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Saturday, November 29, 2008

AI: Free Falun Gong Practitioner Xu Na

Please Take action Now!

Document - China: Fear of torture and other ill-treatment / Prisoner of
conscience

PUBLIC AI Index: ASA 17/107/2008

28 November 2008

UA 327/08 Fear of torture and other ill-treatment / Prisoner of conscience

CHINA Xu Na (f) aged 41, artist

Falun Gong practitioner Xu Na is at risk of torture or other
ill-treatment. She was sentenced to three years in prison on 25 November
for ‘crimes’ related to her membership of an outlawed spiritual movement
which has been targeted by the Chinese authorities. Amnesty
International believes she is a prisoner of conscience, detained solely
for the peaceful exercise of her right to freedom of conscience and
religion.

Xu Na was found guilty of “using a heretical organization to undermine
implementation of the law”. During the sentencing trial she expressed
her desire to lodge an appeal. Should she lose her appeal, this will be
the second time that she would face imprisonment. Xu Na was imprisoned
for five years from 2001 to 2006 for offering her apartment to Falun
Gong members travelling to Beijing to appeal against the authorities’
persecution of the movement.

Concerns for her safety are heightened by the fact that she told friends
and family she had been subjected to torture during her first
imprisonment, including beatings, sleep deprivation, forced-feeding, and
being tied into uncomfortable positions for hours.

On 25 January 2008, Xu Na and her folk musician husband Yu Zhou were
detained after a routine search, during which the Beijing police
discovered they were carrying Falun Gong materials. Yu Zhou died in
detention 11 days after being taken into police custody, raising
concerns over police brutality towards individuals in detention. Xu Na’s
parents have not been allowed visitation rights since her detention in
January.

Xu Na’s case was first sent to the Chongwen District People’s Court on
30 June but the court did not announce the verdict until 25 November -
nearly three months after the maximum time permitted by China’s Criminal
Procedure Law. Xu Na was found guilty of possessing and intending to
disseminate 53 copies of Falun Gong leaflets and 11 computer disks of
Falun Gong material. Xu Na had appealed the verdict immediately after
the sentencing.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Falun Gong is a spiritual movement that gained large numbers of
adherents in China during the 1990s. After a peaceful sit-in in front of
the party and government headquarters at Zhongnanhai in July 1999 the
government outlawed the group and launched a campaign of intimidation
and persecution, directed by a special organization called the 610
Office. The crackdown on Falun Gong intensified in the lead-up to the
Olympics. Falun Gong sources reported over 8,000 arrests of Falun Gong
practitioners nationwide during this period, and say that in 2007 over
100 died in detention or shortly after being released due to torture,
starvation and lack of medical attention. Falun Gong practitioners are
often sentenced to terms of Re-education through Labour (RTL), a form of
punitive administrative detention in which people can be deprived of
their liberty without trial for up to four years. Between 300,000 and
500,000 people are currently estimated to be held in RTL camps.

On 21 November 2008 the UN Committee Against Torture expressed deep
concerns over continued allegations of widespread torture and
ill-treatment in places of detention in China as well as the high
numbers of deaths in detention and the lack of impartial investigation
into these abuses. According to the Committee, the continued reliance on
confessions is likely to facilitate the use of torture and ill-treatment
of suspects.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as
possible, in English, Chinese or your own language:

* asking the authorities to provide immediate guarantees for Xu Na’s
safety and assurances that she will not be tortured or ill-treated;
* expressing concern that Xu Na has been imprisoned solely for her
religious beliefs;
* asking the authorities to release Xu Na immediately and unconditionally;
* asking the authorities to conduct a full and impartial investigation
into the death of Yu Zhou in police custody.

APPEALS TO:

President of the Supreme People’s Court
WANG Shengjun Weiyuanzhang
Zuigao Renmin Fayuan
27 Dongjiaomin Xiang
Beijingshi 100006
People’s Republic of China
Fax: + 86 10 65292345
Salutation: Dear President

Director, Ministry of Justice,
Wu Aiying Buzhang
Sifabu
10 Chaoyangmen Nandajie
Chaoyangqu
Beijingshi 100020
People's Republic of China
Fax: +86 10 65292345
Email: pfmaster@legalinfo.gov.cn
Salutation: Dear Director

Chief, Detention Center
Beijing Chongwen Detention Center
Tuanhe Road, Da Xing District, Beijing
People’s Republic of China
Tel: +86 10 61297799--62604
Salutation Dear Chief

COPIES TO: Diplomatic representatives of China accredited to your country.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International
Secretariat, or your section office, if sending appeals after 9 January
2009.

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