Urgent Appeal: South Korea Must Cease Deporting Falun Gong Practitioners to
Young couple facing imminent deportation, 50 other Falun Gong asylum seekers
12 Sep 2011
NEW YORK—The South Korean government must immediately take measures to ensure
that no Falun Gong refugees be deported back to China, the Falun Dafa
Information Center said Monday. Last week, immigration officials detained a
25-year-old Falun Gong practitioner and are holding him in detention for
possible repatriation at any moment. Should he be deported, he faces serious
risk of imprisonment, torture, or even death.
“Sending Falun Gong refugees back to China is inhumane, unjust, and contrary
to international law.” says Levi Browde, Executive Director of the Falun Dafa
Information Center. “We urge the South Korean government to resist any pressure
coming from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and offer Falun Gong practitioners
a safe haven from persecution.”
“We know in the past that the South Korean government has allowed Falun Gong
practitioners to safely stay in South Korea even without official asylum status,
and we urge them to resume this practice.”
On September 6, 2011, two Ministry of Justice officers and four local police
went to the home of 25-year-old Mr. Jin Jingzhe and his wife Ms. Ma Yue. They
arrested the couple on the grounds of their illegal immigration status after
their applications for asylum had been denied. Mr. Jin was then taken to the
“foreigners protection detention center,” where staff told him that he had seven
days to write an appeal application explaining why he should not be repatriated.
Ms. Ma remains outside of custody. According to one source, in addition to Jin,
another Falun Gong practitioner, Shen Xianzhi, also remains at an immigrant
detention center facing potential deportation.
Since 2009, South Korea has sent at least 10 Falun Gong refugees back to
China, indicating the danger facing the couple. At present, an additional 56
Falun Gong students residing in Korea have been denied asylum. If detained by
police, they too risk deportation to Mainland China.
The Falun Dafa Information Center is calling on the government of the
Republic of Korea to honor its commitments under the United Nations Convention
on the Status of Refugees and the Convention Against Torture. South Korea is a
signatory to both treaties, which prohibit returning refugees to countries where
they would be subjected to torture or persecution on account of their religion
or membership of a particular social group.
Falun Gong practitioners, regardless of their profile or prominence within
the Falun Gong community, all face the possibility of arbitrary detention,
extra-legal sentencing, and torture in China. Hundreds of thousands of Falun
Gong prisoners of conscience are believed to be detained in China for their
beliefs; in some detention facilities, they comprise the majority population.
The United Nations, Amnesty International, Chinese human rights lawyers, and
Western media have documented Falun Gong torture and deaths at the hands of
Chinese officials. In its annual report released in early 2011, Amnesty
International stated that Falun Gong practitioners who refused to renounce their
beliefs “are typically tortured until they co-operate; many die in detention or
shortly after release."
The Falun Dafa Information Center therefore calls on:
- The South Korean government to immediately halt all deportations of Falun
Gong practitioners to China and take measures to grant them asylum.
- The South Korean National Human Rights Commission to investigate and respond
accordingly to previous cases of Falun Gong repatriations.
- The international community, including human rights groups, foreign
government officials, and concerned citizens, to immediately contact
representatives of the South Korean government and urge them to protect Falun
Mr. Jin first learned Falun Gong in China with his mother when he was in
elementary school. After the Communist Party launched the campaign to persecute
Falun Gong in 1999, Jin was forced to drop out of high school and his mother was
held at a Beijing labor camp. In 2008, Jin arrived in Korea Korea, where he has
been an active member of the Falun Gong community.
Among other activities, he has worked as a reporter for the independent
station New Tang Dynasty Television, covering various stories considered
politically sensitive by the CCP. These included local Falun Gong practitioners’
appeals for an end to human rights abuses in China and stories related to North
In recent years, 23 members of the U.S. Congress have written to the
government of the Republic of Korea seeking their help in protecting Falun Gong
practitioners on humanitarian grounds, but the repatriations have continued.
Roger Helmer, a member of the European Parliament, wrote on September 9 to the
South Korean Ambassador in the United Kingdom, voicing his concern for the
couple and requesting assurance that Korea would fulfill its international
obligations to asylum seekers.