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Issue 06: The Courage Stories  
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Issue 6, 2004

Dear Reader:

This issue of our newsletter is dedicated to those who courageously defend the rights of Falun Gong practitioners and expose the human rights violations against them in China.

The systematic violation of human rights always includes both demonizing the victim and systematically stifling the victim's voice. Since former Chinese President Jiang Zemin first initiated the oppression of Falun Gong five years ago, practitioners have tried many ways to expose the violations to the light of day and to peacefully seek an end to them.


To keep the outside world from learning the truth about the suppression, the Chinese authorities have launched a far-reaching campaign of fabrication and misinformation about Falun Gong and its practitioners. They have consistently denied these victims both the right to express their opinions and the right to appeal, even though these rights are guaranteed under Chinese law. Practitioners and non-practitioners alike who come to the victims' aid are punished, often by being sentenced to prison.

Even outside of China, those opposing the persecution are targeted, as exemplified by a practitioner who was shot in South Africa while en route to serve two high-ranking Chinese officials with lawsuits for crimes against humanity.

The human rights defenders whose stories are in this newsletter include both Falun Gong practitioners and non-practitioners. They are professors, lawyers, teachers, government officials, and others who have risked their lives to defend the basic human rights of their fellow citizens.


We ask only that you take a few moments to read their stories, convey the urgency of the situation to your colleagues, and make their efforts worthwhile by helping to end this senseless onslaught. Please be their voice, because in China, they don't have one.

Thank you for your kind attention.

The Falun Gong Human Rights Working Group



 

Table of Contents:


 

Lawyer Nearly Sentenced to Three Years of Forced Labor
for Defending a Falun Gong Practitioner in Court

In April 2003, Mr. Wei Jun, an attorney from the Baicheng Law Firm in Baise City, Guangxi Province, defended Ms. Liang Changying at the Second Criminal Court of the Youjiang District Court. Ms. Liang is a Falun Gong practitioner who was on trial because she wrote an article that was posted to the Internet, documenting the human rights violations committed against Falun Gong practitioners at the Guangxi First Labor Camp and the Guangxi Women's Labor Camp.

Mr. Wei argued Ms. Liang's case based on the facts and provided a powerful defense against the public prosecutor's charges. During closing arguments, when the public prosecutor was unsuccessful in rebutting Mr. Wei's arguments, he became very upset. Despite Mr. Wei's efforts, Ms. Liang was still sentenced to five and a half years in prison.

When the court adjourned, the public prosecutor demanded, "Isn't there a regulation saying that lawyers cannot defend Falun Gong practitioners who plead "not guilty" Who authorized that lawyer to defend a Falun Gong practitioner?"

That day, Mr. Wei's home phone, cell phone, and office phone were put under surveillance. Several days later, police officers went to the Judiciary Bureau and asked the bureau to suspend Mr. Wei's license to practice law and to sentence him to three years of forced labor. The director of the Judiciary Bureau refused their request, so the police then warned Mr. Wei that in the future he would not be allowed to defend Falun Gong practitioners. Then they confiscated all of his materials regarding Ms. Liang's case.

 

Falun Gong Practitioners Jailed for Posting and Downloading Internet
Articles Documenting Human Rights Violations

Falun Gong practitioners in Baise City, Guanxi Province have been sentenced to prison for posting and downloading articles to the Internet about the human rights violations committed against Falun Gong practitioners:

Ms. Liang Changying is a 34-year-old teacher, has been detained and released multiple times. On September 5, 2002, the police arrested her for writing an article titled, "The persecution of Dafa disciples at the Guangxi First Labor Camp and the Guangxi Women's Labor Camp," documenting the human rights violations committed against Falun Gong practitioners at both camps. The article was posted to the Internet. Her lawyer, Mr. Wei Jun, provided her with a well-argued defense. The enraged prosecutor asked the Court, "Aren't there rules stipulating that no one can use 'innocence' as a defense for Falun Gong practitioners? " For defending Ms. Liang, Mr. Wei was reprimanded, and nearly sent to a forced labor camp for three years. On July 25, 2003, despite the excellent defense, the Youjiang District People's Court at Baise City sentenced Ms. Liang to five and a half years in prison.

Ms. Wei Xinglian, Ms. Liang Changying's mother, was sentenced to two years in prison for downloading "materials from an overseas website."

Mr. Fang Guokun was jailed because he wrote an article to expose the persecution, and posted it to the Internet.

Mr. Wei Binglian was arrested on August 16, 2002, because the police thought that he accessed the Internet to get information about Falun Gong. The Baise City court sentenced him to one and a half years in prison for "illegally obtaining national secrets." Then on July 25, 2003, the Youjiang District People's Court of Baise City sentenced him to an additional four and a half years.

 

Li Weiji Sentenced to 8 Years in Prison and Beaten until Paralyzed for
Helping Falun Gong Practitioners Collect Evidence of Abuse

On March 5, 2003, the Yinzhou District Court of Tieling in Liaoning Province sentenced Mr. Li Weiji to eight years in prison to be served in the Panjin Jail. Although he does not practice Falun Gong himself, Mr. Li helped collect evidence of the human rights abuses suffered by local Falun Gong practitioners, and also helped them with paperwork so that they could travel abroad. While in detention, guards beat Mr. Li so severely that they broke both of his arms and caused a protrusion of his lumbar intervertebral disc. As a result, Mr. Li can hardly walk.

 

Assassination Attempt on Falun Gong Human Rights Defender in South Africa


David Liang's feet were
seriously injured.

Bullet holes on the car.

Mr. David Liang was telling
his story at a press conference
in Sydney, Australia.

On June 28, 2004, at around 8:30 p.m., five Falun Gong practitioners were driving from Johannesburg International Airport to Pretoria, the capital of South Africa, when a white car came up from behind and opened fire on them with an AK-47 assault rifle. The practitioners tried to change their speed to dodge the attack, but the assassins kept up with them and continued to shoot. The practitioners' car and its driver, Mr. David Liang, an Australian Citizen, were hit and forced off the road; the injured driver managed to stop in a field. The gunmen stopped and watched for a few seconds, then fled the scene.

This shooting does not seem to be a simple homicide attempt. The victims were among a group of nine Falun Gong practitioners from Australia who traveled to South Africa to file a lawsuit - charging China's Vice President, Zeng Qinghong, and the Minister of Commerce, Bo Xilai, who were visiting South Africa from June 27 to June 29 - with torture, genocide, and crimes against humanity. Before they left Australia, one of them had received two threatening phone calls. When they arrived in Johannesburg International Airport, they noticed a suspicious-looking man following and watching them. In addition, Mr. David Liang, the driver who was shot, was wearing a Falun Gong jacket. The South African police noted that the shooting site was not located in an area with a high crime rate. The gunmen did not attempt to steal anything from the practitioners although there were several suitcases in the car, thus ruling out the possibility that the shooting was an attempted robbery.

A hasty statement on June 30 by China's embassy in South Africa only adds to the suspicion. As the representative of Chinese nationals in South Africa, the embassy showed no sympathy towards Mr. Liang, who suffered gunshot wounds in both feet and bone fractures in the right foot. On the contrary, the embassy claimed that the incident was a Falun Gong conspiracy and warned the international media not to make any "irresponsible report about the incident."

Actually, this shooting was not an isolated attack on overseas Falun Gong practitioners, either. Ever since Jiang Zemin, former president of China, launched the violent persecution against Falun Gong on July 20, 1999, the Chinese government has been trying to stifle overseas Falun Gong practitioners' efforts to reveal the brutality of the situation in China. The Chinese government has used economic pressure to coerce foreign governments to mistreat Falun Gong practitioners and disrupt their activities. In France, Germany, Iceland, Russia, Ukraine, Thailand, and a few other countries, there have been cases in which local police forces were pressured into arbitrary and wrongful detention of Falun Gong practitioners who were merely exercising their rights of peaceful demonstration. Chinese authorities have also resorted to violence and hate crime to intimidate Falun Gong practitioners; in Atlanta, San Francisco, Chicago, and New York City, there have been multiple incidents of physical assaults against Falun Gong practitioners by Chinese nationals with close ties to the Chinese consulates.

While the factual details of the South Africa shooting await police investigation, there is no dispute regarding the Chinese government's other crimes against Falun Gong. The issue in question is how universal principles and values weigh against China's market. As long as the international community acquiesces, the Chinese government's actions will continue, and the escalating terrorist attacks against Falun Gong practitioners overseas will not stop until the state terrorism against Falun Gong in China is stopped.

For updated information please visit www.628watch.net

 

Li Chunyuan Sentenced to Labor Camp for Filing Complaints against
Former-President Jiang for the Persecution of Falun Gong

Mr. Li Chunyuan, male, over 40, of Korean nationality, is a lecturer in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Central Minority University, Beijing. He was forcibly removed from his home on January 17, 2001, accused of "disturbing the social order," and sentenced to one and a half years of imprisonment in the Tuanhe Labor Camp in Beijing's Daxing County. His "crime" was filing two complaints - in September 2003, with the Supreme People's Procuratorate of China, and in November 2000, with the National People's Congress - against Jiang Zemin, the then-President of China, for the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. He wrote a ten-page-long report that documented how he was deprived of his teaching position, his stipend, and his lodging, and was detained for four months because he once practiced the Falun Gong exercises on the university campus.

At the Tuanhe Labor Camp, he was locked in an iron cage for a long period of time. He had to sit still on a board from early morning until evening, and he was not allowed to go out or talk. The officers tortured him by shocking his back, face, and genitals with electric batons. In addition, his sentence was extended because he would not give up the practice of Falun Gong.

 

Sun Ke Sentenced to Forced Labor for Speaking Out against
the Injustice Done to Falun Gong Practitioners

Mr. Sun Ke lived with his family in Dehui City, Jilin Province. Although he is not a Falun Gong practitioner, some of his family members are. After the government started persecuting Falun Gong, his whole family suffered both physically and mentally. His elder brother, Mr. Sun Dawei, a practitioner, was arbitrarily detained for refusing to give up the practice. Once he was tortured to the verge of death and detained in a hospital.

Mr. Sun Ke's younger brother, Mr. Sun Qian, and his wife, Ms. Ma Chunli, are also practitioners. Ms. Ma was forced to become homeless to avoid further detention and torture. Mr. Sun Qian was arbitrarily detained and tortured for practicing Falun Gong.

In November 2003, Mr. Sun Ke appealed to leaders at the police station and to the local Public Prosecutor Department, the Justice Department, and other local government entities, all in accordance with the law. However, these departments shifted their responsibilities to each other. Having no other alternatives, Mr. Sun Ke, along with twelve other family members who were Falun Gong practitioners, went to Beijing to appeal to the central government in accordance with the law. This shocked the authorities in their local district.

On December 18, 2003, the Dehui City Court held a trial of thirteen imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners, including Mr. Sun Qian, who had already been detained for over 14 months. The court sentenced him to 12 years in prison. He was then detained at the Jilin Prison. When Mr. Sun Ke came to the court and requested to enter as a visitor, he was denied entry. He argued on behalf of his brother, telling them, "The extended prison term is nothing but an illegal detention. If you don't release these people, we, the family members, will go to Beijing to sue you!" In response, Commissar Li Jin directed a group of policemen to subdue Mr. Sun. Some policemen grabbed him by the hair, some forcefully took him by the waist, and some grabbed his arms. They overwhelmed him and took him away.

At the police station, policeman Wang Chunsheng from the Criminal Brigade, along with eight other policemen, beat Mr. Sun on the head, kicked his lower back, and struck his back with their arms and elbows, all the while verbally abusing him. He was beaten for a long time, until his whole body was covered with cuts and bruises. The police then created false documents to frame him. They tried to force him to sign them, but he refused. The police even threatened others in an attempt to contrive false evidence against him. Mr. Sun was interrogated three times within a period of five days. Finally, he was sentenced to one year of forced labor and sent to the Yinmahe Labor Camp in Jiutai City. Recently, Mr. Sun has suffered mental confusion and has been unable to eat food. He has passed out many times. While Mr. Sun remains in detention, his wife, children, and elderly mother are without a source of income.

 

The Director of a Local "610 Office,"[1] Sentenced for
Refusing to Persecute Falun Gong Practitioners

Mr. Yang Liwen, male, was a group leader and deputy director of the Beihu District's Justice Inspection Department in Chenzhou City, Hunan Province. In 1999, he was made the director of the local "610 Office" and witnessed the emergence of the persecution and all the mechanisms used to force Falun Gong practitioners to renounce their beliefs. Not only did he refuse to persecute Falun Gong practitioners; he also wrote letters to the Chenzhou local government to appeal to them to stop the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners, and to an overseas website pointing out not only that Falun Gong is the hope of China, but also that "truthfulness"[2] would be fatal to corrupt Party officials. On November 5, 2002, he was arrested and detained. On November 3, 2003, he was sentenced to 18 months in jail at the Second Detention Center of Chenzhou City.

---------------------------
[1] "610 Office": A national agency specifically created for the purpose of eradicating Falun Gong and to "reforming" practitioners. It has absolute power over every level of administration in the Communist Party, as well as all other political and judiciary bodies.
[2] Falun Gong is based on the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance, as practitioners strive to assimilate to these values in their daily lives.

 

Zhu Xianzhi Arrested for Appealing and Publicizing Torture

Ms. Zhu Xianzhi is 43 years old and a mother of three. She lives in Tangsengsi Village of Houshi Township, Yanshi City, Henan Province. On June 28, 2000, Ms. Zhu brought two appeal letters to Beijing's Central Appeal Office to ask the government to stop the persecution of Falun Gong. The next day, she was arrested and escorted back to her hometown. She was detained several times. On July 31, 2001, she was again arrested and detained. She was deprived of sleep for three days, while handcuffed with her hands behind her back for two nights, injuring her right arm.

During her detention, Ms. Zhu wrote a description of the ongoing inhuman treatment she received from Houshi Township officials and the police. She gave it to other Falun Gong practitioners to publicize on the Internet. When the township officials heard this news they retaliated. On March 6, 2003, Ms. Zhu was forcibly taken to a brainwashing center[3]. She went on a hunger strike to protest her illegal detention.

She managed to escape four days later, and became homeless to avoid further arrest and torture. Houshi Township officials arrested her husband and her 15-year-old daughter to determine Ms. Zhu's whereabouts. They detained her husband for seven days and deprived him of sleep. They handcuffed her daughter to a table leg for 24 hours; she was not allowed to eat or sleep. The police also harassed many of Ms. Zhu's relatives.

---------------------------
[3] "Brainwashing center": The Chinese authorities have constructed thousands of facilities across China where Falun Gong practitioners are subject to indoctrination to force them to renounce the practice. There are made to watch videos or recite anti-Falun Gong propaganda and are often deprived of sleep and tortured.



For more information on the human rights violations against Falun Gong practitioners, please visit
    Falun Gong Human Rights Working Group
For more information on the current situation of Falun Gong, please visit
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To learn more about Falun Gong, please visit
    What is Falun Gong?
To find out why the Chinese government started persecuting Falun Gong, please visit
    Introduction

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