After 12 Years, Repression of Falun Gong in China Still a Grave Concern

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Mary McGuire
202-747-7035
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After 12 Years, Repression of Falun Gong in
China Still a Grave Concern
Washington
July 13, 2011

 

As the 12th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party’s
(CCP) launch of a massive crackdown on the Falun Gong spiritual group approaches
on July 20, Freedom House remains deeply concerned about the ongoing human
rights abuses committed against adherents, their families, and increasingly,
their lawyers.
“Over the past twelve years, Falun Gong practitioners and
their families have suffered greatly at the hands of the Communist Party, simply
for exercising their fundamental rights to freedom of belief and peaceful
expression of their views,” Sue Gunawardena-Vaughn, Freedom House’s senior
program manager for international religious freedom. “In recent years, we’ve
also seen the CCP expanding the repressive tactics used against Falun Gong to
others in China, including human rights lawyers."
On July 20, 1999, the Chinese Communist Party, led by Jiang
Zemin, initiated a large-scale campaign to wipe out Falun Gong, seeing the
spread of the independent spiritual movement as a threat to the CCP’s
power.
Today, Falun Gong adherents remain among those most
severely persecuted in China, alongside Tibetans, Uighurs and other vulnerable
minorities. They are targeted for surveillance, imprisonment, and torture,
particularly surrounding international events like the 2008 Beijing Olympics and
2010 World Expo in Shanghai. Tens of thousands of people are estimated to be in
detention for their affiliation with Falun Gong, while others face daily
challenges like internet censorship and discrimination.
Since early 2011, numerous human rights lawyers who had
represented Falun Gong practitioners in court among other cases they
took—including Teng Biao, Tang Jitian, and Jiang Tianyong—have been abducted and
reportedly tortured, including being beaten and forcibly medicated. Gao
Zhisheng, known for publishing open letters documenting the torture of Falun
Gong adherents, has been disappeared since April 2010.
Meanwhile, agencies like the extralegal 6-10 Office, a CCP
security apparatus created in 1999 to implement the crackdown, remain active
across China, arbitrarily detaining citizens, interfering with judicial
procedures, and undermining rule of law development. In 2010, the central 6-10
Office launched a three-year nationwide campaign to intensify efforts to
“transform” Falun Gong adherents, a coercive process typically involving
physical and psychological torture aimed at forcing them to renounce their
beliefs.
“The ongoing campaign against Falun Gong not only puts
innocent people’s lives at risk, but it also undermines the possibility of
genuine legal reforms in China,” says Vaughn. “Freedom House calls on the
Communist Party to abolish the 6-10 Office and immediately release all Falun
Gong prisoners of conscience.”
Freedom House will co-sponsor a rally on the western lawn
of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. EST. For more
information, click here.
China is ranked Not Free in Freedom in the World
2011
, Freedom House’s survey of political rights and civil liberties, and
Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2011.
For more information on China, visit:
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that
supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and
advocates for democracy and human rights.
Join us on Facebook
and Twitter (freedomhousedc) and
stay up to date with Freedom House’s latest news and events by signing up for our RSS feeds.

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