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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Chinese Authorities Secretly Moving Falun Gong Adherents Out of Beijing

Beijing-area detention facilities being stocked with “transformed” individuals ready to denounce Falun Gong in front of foreign media

NEW YORK – The Falun Dafa Information Center has learned that Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities have moved genuine Falun Gong adherents out of Beijing-area prisons and labor camps, replacing them with individuals who claim to have renounced Falun Gong. The Center believes the move is meant to mislead foreign media, mirroring similar tactics used in the past.

On July 30th, the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG) published Torture Outside the Olympic Village: A Guide to China's Labor Camps (report), a detailed guide to detention facilities located within miles of Olympic venues. On August 3, the Center released a related report, A Journalist's Walking Guide to the Persecution of Falun Gong in Beijing (report).

According to Center sources in China, immediately after the publication of these reports, the Chinese authorities began moving Falun Gong adherents out of Beijing. These sources say many adherents were moved to Shanxi Forced Labor Camp and Shanxi Women's Forced Labor Camp, while some were sent to Inner Mongolia.

These sources also indicate the authorities are putting individuals who claim to have "renounced" Falun Gong into Beijing detention centers and prisons where they are typically treated very well and made available to foreign media who are investigating abuses against Falun Gong.

"They’re moving victims of torture and other abuses out of Beijing, and replacing them with individuals who parrot the CCP’s stance on Falun Gong," says Center spokesperson Mr. Erping Zhang. "Think about it…they are preparing ‘show tours’ to pull the wool over the eyes of the international community. We trust journalists in Beijing won’t be taken in by these tactics."

"Show tours" of this nature have been employed before by CCP authorities to thwart investigations of abuse against Falun Gong, and were previously forewarned by Center sources.

On April 26, 2001, the Falun Dafa Information Center reported that Masanjia Labor Camp in Liaoning Province was among a few facilities being readied to receive foreign and Chinese media to 'interview' selected Falun Gong practitioners.

Almost a month later reporters were invited to the Masanjia Labor Camp to witness freshly painted walls, prisoners decked out in new jump suits complete with their names written on the back in Chinese and English (it was not clear why prisoners needed their names written in English inside a Chinese labor camp), enjoying an apparently clean and healthy environment – all in stark contrast with the horrific abuses reported by dozens of individuals who had previously been held and tortured at Masanjia.

The Center urges media workers in Beijing to be cognizant of this tactic, and recommends the following steps to avoid being misled by the CCP:

  1. Coordinate several groups of journalists to go to different camps at the same time, making it more difficult for the CCP to orchestrate a "show tour."
  2. Interview individuals recently released from labor camps in China, but currently residing overseas, including ones who witnessed similar foreign visits and measures taken by authorities prior to them. The Falun Dafa Information Center can provide the contact information for these individuals, as well as for family members of those currently being detained at Beijing camps and prisons.
  3. Refer to third party reports about conditions experienced by Falun Gong adherents in custody, available on the Center’s website: U.S. State Department 2007 report, Amnesty International reports, reports by the United Nations Special Rapporteurs (reports), and the writings of Chinese attorney Gao Zhisheng (writings).

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