The Falun Dafa Information Center, 26 Sep 2008-
New York (FDIC)—A group of Falun Gong adherents from Liaoning province are at grave risk of torture after being arrested following a daring escape from Masanjia labor camp in August, the Falun Dafa Information Center warned on Friday.
On August 11, adherents assisted Cui Dejun (崔德军), a practitioner detained at Masanjia labor camp, in escaping from the camp’s hospital where he was being held after suffering abuse. According to sources inside China, Cui was then taken to the nearby provincial capital Shenyang and placed at the home of Yu Ming (于溟), a 37-year-old adherent also held at the camp.
Two days later, agents of the Public Security Bureau broke into the house and arrested Cui and others present, taking Cui to an unknown location. In the meantime, guards suspecting that Yu may have aided the escape have also moved him elsewhere, ignoring his scheduled release date of September 2.
“Masanjia is known as one of the most brutal forced labor camps in the country where detainees are regularly tortured with electric batons, beaten and raped. These peaceful religious believers should never have been there in the first place,” says Falun Dafa Information Center spokesperson Gail Rachlin.
“That Cui escaped and may have told the world of the horrors taking place in Masanjia has sent the Chinese communist authorities into a panic. Based on the past experience of Ms. Gao Rongrong’s case and the use of incommunicado detention, Cui and Yu’s lives are in grave danger.”
In a widely publicized incident in 2004, Ms. Gao Rongrong escaped from Masanjia and photos of her face disfigured from electric baton shocks spread around the world (news). She was arrested shortly after and according to Amnesty International, died in custody in 2005 (news).
Like Gao, Yu and Cui have both been victims of extreme torture in the past, including being shocked with electric batons on their genitals, being subject to other forms of sexual abuse, and being forced to squat in an iron cage for three months. As recently as June, Cui had fallen unconscious and become incontinent.
Cui and his wife Gao Zhuo were both arrested in July 2007, along with seven of their employees who practiced Falun Gong. All were sentenced without trial to labor camp terms of 1.5 to 2 years. Yu has spent eight of the past nine years in labor camps because he continues to practice Falun Gong.
Family members and bystanders also targeted
In their efforts to catch Cui and retaliate for his escape, the Chinese authorities have also targeted the families of Cui and Yu. According to sources inside China, when agents of the Public Security Bureau broke into Yu’s home on August 13, they badly beat Yu’s nephew, and arrested him along with Yu’s wife Ma Li and his young son, leavingYu’s ten-year-old daughter Yu Zhenzhen at home by herself. They were all reportedly released several days later.
On August 14 and 15, police in the cities of Dalian and Wafandian then arrested Cui’s brother and two sisters-in-law. Cui’s brother and his wife, as well as one of their employees, were detained at the store the couple owns. The women were released shortly after, but the men’s whereabouts remain unknown.
The Falun Dafa Information Center is providing leads and phone numbers related to the case (see below) and urging human rights groups, foreign journalists and other members of the international community to:
* Conduct their own investigation into the case.
* Call Masanjia and Wafangdian officials and demand proof that these individuals are not being tortured.
* Apply pressure on the Chinese authorities to ensure the safety of those arrested and their immediate release.