China Crisis News Bulletin #52
of strengthening China, in the long run this crackdown fatally weakens
China, complicates its foreign relations, and undermines its standing
amongst ordinary Chinese citizens. If China wishes for the world's
respect, then it must respect the heartfelt beliefs of its own
citizens." - Rabbi David
Saperstein, Past Chair of US Commission on International Religious
Freedom, Director of the Religious Action Center of the Reform Judaism
CRISIS NEWS BULLETIN #52á
Monitoring News of the Persecution of Falun Gong
FALUN DAFA INFORMATION CENTER - Contacts: Gail Rachlin 212-501-8080, Erping Zhang 917-679-6944, Feng Yuan 917-734-6913, or Levi Browde 914-720-0963. Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
- TWENTY-FIFTH DEATH IN POLICE
HANDS: HUNGER STRIKER SUFFOCATED
- ANNIVERSARY ARRESTS: BRUTAL
SUPPRESSION VERSUS "UNSHAKABLE FAITH"
- US HUMAN RIGHTS LEADERS CONDEMN
CHINA'S LATEST ABUSES
PRACTITIONER SUFFOCATED BY POLICE; HUSBAND SENTENCED TO 3 YEARS WITHOUT TRIAL FOR PROTESTING HER DEATH
BEIJING, July 26, 2000, -- (AP) A follower of the banned Falun Gong spiritual group choked to death while in detention after police forcibly fed her to end her hunger strike, a human rights group said Wednesday. Elementary school teacher An Xiukun, 50, was arrested June 6 while protesting a ban on the group in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said. An Xiukun, who was being held at a detention center near her home in Hengshui in central China's Hebei province, launched a hunger strike to protest being shackled, the group said. Six days into the protest, guards forced food down her throat, causing her to choke, the center said An is the 25th Falun Gong follower to die in detention since the government banned the sect a year ago, the center said.
POLICE REACTION: "NO COMMENT"
HONG KONG, July 26 - (AFP) ... Police in Hengshui refused to comment on the case. Zhang Qizeng, An Xiukun's husband, was subsequently arrested on July 20 and sentenced without trial to three years reform through labor for protesting the manner in which his wife died ... After continued protests while in detention, police bound her feet with wire, the center said, resulting in her hunger strike. She had practiced Falungong for three years... The center estimates some 10,000 Falungong followers have been sentenced without trial to the administrative punishment of "reform-through-labor," with Falungong followers in every one of the nation's 300 labor camps. Meanwhile some 450 Falungong followers and leading members of the group have been sentenced in Chinese courts to up to 18 years imprisonment, the center said, while over 600 followers have been detained in mental institutes.
ANALYSIS: STRONG-ARM POLICE FAIL TO ERASE FALUN GONG SMILES
PEKING, 23 July 2000 -- (UK-Independent) For China's leaders, the Falun Gong campaign of civil disobedience is a problem that will just not go away. Police officers and security forces in every province face the threat of demotion if they do not control people from their province travelling to Peking. Yet still they come, mostly middle-aged and educated, quietly angry that the government has outlawed a belief they credit with rejuvenating their lives and curing ailments... A Chinese film director in Peking said: "I don't believe in Falun Gong, but religious belief is a basic human right. The government response has been excessive, not strictly legal." Despite the sensitivity of the subject matter, he intends making a documentary about the followers. "When I see them being dragged away, they are not frightened like most Chinese would be. It seems that their sacrifice is meant to show their dedication."
CHINESE GOVERNMENT SEES FALUN GONG AS POLITICAL THREAT
BEIJING, Jul 24, 2000 -- (AFP) The Chinese government is prepared to incarcerate and maltreat thousands of followers of the Falungong because it sees the spiritual movement as a real political threat, analysts said. Events in Tiananmen Square in the heart of Beijing on Saturday, the one-year anniversary of the government's ban on the movement, show the extent to which Chinese authorities are willing to go in their crackdown. At least 100 Falungong members were arrested while protesting in the square, and some were beaten and kicked bloody, as tourists and other visitors looked on Daily demonstrations in Tiananmen Square show the Falungong still has a firm grip on millions of people, even after one year of incessant propaganda attacks from the government... "It's seen as a threat because it exposes failures on the part of the (communist) party," said Joseph Cheng, a political scientist at the City University of Hong Kong. "It reflects weaknesses in the party, its inability to mobilize, its inability to command loyalty, its inability to fill the emotional needs of the people." The fact that many retired communist cadres are among the Falungong's members also goes to underline that the movement is better able to command hearts and minds than the ruling party... "The [communist] regime does not accept erosion of its monopoly of power and its control of the ideological orientation of the people," said Cheng.
HUMAN RIGHTS LEADERS ANALYZE CHINA'S CRACKDOWN; DENOUNCE TACTICS
As thousands of Falun Gong practitioners in locations ranging from Auckland to Taipei to Stockholm to New York held candlelight vigils in front of their local mainland Chinese embassies, human rights leaders denounced China's abuses at a July 20th Washington press conference:
Palmer, Vice Chairman of Freedom House, a leading human rights
I think each era since the Second World War, each decade, has been defined, and is identified with a peaceful, nonviolent movement... I want to say in all seriousness that I believe your movement, the Falun Gong, is the movement which will define our time, at the beginning of the 21st century. I think that when people look back, they will say: "Oh yes, there was Gandhi, there was the American Civil Rights movement, there was Solidarity, and then there was the Falun Gong. There was a movement that came out China that defined its era, and ultimately it was successful."
David Saperstein, Past Chair of US Commission on International Religious
Freedom, Director of the Religious Action Center of the Reform Judaism
From slavery in Egypt through the gas chambers in Nazi Germany, to the efforts at spiritual annihilation of the Jews under the regime of the Soviet Union using many of the same tactics [being used by against Falun Gong by China]. Ultimately religious freedom is the litmus test for the decency, the openness, the freedoms, the democracy of any nation, anywhere across the globe. On that test, China has failed miserably, identified by the United States as one of the seven countries involved in egregious systemic religious persecution Falun Gong has become a symbol of the struggle for religious freedom in China and elsewhere, [but] China has nothing to fear from peaceful practitioners if they just let them live out their lives without government interference and oppression.
MEDIA ADVISORY: In recent weeks there have been several misleading and confusing reports from Hong Kong featuring interviews with people who claim to be Falun Gong or Falun Dafa practitioners. These people have made threats to local authorities, and, in some instances, even threatened suicide. They are not legitimate practitioners, nor are they speaking according to the principles of Falun Gong or Falun Dafa. Certain individuals seem to be using Falun Dafa to achieve personal goals or draw attention to themselves. The Falun Dafa Information Center would be happy to brief journalists on this issue, which has led some media outlets to speculate that this self-styled Falun Gong group is actually working with Chinese government intelligence agencies.
NEW PUBLICATION AVAILABLE: "The Falun Dafa Quarterly," a journal for community leaders and concerned individuals. Contact the Falun Dafa Information Center for a complimentary copy for the media.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT THE FALUN DAFA INFORMATION CENTER - Contacts: Gail Rachlin 212-501-8080, Erping Zhang 917-679-6944, Feng Yuan 917-734-6913, or Levi Browde 914-720-0963. Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Category: Accounts of Persecution