Assistant Secretary of State Writes to Congressman, Stating Position Against Persecution
(Clearwisdom.net) On November 5, 2008, Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs Matthew A. Reynolds replied to Congressman Bob Filner's letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in late September, regarding the imprisonment of Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Ma Jinhua in Hefei, Anhui Province, China. Mr. Reynolds showed concern and restated his position against the Chinese Communist Party's persecution of Falun Gong.
The following is Secretary Reynolds' letter:
Dear Mr. Filner:
Thank you for your inquiry of September 24 forwarding correspondence from your constituent, Ms. Joanna (Maqiong) Wang, noting her concern about her mother, Jinhua Ma, a Falun Gong practitioner who has been detained in China. We have shared Ms. Wang's letter with our Embassy in Beijing to alert them of Ms. Wang's concerns. We apologize for the delay in responding to your inquiry.
We have raised our concerns over China's treatment of the Falun Gong repeatedly with Chinese authorities both in Washington and in Beijing. In May, Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor David J. Kramer and Ambassador at large for International Religious Freedom John V. Hanford III raised concerns related to treatment of Falun Gong with their Chinese counterparts during the U.S.-China Human Rights Dialogue in Beijing. The U.S. Government has made clear on numerous occasions our strong opposition to the detention or persecution of individuals solely for peaceful association and assembly or for exercise of their religious or spiritual beliefs, including members of the Falun Dafa or Falun Gong, as well as to China's designation of the group as an "illegal cult." In November, 2006, the Secretary of State designated China a "Country of Particular Concern" (CPC) under the International Religious Freedom Act for particularly severe violations of religious freedom. China has received this designation every year it has been made since 1999.
We have documented our concerns in our annual country reports on human rights practices and on international religious freedom. Our 2008 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom was issued on September 19 and may be found on the State Department website at www.state.gov.
We will continue to raise our concerns about the harsh campaign against Falun Gong with the Chinese Government through diplomatic channels and in public statements.
We hope this information is useful to you in responding to your constituent. If we may be of further assistance in this or any other matter, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Matthew A. Reynolds
Ms. Ma Jinhua is a fifty-six-year-old Falun Gong practitioner in Hefei, Anhui Province. She planned to leave China on September 8, 2008, to visit her family in the U.S. However, she was detained by the State Security Bureau of Hefei City on September 4. During the week she was detained and interrogated, her family wasn't informed of her location. On September 10, Ms. Ma's son was detained for 20 hours and interrogated.
After being transferred and detained in Hefei Detention Center for two week, Ms. Ma was sent to a forced labor camp on September 28 for a term of 12 months. She is still imprisoned in the labor camp.