United Nations Committee against Torture Reviews the PRC Government's Use of Torture: A Report from Falun Gong Human Rights Reveals the PRC's Lies
(Clearwisdom.net) From November 3 to 21, 2008, the United Nations Committee against Torture is holding the 41st session of the conference in Geneva. The committee will specifically review the PRC government's use of torture. Including Falun Gong Human Rights, nineteen human rights groups have submitted reports strongly condemning the Chinese Communist Party for promoting torture.
The Convention against Torture, which went into effect in 1987, is one of eight human rights conventions in the world. China became one of the signatories to this convention in 1988 and has the legal obligation to follow the rules stipulated in the Convention, such as preventing and stopping torture, punishing torturers, and compensating victims of torture. The UN Committee against Torture is the executive body of the Convention against Torture. All signatories should submit a report to the Committee for scrutiny every four years.
Because of the Tiananmen massacre on June 4, 1989, the PRC government did not dare to submit the first report in time. It finally did so in 1993. In 1996 and 2000, the PRC government submitted another two reports. During these three reviews, the committee repeatedly mentioned many severe issues such as 'reeducation through labor,' 'political prisoners,' and punishment using torture. In 2004, the Chinese government dared not to submit a report because the inhumane persecution of Falun Gong would receive much attention. Therefore it failed to deliver its 4th report. Because the committee continually pressed the Chinese government and prepared to complain to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the PRC government reluctantly submitted its 5th report for review during this 41st session of the UN Committee against Torture.
After the PRC government's report was published on the UN website, the world's largest human rights groups expressed enormous disbelief. A total of nineteen human rights groups submitted their own reports to condemn the PRC. In contrast, human rights groups submitted only 12 reports in total for the six other countries that were to be reviewed in this 41st session of the UN Committee. These appraisal reports that NGOs submit in response to the reports from different countries are called shadow reports, with the meaning of a shadow following the form. According to the Convention, the UN Committee against Torture will register these shadow reports and also use them as major references in conducting their investigation. At the same time, the UN Committee against Torture also proposed 11 pages of severe questions based on the 2008 report that the PRC government submitted. This information can be found on the UN website at: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cat/cats41.htm
Rumors written in ink can never conceal facts written in blood
Since 1999, when the PRC government publicly announced its intention to eradicate Falun Gong, Falun Gong practitioners have been suffering the most inhumane torture, and numerous persecutions based on torture. To this end, Falun Gong Human Rights and the Conscience Foundation officially submitted a shadow report to the UN Committee against Torture (http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cat/docs/ngos/CFFalunShadowReport_China_cat41.pdf).
In its report, the Falun Gong Human Rights group clearly pointed out that "effective legislative, administrative and judicial measures" mentioned in the 2008 China state report are a tactic that the Chinese government continually uses to deceive the world. This "progress on paper" is only produced to cover up the deteriorating reality. The PRC government's deceptive tactic of progress on paper, repeatedly used over a long period of time, should no longer be met with praise or encouragement, but should instead be thoroughly exposed and criticized. It demonstrates unequivocally that the PRC government knows what international human rights standards are, how to answer questions on human rights correctly, how to establish a legal framework to protect human rights, and how to punish criminals who commit human rights violations; yet the PRC chooses to continue to violate human rights. These "effective legislative, administrative and judicial measures" are not progress because the PRC government never implements them. The PRC government can order up bad laws that infringe on human rights and, at the same time, empty laws for protecting human rights, which shows that the PRC government never follows any laws. "Effective legislative, administrative and judicial measures" are only an armor of lies to deflect and deceive international scrutiny of China's deteriorating human rights condition.
In its report, the Falun Gong Human Rights group also presented indisputable facts to verify the PRC government's brutal persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. Since the year 2000, the Falun Gong Human Rights group has been systematically submitting cases of the PRC's violations of Falun Gong practitioners to the UN Special Rapporteurs on Human Rights. The UN Special Rapporteurs have sent thousands of interventions to the PRC government about those cases. Over 1000 cases involved Falun Gong practitioners who were persecuted to death. Although the PRC government consistently represented that those Falun Gong practitioners died naturally, it nonetheless acknowledged that these victims always died in police custody. This proves the accuracy of the information. Since 1999, approximately one thousand Falun Gong practitioners who have suffered torture have escaped China with scars on their bodies. In addition, there are thousand of overseas Chinese whose family members have suffered torture due to the PRC government's persecution of Falun Gong. The Falun Gong Human Rights group has, over the years, arranged many of them to meet with the UN Committees and with officials from various governments. Considering that only a very small percentage of Falun Gong practitioners have managed to escape China or have overseas connections, these victims not only are direct witnesses of the PRC government's torture of Falun Gong practitioners, but their number also reflects the scale of the persecution.
The PRC government's instructions to torture Falun Gong practitioners
The report states that the PRC government promotes the persecution as part of a nationwide policy. This policy is unconstitutional and doesn't have any procedural basis. The PRC government banned Falun Gong in July 1999. Only in October 1999 did the Chinese national legislature pass a "law" to legitimize the persecution. The Washington Post satirically noted in an article on November 2, 1999, that "When [China's Communist leaders] found themselves without the laws they needed to vigorously persecute a peaceful meditation society, the Party simply ordered up some new laws. Now these will be applied - retroactively, of course... By these standards, Stalin was a scrupulous observer of civil rights."
The PRC government publicly claimed that the purpose of banning Falun Gong was to eradicate Falun Gong completely. However, in order to deceive the world public opinion, it also declared that only small numbers of Falun Gong practitioners were punished "not because they practiced Falun Gong, but because they engaged in illegal criminal acts." Since 1999, millions of Falun Gong practitioners have been incarcerated. All have been offered a simple way to get released: just renounce Falun Gong and you are free to go. Can people who have engaged in "illegal criminal acts" be released just by renouncing their "illegal criminal acts?" The PRC government claims that it has won a fundamental victory in the campaign against Falun Gong and that 980f Falun Gong practitioners have been "transformed." Such propaganda shows the primary objective of the PRC government's campaign is not the "illegal criminal acts" but the "transformation" --coercing Falun Gong practitioners to renounce their belief.
The PRC government's instructions on promoting the torture of Falun Gong practitioners deliberately violate the Convention against Torture. Jiang Zemin brutally ordered, "No measure is too excessive against Falun Gong," and "destroy their reputations, bankrupt them financially, and exterminate them physically." The 610 Office instructions are that, "Beaten to death is counted as suicide." It gives rewards to those policemen who transform Falun Gong practitioners and also organizes activities where the police can share torture methods and torture equipment. Thus, with the PRC government's use of promotions and rewards, all levels of the government use all kinds of torture methods on Falun Gong practitioners, illegally detain Falun Gong practitioners, illegally set up "brainwashing centers" and "law education schools," send Falun Gong practitioners to mental hospitals to persecute them, don't allow lawyers to take cases related to Falun Gong and even persecute and torture those lawyers who defend Falun Gong. The PRC government clearly knows that, as a signatory, it has the legal obligation to abide by the Convention against Torture. However, its promotion of torture, using all kinds of methods, is a fundamental violation of the Convention against Torture.
The PRC government violates many articles of the Convention against Torture
Article 3 of the Convention against Torture prohibits any signatory from repatriating anyone back to the country that used torture. However, in August 2002, the PRC government instigated the Cambodian government to arrest and repatriate Falun Gong practitioners Xinyi Zhang and her husband Guojun Li, who had UN refugee status; in March 2007, it pressured the Russian government to repatriate Falun Gong practitioner Hui Ma and her daughter and in May 2007, Falun Gong practitioner professor Chunman Gao. In February 2007, 14-year-old Zhao Youran came to New York with a delegation to participate in a winter camp. She had been in contact with her uncle in New York, who practices Falun Gong. The head of the delegation kidnapped her in order to forcibly take her to a flight back to China. US customs agents rescued Ms. Zhao.
Article 4, 11, 12, 13 and 14 of the Convention against Torture stipulate that the signatory must punish the torturer, protect those who expose torture and compensate the victim. However, instead of punishing the torturers, the PRC government redoubled its persecution of those Falun Gong practitioners who expose the torture. Although the PRC government receives great international pressure and, on very rare occasions, has had to punish torturers, the victims are still tortured. On November 24, 2005, the police raped two female Falun Gong practitioners in their custody. This case aroused much international attention. At the time, the UN Special Rapporteur on the question of torture was conducting his visit to China. Falun Gong Human Rights immediately submitted this case to the UN committee. Because of the immense international pressure, the PRC government admitted the rape occurred and sentenced the rapist policeman Xuejian He to 8-years in jail. However, the two victims were still persecuted. Even Mr. Ren Baokun, who helped the victims to file a complaint, was illegally sent to Reeducation through Labor.
The case of Ms. Gao Rongrong is particularly egregious. On May 7, 2004, two policemen used electric batons to shock Ms. Gao's face for seven hours, charring her face. When this case was exposed internationally, and Ms. Gao's charred face appeared on overseas websites, the "610 Office" ordered that Ms. Gao be kept in custody even if she died. On October 5, 2004, with the help of other Falun Gong practitioners, Ms. Gao escaped. Instead of investigating the torture, the authorities issued a warrant for Ms. Gao's arrest. On August 30, 2004, the UN Special Rapporteur on the question of torture sent an urgent appeal to the PRC government concerning Ms. Gao. On March 6, 2005, the authorities captured Ms. Gao and on June 10, they tortured her to death. Several Falun Gong practitioners who helped Ms. Gao escape are still in police custody and are being tortured.
Article 16 in Convention against Torture stipulates that the signatory must forbid inhumane treatment. Nevertheless, with the cruelest methods, the PRC government is harvesting the vital organs from Falun Gong practitioners. The UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief and the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture sent a joint intervention on this issue to the PRC government twice, and requested that the PRC government to fully explain the source of organs for the sudden increase in organ transplants that have been going on in China since the year 2000 and the relationship to the persecution of Falun Gong.
The PRC government's promotion of torture breeds a culture of violence
The Falun Gong Human Rights report described how that PRC government is promoting torture to persecute Falun Gong, Tibetans, family church Christians, and dissidents. However, under a dictatorship that habitually uses and abuses torture, the whole society is the final victim. Verification exists that the kinds of abuse and torture that have been used on Falun Gong practitioners are now being used on the general public. For example, the policy of "brutal interception" is almost exactly copied from the interception of Falun Gong practitioners; "law education centers" are the same as "brainwashing centers" for Falun Gong practitioners; prohibiting lawyers from taking cases from petitioners, from people who have lost their homes to forced demolition, from people who have lost their jobs, from earthquake victims, and from victims of melamine-laden milk is the same as prohibiting lawyers from representing Falun Gong practitioners; hiring thugs is a parallel to violently beating Falun Gong practitioners on Tiananmen Square. Under the control of the PRC government, social conflicts are becoming more violent each day and the PRC government's promotion of torture is leading the way to solving social conflicts by becoming more violent each day. The PRC government depends on torture to intimidate its people and suppress dissident's voices.
The PRC government's promotion of torture and its reckless trampling of the law and justice are the basis for the spread of a culture of violence; the PRC's hypocritical claim of using the rule of law has made the public trust the system less and less. Children are becoming the most vulnerable to this culture of violence. The main casualties of the Sichuan earthquake were school children, the main victims of melamine-laced milk in the PRC were pre-school children, and there is also the issue of child labor and child sexual exploitation. However, voices for these victims are being suppressed, mainly through police intimidation and violence.
Suspending the PRC's right to membership in the UNHRC
Finally, the Falun Gong Human Rights report recommended unequivocally "to report the severe and deliberate violations of the Convention by the PRC government to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and to suggest to the UNHRC that it suspend the PRC's right to membership in the UNHRC."
The Conscience Foundation, together with the Falun Gong Human Rights group, will pay close attention to the UN Committee against Torture's review of the PRC government's torture and will continue its communication with related special rapporteurs and other UN working staff for any further information.