(Minghui.org) The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released its 2017 annual report on April 26. China remains on the list of countries of particular concern (CPC). The report noted that Falun Gong practitioners continue to be severely persecuted and subjected to forced organ harvesting in China.

The USCIRF recommends that the State Department designate 10 countries as CPC including China, North Korea, Iran, and Burma. Thomas Reese, S.J., Chair of the USCIRF, said that religious freedom across the world continues to deteriorate.

The report stated that the Chinese regime continued its persecution of Tibetan Buddhists, Protestants and Catholics, Uighur Muslims, and Falun Gong practitioners in 2016.

The report noted that Falun Gong has been banned in China since 1999, and “practitioners have been severely mistreated ever since. They are regularly confined in labor camps or prisons, or disappear altogether. While detained, Falun Gong practitioners suffer psychiatric and other medical experimentation, sexual violence, torture, and organ harvesting.

“A new report released in June 2016 by the International Coalition to End Organ Pillaging in China revealed that 60,000–100,000 organ transplants are performed in the country each year, an alarming discrepancy from the government’s claim of 10,000. Organ donors often are nonconsenting, particularly executed Falun Gong prisoners and detainees, though individuals from other faiths also have been targeted, such as Uighur Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists, and Christians.”

The report also spotlighted individual examples of the Chinese regime targeting Falun Gong practitioners, including Zhiwen Wang, a coordinator of the former Beijing Falun Dafa Association, and Anastasia Lin, Miss World Canada.

The report stated, “Zhiwen Wang, a Falun Gong practitioner who was persecuted and imprisoned for 15 years, was released in 2014, but the Chinese government has prevented him from receiving proper medical care and reuniting with his family in the United States. In 2016, Zhiwen was granted a passport and U.S. visa to leave China, but a customs agent at the airport nullified his passport. This occurred after Chinese police and undercover agents harassed and intimidated Zhiwen and his family for several days.

“For the second year in a row, in 2016 Chinese authorities attempted to suppress Chinese-born human rights advocate and Falun Gong practitioner Anastasia Lin. Chinese authorities had denied her a visa and barred her entry into mainland China from Hong Kong when the country hosted the 2015 Miss World competition. She competed in the 2016 Miss World competition in Washington, DC, but Chinese journalists and other 'minders' relentlessly followed her, and pageant officials interfered with her ability to speak to the media and initially barred her from attending a screening of 'The Bleeding Edge,' a movie about China’s forced organ harvesting in which she stars.”

The report also described the Chinese regime's crackdown of human rights lawyers: “During 2016, the Chinese government reinforced its crackdown on lawyers and other human rights defenders. At the time of this writing, human rights lawyer and advocate Jiang Tianyong remained in detention at an unknown location after Chinese authorities detained him in November 2016 on suspicion of alleged 'state subversion.'

“In December 2016, a group of UN experts called on the Chinese government to investigate Jiang’s whereabouts and expressed concern that his human rights work—including representing Tibetans, Falun Gong practitioners, and others—puts him at risk for beatings and torture by police.”