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News Summaries from ICSA Periodicals

Canadianbeauty queen accuses Ottawa of Letting China bully her

Winner of the Miss World Canada competition, Anastasia Lin, has been denied entryinto China for a pageant because of her public support of the Falun Gong religion, which has beenbanned by the Chinese government. After the Chinese-born Canadian Lin won theMiss World Canada title, her father, who still lives in China, startedreceiving threats from the Chinese government. Lin has claimed that the Chinesemedia occasionally publish nasty editorials about her, and that makes life hardfor her father. She criticized the Canadian government for not standing up forher and warned that the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing might result in China’sdenying Canadian athletes entry into the country because of their politicalbeliefs. (CTV News, 12/4/15) [IT 7.22016]

MissWorld Canada says China is blocking her from final event

Actress Anastasia Lin,who was crowned Miss World in May, is a China-born Canadian who claims that sheand her father have been harassed by the Chinese government for speaking outabout human rights abuses in China. A practitioner of Falun Gong, Ms. Lin said that she wanted to “speak for those in China that arebeaten, burned and electrocuted for holding to their beliefs.” CBC, Thomson Reuters11/11/15)[IT 7.12016]

Chinaissues veiled threat to MPs for attendance at organ-trade forum

China has threatened that its economic cooperation withAustralia and New South Wales could be harmed if New South Wales MPs show up atthe international human-organ-trade meeting at the Parliament House. Chinaobjects to the participation in the meeting of Falun Gong members. (SydneyMorning Herald, 08/10/15) [IT 7.1 2016]

Beijingirked by Thailand’s decision on Falun Gong

The Chinese government has protested to the government ofThailand because of a Thai decision to register the Falun Gong Study Association. The Supreme Administrative Courtreversed lower court decisions against the registration of the Falun Gongorganization. (The Nation, 08/07/15) [IT7.1 2016]

China to publish list of legal places to worship

Citing Xinhua, the country’s official news agency, Reutersreports that Chinese officials will soon publish a list of all the legal placeswhere people can conduct religious activities. The purpose is to identifyunsanctioned groups the authorities typically refer to as cults and to “root out illegal religiousactivities” in the country. Toward that end, the report indicates that WangZuoan, director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, said in aconference the Chinese administration will declare the names and addresses of“all Buddhist and Taoist venues” in the coming 2 years.

The country has discouraged the growth of unsanctionedreligious movements, including such groups as the illegal Quannengshen (Almighty God) andthe Falun Gong church, which has also been banned byChina, Reuters reported. Moreover, Beijingis involved in a long-running dispute with the Vatican over theappointment of Catholic bishops, and it has removed the crosses from Christianchurches and banned Christmas symbolism.Inaddition, Muslim Uighurs in China’s Xinjiang autonomous region are ofconcern to the Chinese. (International Business Times,12/27/14) [IT 6.2 2015]

Falun Gong loses court case over permanent proteststructure at Chinese consulate

A British Columbia Supreme Court judge has sided with theCity of Vancouver in its dispute with Falun Gongprotesters, ruling that amended city bylaws prohibiting permanent structuresare constitutional and place a “reasonable” limit on the group’s right tofreedom of expression.The bylaw requires groups who want toerect structures for political protests on city streets to first obtain apermit.“The amended bylaws provide guidelinesfor obtaining a permit to use a structure that conveys political expression,”Justice Bowden wrote in the ruling, released Thursday.

At issue is a protest vigil first erected in 2001 near theChinese Consulate-General in the 3300-block Granville Street. It included alarge sign on the sidewalk supported by scaffolding and a meditation hut on theboulevard.Theprotest was maintained 24-7 until the City of Vancouver requested and receiveda court injunction to remove the structures. The protesters challenged thatdecision and the Court of Appeal agreed the city’s bylaws wereunconstitutional, but suspended the effect of its decision for 6 months toallow for a revision in the bylaws.In the end result, the deciding judge statedthat “I find the amended bylaws to be constitutional and the petition isdismissed.”

Grace Pastine, litigation director for the BC CivilLiberties Association, which was an intervener in the case, said the bylaw doespose an unreasonable limit on freedom of expression, and that the organizationis disappointed by the ruling.She said, “…if the city can safely allow sidewalk cafés and sandwichboards on our public streets, surely, it seems, we can make room for the typeof political expression that lies at the very heart of a democratic society.” (The Province, 12/4/14) [IT 6.2 2015]

Falun Gong trial lawyer describes mistreatment from Chinacourts

Authorities in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang,China have put on trial four members of the banned FalunGong spiritual movement amid tight security that also has targeted themembers’ defense lawyers.

The trial at a court in Heilongjiang’s Jiansanjiang city hascharged the defendants with “using an evil cult to undermine law enforcement,”according to a defense attorney. But according to defense attorney Wang Yu, thefirst day was delayed with tight security measures, procedural issues, andrepeated security checks.

Wang said some “very serious problems” still remain. “Theindictment wasn’t legally drawn up. The indictment the prosecutor read out incourt wasn’t the same as the indictment that the defendants and the defenseattorneys had been given, and the evidence that it referred to was differentfrom the evidence that we had access to.”

At the same time, Wang and the other prominent defenselawyers on the case were keeping close together and checking up on each other’ssafety during the trial in light of the serious mistreatment of four defenseattorneys related to the case in March 2014. Those attorneys were detained formore than two weeks in Jiansanjiang by the authorities before being releasedafter they had traveled there to investigate claims that the Falun Gongpractitioners were being held illegally in a “black jail,” or extrajudicialdetention center. Two of them detailed extreme physical abuse while indetention and a third described torture while in custody.

Wang Yu said that so far in the current trial theauthorities hadn’t made any attempt to detain her, although she was beingwatched and followed. “There are plainclothes police officers watching myhotel, and they were following me all the way after I left court today,” shesaid. “Last night, nobody searched my room, but that doesn’t mean they won’t overthe next few days,” she said. All four defendants pleaded “not guilty” to thecharges at the trial, which is set to continue, Wang said. (Radio Free Asia, 12/17/14) [IT 6.2 2015]

A federal judge has ruled that group of Chinese and US citizens cannot continue with their lawsuit that alleges that Cisco Systems abetted the torture of Falun Gong practitioners in China by collaborating with the government on a customized security system. According to the ruling, “Plaintiffs state that the Golden Shield is not an ordinary crime control system, but … the designs include individual features customized and designed specifically to find, track, and suppress Falun Gong … specifically to enable the suppression of the religious group.…” However, US District Court Judge Edward Davila found that Cisco’s “…creation of the Golden Shield system, even as specifically customized for Chinese authorities and even if directed and planned from San Jose, … does not show that human rights abuses perpetrated in China against plaintiffs touch and concern the United States with sufficient force to overcome the ATS’s presumption against extraterritorial application.” Furthermore, among other specifics in the ruling, Davila pointed out that the Cisco product can be used for many crime-control purposes in China without permitting torture or other human-rights abuses. (Courthouse News Service, 9/9/14) [IT 6.1 2015]
In March 2013, Falun Gong tried to demonstrate its cultural competence with the performance “Shen Yun 2013: Reviving 5000 Years of Civilization” in the Vienna City Hall. In July, the group demonstrated against China’s killings and torture, including the abuse of organs, of Falun Gong followers in recent years. [IT 4.3 2013] 

Falun Gong representatives in San Francisco say there have been eight assaults against their members in the past 8 months during the group’s demonstrations against the Chinese government. They suspect the attacks have originated within the local Chinese Consulate-General organization. (San Francisco Examiner, 6/26/12) [IT 3.2 2012] 
Canadian government officials doubt the truth of a report by a former member of parliament that thousands of Chinese have been killed in order to harvest their organs for sale to wealthy foreigners for transplantation. The research methods and inferences from the evidence do not justify the conclusions of the Kilgour-Matas report, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. The Chinese government has admitted using the organs of executed criminals—a practice it has now outlawed—but no credible human rights organization has corroborated the allegations that Falun Gong members were slaughtered for their organs. (Ottawa Citizen, 12/1/10) [IT 2.1 2011]

Falun Gong in Montreal has accused organizers of the St. Patrick’s Day parade of discrimination after being barred from participating, even though Falun Gong says it promised not to hand out pamphlets, as it had in prior years. The pamphlets illustrate torture of Falun Gong practitioners in China. Parade organizers said, “We do not entertain anyone with a cause in the parade.” [csr 8.2, 2009) 

Falun Gong, which China promoted in the 1990s alongside traditional cooking and handicrafts in its cultural propaganda aimed at the West, has for a decade now been an “evil cult” that rivals the Dalai Lama as the party’s number one enemy. The vice-president of the European Parliament says, “The persecution of the Falun Gong amounts to genocide as defined in Article 2 of the Genocide Convention.” A postal worker, arrested for writing “Falun Dafa [Falun Gong] is good,” died after two days in custody, allegedly of torture, according to Falun Gong activists. [csr 8.2, 2009)

A Falun Gong member, speaking from New York, says many in positions of power in China think the government’s crackdown disproportionate to the threat. “The problem with the Communist Party is they cannot admit mistakes. Jiang Zemin [the former president] made the decision to crack down on the movement, and he is still powerful behind the scenes, so nobody can criticize the persecution. These days, the party realizes they probably made a mistake when they massacred students in Tiananmen Square, but they can never admit it, and it is the same with Falun Gong.” [csr 8.2, 2009)

The event that provoked the crackdown was the 10,000-strong 1999 Falun Gong rally in front of the government leadership compound that borders Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. The demonstration demanded official recognition of the group. The government also saw in Falun Gong echoes of the 19th century Taiping and Boxer rebellions. Moreover, Falun Gong leader Li Hongzhi’s move to New York was viewed as stemming from malignant foreign influence in China’s affairs. [csr 8.2, 2009)

The weekly Asian Pacific Post, in British Columbia, has accused the paper’s printer, Epoch Press, of initially refusing to print an issue because it contained an article the press owner thought was critical of the Falun Gong, of which he is a practitioner. “This is an unprecedented issue of press freedom,” the paper’s managing editor said. Epoch’s owner, Frank Cui, responded: “The Chinese Communist Party’s voice [as reported in the Post] should not be allowed to poison innocent people to hate others.” The article, about a visiting performing ensemble that includes Falun Gong followers, is actually sympathetic to the Falun Gong, even though it presents the Chinese government’s critical view of the movement. [csr 8.1, 2009)

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has refused to hear the appeal of Falun Gong members who sued the Montreal publisher of the Chinese language newspaper China Press for carrying what they termed a slanderous attack against the group by a former member. The court said that the article did not actually name the complainants. The paper’s head, Crescent Chau, has sued La Grande Epoque, a Falun Gong publication, for damages. [csr 8.1, 2009)

Falun Gong has failed in its attempt to gain a public apology and a cash payment from the Wellington (New Zealand) City Council for the municipality’s refusal to allow the spiritual group to take part in the Chinese New Year Festival because it considers Falun Gong a political movement. In 2005, police accused Dr. Renato Brun del Re of kidnapping his daughter from the Falun Gong Centre and trying to deprogram her from what he called a cult. [csr 8.1, 2009)

An appeal court in Montreal has refused to award damages to Falun Gong members even though it agreed that Les Presses chinoises had published defamatory statements about the group. . . Falun Gong computer experts provided software to journalists and others attending the Olympics claiming that it would get them through any firewall devised by the Chinese government to limit the flow of information from the outside world. [csr 7.3 2008)

China has accused the Dalai Lama of supporting “evil cults” such as Falun Gong and Aum Shinrikyo, saying, “Not only has he no hatred toward evil cults but instead shows a great deal of compassion for them.” The statement said that the Tibetan Nobel laureate had supported Aum leader Shoko Asahara and Falun Gong leader Li Hongzhi. [csr 7.1 2008)

Six weeks after Sen. Charles Grassley asked a number of well-known evangelical ministries that preach a “prosperity gospel” to provide information on how they spent donors’ money, only two have complied — Kenneth Copeland Ministries and Joyce Meyer Ministries. For example, Grassley asked Meyer the tax-exempt purpose of a $23,000 “commode with marble top” for her headquarters. Two of the ministries declined to cooperate with Grassley’s inquiry, one saying that the request “clearly disregards the privacy protections of the church under the law and appears to cross the line of constitutional guarantees for churches.” Some legal and church scholars say an examination of tax-exempt organizations, including churches, is lawful. None of the targeted ministries belongs to the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. Grassley’s probe, which included non-profits such as the Nature Conservancy and the Smithsonian Institution, led to many calls from whistle-blowers about numerous churches. [csr 7.1 2008)

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. in November, apparently in response to a complaint from the Chinese embassy, replaced a program on persecution of the Falun Gong in China with a repeat of a documentary on Pervez Musharraf, meanwhile saying it will review the piece on Falun Gong in light of the complaint. . . . The Chinese consulate in New York in December strongly urged State Assemblyman Michael Benjamin — Democrat of the South Bronx — to boycott a Chinese New Year celebration he’s promised to attend because two festival shows were being produced by New Tang Dynasty, a satellite broadcaster staffed mainly by members of Falun Gong. The consulate said the event “is very deceitful, aimed actually at propagating the cult and undermining China-US relations.” Benjamin refused to boycott, saying he objected to equating Falun Gong with American cults. He believes the latter “are more closely related to the ‘Cult of Mao’ that enabled your government to institute the Cultural Revolution, where several hundred thousand teachers, village leaders, peasants, and intellectuals were imprisoned or executed.” Benjamin, who has often defended Falun Gong in the legislature, sponsored a resolution condemning Chinese treatment of Falun Gong, and once introduced a group of practitioners on the Assembly floor. Stating that he would attend a show reception, Benjamin declared: “They can only intimidate Chinese Americans who have families back home.” [csr 7.1 2008)

Falun Gong practitioner Ron Jin served China’s Minister of Commerce — visiting Ottawa in May — with a $2.6 million lawsuit, accusing him of “orchestrating a campaign of terror” against her amounting to war crimes when he was mayor of Dalian and deputy secretary of the Chinese Communist Party in Liao Ning. . . Tibet’s Communist Party secretary says the Dalai Lama is “ganging up with Taiwan independence forces, the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, democracy movements, and the Falun Gong in an attempt to establish an alliance aimed at splitting the motherland.” . . . Regarding Chinese authorities’ practice of making available for transplantation organs from living [sic] Falun Gong prisoners, Dr. Torsten Trey, a Washington, DC-based physician and founding member of Doctors Against Organ Harvesting, says: “Each person who travels to China for an organ causes the death of another human.” He wants doctors to tell their transplant patients about the practice, and urges U.S. medical institutions to reject Chinese physicians and scholars who wish to perfect their transplant skills in the U.S. [csr 6.2 2007]

Former Canadian MP David Kilgour, who co-authored a report on the issue, says that wealthy Albertans have traveled to China to buy organs — for up to $70,000 each — harvested from Falun Gong devotees executed by Chinese authorities. . . The Epoch Times newspaper, with offices in 30 countries, is said to be part of Falun Gong’s global public relations campaign to gain sympathy and new members, a strategy, according to a political scientist at the College of Staten Island (NY), calculated “to embed itself into the larger civil society for influence and legitimacy.” . . . A San Francisco Superior Court judge has ruled that the business association running a Chinese New Year parade did not discriminate against Falun Gong when it banned the group from marching. The businessmen banned Falun Gong last year, as well, saying the group had previously violated a parade ban on political activity. Falun Gong says the Chinese government pressured the businessmen to ban the group from the parade. [csr 6.1 2007]

The Chinese embassy in Canada has protested the Canadian Prime Minister’s letter of greeting to a traveling cultural program, hosted by U.S.-based New Tank Dynasty Television and Epoch Times newspaper, which depicts Chinese government attacks on Falun Gong followers. . . New York federal judge Ricardo Urbina says a Falun Gong practitioners’ suit alleging Chinese government intimidation and violence against them in the U.S. can go forward. He stated that most of the claims against China were barred by sovereign immunity, but not burglary and certain other alleged crimes. . . A demonstration by Falun Gong detainees in Australia in March prevented the deportation of one of their number to China. They said that An Xiang Tao, in Australia since 2000 and held four years, is likely to be persecuted if he is sent back to China. [csr 6.1 2007]

Falun Gong
Taiwan Vice President Annett Lu, citing the tremendous growth of organ transplants in China — the organs allegedly harvested from unwilling Falun Gong prisoners — has proposed creation of a commission to address the issue and suggest solutions. She noted that many Taiwanese go to China to receive transplants.[csr 5.3 2006]

China has told Australia that it must deal with Falun Gong protestors who are damaging the “dignity” of the Chinese mission in Canberra when they demonstrate against Chinese treatment of Falun Gong practitioners. Australia recently relaxed restrictions on protests but says it’s making sure the dignity of embassies is not violated. Australia has expressed concerns about allegations that Chinese authorities have arrested and executed thousands of dissidents and harvested their vital organs for sale. . . Former Canadian MP David Kilgore and his law partner David Matas say in their recent report that the Chinese government has, “in effect, murdered [Falun Gong dissidents] for their organs,” noting that the source of some 41,000 transplants in China between 2000 and 2005 remains unexplained. The Chinese, calling the report groundless and biased, recently announced a new law that would ban sales of human organs and require donors to give written permission for the transplants . . . Human rights activist Harry Wu agrees that organs taken from prisoners are being sold, but says there is no evidence that Falun Gong practitioners are being executed en masse to provide the organs. [csr 5.3 2006]

Fifteen Falun Gong followers — including four Swiss nationals — who were arrested in Hong Kong after a protest against Chinese government policy toward the group are suing the police for unlawful arrest and imprisonment. An appeals court vacated their convictions in 2004. . . Canadian Falun Gong practitioners held a silent vigil in Vancouver, Canada, hoping to persuade the mayor to allow their protest wall, where it has stood for five years, to remain in front of the Chinese consulate.[csr 5.3 2006]

A recently released report indicates Chinese leader Jiang Zemin was shocked to learn that security agencies failed to understand the threat posed by Falun Gong until more than 10,000 practitioners surrounded the government leadership compound in Beijing during a 1999 demonstration. . . Amnesty International reports that a former staffer of the San Francisco-based Asia Foundation, who is a Falun Gong practitioner, has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years in a Re-education Through Labor Camp. Police found Falun Gong literature in his home. He and his wife served time in labor camps in 2000 after they sent a letter to Chinese leaders requesting a reevaluation of the ban against the sect. . .. The owner of a shop in Pakuranga, New Zealand, who displayed Falun Gong tenets in his store window, says that recent vandalism is the work of students stimulated by postings on the New Zealand-based Chinese portal website Skykiwi.com.[csr 5.3 2006]

Taiwan has strongly protested China’s harvesting of human organs from executed Falun Gong practitioners and expressed concern about human and religious rights violations across China. [csr 5.3 2006]

Falun Gong
Former Canadian MP David Kilgore and human rights lawyer David Matas say they will investigate allegations, mostly from Falun Gong practitioners, that China is executing Falun Gong prisoners by the thousands in order to harvest their vital organs for transplantation. Chinese health officials say organs from executed prisoners are used only rarely and only with prior permission. . . . The Falun Gong-linked media company Epoch Times, based in New York, “with its vast distribution and access to the Chinese community, presents a unique and influential way to bring solidarity to an embattled religious group that aims to have its voice heard,” according to Eugenia Chien, writing in New American Media (5/16/06). Critics question Epoch Times’s objectivity.[csr 5.2 2006 2006]

Wang Weyi, the woman representing the U.S. Falun Gong newspaper Epoch Times who heckled Chinese President Hu Jintao when he visited President Bush at the White House, has reached a deal with prosecutors to drop charges against her of intimidating and threatening the leaders during a press conference in April. Weyi had shouted, “President Bush, stop him [Hu Jintao] from killing [Falun Gong practitioners in China.]”[csr 5.2 2006]

Singapore has terminated a Chinese woman’s work permit because she is a member of the Falun Gong movement, reports Asia News, citing a press release from the Falun Dafa Research Center, which claims that other Falun Gong followers in Singapore have suffered similar treatment. [csr 5.2 2006]

Chinese authorities have arrested publishers of Falun Gong literature in northeastern Heilongjiang province. The action coincides with a nationwide move against producers of pornographic material and pirated DVDs. [csr 5.2 2006]

Falun Gong
Denmark has granted “a permanent home” to eight Falun Gong refugees who were being held in Thailand following their demonstration in Bangkok against the alleged rape of two Falun Gong practitioners by Chinese police in Hubei province. . . Practitioner Zhang Mengye, who says he was brainwashed and tortured in detention, has appealed from exile in Taiwan to his former classmate, Chinese President Hu Jintao, to respect the Chinese people’s “rights and religious beliefs.” . . . A prominent lawyer who has defended Falun Gong followers says that security forces might be responsible for a recent attempt to kill him. . . Results of searches using “sensitive” terms on Google’s English and Chinese search engines give precedence to official Communist Party viewpoints, which are highly critical of Falun Gong. . . Meanwhile, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has voted to condemn persecution of the Falun Gong movement. [csr 5.1 2006]

Chinese native and Falun Gong member Bill Xia’s Raleigh, NC-based Dynamic Internet Technology has developed a software tool that helps Chinese Internet users get around the Chinese government’s censorship of such topics as human rights, religion, and peasant uprisings. U.S. government agencies have supported Xia’s efforts with some $2 million. . . The annual Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco saw a dispute between factions for and against the inclusion of Falun Gong practitioners. Some think the organizer’s ban indicates a wish to placate China, an important trading partner, by rejecting the alleged politically motivated marchers.[csr 5.1 2006]

The UN’s torture investigator is looking into allegations by Falun Gong that China is holding thousands of practitioners in a “concentration camp” and that some have been killed and their organs sold. China is reportedly doing big business in low-cost organ transplants for people from around the world who can’t find donors at home. Authorities admit that some organs come from executed prisoners. Austrian Manfred Nowak, UN special rapporteur on torture and other cruel and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, recently called on China to abolish its “re-education through labor” system. . . . Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says he’ll no longer ban Falun Gong demonstrators outside the Chinese embassy in Canberra from displaying fixed banners and making excessive noise, which he said impaired the dignity of the embassy. Falun Gong says Downer has gone farther than officials in any other Western country in acceding to Chinese demands to move against Falun Gong. . . U.S. officials say that Chinese President Hu Jintao urged President Bush during their recent meeting to declare Falun Gong an “evil cult” that should be banned. U.S. resident Dr. Wan Wenyi, who stood in the press pool and shouted at the Chinese President when he visited the White House, faces up to six months in jail and possible deportation. [csr 5.1 2006]

Psychiatric Abuse against Practitioners Alleged
The World Psychiatric Association (WPA) has postponed its investigation of allegations of psychiatric abuse of Falun Gong practitioners by authorities. Chinese officials say Falun Gong practitioners are psychotic, homicidal, and suicidal, but Falun Gong USA says healthy practitioners are put into psychiatric facilities where they are given electric shocks and high doses of psychotropic drugs that cause slurred speech, paralysis, and even death. (Nathea Lee, Epoch Times, Internet, 5/2/04) [csr 3.3 2004]

Psychiatric Abuse against Practitioners Alleged
The World Psychiatric Association (WPA) has postponed its investigation of allegations of psychiatric abuse of Falun Gong practitioners by authorities. Chinese officials say Falun Gong practitioners are psychotic, homicidal, and suicidal, but Falun Gong USA says healthy practitioners are put into psychiatric facilities where they are given electric shocks and high doses of psychotropic drugs that cause slurred speech, paralysis, and even death. (Nathea Lee, Epoch Times, Internet, 5/2/04) [csr 3.2 2004 2004]

Beijing Spotlights Falun Gong as International Threat
Having campaigned at length to discredit Falun Gong within China, Beijing is now moving to counter Falun Gong overseas by calling the group a threat to civilized society worldwide. The recent Falun Gong “hijacking” of state-run satellites to broadcast pro-Falun Gong “propaganda” by members based outside of China has moved the government to refer to the group as a “quasi-terrorist sect.” A Falun Gong spokesman denied that the group was behind the satellite operation.[csr 1.3 2002]

A spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington said that “by openly and deliberately attacking the Sinosat, in contempt of international laws and regulations, the Falun Gong cult was unscrupulously breaking the order of wireless communications and launching a challenge against civilization.” [csr 1.3 2002]

Beijing wants to bring pressure to bear on Western governments, like the United States, which has “allowed” Falun Gong cells to recruit new members and raise funds in their countries of exile. (Andrew Demaria, CNN, Internet, 7/24/02) [csr 1.3 2002]

Auckland Airport Removes Signs
Falun gong supporters are protesting the Auckland (New Zealand) International Airport’s removal of an advertisement by the group under pressure from China. The Chinese consulate said that the mini-billboard was offensive because Falun Gong is banned in China. (One News, Internet, 7/24/02) [csr 1.3 2002]

China Protests U.S. Congress Resolution on “Persecution” of Falun Gong[csr 1.3 2002]

China in late July protested the adoption of a bill by the U.S. House of Representatives asking China to stop “persecution” of Falun Gong practitioners. The bill claims that the Chinese ban of Falun Gong violates the Chinese Constitution. [csr 1.3 2002]

High Chinese government officials argue that the U.S. bill ignores the crimes committed by Falun Gong, and that it actually supports the “cult.” The Chinese say Falun Gong stipulates that its members cannot go to doctors when they become ill, with the result that over 1,700 have died. (China Peoples Daily, Internet, 7/26/02) [csr 1.3 2002]

U.S. Religious Groups Not Supportive
American religious groups are not supporting the Falun Gong, and this has confounded the movement’s U.S. supporters, who believe that the Chinese government’s attempts to portray Falun Gong as an “evil cult” have been effective. They acknowledge that the group’s eccentric practices — including the leader’s claims that he can fly under his own power and cure disease — tend to alienate Western groups.[csr 1.3 2002]

One reason for this lack of support may be that Falun Gong does not fit the model of other persecuted religious groups. Indeed, practitioners insist that Falun Gong is not a religion but a “spiritual movement that combines meditation and a philosophy said to be based on truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.” Another reason may be that Falun Gong has no centralized organization.[csr 1.3 2002]

The head of the Anti-Defamation League, when asked if his organization supported Falun Gong, said: “We’ve never been asked.” And the founder of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, which has supported persecuted Chinese Christians, said that the Falun Gong situation never comes up for discussion. “Even some people committed to religious liberty are a little bit shy of stepping into the cause of the Falun Gong,” said the Fellowship’s head, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein.” (Benjamin Soskis, Forward, Internet, 8/9/02) [csr 1.3 2002]

Claim Dissidents Abused in Psychiatric Clinics
Falun Gong representatives in the U.S., who say that dissident practitioners in China have been imprisoned and forced to attend months of “deprogramming” classes, report that former policeman and practitioner Fang Lihong was, in addition, committed to a psychiatric hospital for 16 months. There, they say Fang told them, he was forced to take medication, although he was eventually allowed to discard the drugs. Doctors, he said, told him they knew he was sane, but that they had been ordered to “treat” him. (Philip P. Pan, Washington Post, Internet, 8/27/02) [csr 1.3 2002]

Psychiatric Group to Probe Chinese Policy
The World Psychiatry Association says that it will send a mission to China, if the Chinese government agrees, to investigate claims that political dissidents are being treated as mental patients, but rejected calls for tougher action. The mission would visit mental hospitals to judge reports that government critics, such as Falun Gong practitioners, are being held. (Los Angeles Times, Times Wire Service, Internet 8/27/02 [csr 1.3 2002]

Anti-Cult Films
Two films “exposing the evil nature of aberrant religions” are now showing in China. “The Flower Street” and “Abyss-The Essence of Cults” are entertainments meant to show the dangers of cults. “The Flower Street” depicts the activities of the Lotus Flower religion in North China in the 1940s. It was led by a healer who “controlled the minds of believers and exploited them financially.” “Abyss” is a science education film that uses as examples the cases of the Branch Davidians, the Order of the Solar Temple, and Aum Shinrikyo.[csr 1.3 2002]

“Abyss” also has shots of former “addicts” of Falun Gong, which is criticized for having “extremely detrimental effects on people’s minds and families and on society. In addition, the film reveals the anti-human, anti-science and antisocial nature of this cult on the basis of the latest research results in sociology and natural science.” (BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific-Political, from Beijing, Internet, 8/28/02) [csr 1.3 2002]

Sympathizers Sentenced
Fifteen Falun Gong sympathizers were sentenced to prison terms ranging from four to twenty years for hacking into cable TV systems in two Chinese cities and showing protest videos. They were convicted of violating “anti-cult laws” — Falun Gong has been banned since 1999 as a threat to public order and communist rule — by showing videos that criticized the ban. (Joe McDonald, AP, Internet, 9/20/02) [csr 1.3 2002]

The attacks on China’s policies toward religion and minority groups, and the Chinese government’s lawful ban on the evil Falun Gong cult, were totally groundless, and trod on the fundamental principles of international relations, Kong said. “The Chinese people are dissatisfied with and strongly oppose this act of interference in their internal affairs,” Kong told a routine press briefing. The spokesman stressed that the freedom of religious belief is protected by Chinese law. [csr 1.2 2002]

“Falun Gong is not a religion, but a cult,” he said, adding that the government bans the cult to safeguard the basic human rights of its people, and has mass support, including that of religious circles. (Xinhua via COMTEX, 5/9/02, Internet) [csr 1.2 2002]

2000 Falun Gong Rounded Up
The Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said that more than 2,000 people associated with Falun Gong had been rounded up since last month in Changchun, Jilin province, after supporters of the group hijacked the local cable television network to show pro-Falun Gong films. Of those detained, 150 have already been sent to labor camps, the rights group said. [csr 1.2 2002]

Meanwhile, a lone protester, a middle-aged Chinese woman, was arrested on April 25 by police as she ran through Beijing’s Tiananmen Square carrying a yellow banner, witnesses said. On April 25, 1999, about 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners surrounded the Zhongnanhai headquarters of the Communist Party, a few hundred meters from Tiananmen Square, to demand the right to be recognized by the Government as an organization and protest against official harassment. In the past two years practitioners have marked the date with sporadic protests in Tiananmen, the spiritual heart of the communist regime. . . Falun Gong activity has fallen greatly during the past year or so. (South China Morning Post, 4/26/02, Internet) [csr 1.2 2002]

Book Reveals “Evil Acts of Falun Gong”
A book entitled Falungong Greatly Harms The Country and People was recently published by the Chinese People’s Security University Press. The book comprises 80 stories broadcast by the China Central Television’s (CCTV) “Focus” program between July 1999 and early 2002. Readers are explicitly told how Falungong “brainwashes” its members and twists facts, how members have committed suicide or killed others under the yoke of its evil beliefs and how a large number of the sect’s followers have broken away from its influence with government support. The book contains both text and pictures, and some key stories are available for readers on compact disk. (Peoples Daily, 4/23/02, Internet)[csr 1.2 2002]

A May 12 story from Xinhua (via COMTEX, Internet), “Falun Gong Mother Said to Kill Daughter,” tells how a devotee choked her nine-year-old daughter to death, while attended by some 40 other followers, in order to exorcise a “demon” from the girl’s body. [csr 1.2 2002]

Followers Detained, Sent to Re-education for TV Network Hacking
Nine Falun Gong members were detained and charged for hacking into local cable television systems to broadcast video material about the illegal sect. According to this report, “The case was a well-organized, premeditated crime with a clear evil purpose, local police officers said.” [csr 1.2 2002]

“Falun Gong has already disrupted social order and disturbed people’s normal lives, which deserves a hard crackdown by the government. We will not enjoy a happy and comfortable living environment until the evil cult is uprooted,” a retired man told local media. [csr 1.2 2002]

“These Falun Gong practitioners had violated the criminal law of China, and thus should be sternly punished in accordance with the law,” according to Li Jie, professor of the Law School at Jilin University. [csr 1.2 2002]

“Every nation in the world will crack down severely on any crime that harms public infrastructure, regardless of its political and religious motives,” said to Li Jie. (Xinhua, Internet, 4/18/02) [csr 1.2 2002]

Authorities are said to have detained 2,000 additional followers in the wake of the incident and sent 150 to “re-education through labor” camps, the Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said. (AP, Internet 4/25/02)[csr 1.2 2002]

In June, the government accused Falun Gong of video hacking into a channel that the government uses to beam TV programs via satellite to remote areas of China that have little access to outside news.[csr 1.2 2002]

“This was a serious attack on satellite broadcasting — and on international regulations . . . that should be condemned by the entire international community,” said Liu Lihua, director general of the radio broadcast department in China’s Ministry of Information Industry [sic]. He blamed overseas activists. Falun Gong spokesman Levi Browde said in New York, “We have no knowledge of such a broadcast. We know that all prior broadcasts have been grass-roots efforts from practitioners inside China.” [csr 1.2 2002]

In the past year, Falun Gong supporters have interrupted cable broadcasts in at least six cities, often simply showing banners that say “Falun Dafa [Falun Gong] is good.” People arrested in some of the hacking incidents have been sentenced to up to 16 years in prison. (Christopher Bodeen, AP, 7/8/02)[csr 1.2 2002]

The Ministry of Information Industry said that the satellite hacking endangered China’s national security by seizing the satellite signals of government-run television stations. (AFX-ASIA, 7/8/02)[csr 1.2 2002]

A live broadcast of a speech by Chinese President Jiang Zemin at Hong Kong’s handover anniversary celebration in early July was scrapped due to fears that Falun Gong would cut into the transmission and broadcast pro-sect messages. (Yahoo News, Internet, 7/3/02)[csr 1.2 2002]

Barred From Iceland
Iceland in June barred all Falun Gong members from entering the country in a bid to prevent a large demonstration against Chinese President Jiang Zemin when he visited. (AP, Internet, 6/7/02) [csr 1.2 2002]

China Strongly Rejects U.S. Report on Religion
China has strongly rejected a U.S.-based organization’s criticism of its stance on religion, calling the allegations totally groundless and an interference in China’s internal affairs. In its recent annual report [this report continues] the “so-called U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom” made inappropriate comments on the religious situation in some developing countries, including China, Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said in Beijing.[csr 1.2 2002]

Religious Delegation Supports Ban
A Chinese religious delegation visiting Switzerland in April said that Chinese citizens enjoy full freedom of religious faith, and that the banning of Falun Gong is completely right because the “cult” encourages its practitioners to take their own lives and kill other people. [csr 1.2 2002]

Delegation member Pastor Zhao Yu said that what Falun Gong practices a form of spiritual control. “The leader of Falun Gong ran away to the United States. He is afraid of death but calls on his practitioners to kill themselves and hurt their family members. It just runs in the opposite direction of the religious spirit. Therefore, religious believers are against Falun Gong,” Pastor Zhao Yu said. (Xinhua via COMTEX, Internet, 4/18/02) [csr 1.2 2002]

Overseas Followers Appeal for Support
Falun Gung’s overseas followers have stepped up appeals for public support, often evoking the movement’s principles of tolerance and compassion, and hundreds of American politicians have responded with letters and proclamations, including the mayor of San Jose and members of California’s congressional delegation. But in so doing, U.S. politicians often unwittingly endorsed a philosophy that is intolerant in many respects and in conflict with the values of Western democracy. [csr 1.1 2002]

“They know how to play politics with American elected officials,” says Ming Xia, a political science professor at the City University of New York. He calls Falun Gong “Janus-faced,” saying that it presents itself in China as a moral revival movement, but in the West as a movement for freedom of religion and thought. [csr 1.1 2002]

Orville Schell, dean of the journalism school at the University of California, Berkeley, says that the West’s blind embrace of Falun Gong fits into a well-established pattern of viewing communist China in black-and-white terms, missing the complexities and nuances. “Anyone the Chinese government opposes gets lionized as righteous.”[csr 1.1 2002]

Falun Gong, a blend of Eastern religious concepts, including Chinese folk beliefs that resonate with its largely Chinese following, blends philosophy with meditation, moral precepts, and slow-motion exercises, all aimed to achieve a loftier spiritual plane. The teachings of leader Li Hongzhi—in exile in the U.S.—include a strong anti-homosexual element, and the idea that mixed-race or “cross-bred” people are rootless and deviant, the result of a plot by evil extraterrestrials who populate his expanded cosmology. He teaches that aliens came in droves during the Industrial Revolution and aim to take over human souls through science, monitoring people by assigning every computer a number. This does not seem to bother research chemist Sherry Zhang, or California marketing consultant Alicia Zhao, also a Falun Gong practitioner, who believe that aliens might exist. (Sarah Lubman, San Jose Mercury News, 12/23/01, Internet) [csr 1.1 2002]

The government crackdown on Falun Gong moderated in the second half of 2001, as many followers left the movement and others hid their belief and practice, but the government’s propaganda war against the group has recently heated up as part of a general tightening up on media expression of ideas that “threaten social stability.” (Reuters, 12/31/01, Internet) [csr 1.1 2002]

Foreign Protesters Detained / China
An American and a Canadian were detained in early February while protesting China’s effort to blame the banned Falun Gong sect for a fiery group suicide attempt last year. The two men unfurled a banner on Tiananmen Square in the center of Beijing and shouted the group’s name. Within seconds, police rushed over, tore down the banner, and pushed the two men into a nearby van as scores of curious Chinese tourists watched. The men identified themselves as Levi Browde, 29, a software expert from New York, and Jason Loftus, 22, an engineering student from Barrie, Ontario, Canada. Falun Gong activists abroad deny the people involved were followers and suggest Chinese officials staged the event. (Reuters, 1/22/02. Internet; AP, 2/11/02, Internet) [csr 1.1 2002]

Hunger-Striking Falun Gong Member Dies / China
Wan Guifu, 57, a member of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement, died Dec. 18 at the hospital of the Dashaping labor camp in the city of Lanzhou, according to authorities. Falun Gong says that 335 detained members have died of abuse since the group was banned in 1999. The government denies mistreating detainees, and says followers have died of ill health or committed suicide. Wan was detained for distributing Falun Gong materials in Lanzhou, according to Falun Gong, and the retired autoworker stopped eating Oct. 15 to protest his confinement. (AP, 1/2/02) [csr 1.1 2002]

Falun Gong Detainees Brainwashed? / China
Reports that Falun Gong followers were being tortured in Chinese jails prompted Teng Chunyan to risk all and come home from New York City. Now she, too, is in prison, but insists she cherishes every moment there. Teng said she has undergone a radical “mental transformation.” No longer a crusader, she says Falun Gong is a cult that brainwashed her. “I really treasure each day of my time here,” said Teng, dressed in a blue prison uniform. “I think it’s all the start of a new life. It’s given me many opportunities to learn things that I didn’t know before.” Her friends are shocked. They suspect that 38-year-old Teng, who lived in the New York City borough of Queens and ran a successful acupuncture clinic on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, has been abused and forced to recant. (AP, 1/6/02, Internet) [csr 1.1 2002]

Meanwhile Trinity College (Dublin) student and Falun Gong practitioner who has been imprisoned in a Chinese labor camp for more than two years will be freed in March, according to the Department for Foreign Affairs, which said that Chinese authorities agreed to release Zhao Ming during Irish government minister Brian Cowen’s trip to the country. Zhao was studying computer sciences in Dublin when he was arrested during a visit to China in 1999. The government agreed to release Zhao because he has been sufficiently “re-educated.” His supporters in Ireland say that the 30-year-old student was forced to undergo “brainwashing” sessions and forced to stand still for up to 18 hours a day. Both the Taoiseach [prime minister], Bertie Ahern, and President Mary McAleese raised the case with Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji during his controversial visit to Ireland last year. (online.ie, 1/25/02, Internet) [csr 1.1 2002]

Falun Gong Called “Terrorist Cult” / China
China’s government considers Falun Gong, which involves exercises and meditation, a dangerous cult that undermines Communist Party authority. Police have detained thousands of Chinese followers in Tiananmen Square. “Faced with the cult’s attacks, we must stay on high alert,” said the party-run People’s Daily in an editorial. “Only when it is thoroughly rooted out can social harmony and tranquility come in exchange.” (Reuters, 1/22/02. Internet; AP, 2/11/02, Internet)[csr 1.1 2002]

Beijing is trying to legitimize its two-year crackdown on Falun Gong by placing it in the same category as terrorist organizations. In a three-day national conference on religion that ended on Wednesday, leaders repeatedly said Falun Gong was not a religion but an evil cult, with some members practicing violent and terrorist acts. The state propaganda machine reinforced the conference’s message by broadcasting that a fanatical Falun Gong practitioner in Hainan was arrested on Tuesday for killing his uncle with a kitchen knife so they could attain salvation. [csr 1.1 2002]

China’s president, Jiang Zemin, has tacitly acknowledged international criticism on the issue, telling the meeting that China should “strengthen propaganda” on “the reality of the situation”. China must seek to counter international criticism of its policies towards religion, he said. He has long been seen as the prime mover behind the two-year crackdown on Falun Gong that has resulted in the jailing of tens of thousands of followers without trials. (South China Morning Post, 12/14/2001, Internet) [csr 1.1 2002]

Falun Gong Hijacks TV Time / China
A state TV station signal in Changchun, China was “hijacked” by the banned Falun Gong spiritual sect in early March, another sign of defiance to tough measures taken against it over the past three years. The hijackers screened a film of the sect’s spiritual master, Li Hongzhi, the leader of what Beijing calls an “evil cult.”[csr 1.1 2002]

“There was a brief blackout and then there was Li Hongzhi speaking, and banners saying Falun Dafa [another name for the sect] is good,” a viewer told Reuters in Beijing. The viewer said that the interruption lasted for 50 minutes, but according to the local cable Company there was only a 10-minute break in normal transmission. (John Gittings, The Guardian, 3/8/02, Internet) [csr 1.1 2002]

Hong Kong Charges Falun Gong Protesters / Hong Kong
Hong Kong authorities took their first legal action against Falun Gong on March 15, filing charges accusing 16 sect members [and four Swiss followers who joined them] of obstruction during a protest outside China’s liaison office that ended in a scuffle with police.[csr 1.1 2002]

The charges have set off a debate over whether the government is trying to silence the meditation sect and erode Hong Kong’s freedoms, as members and civil rights activists fear, or if it is simply having police enforce the law against overzealous demonstrators, as the government says.[csr 1.1 2002]

Sect supporters accuse Hong Kong of acting under pressure from China to crack down on the group. Hong Kong denies the charge, even though it has gradually adopted language similar to Beijing’s, calling Falun Gong a “cult” that bears close scrutiny. But the Security Bureau says that as long as Falun Gong abides by the law in Hong Kong, the government will not intervene in its activities, despite the fact that it has been banned in mainland China.” (AP, 3/15/02, Internet) [csr 1.1 2002]

Although Beijing’s two-and-a-half-year crackdown on the banned Falun Gong has stirred fresh concern over the political misuse of psychiatry, there is little evidence to suggest that the Chinese government routinely uses psychiatric hospitals to imprison political dissidents, as was common in the Soviet Union. But far more common are cases in which local governments try to employ psychiatric commitment as a convenient way to silence troublemakers and pests. (Elizabeth Rosenthal, New York Times, 2/6/02, Internet) [csr 1.1 2002]

Academic Supporters Jailed / China
Four Chinese academics from Beijing’s elite Tsinghua University, a university staffer, and a graduate student, all convicted of spreading material on the Internet about Falun Gong, have been sentenced to prison terms of up to 12 years. (AP, 12/24/01, Internet; Elizabeth Rosenthal. New York times, 12/24/01, Internet; Reuters, 12/23/01, Internet)) [csr 1.1 2002]

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