1-866-FG-FRIEND) For details and updates, please visit www.walktodc.org
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Category: Falun Dafa in the Media