December 17, 1999
Monitoring News of the Persecution of Falun Gong in China
Contact Gail Rachlin at Rachlin Management & Media Group: (212) 501-8080
WASHINGTON POST REPORTS FEAR OF A TRADE RUPTURE LED TO RESCINDING LOCAL/STATE PROCLAMATIONS
By Steven Mufson, Washington Post Staff Writer, December 11, 1999 - American mayors and governors make proclamations all the time. It's not every day they take them back or apologize for them. But that's what Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening and the mayors of Seattle, Baltimore and San Francisco have done since the Chinese Embassy complained about proclamations honoring Li Hongzhi, exiled leader of the Falun Gong spiritual and exercise movement. Even the State Department got into the act, according to Glendening's office, by providing advice about how to word a letter of apology. The reason for the apologies: fear of hurting local trade relationships with China, which has branded Falun Gong a "cult" and banned the group. "This is unbelievable," said Zhang Erping, a Falun Gong spokesman in New York. "This is kowtowing to Chinese pressure for trade." "These are spineless acts," added Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), who learned of the letters from U.S. followers of Falun Gong. The Chinese Embassy has trumpeted the reversals on its World Wide Web site, calling Falun Gong a "laughingstockin Seattle" and quoting Schell as saying he was "embarrassed by making such a careless proclamation."
A THOUSAND PRACTITIONERS MEET IN HONG KONG FOR EXPERIENCE SHARING CONFERENCE AND PEACEFUL RALLY TO URGE DIALOGUE
HONG KONG Dec. 13, 1999 (AP) - With arms raised, eyes closed, and gongs and Chinese string instruments playing off a loudspeaker, about 600 Falun Gong practitioners held an "exercise session" outside the Hong Kong offices of Beijing's state-run media (other press agencies reported from 900 to l000 present). They wanted to submit an open letter addressed to Chinese President Jiang Zemin, but the doors were locked at the Hong Kong headquarters of China's state-run Xinhua News Agency, and nobody came out to receive the letter. "This is not a protest," said Kan Hung-Cheung, the group's spokesman. "We urge the Chinese government to consider open dialogue and clear any misunderstandings about Falun Gong," added Kan, a restauranteur who has been a member for three years. Reuters reported what Falun Gong practitioners are seeking: "We want to urge the Chinese government to stop the suppression (of Falun Gong) and open a peaceful dialogue and resolve issues in a peaceful way."
"Can Falun Gong truly scare people like fierce floods and savage beasts?" the letter said. "Does Falun Gong really present a danger to the Communist Party, the state, society and the human race?"
Foreign members of the group detained in mainland China and deported to Hong Kong early this month displayed bruise marks on the arms and chests, saying Falun Gong members were occasionally beaten during interrogation by mainland police. "I don't understand why the Chinese leaders are like that. There's nothing bad about Falun Gong," said Liu, who took an 18-day break from his studies in Ireland to join Saturday's mass exercises.
IRISH JOURNALST REPORTS ON THE HONG-KONG MEETINGS
From Conor O'Clery, Dec. 13, 1999 in Hong Kong - It would take a leap of the imagination to associate the pleasant, eager and mild-mannered people gathered in the Hong Kong convention centre yesterday with the organisation China has banned as an "evil cult". The 900 members of Falun Gong from countries all over the world, including Ireland, attending a conference here yesterday took pains to promote their image as nice people who just want to promote high moral values and lead better lives through cultivation exercises. It was the first convention of Falun Gong on Chinese territory since Beijing began a crackdown on its members in July after they began demonstrating for recognition, and they pleaded yesterday for Beijing to tolerate and accept them. Their ability to organise in mainland China, where they claim millions of members, unnerved the communist authorities and, since midsummer, police have arrested at least 150 of its leaders. "Our main concern is to get together and share our experiences and let people know about Dafa," said a 21 year old Canadian. "Let the people hear our speeches and see our conduct on the streets. Our major goal is to let the world know that Falun Dafa is good and that it is virtuous." The Canadian said he came across Falun Gong on the Internet and it enabled him to "take on a life of truth and compassion and get rid of all the negative stuff from partying and doing drugs". The conference was taken up mainly with personal testimonials of lives improved by Falun Gong, or Falun Dafa.
10+ YEAR SENTENCES LIKELY FOR DISCLOSING FACTS OF TORTURE CASE
BEIJING, Dec. 13, 1999 (AP) - Four members of the banned Chinese meditation group Falun Gong were charged with illegally disclosing information about the alleged fatal beating by police of a fellow Falun Gong adherent, a human rights group reported today. Falun Gong members reported in October that Zhao Jinhua, who refused to break ties with the group, was beaten to death in police custody in Zhaoxing town, near the city of Zhaoyuan in eastern China's Shandong province. Liu Jinling, Li Lanying, Chi Yunling and Chen Shihuan were arrested in early November following a police investigation, said the Hong Kong-based Information Center of Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China. Last week, the authorities formally charged the four with "illegally providing intelligence overseas" - a charge that could carry a sentence of more than 10 years, the center said. Police in Zhaoyuan denied that Zhao was beaten to death.
WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS, TRY TAX EVASION
BEIJING, Dec 10, 1999 (Agence France Presse) - China's outlawed Falun Gong spiritual group and its founder Li Hongzhi have been hit with a 10 million yuan (1.2 million dollars) fine for tax evasion, the state press reported. Falun Gong has denied these accusations but many press reports have not carried those denials. Falun Gong statements are either not reported or are distorted in the Chinese state media.
"This action is just one of several tactics being perpetrated by the Chinese Government, in order to legitimize their position against Falun Gong." Said Gail Rachlin, Falun Gong spokesperson, "It's a desperate but predictable action on their part."
UPCOMING EVENT IN BOSTON, JAN 1-2, 2000
For more information, please visit http://falundafa-newengland.org/MA/, or contact Michael Tseng (617-686-9808), John Jaw (781-862-4515), or Michael He (617-359-8115 cell).
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT FALUN GONG AND TO OBTAIN A BACKGROUND VIDEO AND OTHER MATERIAL, CALL GAIL RACHLIN AT RACHLIN MANAGEMENT AND MEDIA GROUP, 212-501-8080