(Minghui.org) The Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) released it annual report on November 14, 2022. The report stated that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has continued its suppression of Tibetan Buddhism, Muslims, Falun Gong practitioners, and other minority groups.
“Falun Gong adherents faced brutal hardship, including custody-related deaths, lengthy prison sentences, and harassment, and a peer-reviewed study validated years of appalling anecdotal accounts of Falun Gong prisoners being executed by the harvesting of their organs,” stated the executive summary.
A Persecution Driven by Regulations and Policies
The term of “Falun Gong” appeared 65 times in the 376-page report. In the section Freedom of Religion, the report wrote that the Chinese police and judicial authorities continued to suppress Falun Gong and other religious groups using Article 300 of the Criminal Law, which targets “superstitious sects” and “secret societies,” when Falun Gong is instead a meditation system open to the public that improves mind and body.
“Authors of a 2022 study published in the American Journal of Transplantation concluded that it was highly likely that transplant surgeons in China had participated in the execution of prisoners ‘by organ transplant’ as recently as 2015,” wrote the report. “They further concurred with previous ‘anecdotal and textual’ accounts provided by Falun Gong-affiliated organizations alleging organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience.”
This was further explained in the subsection dedicated to Falun Gong. Chinese authorities continued to prosecute Falun Gong practitioners under Article 300 of the PRC Criminal Law, which criminalizes ‘‘organizing and using a cult to undermine implementation of the law,’ stated the report. “The Falun Gong-affiliated website Minghui reported the deaths of dozens of Falun Gong practitioners due to treatment while in custody and hundreds of cases of Falun Gong practitioners being sentenced by authorities, apparently for their connection with Falun Gong,” it wrote.
Several Cases Cited
The report cited several persecution cases from various sources including Minghui.org.
“In November 2021, the Xiangyang District Court in Jiamusi municipality, Heilongjiang province, sentenced Falun Gong practitioner and former teacher Liu Lijie to three years and six months in prison,” wrote the report. Liu was detained in October 2020 and later released on bail. In 2021, however, she was tried and sentenced without any legal representation. After her appeal was denied, she was taken into custody on January 12, 2022.
Some of these cases were related to the CCP’s censorship of pandemic information. On January 16, 2022, authorities sentenced eleven Falun Gong practitioners arrested in 2020 for sharing COVID-19-related materials with overseas sources. “Beijing municipality authorities imposed a sentence of eight years on artist Xu Na, who was also fined 20,000 yuan (US$3,000),” wrote the report. The photos Xu shared with overseas sources “showed Beijing during the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak in China.”
Justice System as a Political Tool
The criminal justice system remained a political instrument used for maintaining social order in furtherance of the Chinese Communist Party’s authoritarian rule, explained the report in the section of “Rule of Law in the Justice System.” Several forms of extrajudicial detention were involved including enforced disappearance, black jails, psychiatric facilities, administrative detention, and mass internment camps.
Two examples were Gao Zhisheng and Tang Jititan, both of whom had defended Falun Gong practitioners for their legal rights. “As of February 2022, rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng remained missing since his disappearance in August 2017, after he wrote a book detailing his experience of being tortured and his outlook on democratization in China,” wrote the report.
Similarly, officials detained Tang in December 2021 before his planned attendance at a human rights event organized by the European Union. As of June 2022, Tang’s detention location remained unknown, and “he reportedly fainted because of deteriorating health, prompting concerns that he had suffered mistreatment.”
There are many cases like this as well. “In December 2021, Beijing Justice Bureau officials disbarred Xu Na’s original lawyer, Liang Xiaojun, partly over his social media posts that defended the rights of Falun Gong practitioners,” stated the report.
Forced Organ Harvesting
In a peer-reviewed study published in the American Journal of Transplantation, the authors shared their findings from ‘‘a forensic review of 2,838 papers drawn from a dataset of 124,770 Chinese language transplant publications’’ published between 1980 and 2015, wrote the CECC report.
“Noting the common use of death row prisoners in China to harvest organs during this period, the authors of the study concluded that it was highly likely that transplant surgeons in China had participated in the execution of prisoners ‘by organ removal,’ in violation of the medical field’s ‘dead donor rule,’” explained the report. “They also described their findings as consistent with previous ‘anecdotal and textual’ accounts provided by Falun Gong-affiliated organizations regarding alleged organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience.”
In addition, the paper found that other minority groups were also targeted for forced organ removal.
Holding Perpetrators Accountable
The report also included a statement from Senator James Lankford, one member of the CECC. “There is no greater threat to the United States and the cause of freedom than the CCP,” he wrote. “It is essential that we focus on the most serious and egregious human rights abuses, such as the ongoing genocide, crimes against humanity, eugenics and organ harvesting—to name a few.”
Besides various minority groups, the CCP has also committed “unspeakable crimes” against “journalists, defense lawyers, and others who suffer grave abuses for China’s forced assimilation policies.”
As a result, the report calls on the Chinese government to guarantee freedom of religion to all citizens in accordance with its international human rights obligations and PRC law. More specifically, it “call[s] for the release of religious leaders and practitioners whom Chinese authorities confined, detained, or imprisoned for peacefully pursuing their religious beliefs.” This applies to various faith groups such as “Falun Gong practitioners Xu Na and Zhou Deyong, as well as those confined, detained, or imprisoned in connection with their association with those citizens.”
The report also urges the U.S. Administration to use existing laws to “hold accountable Chinese government officials and others complicit in severe religious freedom restrictions.” They include the sanctions available in the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (Public Law No. 114-328) and the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (Public Law No. 105-292).
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