Monitoring News of the Persecution of Falun Gong
* DETAINED PRACTITIONERS ON HUNGER STRIKE IN CHINA
* FROM INSIDE CHINESE JAILS: APPEALS FOR JUSTICE, WORLD ACTION
* MORE ABUSES DOCUMENTED, HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS CONTINUE
DETAINED PRACTITIONERS STAGE A HUNGER STRIKE TO PROTEST ABUSES
BEIJING, March 9 (AFP) - Some 70 followers of the banned Falungong spiritual movement have gone on hunger strike after being arrested and detained here, their associates told AFP Thursday. The detainees, who are being held in a former mental asylum that is now a drug detox unit, have been refusing food for a week according to fellow Falungong practitioners. They were arrested during a huge security operation to prevent Falungong protests during the annual session of parliament, the National People's Congress (NPC). Hannah Lee, a Falungong member from New York, told AFP the detained people had been refusing food since their detention seven days ago. She said 52 of those detained at the Huang Shan Dian center had previously been put in a mental hospital and released last December after undergoing "education" aimed at ending their belief in the spiritual teachings of the group. Pictures of the detained practitioners taken with a camera smuggled into the center show the detainees doing their Falungong meditation exercises. The detoxification centre denied the report. "There are no Falungong followers being held here, there are only drug addicts," a spokeswoman told AFP.
EXCLUSIVE: PRACTITIONERS APPEAL FROM JAIL "WE ARE GOOD PEOPLE"
From a statement signed by 68 Hunger Strikers and smuggled out of prison: "We hope you will understand that we are striving to be good people. We go to appeal to the government just to tell the truth so that the government will not misunderstand us. We can be detained or beaten up easily. However, we do not fight back when the police beat us, and we do not curse back when the police swear at us. We are following the teachings of Falun Dafa. We would always treat others kindly. In the past few months, we did nothing wrong. We just went to the government departments to appeal. We want nothing but the right to purify our hearts according the teachings of Falun Dafa. We hope the government could return [to] us a legal environment [for] practicing Falun Gong.''
CHINESE PRACTITIONERS BEHIND BARS ALSO CALL FOR WORLD ACTION
From another statement: "At present, the situation is very urgent and serious, we do hope all the just people and organization of the world can appeal Chinese government to stop this action of seriously infringing upon human rights" - Best Regards, With Great Thanks: Falun Gong Practitioners from China.
SOME OF THOSE ARRESTED ARE AMERICANS REPORTS SAN JOSE MERCURY
San Jose Mercury News March 8, 2000: Eight Bay Area residents who practice Falun Gong remained under arrest in Beijing on Tuesday, days after they were rounded up in China's latest crackdown on the controversial spiritual movement. Another unidentified member of the Bay Area group who lives in the San Jose area apparently avoided arrest because he left before Chinese authorities raided the apartment where the group had been staying, local Falun Gong practitioners said. At least two of the residents arrested are American citizens, and U.S. officials are inquiring with Beijing authorities to determine whether two more of the detained are also Americans, according to officials of the U.S. State Department. Rep. Tom Lantos, D-San Mateo, called the arrests ``the most recent preposterous outrage by this ruthless, totalitarian regime.''
IS THE WORLD LISTENING? EYEWITNESS REPORTS FROM INSIDE CHINA NOW AVAILABLE:
Justice, Chinese Style: [March 5, 2000] Changsha City, Hunan Province The show-trial of some Falun Gong practitioners who were accused of selling Falun Dafa books was concluded in less than half an hour on March 2. The trial sentenced three people, Mr. Feng Fei, Ms. Tan Mi-mi and Ms. Tan's father who worked for the bookstore. The lawyer appointed by Feng Fei's family did not show up. The lawyer said that his appearance and defense would be useless. The lawyer appointed by Tan Mi-mi's family did not make any statement during the trial. The judge only asked the defendants a few questions such as "Have you ever sold Falun Gong books?" before giving them perfunctory sentences.
BEATINGS INSIDE PRISONS COMMON:
Eyewitness report from Weifang City: "I saw very clearly from the window that Liu, a police officer from the South-end Police Station, Zhang, director of the Cheng-guan street Political and Legal Committee, Deng Ping, who was female and the director of the street office, and another officer, Han, were beating Song at the same time. Officer Liu was holding an electric baton. Officers Zhang and Hang were holding police rubber sticks, and officer Deng was busy beating and kicking practitioner Song. Later, officer Liu said that the electric baton he used was one with 1000 V high voltage. Electric batons of such high voltage were prohibited by law."
AS NATIONAL PEOPLE'S CONGRESS ENDS, CRACKDOWN CONTINUES
BEIJING, Mar 15, 2000 -- (Agence France Presse) Chinese police swarmed around the closing session of the National People's Congress Wednesday to prevent members of the Falungong movement formally registering complaints against the banning of the group Plainclothes and uniform police blanketed Beijing's Tiananmen Square in front of the Great Hall of the People and were seen questioning and searching people going about normal tourist and daily activities. The police presence was particularly heavy in West Jiaomin Alley just west of the square where the NPC [National People's Congress] complaints bureau is situated.
COMMISSION SETS L.A. HEARING ON CHINA
From a U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom press advisory: Falun Gong will be represented by Erping Zhang (spokesman for Falun Gong) on a panel of well-known witnesses at the hearing.
Contact for hearing: Lawrence J. Goodrich, Director of Communications, (202) 523-3257.
Location: Los Angeles Unified School District Board Room
450 North Grand Avenue
Time: Thursday, March 16, 2000; 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
NEW HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT AVAILABLE
Falun Gong Practitioners have compiled a well-documented "Report on Extensive and Severe Human Rights Violations in the Crackdown on Falun Gong in the People's Republic of China." For the report, please visit http://www.truewisdom.net, click on "Selected Articles", then choose "Report on Extensive and Severe Human Rights Violations in the Suppression of Falun Gong". Thank you.
WHAT IS FALUN DAFA / FALUN GONG?
Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong) is an advanced form of an ancient, traditional Chinese cultivation practice. Falun Gong helps improve health and overall mental and physical wellness through a series of easy-to-learn exercises, meditation, and improvement of one's heart-nature (Chinese: xinxing). The practice is based on the universal laws/principles of Truthfulness- Compassion-Forbearance. Millions of practitioners world-wide have reported dramatically improved health and a deepened spiritual awareness from the practice.
To find out more, including free instruction and a practice group local to you, visit http://www.falundafa.org or call 1-877-FALUN-99. All Falun Dafa activities are always free of charge, open to everyone, and there is no membership or donations.
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Please call us for background on the spiritual practice and the crisis in China. Contact Rachlin Management