Bangkok 15 Jan. 2006 - UN officials and the government of New Zealand have secured the release of detained Falun Gong practitioner Mr. Huang Guohua and his four-year-old daughter, Huang Ying, from the Bangkok Immigration Detention Center.
Huang and seven other Falun Gong practitioners were taken to the detention center on December 15 while conducting a peaceful protest across the street from the Chinese Embassy in Bangkok. Practitioners in Thailand had been demonstrating in front of the embassy since December 6 to condemn the rape of two female Falun Gong practitioners by a Chinese policeman in Hebei province, China. The appeal was part of a worldwide protest.
Human rights experts and legal counsel have advised that the grounds for the arrest are unwarranted and in violation of Article 38 and 44 under the Thai constitution guaranteeing the right to be "protected from any act of the State, which is derogatory to his rights… on the grounds of professing a…creed” and that “Every person shall enjoy the liberty to assemble peacefully and without arms."
Huang, whose entire family suffered extreme persecution in China, was twice sent to a labor camp and tortured extensively. His wife was persecuted to death while she was three-months pregnant. After spending over two years in detention and doing forced-labor, Huang managed to escape to Thailand, where daughter Ying eventually joined him. Both are under the protection of the UN High Commission for Refugees.
Last week, the government of New Zealand accepted both father and daughter who will leave today from Don Muang Airport, on Thai Airways 989, departing at 17.20.
Falun Gong practitioners in Thailand will be seeing off the pair at the airport at 3 pm today, January 15. Their message is of thanks to the New Zealand government but of disappointment with Thailand for the illegal arrests and the continued detention of four other innocent Falun Gong practitioners. Although father and daughter will be finally free in New Zealand, Thai authorities did not appear willing to give them their freedom on Thai soil. “Thailand should have done the right thing and allowed the practitioners to leave as free people, not have the police escort them to the airport as dangerous criminals," said Thai Falun Gong practitioner Chachalai Sutakanat.