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Issue 18: Chinese Embassy Directs Thai Police to Detain Falun Gong Practitioners and Their Children  
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Falun Gong Human Rights Newsletter, Issue 18

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Communication with UN Blocked; Hunger Strikes into Day 4

On December 15, outside the Chinese embassy in Bangkok, Thai police forcibly arrested and detained five Falun Gong practitioners and three of their children, girls aged 4, 6, and 14. The 6- and 14-year-old girls were eventually released, but the youngest girl, although not formally charged, is still with her father at the Bangkok immigration detention center. All of those arrested are Chinese refugees under the protection of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. All of the detained adult practitioners are on a hunger strike, taking no food or water, to protest their detention.

By day four of the hunger strike, one of the detainees had become very weak, and had difficulty standing up. Detention center authorities have repeatedly obstructed the practitioners' attempts to communicate with them as well as with the UNHCR, and told them that they are indifferent to their hunger strike.

Victims:

  • Mr. Wang Yajun, his wife Ms. Liu Ying, and their 14-year-old daughter Wang Anqi
  • Mr. Huang Guohua and his 4-year-old daughter Huang Ying (nickname Kaixin)
  • Ms. Miao Miao and her 6-year-old daughter Hua Yuchen
  • Mr. Li Jianhui

Background:

For a week, starting on December 6, Falun Gong practitioners came to the Chinese embassy in Bangkok for approximately two hours each day to protest Chinese policeman He Xuejian's recent torture and rape of two female practitioners who were in detention in China. Each day, large numbers of uniformed and plainclothes police officers monitored their protest. On December 10, International Human Rights Day, Thai police, after coming in and out of the Chinese embassy, manhandled some of the peacefully protesting practitioners. The police forcibly dragged some of the practitioners away, searched their bags, and took away their banners.

Mr. Wang Yajun being carried into
a police vehicle

On December 13, Special Branch police told the protesters that they had specific orders from higher up: if practitioners came to protest again the next day, they would be arrested. This prompted practitioners to request a meeting with the "higher-ups," which was set for the next morning.

On December 14, no practitioners gathered at the embassy. Instead, four practitioners went to the Special Branch and met with two of the agents who had been at the embassy. For three hours the practitioners discussed why exposing the persecution of Falun Gong in China and other crimes committed by the Chinese Communist Party was so important to them. The officials appeared to understand. They sympathized with the victims and explained that the Chinese embassy had directed them to remove the practitioners.

On December 15, approximately 15 practitioners went to the embassy to silently display their support for the worldwide protests. About six people sat across the street from the embassy, quietly meditating without displaying any protest materials. The rest of the group handed out flyers inconspicuously up and down the street.

Shortly after 11 a.m., approximately 20 Thai policemen approached the meditating practitioners. They forcibly picked up the practitioners with their legs still in the cross-legged meditation position. They repeatedly demanded the refugees' passports, refusing to accept UNHCR Refugee Certificates as adequate identification, although practitioners had been told earlier in the week that copies of their UNHCR letters would be sufficient for the police.

The police repeatedly asked the group to come to an immigration detention center to show their IDs, after which they would be free to go. As the police had already made copies of their IDs, the practitioners did not understand the request. Eventually, the police took them away by force, even while some of them were still sitting in the cross-legged meditation position.

Mr. Wang Yajun being forcibly
taken to a police vehicle

Ms. Miao Miao and her 6-year-old daughter Hua Yuchen being dragged to a police vehicle


Among those forcibly arrested were Mr. Huang Guohua and his 4-year-old daughter Huang Ying (nickname Kaixin). In 2002, Kaixin's mother, Ms. Luo Zhixiang, who was three months pregnant, was tortured to death while in Chinese custody. Kaixin had been living with her grandparents in China until last December, when she was reunited with her father in Bangkok. He fled to Thailand earlier after he himself had been arrested and tortured in China.

The official reason given for the arrests was that they failed to show "proper evidence of legal entry into Thailand." But, like many refugees, the arrested practitioners did not have passports with them, and instead had official letters of protection status from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office.

Even though Mr. Wang Yajun and Ms. Liu Ying gave their passports with valid visas to the police later on the day of the arrest, they still remain in detention.

Current Situation:

By day four of the hunger strike, one detainee, Ms. Miao Miao, had become very weak, and had difficulty standing up.

The arrested female practitioners say that officials at the detention center have largely refused to communicate with them. Immigration officers did, however, send a message to the detainees: that officers are indifferent to the practitioners' hunger strike, and do not care whether they live or die.

Officials told the women that their fate lies in the hands of the UNHCR, but these same officials either have not accepted or have torn up all of the letters the women have written to the UN.

Wikorn Jarupruch, a Thai immigration investigator, also told practitioners that it was the Chinese embassy that had directed the police to stop the protests.

All of the detained adult practitioners have continued their hunger strike without food and water for days to protest the arrest and detention. We are very concerned for their well-being, and ask for their immediate unconditional release. They are merely exercising their basic rights of freedom of speech and expression, speaking openly about the atrocities being perpetrated against their compatriots in China.


To sign the online petition:

http://falunhr.org/te/index.php?signature=1&lang=en


Background information

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

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Phone: 619-280-5177, Fax: 619-280-4931, E-mail: info@falunhr.org, flghrwg@faluninfo.net


     
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