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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Olympic Reporters’ Guide to Labor Camps Published

Authored by: CIPFG
Posted: August 1, 2008
News Alert via Reuters

Olympic Reporters’ Guide to Labor Camps Published

Booklet provides driving directions to notorious labor camps, urges coverage of media taboo

To help foreign reporters overcome the Chinese government’s media censorship and shed light on closely shielded rights violations, the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG) released today a detailed guide to detention facilities located within miles of Olympic venues and known for their severe abuse of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience.

The guide, entitled “Torture Outside the Olympic Village: A Guide to China’s Labor Camps,” is available online at or as a 22-page downloadable PDF at:

“Many of us have heard stories about China’s gulags, but when you discover how close some of these hellholes are to Olympic venues, it’s sickening,” says Clive Ansley, China Monitor for Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada and North American President of CIPFG.

The guide details seven detention facilities, in or near Beijing, Qingdao, Shanghai, Tianjin, Qinhuangdao, and Shenyang, and includes:

· Map: A map showing the location of the facility, the location of the closest Olympic venue, and English-language directions to the camp from the nearest airport and train station.

· Description of facility: A photo, general description of the facility, details of its prisoner population, overall conditions, and the name, address and phone number (if available).

· Products and show tours: Products known to have been manufactured at the site and details of prior show tours to the facility, when relevant.

· Individual cases: Brief individual case summaries of current and former prisoners of conscience, the abuse they have suffered in custody, and whether they are available for interview.

“We hope this guide will draw international attention to the innocent individuals held at these locations,” says Ansley. “It should particularly aid journalists in investigating the plight of adherents of the Falun Gong, who make up a huge percentage of labor camp detainees and have suffered a brutal campaign of persecution for nine years.”

Note on censorship: Contrary to promises of “complete freedom” for foreign media, the Chinese authorities have blocked access to Falun Gong-related websites from the Olympic Media Center in a deal struck with the International Olympic Committee. To circumvent such censorship, CIPFG suggests the following measures:

· Request that colleagues outside China e-mail or fax a copy of the guide to you inside China.

· Use circumvention tools available at to access the guide despite the censorship.

· Once you have obtained a copy, please re-post it on other websites, blogs, etc. By creating multiple copies on the web, the Chinese government’s blocking of the original becomes obsolete.

The Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG) was established to unite international human rights organizations, legal experts, medical institutions, NGOs and government representatives around the world to participate in and independent investigation of the Chinese communist regime’s imprisonment, torture, killing, and organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners. Since August 2007, it has also sponsored the Human Rights Torch Relay, a global grassroots campaign to raise awareness of, and stop, the Chinese communist regime’s human rights crimes against all victimized groups prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

For more information or to schedule interviews with former prisoners of conscience, contact Clive Ansley at +1-(250)334-3586, Susan Prager at (862)668-6382 or e-mail

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Woman Dies from Torture in Shandong Province

Falun Dafa Information Center (View article as web page here)

46-Year Old Woman Dies from Torture in Shandong Province

Site of the Olympics Sailing Competition in Qingdao

NEW YORK (FDI) – The Falun Dafa Information Center has learned that a 46-year old woman who had been illegally arrested and tortured continuously for 21 days, died from her wounds and was cremated on June 21, 2008.

Xiao Sumin (肖素敏) was the 3,163rd adherent known to have died as a result of the persecution of Falun Gong in China, though it is expected that the actual number is many times higher. Ms. Xiao was from Pingdu city in Shandong province; approximately 80 km north of Qingdao, site of the 2008 Beijing Olympics sailing competition. The province is also notable for having the fourth highest death rate throughout China for Falun Gong practitioners tortured by security personnel for their spiritual beliefs.

“Shandong province has been a dangerous place to be a Falun Gong practitioner. Ms. Xiao’s death reflects the communist regime’s inexplicable, baseless fears of Falun Gong,” says Falun Dafa Information Center spokeswoman Ms. Gail Rachlin. “These deaths cast a very dark shadow on the upcoming Olympics and violate its humanitarian principles.”

Ms. Xiao Sumin is shown before and after her tormentors beat her.

Ms. Xiao Sumin is shown before and after her tormentors beat her.

Sources within China stated that on May 30, police officers from the Pingdu City 610 Office unlawfully arrested Ms. Xiao Sumin and Ms. Sun Shujie. While the two women were held at the Pingdu City Appeal Office, their families were not allowed to visit them.

Sources further stated that Ms. Xiao was subjected to non-stop torture for almost two weeks, after which she was taken to Qingdao Haici Hospital in Qingdao city in critical condition. However, she never recovered from the effects of the abuse, and she died within three weeks of her hospital admission on June 21st. Her body was immediately cremated and her ashes were taken to her home. She is survived by a young daughter. Ms. Sun’s whereabouts are still unknown.

Prior Accounts of Violence

Sources revealed that Ms. Xiao was continuously persecuted since July 1999. She was constantly monitored and harassed by public security officers. On several occasions, Ms. Xiao was illegally detained during which she was tortured and beaten. On one occasion, her head was slammed against the wall as guards took turns kicking and hitting her.

Ms. Xiao’s home was subject to frequent illegal searches, and her personal effects and cash were stolen or otherwise illegally confiscated by officers of the Pingdu City Police Department and the Guxian Town Police Station. In August 2007, while Ms. Xiao was unlawfully detained at the Pingdu City Detention Center, the guards planned to send her to a forced labor camp (also known as "re-education through labor"), but she went on a hunger strike to protest her illegal imprisonment. She was released only when her condition became critical. Security personnel are often unwilling to take responsibility for the health of detainees.

Peaceful Demonstrator ‘Kicked and Bitten’ by Thug in Vancouver Chinatown

By He Hanming and Martin Croucher
Epoch Times Staff
Jul 29, 2008
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At around 1 p.m. on July 28, the man in the photo allegedly assaulted Mr. Chen, a Falun Gong practitioner in Vancouver’s Chinatown. (The Epoch Times )
A peaceful demonstrator was severely beaten and bitten by a man who was believed to have been incited to violence by hate propaganda put out by the Chinese Embassy.

Mr Chen was calmly distributing human rights materials in Vancouver's China Town when he was approached and threatened by the stranger on Monday, July 28.

He was punched and kicked after Mr Chen produced a camera to take the man’s picture.

The attack follows a spate of violent attacks against the Falun Gong spiritual movement by angry Chinese mobs in New York’s ethnic Flushing area.

According to a recorded telephone investigation independently conducted by World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG), the Consulate General Peng Keyu of China’s Consulate in New York admitted to have plotted the attacks on Falun Gong in Flushing, New York. Following the initial attacks on Falun Gong in Flushing, sporadic attacks on Falun Gong practiioners have been reported in Paris, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles.

According to witnesses, the attack on Monday was the culmination of increasingly threatening behaviour from groups that appeared to have been summoned by telephone calls.

Mr Chen said, “While we were in China Town distributing print materials about Falun Gong and materials revealing the truth about the Chinese Communist Party, a man approached us. He was identified to have harassed our fellow Falun Gong practitioners elsewhere. He threw down a brown cardboard placard containing slogans slandering Falun Gong. Then he started to curse us.”

He added, “I took out my camera to take his photos. When he saw my camera, he ran at me and pushed me. When I was taking his photos, he tried to grab the camera. Then he started to hit me. He targeted my head and face. I felt very dizzy. I told fellow Falun Gong practitioners to call the police at once.”

Mr Chen added that when the man saw that the group were attempting to call the police he ran off. But because Falun Gong teaches non-violence he had no way to stop him except by hanging on to his clothes.

“He started to hit me harder and targeted my head and my face. He tried many dishonorable techniques, including kicking me in the crotch and biting me.”

Falun Gong is a peaceful meditative movement which was banned by the Chinese Communist regime in 1999 after a government study found 100 million people were practicing.

It’s members have since become the target of hate propaganda and the regime regards it as one of its top threats as peaceful attempts to expose numerous cases of torture against its practitioners in China.

The volunteer media spokesperson for Falun Gong practitioners in Vancouver, Zhang Su said, “Because of the Chinese Communist regime’s hate propaganda and smear campaign against Falun Gong for the past nine years, a group of Chinese people here have fallen prey to the propaganda and become the henchmen of the Chinese Communist regime. We call upon police in Vancouver to thoroughly investigate the hate crime.”

China using Olympics as 'pretext' for crackdown: Amnesty

HONG KONG (AFP) — China is using the Beijing Olympics as a pretext to pursue -- and in some cases tighten -- a crackdown on human rights, notably ridding the capital of "undesirables," Amnesty International charged Monday.

Reporting 11 days ahead of the August 8 opening ceremony, the rights group said that despite some minor reforms, authorities had stepped up repression of activists and lawyers to present a picture of stability and harmony.

Amnesty urged the International Olympic Committee and political leaders to do far more to challenge China, warning of even more repressive measures once the spotlight on the Games has faded away.

"Unless the authorities make a swift change of direction, the legacy of the Beijing Olympics will not be positive for human rights in China," it warned.

"In fact, the crackdown on human rights defenders, journalists and lawyers has intensified because Beijing is hosting the Olympics."

Amnesty's report, citing specific cases, said activists who had tied their cause to the Games had been singled out for the pre-Olympics "clean-up," while many others were being detained, imprisoned or placed under house arrest.

"Authorities have used the Olympic Games as a pretext to continue and in some respects, intensify existing policies and practices that have led to serious and widespread violations of human rights," the report added.

It listed a series of recommendations urging China to:
- release all prisoners of conscience;
- stop police arbitrarily detaining activists and dissenters;
- impose a moratorium on the death penalty;
- allow complete media freedom; and
- account for those killed or detained in Tibet.

"It is very disturbing that Chinese authorities have indulged in such a big crackdown on the activists," Mark Allison, China researcher for Amnesty, told AFP.

"These are people who represent many many more people in China."

Officials were also extending the use of punitive administrative detention, notably of activists and petitioners as well as beggars and peddlers, Amnesty said.

In January, Beijing police launched a campaign against "illegal activities that tarnish the city's image and affect the social order," it noted.

In May, authorities adopted a "re-education through labour" law to control various types of "offending behaviour."

In June, authorities in Shanghai sent notices to activists and petitioners ordering them to report to the police every week and barring them from leaving without permission or visiting Beijing until after the Games.

A clampdown on journalists has also intensified in recent months, Amnesty said, citing figures from the Foreign Correspondents Club of China showing as many as 230 cases of reporters being obstructed from interviews this year so far, compared to 180 cases in the whole of last year.

Internet controls have also been tightened up and many websites closed down for providing information deemed sensitive, the group noted.

Amnesty said that journalists working from Beijing's Olympic press centre were unable to access the group's website, as well as those of the BBC, Germany's Deutsche Welle, Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily, and Taiwan newspaper Liberty Times.

"This flies in the face of official Chinese promises to ensure 'complete media freedom' for the Games," said Allison.

Such tactics raised concerns that officials would seek to block broadcasts of anything deemed sensitive or inappropriate, despite public commitments by organisers not to cut coverage.

Amnesty said China's crackdown in Tibet earlier this year, and restrictions on reporting there, highlighted the authorities' ongoing censorship.

It urged the IOC and the international community to express concerns publicly and press China to fulfil its obligations on human rights and dissent.

"The danger now becomes that after the Olympic Games, these patterns of serious human rights violations may continue or intensify with even less attention paid by the international community than has been the case so far," it said.

Independent Satellite Stations Could Go Black in China

By Christine Lin
Epoch Times Staff
Jul 28, 2008


satellite stations china go black
China may no longer receive satellite-transmitted news from several independent television and radio stations. (Goh Chai Hin/AFP/Getty Images)

NEW YORK—Two days from now, China may no longer receive satellite-transmitted news from several independent television and radio stations.

In 2005, the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) signed a contract with European satellite operator Eutelsat to let Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Asia (RFA), and U.S.-based non-governmental television and radio channels to broadcast to tens of millions of small satellite dishes across China on a long-term, protected basis. One of these television stations includes New York-based New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV).

The original broadcasting agreement was strongly supported by Congress and the current U.S. Administration. On July 31, BBG will cease to broadcast uncensored programs into China.

Since 2005, an “Open Satellite Window” agreement assured the 24/7 free flow of broadcasting into China. This agreement ensured a lifeline of open debate on the Olympics, the Tibet crisis, the Chinese earthquake, and other issues that the Chinese state-run media historically avoid reporting.

On July 31, the eve of the Beijing Olympics, BBG plans to cancel its contract with Eutelsat for its broadcast on the satellite W5, the only satellite protected by the Open Satellite Window agreement.

According to NTDTV, Eutelsat notified them of the situation because of the BBG’s contract cancellation, but it will also terminate its long-term contract to transmit NTDTV into China. By dropping the transmission and breaking ranks with the non-governmental channels, BBG will surrender the stations’ on/off switches to Chinese authorities.

Instead of being assigned to the satellite W5, U.S. international broadcasting channels will be assigned to the China-controlled satellite AsiaSat 3S.

BBG will also stop broadcasting to the tens of millions of 18-30 inch, concealable dishes that Eutelsat reaches across China, and will only be able to reach minimum four-foot dishes via AsiaSat 3S which uses a Chinese-controlled technical system.

Cutting Off NTDTV

The NTDTV satellite news channel in particular saw signs of trouble early on. On June 16, Eutelsat cut off NTDTV and other non-Chinese regime signals that were transmitted on Eutelsat’s W5 satellite since 2004. All VOA channels, RFA channels and heavy Pentagon traffic on this same satellite continued without interruption.

On July 10, Reporters Without Borders released a detailed investigation showing that Eutelsat’s shutdown of NTDTV’s signal was a premeditated, politically motivated decision to satisfy Beijing’s demands and get Chinese concessions and contracts. The Wall Street Journal also revealed in 2005 that Eutelsat repeatedly tried to shut down NTDTV’s Asia broadcast under pressure from Beijing, in return for Chinese state business.

The Reporters Without Borders report is available at .

Last Updated
Jul 29, 2008

Friday, July 25, 2008

Underground existence for Falun Gong faithful

The Age:
  • Mary-Anne Toy
  • July 26, 2008
Falun Gong practitioners and democracy activists try to draw attention to the plight of the persecuted movement  in front of the Washington Monument in the US capital.

Falun Gong practitioners and democracy activists try to draw attention to the plight of the persecuted movement in front of the Washington Monument in the US capital.

HELEN is a graduate of one of Beijing's most prestigious universities and speaks fluent English and French. She lives in poverty in a run-down apartment block in a Chinese city that shall remain nameless.

Neighbouring flats are occupied by mistresses of married Chinese businessmen.

Helen, not her real name, lives a secret life too; one that is far more dangerous and far less acceptable to China's Communist leaders than being kept as a mistress.

She believes in Falun Gong, a quasi-Buddhist spiritual movement preaching "truth, forbearance and compassion" and teaches qi gong — ancient Chinese breathing exercises — to improve health and even cure illnesses and injuries.

Practising Falun Gong — the exercises or the teachings known as Falun Dafa — is punishable by jail, torture and even death in China. The Government says it is an "evil cult" that brainwashes its victims into refusing medical treatment and even suicide.

There have been at least 3000 documented deaths and 63,000 cases of torture of Falun Gong practitioners in China. Helen, who refuses to denounce Falun Gong, has survived two stints in labour camps and does not think she could survive a third, hence her life on the run.

With the Olympics less than 13 days away, the country's vast security network is trying to to ensure an incident-free Games. This includes random sweeps of housing compounds for identity checks to ensure that "undesirables" are picked up or forced away into someone else's jurisdiction — making life even more precarious for people like Helen.

Falun Gong was banned in July 1999 after the Chinese Communist Government was alarmed by its sudden popularity and its ability to organise mass protest. The famous silent protest in April 1999 when 10,000 practitioners surrounded the Communist leadership compound, Zhongnanhai, in Beijing, was the final straw for then president Jiang Zemin, who ordered the movement be eradicated.

Falun Gong was founded in 1992 by Li Hongzhi, a former soldier turned qi gong expert, and was the most popular of many qi gong groups in vogue then as people looked for meaning in post-communist, quasi-capitalist but still one-party controlled China. By the time Falun Gong was banned, state-run media estimated it had 70 million followers in China, including government and party cadres.

A savage propaganda campaign ensued, reminiscent of previous Communist purges such as the Cultural Revolution. It demonised Falun Gong as a doomsday cult that was undermining social stability.

Thousands of members were forced to recant or suffer torture and death in labour camps. Followers were sacked, expelled from universities, deprived of health care and pensions, some spouses filed for divorce. Several members immolated themselves in Tiananmen Square, an incident that Falun Gong claims was fabricated.

Outside of China, Falun Gong continued to grow and now members in 70 other countries including Australia wage a guerilla campaign against the Communist Party. They have made unprovable allegations such as that 6000 imprisoned Falun Gong followers were having their organs harvested.

China has denied organ harvesting and said Falun Gong threatened serious social disorder and the Government acted lawfully in suppressing it. The US State Department, US Congress, the United Nations and human rights groups such as Amnesty say persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China is a continuing abuse of human rights.

Since Helen was released from a labour camp in 2005, she has been living on the edge of society, frequently moving around, yet still spreading the word about Falun Gong.

"More and more people are becoming practitioners … Even under such persecution it is becoming a strong (moral) force that the CPC will not be able to stop one day soon," she says.

The Age had to take precautions to contact Helen so her location could not be identified by authorities.

"There is an enormous vacuum in every Chinese person's heart, no belief, no moral standards … and in this situation when they meet a Falun Gong person or read a Falun Gong book which teaches them how to be a good person and gives moral guidelines for living, they are really awakened and shaken," she says.

Students Li and Wang, both just 17, plan to quit high school after learning Falun Gong through Helen. Another recruit, Susan, is halfway through university. She intends to complete her course even though she doubts the value of the education she is receiving because she is too timid, she says, to buck the system entirely.

Li's parents knew of Helen's past and her two stints in labour camps, but she was an old family friend and an English teacher who could possibly help their surly, sometimes suicidal, teenager as a tutor, so they welcomed her into their home.

He resisted learning English for years, but when Helen began telling him about Falun Gong, he was hooked. Li said it had given his life purpose. He now loved studying, but planned to leave the soul-destroying rote-learning education system. He found a job so he could move out of home and practise Falun Gong in peace.

This angered his parents and Li's father threatened to report Helen to police. He did not follow through with the threat, after Li's mother threatened to disgrace her husband by going public about his mistress if he tried to turn in Helen and their son.

Helen said she was initially keen to protest at the Olympics, but has realised she had more important work to do.

"Many people like me have really risked our lives, including in jail … to try and let the world know what is happening and that is enough in my opinion," Helen said.

John Deller, a spokesman for Falun Gong Australia, said the movement was indigenous to China and had the concern of Chinese people at heart, so they did not want to upset the Olympics.

They also feared the Government would twist any Olympic protests to further discredit Falun Gong.

"The problem is that the powers that be are using the Games to persecute people," he said.

Helen lives in a bare concrete-floored flat that is stifling in summer. It is rented in a friend's name. She sneaks in and out of the housing compound early in the morning and late at night, when most people are asleep.

She stays as quietly as possible, a habit that has given her a soft speaking voice. She never answers the door unless she is expecting a friend, and they have a special code, regularly changed, to identify themselves. When she learns of a security sweep, or if the housing committee is asking too many questions about her, she goes into hiding until it is safe to return. She stays in touch with other practitioners and her family through the internet and occasional phone calls.

She still manages to meet new people and sometimes reveals her interest in Falun Gong. In doing so, she risks her life. But in three years on the run, her secret has been kept.

"We're not trying to overthrow the government. We're just trying to help people understand the CPC's evil nature … and that they can break free," Helen says. "How can I overthrow the Government? I don't have a weapon and I have to be careful all the time."

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Human Cost behind the Olympics

Compassion Magazine via One of a series of articles from the most recent edition of Compassion Magazine, a publication of the Falun Dafa Information Center.

The stadiums are built. The subways are in place. But one element of Beijing's "preparation" for the 2008 Olympics has been less than glamorous: the dramatic intensification of the Party's campaign to wipe out Falun Gong. Thousands have been arrested, hundreds have been sent to labor camps, and at least 12 have died in custody within a month of their detention. What other human costs remain hidden?

Ms. Chen Jiaolong went to work at Beijing's Jinkui Decoration Factory as usual on January 24, 2008. But by evening, Chen found herself at Dongcheng District detention center after Chinese security agents raided the factory looking for Falun Gong practitioners.

A few months later, she was in Inner Mongolia, beginning a two year sentence of "re-education" at a labor camp in Hohhot.

Chen's story is just one of thousands that Falun Gong adherents and their families have experienced since December 2007 as a systematic escalation of the campaign against the group has unfolded. She is one of dozens, and possibly hundreds, who have been sentenced to labor camps without a trial.

This escalation has taken place within a broader clean-up of "undesirables" that the Chinese Communist Party has embarked upon as it prepares for the Olympic Games in August 2008.

"It is increasingly clear that much of the current wave of repression is occurring not in spite of the Olympics but actually because of the Olympics," said Amnesty International in a report released in April.

As has often been the case in recent crackdowns of this kind, Falun Gong adherents have quickly found themselves at the top of the "most wanted" list.

Yu Zhou (left) with his band “Xiao Juan
and Residents from the Valley.” Yu died
from abuse in police custody in February
2008, just weeks after his arrest.

Official Policy Trickles Down

Indications that the Party would intensify the crackdown on Falun Gong in the run-up to the Olympics emerged as early as 2005. In November that year, Intelligence Online, a journal following developments within China's security system, reported that the leadership had issued directives to intensify the campaign for fear that Falun Gong might spark a Ukraine-type "Orange" revolution.

"China's deputy public security minister Liu Jing has been handed the job of stamping out the Buddhist-Taoist Falun Gong before the Olympic Games in 2008," the article stated.

As the games drew closer, top officials began making public statements along similar lines. According to Amnesty International, in March 2007, Former Public Security Minister Zhou Yongkang issued an order in the context of "successfully" holding the Beijing Olympics stating: "We must strike hard at hostile forces at home and abroad, such as ... the Falun Gong."

Over the following year, reports of "Olympic security plans" and neighborhood meetings of relevant agencies began to emerge, as local actors explored how to carry out such directives.

According to one posting on the website of the government of Liulitun, a neighborhood of Beijing's Chaoyang district [see image below], such a meeting was held in January 2008. It was attended by "Party secretaries and directors of ten communities."

The highlight of the meeting was a speech by Chen Sumin of the 610 Office, an extra-legal task force charged with leading the campaign against Falun Gong.

"Each community should treat all work items of the 610 Office with a great sense of responsibility and importance, and not give Falun Gong practitioners any opportunities," Chen emphasized in her speech, according to the site. "In particular, [we should] mobilize the power of the masses of residents, [asking them to] report promptly if they find anyone handing out [Falun Gong related] materials."

To ensure such tasks are carried out wholeheartedly, and in line with common Party practice, incentives were then put in place.

In many cities a reward system was put in place offering money for identifying Falun Gong adherents to the authorities. For example, on July 11, Reuters reported that Beijing police were offering rewards of up to 500,000 yuan ($73,150) to people who provide tip-off s during the Olympics, among other targeted groups named was Falun Gong.

A Chinese government website in Liulitun neighborhood of Beijing’s Chaoyang district, home to
venues such as the Bird’s Nest. The page describes a January 2008 meeting of local offi cials on how
to deal with Falun Gong ahead of the Olympics. Among the directives issued at the meeting by the
610 Offi ce was the need to “mobilize the power of the masses of residents to report promptly if
they fi nd anyone handing out [Falun Gong] materials.” Since then, at least 36 adherents have been
detained in Chaoyang and are at serious risk of torture and long sentencing.

Large scale arrests

Though such measures appear to be primarily aimed at preventing Falun Gong adherents from distributing information about the discipline and abuses committed against its followers-- a right guaranteed in China's constitution--in practice, Chinese security agencies have been conducting door-to-door searches, detaining large numbers of people simply on the basis that they are known to be practicing Falun Gong.

According to reports from family and friends of those detained, a majority of arrests follow a common pattern. Officers from the local police station, Public Security Bureau (PSB) branch, or 610 Office come to an adherent's home or workplace, conduct a search for any Falun Gong-related materials, and take the individual into custody at the district detention center.

"It was early in the morning when agents from the Public Security and State Security Bureaus came to my parents' home in Hebei Province near Beijing," says Si Yang, a computer consultant living in Los Angeles. "My sister was at work so they went there to pick her up. Then they searched the house and took my father and sister to a temporary detention center at a hotel."

Once at the detention center, adherents face intense interrogation that often includes beatings, sleep deprivation, and in some cases, more severe forms of torture. The questioning is aimed at extracting both information about fellow practitioners and a commitment to cease practicing. The majority are still detained at such locations.

In several dozen cases, those detained have been sentenced to "re-education through labor camps" without trial, an option made possible because Chinese law allows sentencing for up to three years without the need to bring the accused before a judge. Indeed, available evidence indicates that the authorities have been taking advantage of the "efficiency" this procedure enables.

"After four days of interrogation, they released my elderly father, but within just a month, my sister was sentenced to one and a half years in a labor camp," says Si. "She was deprived of sleep at the detention center and now we don't know what her situation is because they won't let my parents visit."

The systematic nature of the arrests-- and the fact that many victims had been detained or sentenced before for practicing Falun Gong--suggests that the authorities are using a previously compiled list of local adherents, a common PSB practice. According to former PSB and 610 Office agent Hao Fengjun, who defected to Australia in 2005, the authorities in the city of Tianjin, where he formerly worked, had a database of 30,000 Falun Gong practitioners' names.

"Olympic" Geography of arrests

Not surprisingly, Beijing and its districts housing Olympic venues have been a particular focus of the campaign. In recent months, the Falun Dafa Information Center (FDI) has reported the names and details of 208 adherents detained in the city since December 2007; the Center has received information on dozens more arrests, but they lack sufficiently verifiable details to publish.

Of the 208 known to have been detained, 36 were from Chaoyang District, home to the Bird's Nest and Water Cube, set to host the soccer and swimming events among others; 28 adherents were detained in Haidian District, site of the Beijing Olympic Committee headquarters as well as events such as basketball and volleyball.

Based on information received by the Center, by the end of June 2008, 30 Beijing residents who practice Falun Gong had been sentenced to labor camps--nearly 15 percent of those detained. The two central districts of Chaoyang and Haidian alone accounted for more than half of those cases.

More generally, at least one arrest of a Falun Gong adherent had been reported in each of the municipality's districts and counties. As FDI spokesperson Gail Rachlin said in a recent release, such "artificially sterile, silent streets ... should give visitors the chills."

Deaths on the Rise

More chilling even than the increase in arrests and labor camp sentences has been the rise in the number of Falun Gong adherents reportedly dying as a result of abuse in custody--especially those dying within days, or even hours, of being detained by the authorities.

Within the first seven months of 2008, the Center had documented 12 cases of practitioner deaths occurring within less than one month of arrest and in some instances, within hours.

By comparison, in 2007, over the course of the entire year seven people died within such a short time in custody. In several of the cases this year, family members were able to view the body before its cremation and saw signs of torture, including strangulation marks or bruises from electric batons.

"The speed with which Falun Gong adherents are being seized by police, abused, and turning up dead is alarming and reprehensible," says Rachlin. "These are people who never should have been arrested in the first place."

One case that has garnered a particularly large amount of attention was the death of a folk musician named Yu Zhou in February 2008. [see photo at top of page]

It was around 10pm when a police car pulled Yu and his wife Xu Na over as they were returning from a performance of his band, "Xiao Juan and Residents of the Valley", at the end of January in Beijing.

After a quick search of the couple's vehicle, the officers discovered the two practiced Falun Gong. They were immediately arrested and taken to Tongzhou District detention center.

Eleven days later, the authorities notified Yu's family members to come to Qinghe Emergency Center where they found him dead, although they say he had been in good health before his detention.

Pointing to the obstacles imposed by the Chinese authorities before journalists seeking to investigate such cases ahead of the games, a (London) Times reporter received the following response when asking a member of Yu's band to confirm if he had been killed: "It is not suitable to answer this question. As you know, if I answer it I will be in trouble."

"Long Term" Implications

As for Yu's wife Xu Na, she remains in custody and is awaiting sentencing. In April, her family was informed that she had been charged with "using a heretical organization to undermine implementation of the law," a vague provision of the penal code commonly used to sentence Falun Gong adherents to prison for up to 12 years.

With such long sentences hanging over the heads of those detained and dozens already sentenced to labor camps for several years, a layer of complexity is added to the question of the relationship between the Olympic Games and the recent escalated repression.

The long terms imposed on practitioners suggest that in the case of Falun Gong, the Party's interest is not only in preventing any form of protest or dissent, however peaceful it might be, from being voiced by Chinese citizens during the games. Rather, it would seem that the leadership has also decided to use the games as an occasion for furthering an eradication policy it has been pursuing since 1999--all the while avoiding international condemnation by attributing the crackdown to the needs of "Olympic security."

As has been the case in the campaign against Falun Gong more generally, those arrested stem from diverse segments of society. They include professionals such as lawyers, accountants, and teachers, as well as peasants and retired workers. Significantly for adherents and their families, a number of those arrested have been forced to leave small children or elderly parents at home with no one to care for them.

More broadly--like petitioners and civil rights activists being detained-- Falun Gong adherents have emerged as a central element of a growing grassroots movement of Chinese people becoming aware of their rights, protesting the regime's brutality, and asking for greater freedom.

"The government has locked itself into a fictional account that the Chinese population has no interest in human rights and no criticism against the preparation of the Olympic Games," Nicholas Bequelin, a Hong Kong-based researcher for Human Rights Watch told the Washington Post recently. "Since that's not the reality and thousands are involved in human rights activities, they have to silence quite a few people."

As explored in more detail in "Righteous Resistance" later in this magazine, one of the methods adherents have been using to raise awareness is the distribution of leaflets and homemade VCDs about Falun Gong and the persecution of fellow practitioners. In recent years, however, they have added into the mix copies of publications that address rights abuses more broadly, such as the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party.

The arrest of thousands of people involved in such awareness raising activities is therefore a serious setback, not only for the Falun Gong community, but also for the Chinese people as a whole and for the country's potential for moving towards a freer society.

But this pre-Olympic purge of Falun Gong does not only bear long term implications for the Chinese. It also leaves cause for reflection to the international community that chose to award the games to a regime like the Communist Party's.

Given that the Party has used the Olympics as an excuse to further a persecutory campaign against thousands of its own people, should we perhaps be asking ourselves - what dangers might we be imposing on Chinese citizens by awarding an international event to this regime again in the future?

Ke Lanyan is a researcher at the Falun Dafa Information Center; she holds an undergraduate degree in International Relations.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

China Asks Japan for Information on Falun Gong Members Ahead of Olympics

By: iStockAnalyst (web page) Thursday, July 17, 2008 9:54 AM
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Text of report in English by Japan's largest news agency Kyodo

Beijing, July 17 Kyodo - Chinese public security authorities have asked Japan to provide information on Japan-based members of the Falun Gong, a spiritual group banned in China, ahead of the Beijing Olympics, sources close to Japan-China ties said Thursday.

The Japanese government has rejected the request, which included a list of the group's members, citing protection of information on individuals, according to the sources.

Chinese authorities see potential demonstrations by the Falun Gong as a major security threat during the Summer Games, along with possible separatist activities by Uighur nationalists from Xinjiang, a predominantly Muslim area of northwest China.

The Falun Gong, which criticizes China through peaceful demonstrations, is not an illegal organization in Japan.

Chinese authorities believe that Falun Gong members are the biggest threat among Japanese tourists, who will be able to visit China without visas during the Olympics.

China extends 15-day visa-free access for ordinary passport holders from Japan.

While Beijing had extended the same access for Singapore passport holders, it had temporarily halted the arrangement ahead of the Olympics.

China also allows short-term visa-free access for Brunei passport holders, but that country's population is small. Japan remains the only country from where a large number of tourists are expected to arrive in China without visas during the Olympics.

Originally published by Kyodo News Service, Tokyo, in English 1042 17 Jul 08.

(c) 2008 BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.tracking

Story Source: BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific

Friday, July 11, 2008

EP: China/No Substantial Achievements in Human Rights

UNPO: China: European Parliament: No Substantial Achievements in Human Rights
Friday, 11 July 2008
Active ImageThe European Parliament has adopted a resolution that regrets that while there has been major progress in relations with China as regards trade and economics, that progress has not been accompanied by substantial achievements as regards issues relating to human rights and democracy.

Below is a resolution adopted by the European Parliament:

European Parliament resolution of 10 July 2008 on the situation in China after the earthquake and before the Olympic Games

The European Parliament,

– having regard to its resolution of 22 May 2008 on the natural disaster in China(1),

– having regard to its resolution of 10 April 2008 on Tibet(2),

– having regard to its resolution of 13 December 2007 on the EU-China Summit and the EU-China human rights dialogue(3),

– having regard to the outcome of the 25th round of the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue in Brdo, Slovenia, on 15 May 2008,

– having regard to Rule 103(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas both China and the EU are committed to contributing to peace, security and sustainable development in the world,

B. having regard to the scale of the destruction wrought by the violent earthquake in South-west China on 12 May 2008; whereas that earthquake claimed tens of thousands of victims, in particular in Sichuan province; whereas, according to the latest estimate, 10 million people were affected by the earthquake and almost 70 000 killed, including thousands of schoolchildren who died when their classrooms collapsed,

C. whereas the Chinese Government took exceptional emergency measures, deploying personnel – including part of the army – and medical teams to aid the inhabitants of the stricken region,

D. having regard to the extraordinary mobilisation and solidarity of the entire Chinese people and of the international community in efforts to aid the victims of the disaster,

E. whereas the opening of Tibet to tourists and the media should not be used as a "public relations event" but as a real opening, which will allow journalists, the media and tourists to visit the region of Tibet,

F. having regard to the concluding statements of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which underlined that granting the 2008 Olympic Games to China would help to open up the country and improve the human rights situation,

1. Expresses satisfaction at the developments in EU-China relations, the sectoral dialogues and the closer cooperation on various globalised issues;

2. Calls on the Chinese authorities to bear in mind that earthquake warnings constitute one benchmark of the development of a country; stresses, therefore, the vital importance of responding actively and promptly to any warning that the scientific community can give the authorities in the unlikely but possible situation of another natural disaster in China;

3. Welcomes the resumption of contacts, after the events of March 2008 in Lhasa, between the representatives of the Dalai Lama and the Chinese authorities; encourages the two parties to intensify these contacts so as to establish the bases for mutual trust, without which it will be impossible to arrive at a mutually acceptable political solution;

4. Regrets that while there has been major progress in relations with China as regards trade and economics, that progress has not been accompanied by substantial achievements as regards issues relating to human rights and democracy;

5. Deplores the fact that China's human rights record remains a matter of concern owing to widespread and systematic human rights abuses; recalls the commitments to human rights made by China when the country won its bid to host the Olympic Games;

6. Condemns China's frequent use of the death penalty and calls on the Chinese authorities to establish a moratorium on executions;

7. Deplores the fact that no international calls have succeed in stopping the Chinese authorities from pursuing their follow-up to the riots of 14 March 2008 in Tibet, with participants in the protest in Lhasa still being traced, detained and arbitrarily arrested, and their families being given no information as to their whereabouts, although this is required by Chinese law; calls on the Chinese authorities to halt its "patriotic re-education" campaign, which has been intensified since the beginning of April, during the Olympic Games in the name of the long-established "Olympic Truce";

8. Notes with satisfaction that China rapidly agreed to accept the assistance of the international community in helping the victims of the earthquake in the Sichuan region and facilitating the operation of voluntary humanitarian aid organisations in distributing aid;

9. Stresses the importance of the support of the European Union, of its Member States and of the international community for the reconstruction phase in the affected region;

10. Calls on China to abide by the public commitments which it made with regard to human rights and minority rights, democracy and the rule of law and which the IOC announced when it decided to allow China to organise the Olympic Games;

11. Urges the Chinese authorities to take this historic opportunity to demonstrate to the world that the granting of the Olympic Games to Beijing has provided a unique chance to improve their human rights record by displaying clemency to all political prisoners and human rights activists in gaol, including those in gaol in Tibet following the uprising of March 2008 (except, of course, for perpetrators of violent crimes); calls, moreover, on the Chinese authorities to stop discrimination against rural migrants and ethnic minorities and to refrain from harassing trade-union activists, lawyers and journalists when they denounce violations of fundamental freedoms; reiterates its conviction that the imprisonment of such people is against the universal and accepted spirit of the ius gentium (law of nations);

12. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee.

China spies on top ALP figures

11/07/2008 11:03:00 PM
Canberra Times: The Chinese consulate-general in Sydney has targeted federal Labor ministers and staffers in an intelligence-gathering operation.

A Chinese vice-consul in Sydney cultivated a Labor staffer over a 15-month period before the federal election in November 2007.

The staffer told The Canberra Times that he was encouraged to divulge information on Labor Party figures and handed over internal ALP documents.

He was paid $800 and was offered more money if Labor won the federal election.

The vice-consul first sought general information on federal Labor's political fortunes and attitudes towards China, especially after Kevin Rudd's election as Labor leader in December 2007.

The conversations also covered commercial prospects in China, with the staffer seeking help about a relative's business problems in Shanghai.

Over time, the vice-consul's questions became more specific and included seeking details on contact between the Labor Party and Falun Gong, including the names of Falun Gong practitioners who had lobbied NSW Labor parliamentarians.

The vice-consul sought personal information about federal Labor figures, including frontbenchers Joel Fitzgibbon, Robert McClelland, Anthony Albanese, Tanya Plibersek, and Labor staff in the offices of Mr Rudd, Deputy Leader Julia Gillard, Mr Fitzgibbon and Mr McClelland.

The staffer handed over copies of Labor internal telephone lists, including private numbers of MPs and staffers, Labor briefing papers on marginal federal electorates and information on the largely Chinese-Australian Maxine Support Group, which campaigned for Maxine McKew against then prime minister John Howard in the seat of Bennelong.

The vice-consul said Mr Howard's defeat would be "good" for Australian-Chinese relations because his government had "lost its way" and Mr Rudd "better understood the role China will play in the future".

At the request of the vice-consul, the staffer wrote two papers on internal Labor party politics in NSW and several short "backgrounders" on federal Labor parliamentarians.

The vice-consul paid two instalments of $400 and asked staffer to sign invoices for "writing services".

The vice-consul said further payments could be made for more work if Labor won the federal election.

He encouraged the staffer to get a job with a federal Labor minister and mention was made of the possibility of travel to China, with the cost at least in part paid by a Chinese travel agency.

The vice-consul emphasised it was necessary to "be discreet" about their meetings.

The staffer said he accepted the money because he was "a bit embarrassed financially at the time" and he "didn't see anything bad about it".

"It's not like I was giving them state secrets, it was just background stuff," he said.

Shortly after the election, however, discussion with a Labor colleague about undergoing security checking for employment in a federal minister's office caused him to reconsider.

The staffer says he broke off the relationship with the vice-consul shortly after Christmas 2007.

He says they have not had any further contact.

He has not had any contact with the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, which is responsible for protecting Australia from foreign espionage and interference.

He has since left employment with Labor and now works in the private sector.

A security expert and visiting fellow at the Australian National University, Professor Clive Williams, said the affair looked like "standard methodology" for intelligence recruitment.

"The aim is to compromise a person and then to later put pressure on them to provide more sensitive information," Professor Williams said.

Asked whether he thought he might have been the subject of attempted recruitment by an intelligence officer, the former staffer said, "I really don't know. It seemed pretty straight at first, but then I think I made a mistake. We started talking politics, you know, and I'm really interested in all that's happening in China, but I think I let it take a wrong turn."

The Chinese consulate-general in Sydney is headed by consul-general Qiu Shaofang, and has almost 40 staff.

The Chinese embassy in Canberra has repeatedly denied that China runs spies under diplomatic or consular cover in Australia.

The embassy's press office did not return calls yesterday.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

China Denies Having Organ Transplantation Statistics Between 2000 and 2005

By Shi Yu
Jul 08, 2008

Shi Bingyi, Deputy Director of the Transplant Chapter of the Chinese Medical Association, said that over 90,000 transplant operations had taken place in China. Source: website of Health Journal March 2, 2006. (Jian Kang Bao)
Shi Bingyi, Deputy Director of the Transplant Chapter of the Chinese Medical Association, said that over 90,000 transplant operations had taken place in China. Source: website of Health Journal March 2, 2006. (Jian Kang Bao)

In a 2008 United Nations report, Asma Jahangir Jahangir, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, and Manfred Nowak, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, demanded that China explain the dramatic increase in organs used for transplantation from 2000 to 2005, and the mismatch between the high number of transplants and the relatively few known donor sources.

The Chinese government responded that they have no statistics on the number of transplants between 2000 and 2005.

The United Nations officials pointed out that the persecution against Falun Gong practitioners was the most brutal between 2000 and 2005. This time period coincided with the surge in organ transplantation in China.

The report also stated that the United Nations had heard allegations that between 2000 and 2005, there were 60,000 transplant operations, averaging 10,000 annually.

The report said that in 2005, approximately 0.5 percent of the transplant organs came from patients' relatives. In 2006, there were 9 donors who died and donated organs to non-relatives. An approximate 1,770 people died from the death penalty in 2005, while 3,900 people were given the death sentence (not all of them were executed in that year). It has been alleged that the difference between the number of transplants and available sources was due to organ harvesting from live Falun Gong practitioners.

A Canada-based special investigation group said that of the 60,000 transplants taken place between 2000 and 2005, at least 40,000 could not be attributed to known sources. The Chinese government has not given any explanation.

In response to the United Nations report, the Chinese government denied having any official statistics on organ transplantation between 2000 and 2005.

A March 2006 article on the China Organ Transplantation Web quoted Professor Shi Bingyi, Deputy Director of the Transplant Chapter of the Chinese Medical Association, who said that over 90,000 transplant operations had taken place in China. The Canada-based investigation group estimated that 60,000 of those occurred between 2000 and 2005.

The Chinese government said that the 90,000 figure reported by the China Organ Transplantation Web and Health Journal was "a mistake." It said that Professor Shi has denied the figure during a January 2007 interview with the BBC.

Click here to read the original article in Chinese