On April 25, 1999, the most “serious political incident” since 1989 occurred in China. Over 10,000 practitioners of Falun Gong, a spiritual practice, had quietly gathered on the streets of Beijing and silently stood and sat from morning to night, seeking to be allowed to practice their faith free from harassment.
The incident is often seen as the catalyst to what happened next: a nationwide Cultural Revolution-style persecution featuring incessant propaganda, cruel violence, labor camps, and thought reeducation campaigns that continues to this day. But a look at the three years that preceded that incident shows that rather than being the catalyst to the persecution, it was practitioners’ last-ditch effort to head off what hardliners inside the Communist Party had been hatching since 1996. Continue reading →
Authorities in the Chinese capital have detained dozens of members of an unofficial Christian group as they tried to attend an outdoor Easter service.
At least 30 worshippers from the unregistered Shouwang church were held by police on Sunday in Beijing’s western district of Zhongguancun as they showed up for the service, according to U.S.-based Christian rights group ChinaAid.
“There were more than 1,000 police officers in Zhongguancun [on Sunday],” ChinaAid founder Bob Fu said. Continue reading →
WASHINGTON DC — A new round of fraudulent emails was sent from suspected Chinese agents to elected officials, journalists and NGOs in Canada, the United States, France and Norway earlier this month. The emails’ senders deceptively claim to be representatives of the Falun Dafa Information Center, and the content of the messages is crafted to portray Falun Gong as bizarre, threatening, intolerant, and otherwise undeserving of sympathy or respect.
The Falun Dafa Information Center received copies of two emails, sent on April 5 and April 14, to a list of recipients that included retired Canadian and Norwegian parliamentarians, newspaper editors, a collection of U.S.- and France-based human rights and press freedom NGOs, and members of the Nobel Prize Committee. Continue reading →
As they prepared to vote on a bylaw that would limit Falun Gong protests outside the Chinese consulate, Vancouver city councillors heard harrowing tales of persecution faced by sect members, both in China and locally.
Ray Zhang recounted Tuesday how a gun was placed to his head during an assault on him by three men, as he maintained a dawn vigil at the Falun Gong protest hut in the summer of 2007.
Mr. Zhang had to be treated in hospital after the attack, which left him with facial bruises and a bloody left eye. Continue reading →
Last Saturday, I wrote about the City of Vancouver’s clumsy attempt to draft a bylaw that would effectively ban the Falun Gong from maintaining a 24-hour vigil outside the Chinese consulate on Granville Street.
To recap our story so far:
- In 2001, the Falun Gong begin their vigil to protest what the group claims is persecution by the Chinese government.
- In 2006, after five years of the Falun Gong’s peaceful vigil, then mayor Sam Sullivan decides the Falun Gong’s little shack and banners must go -not because of pressure by the Chinese government that they be removed, the mayor says, but because they contravene a street-and-traffic bylaw. Continue reading →
Chinese police are continuing to surround a Tibetan monastery in Sichuan province, after local residents tried to stop them from arresting the monks.
The standoff began earlier this week, when hundreds of people living in Sichuan’s Aba region converged on the Kirti monastery. They tried to stop police from taking away the monks for reeducation. As many as 2,500 monks are believed to be inside the locked-down monastery.
They could soon face food shortages because they depend on offerings from locals. Continue reading →
Unofficial Christian church members and leaders are being targeted by China’s government in its latest clampdown on dissent sparked by calls for “Jasmine” rallies inspired by recent uprisings in the Middle East.
More than 100 members of the Shouwang Protestant church were detained by police in Beijing after they attended an open-air prayer gathering on Sunday.
Shouwang’s Pastor Jin said the authorities had released most of the congregation by Monday night. Continue reading →
WASHINGTON (BP)–The Chinese government intensified its pressure against Christians in 2010 for a “fifth straight year of escalating persecution,” according to ChinaAid Association, a Christian human rights organization based in Washington.
Beatings, torture, arrests, harassment and church demolitions are among the 90 recorded cases of persecution, a nearly 17 percent increase over 2009, according to a report released by ChinaAid on March 31.
The cases “are just the tip of the iceberg,” according to a ChinaAid news release. “The Chinese government’s stranglehold on information and the authoritarian regime’s other security measures make getting a true picture of the extent of persecution impossible. Nevertheless, the fact that the documented incidences of persecution came from all parts of China and involved people from all levels of society makes the report a useful guide.” Continue reading →
New York – A 42-year-old owner of a dumpling restaurant in Northeast China died in his home at the end of February, unable to recover from one and half years of physical and mental torture in a Re-education Through Labor (RTL) camp, the Falun Dafa Information Center has learned. His is one of over 400 documented Falun Gong deaths in Liaoning province since 1999.
Mr. Shi Hongbo (史红波), who owned a restaurant in Jinzhou district of Dalian in Liaoning province, was abducted outside of his home on October 14, 2008 while en route to work. Three weeks later he was sentenced to the Dalian RTL Camp for one and a half years. Camp personnel subjected him to numerous rounds of torture, including shocking him simultaneously with multiple electric batons and tying him down for several days at a time with all four limbs stretched out. As a result, Shi developed heart problems and high blood pressure. In September 2009, Shi was transferred to Weiningying Re-education Through Labor (RTL) Camp. Continue reading →
At 5 p.m. local time, March 10, Ms. Liao Zhongxiu, leader of a house church in Qu County, Sichuan Province, was arrested on so called “suspicion of utilizing a cult organization in undermining the implementation of the state law and regulations.” She is currently detained at Qu County Detention Center.
At about 3:30 p.m. local time, September 26, 2010, Youqing Church in Qu County, Dazhou, Sichuan Province was raided by the local Public Security Bureau (PSB). The police officers smashed the items of the church, confiscated books, took people to the local police station and then forced their families to pay money to bail them out. At 5 p.m., September 29, some Christians of the church went to the PSB station to negotiate in the hope of retrieving the confiscated items in accordance with law. It ended up with five of the believers were arrested on the spot and were detained for 15 days. Continue reading →
NEW YORK-In an elaborate attempt to discredit Falun Gong in the eyes of Western politicians, individuals in China sent e-mails to a U.S. senator’s office as well as officials in New Zealand disguised as messages from Falun Gong representatives.
One message sent to a U.S. senator’s office, which contained threatening and irrational language, was sent from an IP address traced to a government complex in Hubei province. The message dated January 12, 2011 was disguised as having been sent by Erping Zhang, one of Falun Gong’s main spokespersons. Continue reading →
On September 1st, 2007 the Chinese regime banned reincarnation without state approval, yet now the officially atheist regime is ordering the Dalai Lama to reincarnate in China after he dies.
The Dalai Lama, who lives in exile in Northern India, is reported to be thinking of choosing the next Dalai Lama from outside of China. Yet the Chinese authorities announced on Monday that he must not break with tradition, and that the next Dalai Lama, the highest title in Tibetan Buddhism, must be chosen following the reincarnation tradition.
But there is a catch— the Chinese regime says it has to approve the reincarnation of any living Buddha. Continue reading →
New York— A 25-year old kindergarten teacher unable to walk after being sexually assaulted with a broom in a Hebei labor camp (news). A once-brilliant Tsinghua University student driven to insanity by sexual abuse and rape (news). A woman from Hunan in her eighth month of pregnancy given a forced abortion and then sent to a prison camp for six years.
These are three of the reports the Falun Dafa Information Center received in the last year from friends and relatives of female Falun Gong practitioners in China. They represent only a small sample of abuses inflicted by the Chinese authorities on women who practice Falun Gong. Continue reading →
(Henan and Jiangsu – March 7, 2011) On the afternoon of March 1, agents from the DSPS (Domestic Security Protection Squad) of Xiayi County, Henan Province came to a house church in Hanzhen Town and took away three Christians, two of whom were women. The agents seized copies of the Bible, over 1,000 yuan of cash and copies of a book titled “A Stormy Life” by Zhang Mingxuan, president of the Chinese House Church Alliance. After the DSPS agents conducted an interrogation that lasted over three hours, they released the three Christians and warned them not to associate with Pastor Zhang Mingxuan. The agents also accused them of believing in a cult.
At 7 p.m. on March 4, Public Security Bureau agents from Suqian, Jiangsu Province went to Nanyang, Henan Province and took Pastor Shi Enhao, vice-president of the Chinese House Church Alliance, back to Jiangsu for detention. The latest update is that he was released on March 6. Continue reading →
NEW YORK–A Falun Gong practitioner from Hebei province died on February 20, 2011, four days after labor camp officials sent him home on the verge of death, the Falun Dafa Information Center has learned.
Sources inside China report that Mr. Pei Yangqing (裴彦庆) was sent home on February 16, 2011 from Qinhuangdao Re-education Through Labor (RTL) Camp. His chest was covered in bruises and he was incontinent. Four days later, unable to recover from the torture inflicted on him in the camp, Pei passed away. Continue reading →
NEW YORK – Ten years ago this Sunday, a deadly piece of stagecraft unfolded on Tiananmen Square in Beijing. At the behest of the Communist Party, five people set themselves on fire with cameras rolling.
China’s state-run media immediately pronounced that the individuals were adherents of Falun Gong, claiming they had been driven to suicide by the spiritual practice. Two of the participants died in connection with the self-immolation. The event was used to turn public opinion against Falun Gong, and to justify the mass imprisonment and torture of its adherents. Continue reading →
VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI rapped China for its curbs on religion and freedom of conscience in his Christmas message Saturday, reflecting the tense relations between the Vatican and Beijing.
“May the birth of the Saviour strengthen the spirit of faith, patience and courage of the faithful of the Church in mainland China, that they may not lose heart through the limitations imposed on their freedom of religion and conscience but, persevering in fidelity to Christ and his Church, may keep alive the flame of hope,” he said. Continue reading →
Falun Gong practitioner, Guo Xiaojun, a former lecturer at Jiaotong University in Shanghai, is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment in prison. He was convicted solely on charges which relate to his practice of Falun Gong and based on a confession he says was extracted through torture.
Guo Xiaojun was taken from his home in Shanghai by eight plainclothes police and security officers on 7 January, 2010. They forced their way into his home, without a warrant, and pushed him to the ground in front of his wife and four year old child, cutting his head. The police then ransacked his home, finding only a few books relating to Falun Gong. Police then took him to the Baoshan District detention centre. He was later charged with ‘using a heretical organization to subvert the law’ based on allegations that he had distributed Falun Gong materials. This charge was made following a confession which Guo Xiaojun told lawyers’ was extracted through torture. Since his detention Guo’s family have not been able to visit him. Continue reading →
The U.S. State Department’s recently released annual Report on International Religious Freedom continues to cite China for severe violations of religious freedom.
The Chinese constitution states that citizens “enjoy freedom of religious belief,” and bans the state, public organizations, and individuals from compelling citizens to believe in, or not believe in, any religion. But both the Chinese constitution and its laws only protect what they refer to as “normal” religious activities, which are overseen by the five state-sanctioned “patriotic religious associations.” Continue reading →
On Thursday, October 21, 2010, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Prof. Heiner Bielefeldt drew the world’s attention, once again, to China’s persecution of Falun Gong. He specifically denounced China’s stigmatization of Falun Gong and some other “small communities” as “cults,” during his presentation at the 65th U.N. General Assembly, held in New York.
Special Rapporteur Bielefeldt said, “Small communities, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baha’is, Ahmadis, Falun Gong and others are sometimes stigmatized as ‘cults’ and frequently meet with societal prejudices which may escalate into fully fledged conspiracy theories.” Continue reading →