(Minghui.org) The U.S. State Department on May 12, 2021 announced sanctions against an official of the Chinese Communist Party for his participation in the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks at a press conference on May 12, 2021.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken announced the decision at a press briefing on the release of the 2020 International Religious Freedom Report on May 12, 2021. He said that according to Section 7031 (c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act 2021, the U.S. government decided to sanction Yu Hui, former director of the Central Leading Group on Preventing and Dealing with Heretical Religions in Chengdu City, Sichuan Province.

Blinken noted that Yu’s designation came as a result of his “gross violations of human rights, namely the arbitrary detention of Falun Gong practitioners for their spiritual beliefs.” Both Yu and his immediate family would be denied entry into the United States.

Blinken stated, “We will continue to consider all appropriate tools to promote accountability for those responsible for human rights violations and abuses in China and elsewhere.”

The Central Leading Group on Preventing and Dealing with Heretical Religions, commonly known as the 610 Office, is an extralegal agency created specifically to persecute Falun Gong, an ancient spiritual and meditation discipline. The 610 Office got its name from its date of establishment on June 10, 1999, about 1.5 months before the communist regime officially launched the persecution of Falun Gong.

Earlier in 2021, Falun Gong practitioners in 38 countries submitted a list to their respective governments containing the names of about 9,300 agents from the 610 Office at all levels in China. The practitioners urged their governments to ban the perpetrators and their families from entering foreign countries and to freeze their assets. Yu Hui, the former director of the Chengdu 610 Office, is on the list given to the U.S. government.

During Yu's tenure as the director of the 610 Office, Falun Gong practitioners were severely persecuted in Chengdu. In November 2001, Ms. Zha Sang, a Tibetan Falun Gong practitioner, was arrested by the Jiangxi Street Police Station at her residence in Chengdu. She was held at the Xipu Detention Center and later sentenced to three years. During her imprisonment, she was deprived of the right to do the Falun Gong exercises. Her health declined and her old illness relapsed. She was later released on medical parole and died at her home in Lhasa, Tibet in October 2002. She was 56.

The sanctions against Yu are part of a series of actions the U.S. is taking to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable for its human rights abuses. On December 10, 2020, International Human Rights Day, the U.S. State Department designated 17 officials from foreign governments as human rights violators. Their immediate family members were also sanctioned. One of the officials was Huang Yuanxiong, Chief of the Xiamen Public Security Bureau of the Wucun Police Station, Fujian Province, who was sanctioned for his “gross violations of human rights” of practitioners of Falun Gong. Both Huang and his spouse are now denied visas to the U.S.

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