Massachusetts University Student Missing in China
BOSTON, March 27, 2002 (Falun Dafa Information Center) -- 22-year-old Daniel Pomerleau, a student at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts and a native of Vassalboro, Maine, has disappeared after traveling to China to peacefully appeal to the Chinese government to end its torture and killing of Falun Gong practitioners. Daniel failed to check in with friends at numerous agreed-upon times and missed a meeting with another individual in Beijing.
There has been no word from him since his departure from Boston on Sunday morning.
The U.S. State Department has been notified and American officials, both in Washington DC and Beijing, are investigating his whereabouts.
Raised in Vassalboro, Maine, Daniel is currently in his second year as a Geography major at Clark University. He is very active on campus as Co-president of Clark's Falun Dafa Club and Clark's Chapter of Amnesty International. Daniel has been practicing Falun Gong for over 3 years.
"His situation is very dangerous due to recent developments in Changchun and throughout China," noted Falun Dafa Information Center spokesperson Gail Rachlin. "As news of the Changchun crisis has unfolded, one source reported that a Chinese person from the U.S. had been taken to Beijing to be charged as a spy. This source also said that 'it is no longer safe for foreign [Falun Gong] practitioners to come to China.'" Ms. Rachlin continued, "In the past month, we've had cases of Falun Gong practitioners being shot at by police and killed in large numbers in Changchun...clearly, Daniel is in China at a very dangerous time. If Chinese authorities have detained him, the policy of deporting foreigners after a day or so of detention may no longer apply. Indeed, he's been missing for over two days now and still no word."
Daniel's trip comes on the heels of over 5,000 people believed to be practitioners of Falun Gong who have been detained in a vast and unprecedented police sweep in Changchun. Dozens or even as many as 100 or more might be dead already as a result of police brutality, according to sources inside China, though a total media blackout has severely hampered many attempts to contact locals and confirm the individual reports.
These sources, however, say killings have occurred every day since the broadcast, and police in the Changchun detention centers have been given orders to cremate all dead bodies immediately. Other reports state that police have been given quotas to round up five Falun Gong practitioners per day and are conducting on-the-spot searches of all citizens.
On March 15th, Amnesty International headquarters in London issued an Urgent Action statement for Falun Gong practitioners in Changchun. "Dozens of suspected members of the Falun Gong spiritual movement have reportedly been detained during a security crackdown in Changchun City, Jilin Province," the Urgent Action stated. "Amnesty International believes they are at serious risk of torture or ill-treatment..."
"We are all extremely concerned for Daniel's welfare," said Riordan Galluccio, a friend of Daniel's from Boston. "We appeal to everyone to help locate this kind-hearted young man and if he has been detained by Chinese authorities, to call for his immediate and unconditional release. The people of the world must realize this is a global issue. The killing, torture, and detainment of good people must stop."