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US Department of State's Human Rights Report on China Calls Attention to the Suppression of Falun Gong

April 17, 2011 |  

(Clearwisdom.net) On April 8, the US Department of State released the 2010 Report on human rights practices in China. The report states:

“The People's Republic of China (PRC), with a population of approximately 1.3 billion, is an authoritarian state in which the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) constitutionally is the paramount authority. Party members hold almost all top government, police, and military positions.”

“A negative trend in key areas of the country's human rights record continued, as the government took additional steps to rein in civil society, particularly organizations and individuals involved in rights advocacy and public interest issues, and increased attempts to limit freedom of speech and to control the press, the Internet, and Internet access. Efforts to silence political activists and public interest lawyers were stepped up, and increasingly the government resorted to extralegal measures including enforced disappearance, "soft detention," and strict house arrest, including house arrest of family members, to prevent the public voicing of independent opinions. Public interest law firms that took on sensitive cases also continued to face harassment, disbarment of legal staff, and closure.”

“Individuals and groups, especially those seen as politically sensitive by the government, continued to face tight restrictions on their freedom to assemble, practice religion, and travel.”

“As in previous years, citizens did not have the right to change their government. Principal human rights problems during the year included: extrajudicial killings, including executions without due process; enforced disappearance and incommunicado detention, including prolonged illegal detentions at unofficial holding facilities known as "black jails"; torture and coerced confessions of prisoners; detention and harassment of journalists, writers, dissidents, petitioners, and others who sought to peacefully exercise their rights under the law; a lack of due process in judicial proceedings, political control of courts and judges; closed trials; the use of administrative detention; restrictions on freedoms to assemble, practice religion, and travel; failure to protect refugees and asylum-seekers; pressure on other countries to forcibly return citizens to China; intense scrutiny of, and restrictions on, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs); discrimination against women, minorities, and persons with disabilities; a coercive birth limitation policy, which in some cases resulted in forced abortion or forced sterilization; trafficking in persons; prohibitions on independent unions and a lack of protection for workers' right to strike; and the use of forced labor, including prison labor. Corruption remained endemic.”

The report mentioned Falun Gong in the section of “Respect for the Integrity of the person, Including Freedom From: Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life; Disappearance; Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; Denial of Fair Public Trial; and Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence”.

Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life

“In June Guangxi Litang Prison authorities reported the April 2009 death of He Zhi, a Falun Gong practitioner who was sentenced to eight years' imprisonment in 2005. Authorities at Guangxi Litang Prison, where many Falun Gong practitioners reportedly are imprisoned, stated the cause of death was "falling from bed," but He's brother claimed he found other injuries and bruises on He's body.”


“In February 2009 authorities detained rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who had represented Christians and Falun Gong practitioners. At year's end his whereabouts and legal status remained unknown. According to NGO and media reports, he was seen in his hometown in August 2009 under heavy police escort. Gao was seen briefly in Beijing in March and April, but subsequently disappeared again.”

Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

“There were widespread reports of activists and petitioners being committed to mental health facilities and involuntarily subjected to psychiatric treatment for political reasons. According to China News Weekly, the MPS directly administers 22 high-security psychiatric hospitals for the criminally insane (also known as ankang facilities). From 1998 to May 2010, more than 40,000 persons were committed to ankang hospitals. In May an MPS official stated in a media interview that detention in ankang facilities was not appropriate for patients who did not demonstrate criminal behavior. However, political activists, underground religious believers, persons who repeatedly petitioned the government, members of the banned Chinese Democracy Party (CDP), and Falun Gong adherents were among those housed with mentally ill patients in these institutions. Regulations governing security officials' ability to remand a person to an ankang facility were not clear, and detainees had no mechanism for objecting to claims of mental illness by security officials. Patients in these hospitals reportedly were medicated against their will and forcibly subjected to electric shock treatment.”

Denial of Fair Public Trial

“In April 2009 Beijing lawyer Cheng Hai was attacked and beaten while on his way to meet with a Falun Gong client in Chengdu, Sichuan Province. According to Cheng, those responsible for the attack were officials from the Jinyang General Management Office, Wuhou District, Chengdu.”

Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

“Family members of activists, dissidents, Falun Gong practitioners, journalists, unregistered religious figures, and former political prisoners were targeted for arbitrary arrest, detention, and harassment.”

The report also mentioned Falun Gong in the section of “Respect for Civil Liberties, Including Freedom of Speech and Press; and Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of Refugees, and Stateless Person”

Freedom of Speech and Press

“Authorities employed an array of technical measures to block sensitive Web sites based in foreign countries. The ability of users to access such sensitive sites varied from city to city. The government also automatically censored e-mail and Web chats based on an ever-changing list of sensitive key words, such as "Falun Gong" and "Tibetan independence."

Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of Refugees, and Stateless Persons

“The law neither provides for a citizen's right to repatriate nor otherwise addresses exile. The government continued to refuse reentry to numerous citizens who were considered dissidents, Falun Gong activists, or "troublemakers." Although some dissidents living abroad were allowed to return, dissidents released on medical parole and allowed to leave the country often were effectively exiled. Activists residing abroad were imprisoned upon their return to the country.”

In the section of human right practice in Hong Kong, the report states:

“In January authorities denied visas to six technicians of a music and dance troupe contracted by the Epoch Group (a media organization with ties to Falun Gong) to present several performances in Hong Kong. The Immigration Department stated that the visas were refused in accordance with laws protecting the employment of local workers and that the troupe could hire competent staff locally. The Epoch Group cancelled the show and requested a judicial review of the refusals. The review was granted, and the case was scheduled to be heard in January 2011.”

The link to the report is available at http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2010/eap/154382.htm