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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Chinese persecution of Falun Gong: US Dept. Report

Oct. 26, 2009: The US State Dept’s Report on International Religious Freedom concerning China comments on the brutal treatment of the Falun Gong:

2009 report on religious freedom in China --

According to Falun Gong practitioners abroad, since 1999 several hundreds of thousands of practitioners have been detained for engaging in Falun Gong practices, admitting that they adhere to the teachings of Falun Gong, or refusing to criticize the organization or its founder. The organization reported its members have been subject to excessive force, abuse, rape, detention, forcible psychiatric commitment and treatment (including involuntary medication and electric shock treatment), and torture, and that some members, including children, have died in custody. Practitioners who refused to recant their beliefs were sometimes subjected to extrajudicial “legal education” centers after the expiration of their criminal sentences. According to former RTL camp detainees, Falun Gong practitioners make up a significant percentage of the RTL camps’ population.

Overseas Falun Gong organizations alleged a surge in arrests and deaths of Falun Gong practitioners carried out to prevent disturbances during the Olympic Games. They claimed that authorities arrested thousands of adherents and imprisoned hundreds, and that 100 practitioners died in 2008 as a result of persecution. Reports of abuse were difficult to confirm because the Government prevented Falun Gong members from meeting with foreign reporters and government officials. These organizations also reported that the Government harassed their members in other countries, including the United States, through threatening phone calls and physical harassment. The Government frequently used harsh rhetoric against Falun Gong. In May 2009, several attorneys who had represented Falun Gong practitioners did not have their licenses renewed by the Lawyers Associations in their localities.

In April 2009, Zhang Xingwu, a retired physics professor from Shandong Province, was sentenced to seven years in prison after police found Falun Gong literature in his apartment.

In November 2009, a Shanghai court sentenced Liu Jin to three and a half years in prison for downloading from the Internet and distributing to others information about Falun Gong.

In December 2009, Bu Dongwei left the country after serving two and a half years at a re-education through labor facility; he maintained that he was tortured because of his Falun Gong activities. Before his arrest, he worked for The Asia Foundation, a U.S.-based organization.

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