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Issue 11: A Father Thrown into a Labor Camp after German Authorities Send Family Back to China  
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Issue 11, 2005

A Father Thrown into a Labor Camp after
German Authorities Send Family Back to China


A Repatriation into Devastation

On March 7, 2005, the Central Deportation Department of Northern Bavaria repatriated Falun Gong practitioners Mr. Jiang Renzheng and Ms. Guo Rui, and their two children, back to the waiting jaws of the Chinese police.

Ms. Guo Rui, Mr. Jiang Renzheng, and their two sons
This was the end of the Jiang family's hope for safety in Germany, and just the beginning of their nightmare in China. Contrary to the verdict of the Bavarian Administrative Court in Wuerzburg that "It will be highly unlikely that [Mr. Jiang and Ms. Guo] will have to fear persecution upon returning to China," the couple faced persecution the moment they stepped off the airplane. The Chinese police interrogated them for information about Falun Gong activities in Germany, and attempted to coerce them to renounce their belief in Falun Gong. After one month of continuous harassment and intimidation, on April 8, 2005, the police detained Mr. Jiang and sentenced him to three years of forced labor at the Benxi Labor Camp.

The sudden descent of terror also devastated the elderly parents of Mr. Jiang and Ms. Guo. They were often in tears, and could not understand how their law-abiding children could be so mistreated. In addition, the police interrogated Mr. Jiang's father.

German Authorities in Denial

The cold facts were not enough to make the German officials, who have condemned this family to such misery, to face the tragic reality caused by their decisions. Instead, they are in denial. Despite a German media report of Mr. Jiang's sentencing to the forced labor camp, transcripts of phone calls to China to Mr. Jiang, Ms. Guo, and Mr. Jiang's father, and other information provided by German Falun Gong practitioners, the officials who caused the repatriation of Mr. Jiang's family-including officials from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees in Nuernberg; Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees, Wuerzburg branch; Administrative Authority for Foreigners in Wuerzburg; the Central Deportation Department of Northern Bavaria; the Petition Committee of the Bavarian Landtag (State Parlianment); the Petition Committee of the German Bundestag (German Federal Parliament); and judges from Bavarian Administrative Court in Wuerzburg, the Bavarian Administrative Court in Munich, and the Bundesverfassungsgericht (Federal Constitutional Court)-simply deemed those facts unreliable.

The Unfeeling German Officials

This is not the only time that the German authorities have rejected valid information provided by Falun Gong practitioners. The German Falun Gong Association, formally registered by Falun Gong practitioners in Germany, had repeatedly provided various German authorities with information about the severe and extensive human rights violations against Falun Gong practitioners in China, and testified that Mr. Jiang's family would face substantial danger of being persecuted. Over 140 Falun Gong practitioners in Germany appealed to the Petition Committee of the German Bundestag and also signed affidavits to bear witness that Mr. Jiang and Ms. Guo are genuine Falun Gong practitioners. The German authorities ignored all of these.

Current Persecution in China



In the Longshan Forced Labor Camp, the police shocked Ms. Gao Rongrong's face with three electric batons continuously for seven hours, burning her face to a crisp. The picture was taken ten days after the heinous torture. After the torture was exposed to the public the police searched everywhere for her and arrested her again. She has since "disappeared."



Ms. Wang Xia was sentenced to seven years of forced labor for telling people about Falun Gong. She was forcibly injected with nerve-damaging drugs. Two years of continuous torture reduced Ms. Wang to just skin and bones; she weighed only 45 pounds and was on the verge of death at the time of her release.



Mr. Pan Xingfu, a Trans-century Model Worker in the Postal and Telecommunications System in Heilongjiang Province, was tortured for practicing Falun Gong. During his detention, he was starved until he weighed only around 40 kg. He was admitted as a TB in-patient. His diagnosis was TB type pleurisy and lung tissue damage. Finally, Mr. Pan Xingfu died on January 31, 2005.

What is more chilling is how the German authorities rejected the pleas of Falun Gong practitioners.

One example is Judge Duemig of the Administrative Court in Wuerzburg. In his verdict on Jiang's petition on August 6, 2004, he wrote:

"It cannot be automatically assumed that every Falun Gong practitioner will get arrested, because of the large number of Falun Gong movement adherents."

That argument, if valid, would serve to deny asylum application from any persecuted group, because not every Jew was sent to a Nazi concentration camp, not every Tutsi was killed in Rwanda, and not every member of one ethnic group was "cleansed" by the other ethnic group in former Yugoslavia.

Judge Duemig also wrote: "Even if the plaintiff would still continue to practice Falun Gong after returning to China, it is unlikely that he would have to worry about being persecuted if he just practiced Falun Gong secluded at home."

Previously, only the Chinese government had used this excuse to justify its persecution. It is unclear on what basis the judge drew his argument, as the Chinese government's persecution is a nationwide assault aimed to "eradicate Falun Gong" and thus targets all Falun Gong practitioners, not only those who practice outdoors. What is clear from the judge's argument is that he is at least aware of the persecution of those who practice Falun Gong outdoors. How, then, can a judge of the court of justice fashion an argument that in effect limits someone's exercise of basic rights to be done only "at home"? Does he not realize that such a restriction is in itself a violation of human rights?

The judge's insensitivity was further illustrated by his disregard and mockery of Falun Gong practitioners' efforts for Mr. Jiang's safety: "The court assumes, contrary to the almost missionary eagerness that the Falun Gong practitioners who served as witnesses expressed during the oral hearing, that the plaintiff is merely practicing Falun Gong to be granted asylum." The tragic ending of Mr. Jiang's family's asylum application shows that the dedication of Falun Gong practitioners to defend fundamental human rights must not be ridiculed.

Mr. Jiang's Applications for Asylum: A Story within a Story

A key argument of the German authorities in denying Mr. Jiang and Ms. Guo's asylum application is that they began practicing Falun Gong after coming to Germany, and that their claim of being Falun Gong practitioners could not be trusted.

It is true that Mr. Jiang and Ms. Guo started to practice Falun Gong after they left China. In fact, they started practicing Falun Gong after they had filed asylum applications, first in Germany and then in Norway, with falsified information. However, that they were able to face their past flaws and step forward with corrective actions after practicing Falun Gong in itself illustrates what Falun Gong is about.

Ms. Guo and Mr. Jiang came to study in Germany in October and November of 2001, respectively. In November 2002, wanting to stay in Germany, they falsified a Chinese government warrant and used it to apply for asylum in Germany. Soon after that, however, they were frightened by their own misconduct and fled to Norway to stay with Mr. Jiang's uncle and aunt. While in Norway they applied for asylum again, and used fake names at that time.

Mr. Jiang's uncle and aunt are Falun Gong practitioners. In April 2001, they fled to Cambodia to escape the Chinese government's persecution. However, they were still followed and threatened by the Chinese agents in Cambodia. On August 2, 2002, Chinese agents abducted two of their Falun Gong friends back to China. Two weeks later, several Chinese agents came to their home to search for them; fortunately, they were not home at the time, and their neighbor alerted them. With an urgent intervention from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, they were relocated to Norway.

While staying with their uncle and aunt, Mr. Jiang and Ms. Guo learned and began to practice Falun Gong. From reading Falun Gong books, they realized that what they had done in their asylum applications was wrong and against Falun Gong's principle of Truth-Benevolence-Forbearance. Because of their newfound understanding, they found the courage to admit and correct their mistakes, and provided truthful information to the Norwegian authorities.

As Mr. Jiang learned more about the Chinese government's violent persecution against Falun Gong practitioners in China, he joined other practitioners to stage protests in front the Chinese embassy in Oslo. He also participated in activities to expose the Chinese government's severe human rights violations to the Norwegian people and to appeal for help for Falun Gong practitioners in China. While in a refugee camp in Norway, Mr. Jiang also worked with a Norwegian refugee officer to prepare a special Falun Gong section for the camp's newspaper.

On July 13, 2003, Mr. Jiang practised the exercises with other practitioners outside the Chinese Embassy in Oslo.
In January 2004, the family was returned to Germany. As they had done in Norway, they informed the German authorities of their falsified information and provided truthful information. They also filed a new asylum application at the Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees, Wuerzburg branch, based on their practice of Falun Gong and their participation in Falun Gong activities.

At the time of their application, over 1500 Falun Gong practitioners had been confirmed to have died at the hands of Chinese police, and there was overwhelming information, including many reports by the Special Rapporteurs of the United Nations Human Rights Commission, on the consistent pattern of gross, flagrant, and mass violations of human rights against Falun Gong practitioners in China.

In addition, there have been cases of German Falun Gong practitioners being persecuted when they were in China. Ms. Xiong Wei, who studied at the Technical University of Berlin from 1993 to 1999 and returned to China to work for the German company Buderus in 2002, was arrested by Chinese police on January 5, 2002, and sentenced to two years in a forced labor camp. She was subjected to severe beatings, mental torture, and hard labor. She was rescued back to Germany in September 2004. Another German Falun Gong practitioner, Mr. Zhang Junan, was followed and threatened by Chinese security agents when he and his German wife visited China in April 2002. The Chinese agents searched their luggage and confiscated their Falun Gong books. The Chinese agents also tried to force them to renounce Falun Gong and assist the Chinese authorities to collect information on Falun Gong activities in Germany. The Chinese agents also threatened them not to publicize how they had been treated in China, and intimidated them by saying that they would not have been treated so "leniently" had they not been German citizens.

Falun Gong practitioners from other countries were also persecuted in China. Ms. Zhang Cuiying, an Australian citizen, was arrested by Chinese police on March 5, 2000, and was thrown in jail for more than eight months, simply because she went back to China to appeal for Falun Gong. She suffered severe torture and sexual abuse. Dr. Charles Lee, an American citizen, was sentenced to three years in jail in Nanjing, China in March 2002. He is still in jail, and has suffered physical and mental torture. Ms. Zhang Xinyi and her husband, Mr. Li Guojun, who were granted refugee status by the United Nations Refugee Agency in Cambodia, were kidnapped in Phnom Penh on August 2, 2002, returned to China on August 9, and put in jail.

To support Mr. Jiang and Ms. Guo's asylum application, over 140 German practitioners signed affidavits to bear witness that Mr. Jiang and Ms. Guo are genuine Falun Gong practitioners.

The German courts, however, refused to recognize these facts. In fact, Judge Duemig went as far as suspecting that an officer of the Norwegian refugee camp was bribed by Mr. Jiang and thus rejected her testimony of Mr. Jiang having helped her prepare a special Falun Gong section in the camp's newsletter.

Some Unanswered Questions

The German courts' willful handling of Mr. Jiang and Ms. Guo's family asylum application raises the question of what proof the courts would need from German Falun Gong practitioners to show that, first, Mr. Jiang and Ms. Guo are Falun Gong practitioners, and second, Falun Gong practitioners are suffering a gross, flagrant, and mass violation of human rights in China.

Some other actions of the German authorities are also questionable. Mr. Dieter Schmutzler, an officer of the Administrative Authority for Foreigners in Wuerzburg, repeatedly forced Mr. Jiang and Ms. Guo to go to the Chinese consulate in Munich, but refused to tell them the reason. Once he threatened to separate Mr. Jiang from his wife and children if he did not comply, and threatened to deprive Mr. Jiang of his asylum money allowance. He also delayed extending Mr. Jiang's residence permit and then used it as an excuse to call two policemen to arrest him at the asylum home. On July 29, 2004, Mr. Schmutzler once more tried to force Ms. Guo to go to the Chinese consulate. When Ms. Guo informed him that she would wait for the court hearing on August 3, Mr. Schmutzler told her that she would not win anything.

How You Can Help

Mr. Jiang's case Number:
W 4 K 04.30249

Contacts of Relevant
German Authorities:

Federal Office for Migration
and Refugees in Nuernberg

President: Dr. Albert Schmid
Frankenstrasse210
90343 Nuernberg
Tel:  +49-911-943-1002
Fax: +49-911-943-7000
E-Mail: Doktor.Albert.Schmid
@bamf.bund.de

Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees, Wuerzburg branch
Officer: Mr. Steinmeier,
Veitshoechheimerstrasse 100
97080 Wuerzburg
Tel:  +49-931-9807-182
Fax: +49-931-9807-199

The Bavarian Administrative Court in Wuerzburg, Judge Duemig
Burkarderstrasse 26
97082 Wuerzburg
Tel:  +49-931-41995-0
Fax: +49-931-41995-299
E-Mail: Poststelle@vg-w.bayern

Central Deportation Department of Northern Bavaria
Officer: Mr. Heil
Veitshoechheimerstraße 100
97080 Wuerzburg
Tel:  +49-931-980-2204
Fax: +49-931-980-2210

The Bavarian Administrative Court in Munich
President: Rolf Hüffer
Vice-President: Dr. Erwin Pongratz
Ludwigstraße 23
80539 Muenchen
Tel:  +49-89-2130-0
Fax: +49-89-2130-320
E-Mail: Poststelle@vgh.bayern.de

Ministry of the Interior
Interior Minister: Otto Schily
Alt-Moabit 101
10559 Berlin
Tel:  +49-1888-681-0
Fax: +49-1888-681-2926
E-Mail: poststelle@bmi.bund.de

Bavarian Ministry of the Interior
Bavarian Interior Minister:
Dr. Günther Beckstein
Odeonsplatz 3
80539 München
Tel:  +49-89-2192-01
Fax: +49-89-2192-1-2100
E-Mail: poststelle@stmi.bayern.de

Bavarian Landtag
President of bavarian Landtag:
Alois Glueck
81627 Muenchen
Maximilianeum
Tel:  +49-89-4126-2204
Fax: +49-89-4126-1674
E-Mail: alois.glueck@
bayern.landtag.de

German Bundestag (German Federal Parliament)
President of the German Federal Parliament, Wolfgang Thierse
Platz der Republik 1
11011 Berlin
Tel:  +49-30-227-0
Fax: +49-30-227-36878
                or 227-36979
E-Mail: wolfgang.thierse@
bundestag.de

Bundesverfassungsgericht (Federal Constitutional Court)
Federal Constitutional Court President: Hans-Jürgen Papier
Federal Constitutional Court
Vice-President: Winfried Hassemer
Schlossbezirk 3
76131 Karlsruhe
Tel:  +49-721-9101-349
Fax: +49-721-9101-461
E-Mail: bverfg@
bundesverfassungsgericht.de

To sign the online petition:

http://www.falunhr.org/te/


To learn more...

What is Falun Gong?
Why the persecution in China?
Current Situation of the Persecution in China

The German authorities also tried to deport Mr. Jiang's family on November 1 and November 25, 2004, when their petitions were still under consideration by the Petition Committee of the Bavarian Landtag and by the Petition Committee of German Bundestag. In fact, at the time of their final deportation on March 7, 2005, a lawsuit filed by Mr. Jiang's lawyer against the German Federal Republic was still pending at the Bavarian Administrative Court in Wuerzburg.

What is particularly worrisome is the Chinese government's shadow in the process. On March 18, 2004, the Chinese consulate informed Mr. Jiang that his wife's passport had been sent to the consulate. Both Mr. Jiang's and Ms. Guo's passports should have been with the German authorities for their applications. Who sent the passport to the Chinese consulate, with what authority, and for what purpose? During the court hearing, Falun Gong practitioners discovered that the interpreter used by the court for the hearing also worked for the Chinese government's academic exchange service in Wuerzburg. Furthermore, after Mr. Jiang's family was returned to China, the Chinese police mentioned to Mr. Jiang that they knew everything about his application.

It is important to note that the German government's repatriation of Mr. Jiang's family is in violation of the Convention Against Torture (CAT), of which Germany is a state party. Article 3 of the CAT states:

"1. No State Party shall expel, return ("refouler") or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.

2. For the purpose of determining whether there are such grounds, the competent authorities shall take into account all relevant considerations including, where applicable, the existence in the State concerned of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights."

It is also important to note that this repatriation is not an isolated event, but a pattern of giving in to the Chinese government's pressure and ignoring human rights violations in China. Besides Mr. Jiang's family, there are at least six other Falun Gong practitioners facing the danger of the German government sending them back to China. In April 2002, when the former Chinese president Jiang Zemin visited Germany, German police-under instructions from the German Federal Department of Domestic Affairs-infringed on the basic rights of Falun Gong practitioners who were staging peaceful demonstrations. In addition, the German government is leading the effort to lift the European Union's arms embargo imposed on China after the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.

Please Help the Modern-Day "White Rose"

In response to the plight of Mr. Jiang's family, the International Society for Human Rights - German Section passed a resolution during its 2005 general meeting to condemn the deportation and to appeal to the German government, demanding the immediate release of Mr. Jiang and the protection of his family's safety.

We ask more German people to voice their support for Falun Gong practitioners.

For almost six years, the Chinese government has carried on a barbaric persecution against Falun Gong practitioners, with a publicly stated goal of "eradicating Falun Gong." The eradication is either mental-to force Falun Gong practitioners to renounce their belief-or physical-to torture and kill those who refuse to betray their conscience. At the same time, the government has carried out a massive campaign of disinformation in China and internationally to demonize Falun Gong to justify its horrendous human rights violations.

Falun Gong practitioners, on the contrary, have strictly adhered to non-violence. At the same time, Falun Gong practitioners in China risk their lives to distribute information to the public about the truth of the Chinese government's brutal persecution. Falun Gong practitioners overseas also sacrifice their time and money to expose the Chinese government's extensive and severe human rights violations.

What Falun Gong practitioners have been doing in China and other countries is the same as what The White Rose did half a century ago.

For humanity, we ask you, the good people of Germany, to speak for the modern-day White Rose, and tell the German authorities not to send The White Rose back to China's new Nazis.

What is Falun Gong?

Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa) is an ancient form of Chinese cultivation practice.

From its earliest establishment, Chinese culture has embraced the concept of the "Oneness of Heaven and Man." The way for man to achieve this oneness is cultivation practice. Chinese literature is filled with legends of people achieving the status of deities, becoming enlightened, or obtaining the Tao through cultivation, and thousands of different schools of cultivation have existed over the course of Chinese history. Cultivation, therefore, is a traditional practice of mind and body transcendence.

Falun Gong was introduced to the public in 1992 by Mr. Li Hongzhi. The practice teaches practitioners to assimilate to the essential characteristics of the universe, Truth-Benevolence-Forbearance. When practitioners are more in tune with the energy of the universe, they become healthier in body, mind, and spirit.

At the simplest level, Falun Gong is a way of life, a choice to be a good person with higher moral standards. Practitioners give up selfish and harmful thoughts. They let go of attachments to false concepts such as fame, wealth, and lust. They stop worrying about being taken advantage of. In case of conflicts, they consider others first. They search inside to find their own shortcomings, and attain inner peace. This, combined with five sets of gentle exercises of proven efficacy in health improvement, has enabled practitioners to achieve improved health, morality, and purposeful living. It is a way of life that, once experienced, few are willing to give up.

As a testament to the exceptional benefits it brings to practitioners, by 1999, just seven years after its introduction to the public, Falun Gong had become a global phenomenon of over 100 million practitioners across more than 60 countries.

Falun Gong Human Rights Working Group
9974 Scripps Ranch Blvd. #228, San Diego, California, 92131, United States
Phone: 619-280-5177, Fax: 619-280-4931, E-mail: info@falunhr.org


     
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