FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - August 12, 2002[ ]

NEW YORK, August 12, 2002 (Falun Dafa Information Center) -- Cambodian police, under pressure from the Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, have deported a Chinese couple who were living and working in Phnom Penh with U.N. Refugee Certificates, sources in Phnom Penh say.

The couple is being held in a detention center in Changsha City, the capital city of Hunan Province in China. Their condition, however, is unknown, these sources say. Under Jiang's three-year campaign to eradicate Falun Gong, this couple's fate is likely to include unlimited incarceration and torture should the couple refuse to renounce their spiritual beliefs. Sources inside China say well over 1,600 have died from abuse while in police custody for persisting in the Falun Gong meditation practice.

Li, Guojun and his wife Zhang Xinyi are former residents of Changsha City. They escaped from China to Phnom Penh after Chinese President Jiang Zemin launched the persecution campaign against Falun Gong in July, 1999.

"This is a blatant and direct violation of their official status as U.N. refugees," says Falun Dafa Information Center spokesperson, Mr. Erping Zhang. "We call on the U.N. to take immediate action to protect those to whom it has granted refugee status." Mr. Zhang continued, "At this very moment, this couple could be facing severe torture or worse, simply because of their beliefs. This is precisely the situation the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was established to prevent. Immediate action is necessary."

A New Life Interrupted

Upon settling in Phnom Penh in 1999, Li, Guojun and his wife soon got jobs teaching Chinese in a local Chinese school. In May 2002, a friend from abroad sent the couple a package containing Falun Gong books and materials. Upon discovering the package, the Chinese school in Phnom Penh fired them from their jobs.

In June, the couple applied for an extension for their Chinese passports at the Chinese Embassy, and were refused. Finally in July, they applied and obtained official U.N. Refugee Certificates.

On August 2, however, the couple was arrested by the Cambodian police who were reportedly pressured and directed by the Chinese Embassy to send them back to Changsha City, which they did on August 9.

Their current condition is unknown. The Changsha City detention center could not be reached for comment.

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Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a practice of meditation and exercises with teachings based on the universal principle of "Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance." It is a practice that was taught in private for thousands of years before being made public in 1992 by Mr. Li Hongzhi. Falun Gong has roots in traditional Chinese culture, but it is distinct and separate from other practices such as the religions of Buddhism and Taoism. Since its introduction in 1992, it quickly spread by word of mouth throughout China, and is now practiced in over 50 countries.

With government estimates of as many as 100 million practicing Falun Gong, China's President Jiang Zemin outlawed the peaceful practice in July 1999, fearful of anything touching the hearts and minds of more citizens than the Communist Party. Unable to crush the spirit of millions who had experienced improved health and positive life changes from Falun Gong, Jiang's regime has intensified its propaganda campaign to turn public opinion against the practice while quietly imprisoning, torturing and even murdering those who practice it.

The Falun Dafa Information Center has verified details of 450 deaths since the persecution of Falun Gong in China began in 1999. Government officials inside China, however, report that the actual death toll is well over 1,600. Over 100,000 have been detained, with more than 20,000 being sentenced to forced labor camps without trial.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT THE FALUN DAFA INFORMATION CENTER- Contacts: Gail Rachlin 917-501-4441, Erping Zhang 646-533-6147, Adam Montanaro 917-405-4507, or Feng Yuan 646-523-5676. Email:, Website: