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U.S. Department of State Human Rights Report: Falun Gong Is Still Being Suppressed
The U.S. Department of State (DOS) published its “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013” on February 27, 2014. It states that forced organ harvesting from prisoners is continuing in China. This is the third year that the DOS country human rights report on China mentions the issue of organ harvesting from prisoners, including Falun Gong practitioners.
The report summarized the overall human rights situation in China for 2013 as follows: “Repression and coercion, particularly against organizations and individuals involved in civil and political rights advocacy and public interest issues, ethnic minorities, and law firms that took on sensitive cases, were routine.”
“In the last year, family members of activists, dissidents, Falun Gong practitioners, journalists, unregistered religious figures, and former political prisoners were targeted for arbitrary arrest, detention, and harassment.”
Torture of Falun Gong practitioners
According to the report, “On April 7, a new mainland China magazine Lens carried an article reporting abuses including torture with electric batons, forced feeding, and prolonged solitary confinement at the Masanjia Detention Center in Liaoning Province.”
The Masanjia Labor Camp is notorious for torturing detained Falun Gong practitioners. The Minghui.org website and other media agencies have intensively reported torture and death cases of Falun Gong practitioners at the labor camp.
From July 1999, when the persecution of Falun Gong was officially launched, to April 2004, more than 4,000 Falun Gong practitioners were jailed at the Masanjia Labor Camp. Since 2000, the Minghui website has published more than 8,000 reports on the tortures inflicted on Falun Gong practitioners there.
CNN featured a story on November 6, 2013, about an “SOS” letter hidden in a package of Halloween decorations that were manufactured at the labor camp. Ms. Julie Keith of Oregon discovered the letter, which was written by a Falun Gong practitioner. The letter revealed the origin of the decorations, that they were manufactured using forced labor, and pleaded for help.
Falun Gong Practitioners Are Jailed in Mental Hospitals
Besides prisons, labor camps, and detention centers, the Chinese regime often jails Falun Gong practitioners and other political activists in mental hospitals.
According to the DOS Report, “There were widespread reports of activists and petitioners being committed to mental-health facilities and involuntarily subjected to psychiatric treatment for political reasons.”
“According to Legal Daily (a state-owned newspaper covering legal affairs), the Ministry of Public Security directly administered 24 high-security psychiatric hospitals for the criminally insane (also known as ankang facilities). From 1998 to May 2010, more than 40,000 persons were committed to ankang hospitals.”
“(P)olitical activists, underground religious adherents, persons who repeatedly petitioned the government, members of the banned Chinese Democracy Party (CDP), and Falun Gong practitioners were among those housed in these institutions.”
The Minghui.org website has reported many such cases. Some practitioners were even tortured to death in mental hospitals, such as Li Riqing , who died in Xiangtan Psychiatric Hospital in spring 2008.
The following are two examples that were reported in 2013.
Zhao Xianghai , 43, from Hunan Province, has been jailed in Xiangtan Psychiatric Hospital for six years, where his hands and feet have always been chained.
Liu Yong from Handan, Hebei Province, was jailed in Baoding Psychiatric Hospital for 12 years. Two months after his release, on September 12, 2013, Liu Yong was arrested again at home, and again sent to a mental hospital.
Mr. Zhao Xianghai was locked up in the mental hospital, handcuffed, and shackled for six years.
Suppression and Mistreatment of Human Rights Lawyers
The DOS Report also reveals that the Chinese regime does not permit human rights lawyers to defend certain clients, and threatens them with punishment if they choose to do so.
“The government suspended or revoked the licenses of lawyers or their firms to stop them from taking sensitive cases, such as defending prodemocracy dissidents, house-church activists, Falun Gong practitioners, or government critics.”
The Human Rights Report gave two examples regarding the cases of Falun Gong practitioners.
“In May authorities in Sichuan Province detained and beat lawyers Tang Jitian and Jiang Tianyong as they attempted to visit a black jail in Ziyang that reportedly holds followers of the banned Falun Gong movement.”
“In April a court in Jiangsu Province placed Beijing rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang under a 10-day judicial detention for ‘serious violations of court procedure.’ The violations consisted of using his mobile telephone to copy a set of original documents he was submitting to the court during the trial of a Falun Gong practitioner.”
Chinese human rights lawyers who defend Falun Gong practitioners have often been spied on, arrested, and beaten. Their lawful requests for access to evidence and to their clients have often been rejected, and the defense has often met with interference.
According to Voice of America, the Zhongshan District Court in Dalian City, Liaoning Province canceled a court session and sent a notice the night before the trial of 13 Falun Gong practitioners was to start.
The following morning, police arrested two defense lawyers and detained them. One of them, attorney Cheng Hai, was beaten by police officers.
On November 7, 2013, the Jilin City Detention Center rejected a lawyer’s request to visit his client, Bao Wenjun, a Falun Gong practitioner. The lawyer pointed out that depriving visitation rights was illegal. But the detention center claimed that they received orders from the National Security Bureau, which forbids lawyers from visiting Falun Gong practitioners.
Two attorneys from Beijing unfurled a banner in front of the Haigang DistrictProcuratorate in Qinhuangdao City, Hebei Province on October 17, 2013, disclosing violations by the Procuratorate.
The Procuratorate obstructed the attorneys four times from viewing the cases of five Falun Gong practitioners, during the period of September 17 to October 17, 2013.
The Minghui.org website has published an eight-part series: “ Injustice Is Served: The Court System in Today’s China .”
Exile of Falun Gong Practitioners
During the 15-year long persecution of Falun Gong, many practitioners overseas have been unable to enter China. Some were even rejected when they tried to renew their Chinese passports at Chinese consulates or embassies.
For example, Ms. Dan Bihan, an American-Chinese practitioner, was rejected entry to China at Hong Kong customs in June 2002. The custom officers wrapped her in a cloth bag, carried her onto an airplane, and sent her back to the U.S.
Lin Chuan and Shi Wei from Virginia, a Chinese couple who both practice Falun Gong, applied to renew their passports in 2003. But the Chinese embassy withheld their passports without giving any reason.
Falun Gong practitioners Kuang Jiyun and his wife from Kansas reported in 2003 that their passport renewals were permanently suspended by the Chinese Consulate in Chicago.
According the Human Rights Report, “(T)he government continued to refuse reentry to numerous Chinese citizens who were considered dissidents, Falun Gong activists, or ‘troublemakers.’”
The U.S. Department of State publishes annual human rights reports on over 200 countries in the world each year. This was the report’s 38th year.