Two North American Falun Gong Practitioners Arrested in China
March 30, 2002
(Clearwisdom.net) Beijing (March 29, 2002, Falun Dafa Information Center) - 25-year-old Jason Pomerleau, a graduate of Tufts University and his girlfriend 22-year-old Christine Loftus, a student at Brock University in St. Catherine's, Ontario, were seized by Chinese police at approximately 3:30PM Thursday outside a marketplace in Beijing, according to an eyewitness who also photographed the scene.
Jason and Christine were traveling in China this week to raise awareness among the Chinese citizens about the ongoing persecution campaign against Falun Gong. Earlier today, friends and relatives had suspected the two were detained on their fourth day in China after both failed to call back home at agreed-upon times. A photo posted earlier this evening on a Chinese-language internet chat forum confirmed these suspicions, showing both of them being hauled away by police officers on a busy Beijing street.
The two were forcibly removed from a Beijing Street by 15 police officers, the eyewitness who posted the photo reported. "Within two minutes, they were pulled into a basement behind a nearby building," the eyewitness wrote on the chat forum above the photo she posted capturing the scene. "When I got to the back of the building, the public security officers blocked me and the other onlookers, and then everyone was dispersed."
"Christine is a very gentle person," said Christine's mother Mary Loftus from her home in Barrie, Ontario. "Seeing a photo of my daughter being seized by police on a Beijing street is frightening... I hope that no harm comes to her and that she returns home safely and quickly."
Raised in Barrie, Ontario, Christine Loftus is currently in her second year as a Child and Youth Studies major at Brock University. In November, she completed a five-day walk from St. Catharines to Toronto visiting four universities and gaining support from student bodies to call for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong in China. Christine started practicing Falun Gong three and a half years ago after she and her twin brother came across the practice at a Barrie health show.
Jason Pomerleau is a native of Vassalboro, Maine. Jason held a year-long teaching position at China University of Geosciences in Beijing beginning in August 1999. He is currently employed at a medical center in Boston. Jason learned Falun Gong in 1998 while in his senior year at Tufts. His mother and brother also practice Falun Gong.
Jason's younger brother, Daniel, returned from China earlier today after being detained and reportedly beaten in Chinese police custody. Daniel was detained on the streets of Beijing on Monday while handing out flyers exposing the persecution of Falun Gong to people on the street.
In a statement released by local Falun Gong practitioners in Boston, Jason explains his trip to China: "It has been now been almost two years since my return from China. I really miss my fellow practitioners there. Because of the persecution, they were forced to leave their schools, jobs, and homes, and because our email messages are blocked, I have lost contact with them. They have been enduring unimaginable pressure, brainwashing classes, imprisonment and torture. I hope my going to China lessens the pressure on my fellow practitioners by further exposing the persecution, and I hope it also inspires them by letting them know that the whole world is watching."