(Minghui.org) “Today the Chinese Government often severely restricts the ability of unregistered religious or spiritual groups to meet, sometimes banning them outright, as in the case of the Falun Gong, persecuting their defenders, like the human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng.”

So stated Tom Malinowski, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor with the Department of State, at a July 28 press briefing of the release of the agency's International Religious Freedom Report for 2013.

“The same law that mandated the International Religious Freedom Report and created the Office of International Religious Freedom also gave us a series of powerful mechanisms to promote the cause of religious freedom worldwide,” the report illustrates that the mechanisms include sanction of individual rights offenders and/or governments that engage in or tolerate “particularly severe” violations of religious freedom.

The report highlights the following case in its executive summary:

“In September Falun Gong practitioner Yu Jinfeng was reportedly arrested and then taken to a former reeducation-through-labor (RTL) facility. Her lawyer, Tang Jitian, was refused access to Ms. Yu and then detained for five days.”

The China section of the report cites increased detention of Falun Gong practitioners around sensitive dates, even though the Masanjia Labor Camp was reported to have closed at the end of 2013.

The Hong Kong section of the report mentions “a significant increase in harassment from a pro-Beijing group called the Hong Kong Youth Care Association (HKYCA) which started immediately before the July 2012 inauguration of Hong Kong Chief Executive C.Y. Leung.”

The report also highlights the brainwashing, psychiatric abuses and denial of legal rights of Falun Gong practitioners.