Een Chinese man staat binnen een baan centrum on September 18, 2015 in Yiwu, provincie Zhejiang, China in 2015. China's tragere economie heeft veel wanhopig op zoek naar het werk vertrokken, waardoor ze kwetsbaar zijn voor piramidespelen die evolueren naar criminele syndicaten. (Kevin Frayer / Getty Images)Een Chinese man staat binnen een baan centrum on September 18, 2015 in Yiwu, provincie Zhejiang, China in 2015. China's tragere economie heeft veel wanhopig op zoek naar het werk vertrokken, waardoor ze kwetsbaar zijn voor piramidespelen die evolueren naar criminele syndicaten. (Kevin Frayer / Getty Images)

Een jonge universiteitsgediplomeerde werd dood aangetroffen in de noordelijke havenstad Tianjin. De politie vermoedt dat de dood betrokken vals spel door een piramidespel bende. Dergelijke bendes zijn verbonden aan een aantal verdachte sterfgevallen in heel China.

In juli 14, het lichaam van Li Wenxing, 23, werd gevonden in de buurt van een suburbane snelweg in Tianjin, drijvende zijde naar boven in een kleine vijver. Autopsie resultaten toonden aan dat Li verdronken zonder duidelijke verwondingen.

in, een inwoner van de provincie Shandong, van een landelijke familie was gekomen en sloot zich aan de golf van jongeren verlaten kleine dorpshuizen een carrière in de grote steden te vinden.

Li Wenxing, gezien op de dag van zijn college diploma-uitreiking, dacht dat hij het nemen van een programmering baan, maar belandde in een piramidespel gerund door gewelddadige oplichters. (Folder via EMG)

Li Wenxing, gezien op de dag van zijn college diploma-uitreiking, dacht dat hij het nemen van een programmering baan, maar belandde in een piramidespel gerund door gewelddadige oplichters. (Folder via EMG)

Chinese media gemeld dat een Li's lichaam werd gevonden met een boek van notities blijkbaar genomen op een klasse aangesloten op het piramidespel bekend als Diebeilei. Chinese staatsmedia zei vijf Diebeilei medewerkers zijn gearresteerd voor de dood van Li's en hebben bekend te lokken hem in de regeling en dwingt hem om te verblijven in hun slaapzaal.

Zesde Tone citeert een post van de zuster Li's die sindsdien naar beneden heeft genomen, in die beweerde dat ze de autopsie van haar broer onthulde hij uitgehongerd was.

Syndicate-achtige piramidespelen zijn productief in China en voeden zich met kwetsbare en vaak slecht opgeleid slachtoffers die worden gelokt door 's nachts vod-aan-rijkdom verhalen.

Publieke verontwaardiging over de dood Li's is gericht op zowel de piramide oplichting-waarvan bekend is dat agressieve werving praktijken gebruiken, bedrog, en zelfs geweld-als op “Boss Zhipin,”Een populaire Chinese zoektocht naar een baan website die niet in geslaagd om screenen werkgevers het plaatsen van advertenties op zijn site.

Het bouwterrein is een verontschuldiging voor dat het niet uitgegeven en heeft beloofd wijzigingen worden aangebracht.

Li was een recent afgestudeerde die dacht dat hij ging werken als programmeur bij een bedrijf dat hij te vinden op Boss Zhipin. Hij had om te reizen naar Tianjin voor de baan, niet ontdekken pas later dat het werd gepost door een lid van Diebeilei die zich voordeed als een software bedrijf.

Een politie-verklaring bleek dat kort na Li aangekomen in Tianjin op mei 20, Hij werd meegenomen naar voorzieningen geregeld door de leden van de regeling, misleid in het aanmelden als een rekruut, en begon lenen van geld van vrienden.

Rapporten zei Li's familie en vrienden hadden problemen met hem te bereiken en hij zou geen duidelijke uitleg waarom hij het geld nodig te geven.

Wat is er gebeurd later is nog niet helemaal duidelijk, maar in wat lijkt te Li's laatste telefoontje naar zijn familie op juli zijn geweest 8, hij zei, “Het maakt niet uit wie vraagt ​​om geld, geef het niet aan hen.”

dood van Li's is geen alleenstaand geval.

Eerder dit jaar, een 24-jarige man genaamd Qu Pengxu werd dood aangetroffen in een dorp visvijver in Tianjin.

Qu had ook een Diebeilei werven geweest.

Een andere werven genaamd Zhang Chao werd dood aangetroffen op juli 13.

Zhang's lichaam was in de steek gelaten door drie mannen op de weg in het midden van de nacht. Zhang overleden aan een “zonnesteek” onder verdachte omstandigheden. En er andere soortgelijke gevallen in de buurt van China zijn geweest.

Een andere student, Lin Huarong, 20, uit de provincie Hunan, werd gevonden verdronken in een rivier in de provincie Hubei op aug. 4.

Lin werd meegezogen in een piramide oplichting door een klasgenoot toen ze op zoek was naar een part-time baan in juli.

Lin's vader zei dat hij contact met zijn dochter verloor diezelfde maand.

Chinese media meldden dat Lin werd gedwongen om brainwashing lezingen te ontvangen en haar mobiele telefoon werd in beslag genomen.

Vier recente slachtoffers die na het in contact komt met piramidespelen in China overleden. Grote foto is Qu pengxu. Top rechts en naar beneden zijn Li Wenxing, Zhang Chao, en Lin Huarong. Achter hen is een foto van de vijver waar Li's lichaam werd gevonden. (Samengestelde foto via EMG)

Vier recente slachtoffers die na het in contact komt met piramidespelen in China overleden. (L) Qu Pengxu. (Van Top R en neer) Li Wenxing, Zhang Chao, en Lin Huarong. Achter hen is een foto van de vijver waar Li's lichaam werd gevonden. (Samengestelde foto via EMG)

Dergelijke gevallen weerspiegelen de ernst van het probleem, zegt China-analist Jason Ma.

Piramidespelen zijn een steeds veranderende dreiging, hij zei.

"In het begin, Het heette ‘direct marketing.’ Omdat direct marketing dertig jaar geleden geïntroduceerd werd in China, het is omgevormd tot iets totaal onherkenbaar vandaag.”

Ma zei dat in China vandaag de dag, deze piramidespelen zijn geworden “een gevaarlijke business.”

“Een groot aantal mensen zijn het slachtoffer geworden van een dergelijke oplichting opnieuw en opnieuw worden. Vandaag in China, de zogenaamde piramidespel is veranderd in iets heel complex en het is voortdurend in ontwikkeling ...”

Ma merkt op dat er naar schatting 600-700 types van de piramide of soortgelijke oplichting nu gebruikt in China met meer dan 1,000 organisaties.

“‘Regeling van de piramide’is een overkoepelende term die veel terrein bestrijkt. Bij Li Wenxing, hij zijn persoonlijke vrijheid verloren had en waarschijnlijk overleden aan misbruik. Dit is echt niet een piramidespel in de conventionele zin, het is een bende-stijl ontvoering," hij zei.

Publieke verontwaardiging wordt ook gericht op de politie meer dan waarom, na zoveel tragedies, autoriteiten er niet in geslaagd uit te roeien piramidespelen.

Intimidatieacties op dergelijke groepen opflakkeren van tijd tot tijd, met één momenteel aan de gang, maar de groepen is hardnekkig en evolueren.

Sommigen beweren dat de autoriteiten in China niet dergelijke groepen kan stoppen, omdat ze worden gesanctioneerd door corrupte ambtenaren binnen het regime.

“Dit is een extreem geval van azen op anderen. Het is een vorm van corruptie die de hele weg komt voort uit de top van de CCP leiderschap,”Zei China news analist Heng Hij.

“De autoriteiten zijn niet in staat om het grootste piramidespel organisaties raken omdat de overheid hun rug heeft. CCTV zelfs helpt bevordert een aantal van hen," zei hij, punt naar piramideregeling zogenaamde ‘Shanxinhui’ als voorbeeld.

De groep beweert een stichting vrouwen en is aangesloten bij All-China Women's Aansluiting van de CCP.

“Deze organisaties krijgen de publieke financiering, maar het geld dat ze krijgen niet zal worden terugbetaald, of uitgekeerd aan beleggers op de bodem. Degenen aan de top zijn degenen die het geld te krijgen," zei hij.

Hij vergelijkt dat scenario aan de endemische corruptie in China, dat ambtenaren van de Partij winst ziet op kosten.

Het is routine in China voor de kinderen van zeer plaats Communistische Partij cadre's op de helmen van staatsbedrijven dat de Chinese economie domineren te worden geplaatst, en voor ambtenaren om de verkoop van grond en andere zakelijke transacties te manipuleren om hun eigen zakken te vullen.

Chinese leider Xi Jinping heeft politiek kapitaal verdiend door het uitvoeren van een massale anti-corruptie campagne die is gericht op dergelijke praktijken te onderdrukken, maar er zijn vragen over de vraag of dat mogelijk is zonder een verandering van regime en real rule-of-law.

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Boxers Wen Yinhang, van Hubei, en Uyghur Tangtilahan concurreren op de 13e Nationale Game in Tianjin, China, op aug. 13. China heeft de ontbinding van het huidige Nationale boksen team bevolen te midden van klachten dat de concurrentie werd opgetuigd. (Sohu)Boxers Wen Yinhang, van Hubei, en Uyghur Tangtilahan concurreren op de 13e Nationale Game in Tianjin, China, op aug. 13. China heeft de ontbinding van het huidige Nationale boksen team bevolen te midden van klachten dat de concurrentie werd opgetuigd. (Sohu)

China heeft zijn nationale boksen team opgelost te midden van klachten over opgetuigd bokswedstrijden in het recente Chinese premier Nationale Spelen, bestuursorgaan van het land topsport aangekondigd op september. 7.

De kwalificaties van bepaalde rechters die naar verluidt betrokken waren zal worden beëindigd.

Het boksen concurrentie die in Tianjin tussen augustus plaatsvond. 3 en 13 eindigde in rep en roer en verschillende boksen atleten, verontwaardigd van de uitspraak dat ze oneerlijk beschouwd, weigerde om de site in protest te laten. Daaropvolgende wedstrijden werden uitgesteld als gevolg.

De twee boksers onder schijnwerper zijn Wen Yinhang van de provincie Hubei in centraal China en zijn tegenstander, Tangtilahan, een etnische Oeigoerse van Xinjiang, die in de mannen 75-kilogram finale op aug streden. 13. Wen kreeg een score van 5 naar 0 ondanks de vele toeschouwers die zeker van zijn nederlaag, wat leidt tot een brede speculatie dat de wedstrijd werd opgetuigd in het voordeel Wen's.

Wen Yinhang en Tangtilahan bij de bokswedstrijd op aug. 13. (WeChat)

Wen Yinhang en Tangtilahan bij de bokswedstrijd op aug. 13. (WeChat)

wen, een atleet in de nationale boksen team, werd ingesteld om te concurreren op de 2020 Olympische Spelen in Tokyo.

In een online opname van de live-uitzending op de staat gerunde Central China Television, de verteller te horen joelende bij Wen, die draagt ​​een rode outfit, als Tangtilahan slaat hem in het gezicht. “Zo'n een overweldigende overwinning," hij zegt.

Maar het horen van de aankondiging van de overwinning Wen's, narrator lijkt schotten, saying it “made no sense.”

The Chinese Boxing Federation rules deny athletes the chance to appeal for a review of the results if the score is 0:5 of 1:4.

Similar questions were raised on Aug. 4, when Sichuan athlete Wang Gang defeated Yilanbieke, also a Uyghur, during the 64-kilogram match.

“An investigation has been launched and umpires who are found to have seriously violated discipline will be banned,” the Boxing and Taekwondo Center of the State General Administration of Sport said in a statement, according to the English Xinhua.

“The incidents exposed the loopholes of the boxing and taekwondo center in selecting, managing, and employing referees,” the administration said in the uitspraak. “The boxing and taekwondo center must take responsibility for it.”

In an earlier notice, the sports administration criticized the boxing and taekwondo center for not handling the issue in a sufficient and timely manner, and ordered an investigation.

Ondertussen, Chinese have taken to the internet to express their amusement or discontent.

“Wen Yinhang was punched four or five times every round, but he still got crowned with a score of 5 to 0,” one spectator wrote on Weibo, a Twitter-like social media site.

Another commented: “I can’t claim myself a veteran boxing fan, but I have watched some matches. This National tournament is simply ridiculous… My wife, who has never watched boxing match, joined me today and she asked, ‘how can this [wen] win? What exactly is the standard for the competition?’ I had no good answer for her.”

Others directed their comments towards the apparently rigged results. “Such insufficient work. At least you should inform the host or narrator, this is way too awkward.”

Professional sports in China have long been plagued with corruption, doping, and fixed results. Wang Jing, the former champion in female 100 meter in the 2013 National Games, got a lifetime ban from running events for alleged doping. In 2009, acclaimed diving coach Ma Yanping quit months before a scheduled competition, stating that the champions had been pre-arranged behind closed doors.

A notice issued by the State General Administration of Sports on Sept. 7, 2017 states that the national boxing team will be disbanded.

A notice issued by the State General Administration of Sports on Sept. 7, 2017.
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Human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong on trial at Changsha Intermediate People’s Court on Aug. 22, 2017. (Screenshot via Youtube/China Hot Video)Human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong on trial at Changsha Intermediate People’s Court on Aug. 22, 2017. (Screenshot via Youtube/China Hot Video)

Prominent Chinese human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong was put on trial Tuesday, augustus. 22 for “subversion of state power.”

Jiang Tianyong’s wife told the Chinese language version of NTD TV that she thought it was a show trial and that Jiang had been tortured into pleading guilty.

Jiang disappeared last November after visiting another human rights lawyer, Xie Yang, who had been detained in what has come to be called the 709 Crackdown, so-named because the roundup of lawyers began two years ago on July 9.

Six months after his disappearance, Jiang’s father received a letter from the Changsha Municipal Public Security Bureau that his son had been charged with “subversion of state power.”

Chinese human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong and his wife Jin Ling Ling, at time before he was arrested by the Chinese regime.  (NTD.tv)

Chinese human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong and his wife Jin Ling Ling, at time before he was arrested by the Chinese regime. (NTD.tv)

Jiang had a history of defending persecuted groups such as underground Christians, Tibetanen, and Falun Gong practitioners, and had taken on high-profile cases such as that of the Nobel Peace Prize nominated rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, and blind rights activist Chen Guangcheng.

Before Jiang’s trial, his parents were taken into custody, a common tactic in China used to pressure those who refuse to toe the Party line.

Jiang’s wife, Jin Bianling, decried Chinese authorities for not telling her if her husband was assigned defense lawyer or not, and if so, what his or her name might be.

The trial was held at Changsha Intermediate People’s Court. Videos posted by Chinese netizens show the wife of human rights lawyer Li Heping and the wife of human rights activist Zhai Yanmin being taken away by security for attempting to attend the trial.

Reuters reported an anonymous Western diplomat saying that a handful of diplomats who also tried to attend the trial were told that the room was full and were turned away.

The court released a video of the trial on Chinese social media Weibo.

In the video, Jiang can be seen reading parts of a written statement in which he admits to using social media to criticize the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and seeking to “overthrow the socialist system” after going abroad and attending legal training sessions.

Jin Bianling, who fled with her daughter to the United States in 2013, told NTD Television that Jiang must have endured unbearable torture to have pleaded guilty.

“You can see at the beginning of the trial, when Jiang Tianyong was brought into the court, his face was red the whole time," ze zei. “Either he was tortured or he was force-fed drugs.”

If true, this wouldn’t be unprecedented.

Other human rights lawyers and activists who were arrested during the 709 Crackdown have told the media that they were tortured during detention, and some were injected with nerve-damaging drugs.

Jin demanded that the court acquit her husband and refused to recognize any verdict that declared him guilty.

Joint Statement

op augustus. 19, Jiang’s wife and family members of two other persecuted activists, released a joint statement saying that the CCP’s attempts to intimidate them into pressuring their loved ones were “laughable.”

“You are using harassment, bedrog, and violence on those who show support for their loved ones, then you will definitely receive harassment, bedrog, and violence as retribution in the future,” the statement reads.

“Regardless of what tricks you use, we will firmly adhere to one principle: If all of our 709 family members don’t come home, we will never give up.”

The eight family members were calling attention to Jiang, human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang, and the father of human rights activist Wu Gan who was abducted by police shortly before Wu Gan was to go to trial.

Wang was arrested in the 709 Crackdown, and has been held in detention on charges of being a “threat to national security.”

Wang Quanzhang, with his wife Li Wenzu and son. Wang was detained in August 2015, and hasn't been seen since. (Courtesy of Wang Quanzhang's family)

Wang Quanzhang, with his wife Li Wenzu and son. Wang was detained in August 2015, and hasn’t been seen since. (Courtesy of Wang Quanzhang’s family)

Despite the Chinese regime’s distaste for his activities, Wang was recently nominated for the Dutch government’s Human Rights Tulip award for his advocacy work.

He has defended persecuted groups such as underground Christians and Falun Gong practitioners, and has worked with self-taught paralegals, or “barefoot lawyers,” and human rights activists to defend the disenfranchised.

His wife has tried to sue Tianjin No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court for not following legal procedures in his case. She says the court had six months to try him or ask for a postponement, and has done neither.

But after 14 tries to enter China’s Supreme Court, she hasn’t been successful in filing the lawsuit.

A day before releasing the joint statement, she posted a video on Twitter of herself trying to get past a Supreme Court bailiff. In the video, the bailiff blocks her way, denying her access to the building.

Wang Quanzhang’s lawyer, Yu Wensheng, said attempts to meet with officials from the Tianjin court have also been unsuccessful, and said he wasn’t even able able to finish filing his defense papers at the court.

“They are not being reasonable at all," hij zei.

In their joint statement, the families called for justice for all the lawyers and activists who were rounded up in the 709 Crackdown, and demanded their release.

NTD China News reporters Yi Ru, Li Yun, and Li Peiling contributed to this article.

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Falun Gong practitioners exercise in Chengdu, China's Sichuan Province before the persecution began in 1999.  (courtesy of en.minghui.org)Falun Gong practitioners exercise in Chengdu, China's Sichuan Province before the persecution began in 1999.  (courtesy of en.minghui.org)

Over the past year, an increasing number of Falun Gong practitioners have been released without charge, volgens Minghui.org, a clearinghouse for information on the ongoing persecution of Falun Gong in China.

This differs starkly from standard procedure in the Chinese regime’s 18-year-long persecution campaign, in which millions have been thrown into various forms of detention for practicing the traditional spiritual discipline.

Bijvoorbeeld, a Falun Gong practitioner in Tianjin City, Li Zhenjun, was told of his sentence—three years in a forced labor camp—by a police officer reading from a piece of paper. There was no judge and no jury. Eigenlijk, no legal basis exists that would justify the banning of Falun Gong.

Onlangs, there have been signs that the persecution is abating—not because of an official change in policy—but because some local authorities sympathetic to Falun Gong have chosen to disobey official directives, instead releasing or simply not arresting adherents in the first place.

Since the beginning of 2017, minstens 54 Falun Gong practitioners have been released without charge after the court, procuratorate, or police decided to throw out their case. Another 90 have not yet been released, but their prosecution has been halted after a court rejected the case or a higher court ordered a retrial.

A local procuratorate in Henan Province returned the case of four Falun Gong practitioners to the police in late July, citing “insufficient evidence.” Their families, lawyers, and fellow Falun Gong practitioners in China and abroad had pressured the authorities, demanding their immediate release after they were arrested in March.

Falun Gong, ook wel bekend als Falun Dafa, is a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline combining five slow exercises with a moral philosophy rooted in the principles of truthfulness, mededogen, en tolerantie.

First introduced to the public in 1992, the practice proliferated across China, attracting 70 naar 100 million adherents by 1999, according to official and practitioner estimates.

Falun Gong’s popularity and independent moral beliefs drew the ire of then-Party chief Jiang Zemin, who ordered its eradication. “Destroy their reputation, ze financieel bankroet, en vernietig hen fysiek,” Jiang ordered.

The persecution has continued for the past 18 jaar. Minghui reported 78 cases of Falun Gong practitioners being sentenced to prison in May 2017 en 117 cases in April. According to a February 2017 report by Freedom House, a US-based NGO, the severity of the persecution remains “very high.”

Besides being imprisoned, brainwashed, and tortured into renouncing their beliefs, Falun Gong practitioners have also been harvested and killed for their organs, which fuel China’s lucrative transplant industry.

China performs between 60,000 en 100,000 transplants every year, with organs mostly sourced from Falun Gong practitioners as well as other prisoners of conscience, volgens een nagenoeg 700-page report published in June 2016.

But at the same time, many top officials who spearheaded the persecution have been ousted for corruption in the past few years, including Zhou Yongkang, China’s former security czar, and Li Dongsheng, the former head of a Gestapo-like agency tasked with persecuting Falun Gong.

Back when former Party chief Jiang Zemin was in power, he specifically promoted officials who actively suppressed Falun Gong.

Sinds 2013, current leader Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign has disciplined over 1 million officials, including many of those responsible for persecuting Falun Gong adherents.

And as a result of the extensive grassroots efforts of Falun Gong practitioners in China and abroad—from flyering around cities in the middle of the night to phoning Chinese officials—more and more local officials have chosen to disobey official policy on suppressing adherents.

Freedom House estimates that millions and even tens of millions continue to practice Falun Gong in China and speak out against the persecution.

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Former Chongqing boss Sun Zhengcai, 53, was put under investigation on July 24. (bowenpress.com)Former Chongqing boss Sun Zhengcai, 53, was put under investigation on July 24. (bowenpress.com)

A number of Chinese officials from several provinces have hastened to show their support for the investigation into Sun Zhengcai, a powerful cadre who headed the Communist Party organization in the city of Chongqing before his recent ousting.

Sun is one of the highest-ranking officials to be purged by Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s sweeping anti-corruption campaign. Op 53, Sun was one of the youngest members of the Politburo, the Chinese regime’s 25-person ruling body, and he was seen by observers as a potential successor to Xi Jinping as China’s next leader.

In juli 15, Sun was removed from his position and a week later, put under investigation for “severe violations of discipline,” a phrase synonymous with corruption.

In ousting Sun Zhengcai, Xi Jinping has strengthened his position, evidenced by the multitude of officials—including from the cities of Beijing, Tianjin, and Shanghai and the provinces of Jilin and Hunan—who have eagerly “demonstrated loyalty” to Xi and his anti-corruption campaign.

Their eagerness to distance themselves from Sun suggests that Sun’s crimes, although unclear, are particularly grave.

In juli 26, an emergency meeting of provincial officials was held in Zhongnanhai, the Beijing compound that hosts the Communist Party leadership. Observers believe this meeting was convened as a means of weakening internal opposition to Xi Jinping.

The fall of Sun and the expressions of support for his investigation indicate that Xi is gaining the upper hand against the powerful opposing faction helmed by former Party chief Jiang Zemin, in the months leading up to a major Party reshuffling later this year.

During his time in power from 1993 naar 2003, Jiang fostered a culture of kleptocracy, corruptie, and abuse of power in China. He maintained strong informal networks in the communist regime even after being superseded by Party head Hu Jintao, and many officials remain tied into Jiang’s faction.

Chongqing, a provincial-level city with a population of some 30 miljoen, is a major commercial and industrial hub. Prior to Xi’s ascension to power in 2012, it had been run by Bo Xilai, a prominent Jiang ally. Bo was sentenced to life in prison in 2013.

Sun Zhengcai was once the top aide to two allies of Jiang Zemin and succeeded Bo as Party boss of Chongqing. Before this assignment, he had been a Party secretary of Jilin Province in Northeast China, where the Jiang faction also enjoys influence.

In februari, the Party’s disciplinary agency, which carries out the anti-corruption campaign, reprimanded the Chongqing administration for failing to thoroughly cleanse itself from the corrupt influences of its former boss, Bo Xilai, and his right-hand man, Wang Lijun.

“When Sun Zhengcai came to office in Chongqing, he was supposed to purge the ‘residual poison’ of Bo Xilan and Wang Lijun, but he not only failed to do so but also colluded with the ‘residue poison’,” said one Beijing princeling—a term for the children of revolutionary Party leaders—in an interview with the Epoch Times. He asked to remain anonymous to protect his identity.

“Sun’s wife set up a lady’s club in Beijing and had close relations with Gu Liping, the wife of Ling Jihua," hij voegde toe. Ling Jihua is part of the Jiang faction and the former top aide to the Chinese Communist Party. He was purged for corruption in July 2015.

The Beijing princeling added that Sun also sought to gain personal profits from the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative that has been marketed as a cornerstone of Xi Jinping’s foreign policy.

The timing of Sun’s purge notably coincides with an annual gathering of top Party leaders at Beidaihe, a seaside resort town a few dozen miles away from Beijing. They will delineate future plans for the Party and configure the roster of the new Party leadership, which will be determined at the 19th National Congress at the end of this year.

“Sun Zhengcai was basically Jiang Zemin’s designated, cross-generational successor,” said the Beijing princeling. “Sun Zhengcai’s fall cuts the Jiang faction off from their escape route. It is impossible for him to succeed Xi Jinping in the future.”

Xi Jinping decided to oust Sun to avoid a replay of a 2012 coup attempt by Bo Xilai and security czar Zhou Yongkang, said independent political commentator Hua Po.

A Xi loyalist, Chen Min’er, has taken Sun’s place as Chongqing’s chief. Chen worked with Xi Jinping when Xi was Party chief of Zhejiang Province from 2002 naar 2007 before being sent to lead the impoverished province of Guizhou. As Chongqing chiefs typically sit on the elite Politburo, Chen’s placement gives Xi the opportunity to nab another seat on the 25-member body during the 19th National Congress.

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juli- 24, 2017

Hundreds of Falun Dafa practitioners hold a candlelight vigil in Washington on July 20, 2017 to remember the victims of the Chinese regime’s persecution of the practice that began on July 20, 1999. The candles in the front form the Chinese characters for truthfulness, mededogen, en tolerantie, the three main tenets of Falun Dafa. (Benjamin Chasteen / The Epoch Times)Hundreds of Falun Dafa practitioners hold a candlelight vigil in Washington on July 20, 2017 to remember the victims of the Chinese regime’s persecution of the practice that began on July 20, 1999. The candles in the front form the Chinese characters for truthfulness, mededogen, en tolerantie, the three main tenets of Falun Dafa. (Benjamin Chasteen / The Epoch Times)

Holding the corner of a banner under the intense midday sun on a 100-plus-degree day, Chinese-American medical scientist and Falun Gong practitioner Hu Zongyi shared his understanding of where the Xi Jinping leadership might be headed on the Falun Gong issue.

"[Xi] doesn’t necessarily have any intention to persecute Falun Gong,” said the middle-aged scientist, speaking before the start of a parade in Washington commemorating the 18th anniversary of the beginning of the persecution of Falun Gong in China.

“If those officials, who have blood on their hands, are cleaned out, it will be easier for Xi to end this,” Hu added. “If he really wants to resolve this problem, goed, doesn’t he talk about reviving traditional Chinese culture? If he thinks he needs to disband the Communist Party in order to end the persecution, he can take this step first, or do both at the same time.”

Hu’s assessment might seem overly optimistic in light of the continued suppression in China. The website Minghui.org, which serves as a clearinghouse for information about the persecution of Falun Gong, identified nearly 400 practitioners who were sentenced to prison between January to May this year. In juli 11, Yang Yuyong, one of about 20 practitioners from Tianjin who were arrested as part of a local security effort, died in a hospital seemingly from the injuries he sustained from torture and abuse, according to Minghui.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping attends the World Economic Forum in Davos on Jan. 17, 2017. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images)

Chinese leader Xi Jinping attends the World Economic Forum in Davos on Jan. 17, 2017. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images)

Yet the Xi leadership has overseen several policies that suggest that Xi is at least considering future reconciliation. The labor camp system has been shuttered. Some practitioners have walked away mostly unpunished after lodging criminal complaints against former Party leader Jiang Zemin, or have received no punishment at all. Xi has made unusual gestures (such as stressing the importance of helping lawful petitioners, which includes those complaining about Jiang) near the anniversaries of dates related to the persecution. The”610 Office,” which coordinates the persecution, has received an official rebuke and its leadership has been (figuratively) decapitated. Local courts are throwing out practitioner cases, citing lack of evidence to prosecute.

There appears to also be a correlation between Xi’s anti-corruption campaign and a gradual weakening of the persecution. Aside from being linked with Jiang’s political faction, many of the officials arrested for corruption happen to be involved in persecuting practitioners, according to Minghui.org and the World Organization to Investigative the Persecution of Falun Gong, which closely tracks the persecution.

It is still unclear whether Xi Jinping will eventually end the persecution. But if he does bite the proverbial bullet, it is tough to imagine that the Party can survive the scandal of the persecution—including grisly, large-scale crimes like forced organ harvesting.

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Falun Gong practitioner Yang Yuyong passed away on July 12 after eight months of being detained for his spiritual beliefs. His body was covered with wounds and bruises. (Radio Free Asia)Falun Gong practitioner Yang Yuyong passed away on July 12 after eight months of being detained for his spiritual beliefs. His body was covered with wounds and bruises. (Radio Free Asia)

Yang Yuyong and nearly 20 other Falun Gong practitioners in the Chinese port city of Tianjin were arrested and detained by local security forces last December. After eight months in police custody, Yang passed away in a hospital on July 11, seemingly from the wounds he sustained from torture and abuse.

But even in death Yang hasn’t escaped the control of Chinese authorities. Tianjin police are restricting access to his grave, and the hospital’s head doctor appears to have listed a bogus cause of death. Yang’s family is now demanding an investigation.

Beoefenaars van Falun Gong, een traditionele Chinese spirituele praktijk, have been targeted for suppression by the Chinese authorities since July 1999 when former Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin launched a persecution campaign. Vandaag, hundreds of thousands of practitioners continue to be held in some form of detention, where they suffer vicious abuse. Researchers say that the Chinese regime is profiting from the forced live organ harvesting of practitioners.

Yang Yuyong, who was 56, had been arrested multiple times since the start of the persecution. On Dec. 7, he and his wife were again arrested, this time as part of a large sweep of Falun Gong practitioners in Tianjin, and were held in Wuqing District Detention Center.

In early January, Yang went on hunger strike to protest his imprisonment. His jailors responded by shackling his ankles and wrists together, forcing him into a painful bent position. Two heavy metal balls were also attached to the shackles around his feet.

In another incident, Yang’s jailors instructed thirteen detention center inmates to beat him unconscious. One of Yang’s lawyers said that the inmates had also cursed at and sexually abused him.

Then on July 11, the Tianjin authorities notified Yang’s family of his death at 3:40 p.m. that day. The hospital’s head doctor said that Yang had sustained a lung infection and a very high fever, implying that he had died of illnesses.

Yang’s family, echter, believes that the official medical account of Yang Yuyong’s death was falsified. Yang had no history of illness, and had appeared healthy when Yang’s lawyers visited him a fortnight ago.

Ook, when Yang’s family arrived at the hospital, they found his body covered in wounds and bluish-purple bruises as well as cuts on his toenails that suggested his feet had been stabbed with bamboo sticks or needles. They also noticed grotesque wounds on the back of his ears, volgens Minghui.org, a clearinghouse for information on the Chinese regime’s ongoing persecution of Falun Gong.

Verder, a friend of Yang’s said that his body was already rigid by the time his family saw him at the hospital at 6:00 p.m., which suggests that Yang had passed away much earlier than 3:40 p.m. as the Tianjin authorities had claimed. Yang’s friend wishes to remain anonymous out of safety concerns.

Over 100 policemen came to the hospital in the early morning of July 13 to take the body of Falun Gong practitioner Yang Yuyong against the wishes of his family. They formed a human wall to the entrance of the hospital. (Minghui.org)

Events quickly took an alarming turn. At about 3:00 a.m. the following day, 14 police cars pulled into the hospital’s parking lot. Nearly a hundred police officers, including special forces dressed all in black, swarmed out and surrounded the hospital, forming two rows to make a human wall extending to the entrance, according to Minghui.

Ignoring the family’s wishes, the newly arrived security forces took Yang’s corpse to a cemetery near the hospital and tried to block anyone from taking pictures. The police are monitoring the entrance to the cemetery, as well as registering names and videorecording visitors to Yang’s grave.

Yang’s family is demanding an investigation into the cause of his death as well as the release of Yang’s wife and fellow Falun Gong practitioner Meng Xianzhen. Meng was imprisoned in the same detention center as her husband.

“The first thing we need to do is make them release my mother since she did not commit any crime in the first place. After what happened to my father, I worry about her safety,” said Yang’s daughter in an interview with Radio Free Asia. “The next step is to seek justice for my father.”

Yang’s two children have asked the detention center to release their mother, but they were told to fire one of their lawyers, Wen Donghai, because of his alleged “anti-China” background.

Yang’s children met with authorities on July 14 without their lawyers, who had been denied entry. The authorities then used their mother’s safety to threaten them to privately settle the matter of their father’s death and to stop publicizing the incident on the internet. Yang’s children, echter, declined.

Yang’s lawyers have tried to file criminal complaints against the head of the Wuqing District Detention Center and a guard surnamed Liu for torturing him. The Wuqing District Procuratorate has refused to accept the complaint, while the Tianjin Procuratorate and the Tianjin Police Department have not responded.

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Wang Yu, the lawyer of late Chinese human rights activist Cao Shunli, poses during an interview in Hong Kong on March 20, 2014. The 52-year-old Cao, who died in police detention on March 14, 2014 in Beijing, was said to have dark marks all over her body, her lawyer disclosed, citing Cao's relatives. Cao was set to travel to Switzerland to take part in a UN Human Rights Council review last September but police detained her at Beijing's international airport, her lawyer Wang Yu told AFP on March 14. AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)Wang Yu, the lawyer of late Chinese human rights activist Cao Shunli, poses during an interview in Hong Kong on March 20, 2014. The 52-year-old Cao, who died in police detention on March 14, 2014 in Beijing, was said to have dark marks all over her body, her lawyer disclosed, citing Cao's relatives. Cao was set to travel to Switzerland to take part in a UN Human Rights Council review last September but police detained her at Beijing's international airport, her lawyer Wang Yu told AFP on March 14. AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Beijing-based human rights lawyer Wang Yu was released on bail last August, but she continues to languish under house arrest at her parents’ home in Ulanhot, Inner Mongolia.

Over ten internal security agents monitor Wang and her family around the clock, restricting their communication with the outside world and barring them from returning to their home in Beijing, according to Chinese human rights lawyer Wen Donghai, who recently visited Wang on June 23.

“Their every move is being watched, and at least two security agents follow them whenever they leave home. There are surveillance cameras everywhere in the house, even in their bedroom,” Wen told Radio Free Asia. "Inderdaad, surveillance of Wang Yu is at an intolerable level.”

Wang, 46, was among the first human rights lawyers to be arrested as part of the nationwide crackdown on rights lawyers and activists in 2015. The Chinese authorities have questioned or detained over 300 lawyers, activists, and legal personnel, including Wang and her activist husband, Bao Longjun.

Wang was one of China’s leading rights defenders, having championed dissidents and prisoners of conscience. She advocated for the Uyghur academic Ilham Tohti, the activist Cao Shunli, as well as several practitioners of Falun Gong, the traditional Chinese spiritual discipline that former Communist Party boss Jiang Zemin marked for brutal persecution in 1999.

The Chinese regime reacted to Wang’s best legal efforts by slandering her reputation and squashing her defense of China’s downtrodden.

In juli 2015, a week prior to her arrest, Wang was dragged out of a court in Hebei Province and “tossed out like a bag onto the street,” for trying to attend the cross-examination of a Falun Gong practitioner, according to an eyewitness.

After months of being held incommunicado, Wang was officially charged in Jan 2016 with “subversion of state power,” a major offense often levied upon human rights defenders.

Prior to Wang’s supposed release on bail in August 2016, she gave a confession—likely coerced—that was aired widely on state media. In the footage, Wang said she wouldn’t accept a human rights award from a United States professional organization, denounced her colleagues, and suggested “foreign forces” had used her firm to smear the Chinese regime.

Wang and her family remained under constant surveillance after her release. In a statement published on human rights blog Weiquan.net, Bao Longjun, Wang’s husband, said that his family was accompanied by internal security agents during the entire duration of their trip to Tianjin to visit family on June 25.

After the Wangs returned to Inner Mongolia on June 30, they realized that their travel bags had been searched by the security agents at some point in their travels. Some of their personal belongings in the bags has also gone missing, Bao said.

Bao had demanded that the security agents produce paperwork justifying the surveillance of his family, but received no response. The agents also refused to explain why the Wang family was kept under house arrest in Inner Mongolia, and not allowed to return to their home in Beijing.

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Beijing Party secretary Cai Qi attends a meeting of Beijing Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing on Jan. 12, 2017. (Reuters)Beijing Party secretary Cai Qi attends a meeting of Beijing Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing on Jan. 12, 2017. (Reuters)

Cai Qi spent 14 years in several modest official positions in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang. Eindelijk, in 2013, Cai became a deputy to the provincial number two.

In the past four years, echter, Cai has enjoyed career progression somewhat similar to a multinational company employee in middle management being made chief executive officer overnight—with an additional offer to join the board of directors.

Cai was first plucked from Zhejiang to be deputy director of the Chinese regime’s national security organ in 2014. Then Cai was made acting and full Beijing mayor, and later landed the top job in Beijing municipality—Communist Party secretary of Beijing—in a span of six months between 2016 en 2017.

As Beijing boss, Cai, 60, also seems locked in for a seat in the Politburo—a 25-member elite decision making body—come the 19th National Congress, a key Party conclave, near the end of the year.

The Xi Jinping leadership’s recent appointment of Cai and over a dozen others to senior provincial positions has turned heads because they are technically non-elites—none of the newly promoted officials are in the Central Committee, a collection of over 300 ministerial-level officials.

Xi has likely chosen to elevate Cai and others, who are either Xi’s former work colleagues or academicians and technocrats, to more fully consolidate his control over the Chinese regime.

Political Deathmatch

On paper, general-secretary Xi Jinping already appears to be very powerful, being “core” leader of the Chinese regime, the top military overseer, and head of several key policy-making groups.

But in actuality, Xi is less influential than his many titles suggest.

Even before taking office in 2012, Xi was forced to contend with a powerful political faction helmed by former Communist Party chief Jiang Zemin. Jiang’s faction has previously been dominant for about two decades, and is responsible for perpetuating corruption, kleptocracy, and persecution in China.

Jiang faction elites had originally planned to dispose of Xi, a compromise candidate between Jiang and then outgoing Chinese leader Hu Jintao, in a coup, according to sources inside the Party and an account by an Obama administration official to Washington Free Beacon reporter Bill Gertz. Xi Jinping himself appeared to allude to the attempted coup in official speeches where he accused disgraced Jiang elites of forming “cliques and cabals” to “wreck and split” the Party.

Over the past five years, Xi has sought to shift the balance of power through an anti-corruption campaign, which has led to the downfall of many Jiang allies and supporters in various governing organs and the military. More than a million officials have been investigated for corruption since 2013, of which over 200 are Party elites, according to Chinese state media.

Officials, possibly unhappy with being unable to make an easy fortune through corruption, have recently been found to be passively resisting the Xi leadership by refusing or poorly carrying out orders from Party central, according to Chinese scholars or indirect allusions in reports by the Party’s anti-corruption agency.

The result of the “deathmatch” between the Xi leadership and Jiang’s faction is stagnation in the Chinese regime—in the past five years, Xi hasn’t been able to push through substantial economic, legal, or security reforms.

Reshuffling the Provinces

In light of the current political situation in the Chinese regime, the Xi Jinping leadership’s recent elevation of Beijing boss Cai Qi and several other officials to top provincial positions despite their non-elite status seems to be born out of dire necessity rather than a willful attempt to break with the regime’s convention.

If Xi were to promote officials from among the current pool of Central Committee members, or within many important provincial-level administrations like Beijing, Chongqing, or Xinjiang, he runs the risk of entrenching the Chinese “deep state” that comprises lines of officials whose political patronage can be traced to Jiang Zemin’s faction.

Xi will unlikely want to go another five years being unable to properly push through his policies. Stacking the number one and two offices in key provinces with loyalists or capable academicians and technocrats with no political alignment is one way to break the impasse.

Xi’s efforts at political reshuffling is best seen in Beijing.

Beijing Party chief Cai Qi worked with Xi in the southern provinces of Fujian and Zhejiang. New acting mayor Chen Jining was president of the prestigious Tsinghua University until 2015 before serving as Minister of Environmental Protection. Two new Beijing municipal Party committee members, the political advisory organ chief, and the legislature chief were all brought in from outside Beijing.

Xi has either replicated or appears to be in the process of effecting similar political appointments in the other key provincial-level administrations such as Tianjin, Chongqing, Guangdong, Xinjiang, and Shanghai, long the base of operations of Jiang Zemin.

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Several hundred of 200,000 pro-democracy student protesters face to face with policemen outside the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square in Beijing on April 22, 1989. (Catherine Henriette/AFP/Getty Images)Several hundred of 200,000 pro-democracy student protesters face to face with policemen outside the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square in Beijing on April 22, 1989. (Catherine Henriette/AFP/Getty Images)

Twenty-eight years ago, China—along with the Soviet bloc—seemed on the cusp of political change.

Beginning with college students and university staff around the country, millions of people joined the nationwide demonstrations—for human rights, an end to corruption, and democratic reform—that had been sparked off by the death of Hu Yaobang, the liberal Chinese Communist Party former leader, in April 1989.

Despite widespread sympathy for the movement, and nearly a decade of economic change and social openness, the CCP declared martial law in Beijing; in juni 4, 1989, soldiers and tanks of the People’s Liberation Army entered the capital and killed hundreds, maybe thousands of unarmed protesters in Tiananmen Square—the “gate of heavenly peace.”

Crowds of Beijing residents watch the military block access  to Tiananmen Square  in Beijing on June 7, 1989. (AP Photo/Sadayuki Mikami)

Crowds of Beijing residents watch the military block access to Tiananmen Square in Beijing on June 7, 1989. (AP Photo/Sadayuki Mikami)

In the final days before the imposition of martial law, Zhao Ziyang, Hu’s successor to the Party leadership, spoke to the students in Beijing, “We came too late. We are sorry. You talk about us, criticize us, it is all necessary.”

Twenty days after the Tiananmen Massacre, Zhao Ziyang was forced out of office and placed under house arrest. According to the Tiananmen Papers, a scholarly reconstruction of events during the demonstrations and massacre, while Zhao was never formally accused of any crime, he was blamed by Party hardliners for supposedly engineering the pro-democratic demonstrations.

In Zhao’s place the remaining Party leaders installed Jiang Zemin, a man whose deleterious influence in Chinese politics and brutal legacy in the suppression of human rights lingers to this day.

The Paradox of Reform

Following the death of chairman Mao Zedong in 1976, China had begun its “reform and opening up” era, unleashing the entrepreneurial potential of hundreds of millions of Chinese. The crazed fanaticism, state terror, and starvation of the chairman’s rule appeared a thing of the past.

Marx, Lenin, and Mao seemed to take a backseat in the tide of market prosperity and budding political reform. General secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, Hu Yaobang, took an opening and went so far as to say that none of Mao’s ideas were relevant in modern China’s economic modernizations.

Chinese Communist Party Secretary General Zhao Ziyang (C) addresses the student hunger strikers through a megaphone at dawn 19 mei 1989.  (AFP/Getty Images)

Chinese Communist Party Secretary General Zhao Ziyang (C) addresses the student hunger strikers through a megaphone at dawn 19 mei 1989. (AFP/Getty Images)

And in 1987, the mantle of leadership passed to Zhao Ziyang, a disciple of Hu’s political reforms. Though a high-ranking bureaucrat and a dedicated Party member, Zhao, in the words of scholar Julian B. Gewirtz, “prioritized substance over style” and envisioned a China both rich and democratic. In one of the more radical proposals, he called for the independence of the government from the Communist Party.

Under Zhao’s continued leadership, Gerwitz said in a statement published on the commentary website ChinaFile, “it’s not at all hard to imagine that Chinese society would be much more pluralistic, democratic, law-abiding, fair, and open to the outside world.”

But the Party had its own logic, one that could be seen even before the death of Hu Yaobang and the tragedy at Tiananmen.

Hardliners in the CCP, including Deng Xiaoping, the real source of power and political patronage in the China of the day, had previously acted—as in the example of the campaign to rid China of western “spiritual pollution”—to curb political liberalization. Hu Yaobang was a controversial figure, and the latter half of the 1980s saw his downfall.

Triumph of Party Character

The concept of “Party character”—”dang xing” in Mandarin—was a constant throughout CCP rule, and has proved a formidable tool ensuring cohesion of the communist regime and enlisting cooperation from its individual members.

Class struggle and materialist dialectics, the philosophical core of the Marxist-Leninism enshrined in CCP doctrine, informed the mass murders and unprecedented famine under Mao, and remained unchanged in the years following. Economic development, legal modernization, and loosening of social norms could make Chinese richer and more materially satisfied, but the Communist Party retained its basic ideological character.

At a time when political reforms in the Soviet Union led to the wholesale collapse of eastern European communist regimes, the strength of Party character doomed Hu and Zhao even in their capacities as general secretary—the highest rank in the CCP.

A poster displayed in late 1966 in a Beijing street shows how to deal with a so-called ‘enemy of the people’ during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. (Jean Vincent/AFP/Getty Images)

Zhao Ziyang was not the first Party leader to be disgraced. In the chaos of the Cultural Revolution, brought on by Mao Zedong in the 1960s, General Secretary Liu Shaoqi was hounded by Red Guards as a “capitalist-roader” and brought down as attempts to defend himself with a copy of the Chinese constitution were simply ignored. He was tortured and held in inhuman conditions until his death two years later.

Chen Duxiu, founder of the CCP, was opposed to the use of violence and favored cooperation with the republican Chinese government in power at the time. He was squeezed out of his position and eventually expelled from the Party as a “right-wing opportunist.”

After Tiananmen

Vandaag, little trace remains of the social movement that swept through Beijing, Harbin, Shenyang, Guangzhou, Hefei, Chengdu, and other Chinese metropolises in the spring of 1989. Zhao Ziyang lived under house arrest until his death in 2005.

With Zhao’s successor Jiang Zemin, China continued its march into capitalism without democracy. The aims of reform—transparent government, rule of law, greater democratization and growth of civil society—reversed course as money and patronage became the caustic lubricants of an affluent China’s political economy.

Chinese policeman approach Falun Gong practitioners who traveled across China to Tiananmen Square to stage peaceful appeals against the persecution in 2001.  (Courtesy of Minghui)

Chinese policeman approach Falun Gong practitioners who traveled across China to Tiananmen Square to stage peaceful appeals against the persecution in 2001. (Courtesy of Minghui)

While clad in western suits and enjoying the fruits of crony capitalism, the Party organization under Jiang retained the machinery of communism from Tiananmen—and the ideological culture for its use. Deze keer, the offense was not a matter of politics, but a clash of faith.

In 1999, Jiang Zemin ordered a comprehensive campaign to destroy Falun Gong, a Chinese spiritual practice taken up by over 70 million people since its first public teaching in 1992.

And like in 1989, the persecution was foreshadowed by signs of mounting CCP pressure—the slanderous articles of communist pundits like He Zuoxiu, the banning of Falun Gong books in 1996—culminating in the arrests in April 1999 van meer dan 40 Falun Gong practitioners in Tianjin, het noorden van China.

Falun Gong adherents protested, gathering before the CCP leadership compound at Zhongnanhai in Beijing. Premier Zhu Rongji received several representatives inside the building, but his actions, as those of Zhao Ziyang ten years earlier, meant little.

Chinese President Jiang Zemin (L) together with Premier Zhu Rongji during a departure ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing 03 juni- 2002. (Goh Chai Hin / AFP / Getty Images)

Chinese President Jiang Zemin (L) together with Premier Zhu Rongji during a departure ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing 03 juni- 2002. (Goh Chai Hin / AFP / Getty Images)

Jiang Zemin, who had risen to power in the wake of the bloody resolution of events on June 4th, saw a similar situation in the rise of Falun Gong in the 1990s. He called Falun Gong “the most serious political incident since June 4” in a Politburo meeting, according to scholars.

The 2000s and beyond would see the development of the most brutal persecution campaign in contemporary China—complete with dehumanizing propaganda, labor camp sentences, and the surgical murder of hundreds of thousands for their organs.

Communism is estimated to have killed at least 100 miljoen mensen, yet its crimes have not been fully compiled and its ideology still persists. The Epoch Times seeks to expose the history and beliefs of this movement, which has been a source of tyranny and destruction since it emerged. Read the whole series at ept.ms/DeadEndCom

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Li Heping (rechts), een vooraanstaande Chinese mensenrechtenadvocaat, werd vorige week vrijgelaten na bijna twee jaar in de gevangenis. (Radio Free Asia)Li Heping (rechts), een vooraanstaande Chinese mensenrechtenadvocaat, werd vorige week vrijgelaten na bijna twee jaar in de gevangenis. (Radio Free Asia)

Na bijna twee jaar achter de tralies, Li Heping, een vooraanstaande Chinese mensenrechtenadvocaat, werd vrijgelaten uit de gevangenis vorige week.

Zowel zijn vrienden en zijn vrouw zei dat hij nauwelijks herkenbaar eenmaal sterk en gezond was, Hij is nu dun en uitgehongerd, zijn haar wit geworden, een radicale transformatie voor iemand alleen in zijn midden veertig.

In juli 9, 2015, Hij was weg door Tianjin openbare veiligheid officers genomen en veroordeeld met “ondermijning van de staatsmacht.” Zijn arrestatie maakte deel uit van een landelijk hardhandig optreden in de volksmond 2015 bekend als de “709 Incident” -die gericht op 250 mensenrechten advocaten en activisten.

Na twee jaar van zorgvuldige belangenbehartiging namens hem, Wang Qiaoling, Li's vrouw, eindelijk in staat was om zijn vrijlating te bewerkstelligen. Li kreeg een vier jaar voorwaardelijke straf, wat betekent dat hij kan nog steeds niet de wet te oefenen als voorheen.

mensenrechtenadvocaat Li Heping, voorheen jeugdige en robuust, zag er duidelijk anders en bijna onherkenbaar nadat ze gevangen gezet en gemarteld. (Radio Free Asia)

Vertegenwoordigen van de Kwetsbare

Li Heping oogstte bekendheid voor de verdediging van politieke dissidenten en kwetsbare groepen in China, met inbegrip van ondergrondse christenen, slachtoffers van gedwongen uitzettingen, evenals beoefenaars van de vervolgde Falun Gong spirituele beoefening.

Hij zocht ook aan te spreken namens blinde activist Chen Guangcheng en collega-rechten advocaat Gao Zhisheng. In 2006, Hij verdedigde milieuactivist Tan Kai, oprichter van de milieu-groep “Green Watch.”

In 2007, samen met vijf andere in Beijing gevestigde mensenrechtenadvocaten, Li vertegenwoordigd Wang Bo, een Falun Gong beoefenaar, op een prominente geval in Shijiazhuang City. In hun verdediging van onschuld Wang Bo's, zij gezamenlijk gepubliceerd “De grondwet is Supreme, Vrijheid van Godsdienst”-de eerste keer dat Chinese advocaten toegepast Chinese wet systematisch te verdedigen Falun Gong beoefenaars zo onschuldig. Het verweerschrift zou regelmatig worden verwezen door rechten advocaten later, bij de vertegenwoordiging Falun Gong beoefenaars.

Als hij bleef op high-profile gevallen te nemen, Li werd onderworpen aan toenemende intimidatie, toezicht, en bedreigingen door Chinese veiligheidstroepen. in september. 2007, hij werd ontvoerd door politie in burger en geschokt met elektrische stokken gedurende enkele uren voordat ze worden achtergelaten in het bos in de buitenwijken van Beijing. In 2009, Chinese autoriteiten weigerden zijn wet licentie te verlengen, dus hem beroofd van zijn recht als advocaat en hem te dwingen zich te wenden tot juridisch advies werk plaats.

Oplopende spanningen culmineerde met zijn arrestatie in juli, 2015 samen met tal van andere mensenrechtenverdedigers.

Van Defender Vervolgde

Volgens Li's vrouw, Wang Qiaoling, Li werd onderworpen aan voortdurend toezicht terwijl vastgehouden-met mensen die hem bewaarde terwijl hij gebruik gemaakt van de badkamer en gemarteld met slagen en stroomstoten.

voorts, terwijl gevangen, Li werd regelmatig gedwongen om onbekende drugs consumeren, zogenaamd voor hoge bloeddruk, een aandoening die hij niet had.

De drugs heeft geleid tot lichamelijke zwakte, pijn in zijn spieren, en wazig zicht. Andere mensenrechtenactivisten vrijgelaten uit de gevangenis, met inbegrip van de jongere broer van Li's, Li Chunfu, hebben soortgelijke ervaringen van dwangvoeding onbekend medicatie besproken tijdens vastgehouden. Na zijn vrijlating in januari 2017, Li werd al snel gediagnosticeerd met symptomen van schizofrenie.

Volgens Heng Hij, een senior politiek commentator van New Tang Dynasty Television (een zus mediabedrijf van Epoch Times) drugsgebruik als een vorm van marteling is geen geïsoleerde gebeurtenis. In 2001, de American Psychiatric Association begon aandacht te vestigen op gedwongen toediening van psychofarmaca op Falun Gong beoefenaars vastgehouden in psychiatrische ziekenhuizen.

Heng zegt dat de kracht geeft van drugs werd “gebruikt op grote schaal op Falun Gong beoefenaars voordat het wordt gebruikt om de mensenrechten advocaten te vervolgen.” Het doel, hij zegt, is om “te breken hun wil” en bedreigen hun omgeving door te wijzen op de gevolgen van tegengestelde staatsbeleid.

In reactie op de groeiende bewijs van gedwongen toediening van geneesmiddelen, leden van de Chinese advocaten tot bescherming van de Rechten van de Mens schreef een open brief op mei 14 waarin wordt opgeroepen tot een onafhankelijk onderzoek naar het gebruik van drugs aan foltering rechten advocaten opgesloten als een deel van de 709 Incident.

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Hongyan Lu spreekt op een rally in de voorkant van de Chinese ambassade in april 25, 2017, de 18e verjaardag van de grote aantrekkingskracht van Falun Gong beoefenaars te markeren voor de vrijheid van geloof in China in april 25, 1999, en op te roepen tot een einde te maken aan de vervolging van Falun Gong. Rechts van haar is Falun Gong beoefenaar Joanna Qiao met een bordje op zoek naar hulp op te roepen tot de vrijlating van Lu's moeder, Huixia Chen, uit de gevangenis in China en geconfronteerd met drie jaar tot een levenslange gevangenisstraf voor haar geloof. (Donna Hij / The Epoch Times)Hongyan Lu spreekt op een rally in de voorkant van de Chinese ambassade in april 25, 2017, de 18e verjaardag van de grote aantrekkingskracht van Falun Gong beoefenaars te markeren voor de vrijheid van geloof in China in april 25, 1999, en op te roepen tot een einde te maken aan de vervolging van Falun Gong. Rechts van haar is Falun Gong beoefenaar Joanna Qiao met een bordje op zoek naar hulp op te roepen tot de vrijlating van Lu's moeder, Huixia Chen, uit de gevangenis in China en geconfronteerd met drie jaar tot een levenslange gevangenisstraf voor haar geloof. (Donna Hij / The Epoch Times)

OTTAWA-De grootste aantrekkingskracht voor de vrijheid van geloof in de Chinese geschiedenis werd herdacht in de voorkant van de Chinese ambassade in Ottawa april 25, 2017.

In april 25, 1999, meer dan 10,000 mensen verzamelden zich vreedzaam in Beijing aan te spreken voor hun vrijheid om te oefenen Falun Gong en de vrijlating van gearresteerde medebeoefenaars. Vijfenveertig of zo beoefenaars was geslagen en opgesloten in de nabijgelegen stad Tianjin.

De 45 beoefenaars werden vrijgelaten die avond, zodat degenen die zich hadden verzameld om rustig appeal verliet en ging naar huis.

Echter, slechts drie maanden na de ongekende aantrekkingskracht, toenmalige Chinese Communistische Partij leider Jiang Zemin gestart met een landelijke campagne van vervolging “uit te roeien” Falun Gong die dag van vandaag voortduurt.

“We zijn ter ere van de geest van vrede, gerechtigheid, en mededogen waarmee dat beroep werd gehouden 18 jaren geleden,"Zei Xun Li, voorzitter van de Falun Dafa Association of Canada.

“Ik ben hier om de in april te eren 25th vreedzame beroep. Ondertussen hoop ik ook de aandacht vestigen op het geval van mijn moeder,"Said Hongyan Lu, een Falun Gong beoefenaar die in Ottawa.

Hongyan vertelde hoe haar 60-jarige moeder Huixia Chen leed aan hepatitis B, cirrhosis, maag problemen, en endometriose in 1998 toen ze begonnen met het beoefenen van Falun Gong, ook wel Falun Dafa.

“Slechts een paar maanden in het beoefenen van Falun Gong dat jaar, al haar ziekten ging wonderbaarlijk weg en zij werd goed gehumeurd,"Said Hongyan.

Echter, Huixia werd in juni gearresteerd 2016, samen met andere medebeoefenaars.

In de eerste 20 dagen na de aanhouding, Huixia “werd gemarteld en opgesloten in een stoel gemaakt van metalen staven en niet toegestaan ​​om te bewegen,"Said Hongyan. “Dit vernietigd haar gezondheid en maakte het moeilijk voor haar om te lopen of staan. Ze is erg zwak. Zij is ook gedwongen om hersenspoelsessies verduren.”

Huixia wordt vastgehouden in Shijiazhuang Tweede Detentiecentrum.

“Mijn familie in China nog steeds moeite om updates op mijn moeder te krijgen en helaas weinig vooruitgang geboekt,”Hangyan zei. “We hebben geen idee wat er gebeurt of wat er kan gebeuren aan mijn moeder onder een regime zonder een onafhankelijke of een doeltreffend juridisch systeem.”

Hongyan merkte op dat de ervaring van haar moeder is een typisch voorbeeld van de tientallen miljoenen Falun Gong beoefenaars in China.

“Ik roep op tot het einde van de vervolging en de vrijlating van mijn andere en alle andere gedetineerde Falun Gong beoefenaars," ze zei.

"Het is tijd om dit kwaad misdaad te beëindigen."

Falun Gong is een traditionele spirituele discipline van de boeddhistische scholen. Het bestaat uit meditatie, Qigong oefeningen, en morele leer gebaseerd op de principes van waarachtigheid, mededogen, en tolerantie. De praktijk verspreidde zich snel als gevolg van de diepgaande voordelen ervaren door artsen op hun lichamelijke gezondheid en geestelijke en morele welzijn.

Door de late jaren 1990 Chinese regering enquêtes geschat dat 70-100.000.000 mensen van de praktijk had overgenomen. Als gevolg van paranoia over de immense populariteit van de praktijk, dat niet onder controle van de staat was, Partijleider Jiang officieel gelanceerd de wrede vervolging in juli 1999.

In 2006 de Verenigde Naties verklaard dat 66 procent van de gemelde slachtoffers van martelingen waren Falun Gong beoefenaars. de U.N. en andere groepen hebben ook gemeld steeds meer aanwijzingen van verkrachting, martelen, wijdverbreide haat propaganda, sterfgevallen, en zelfs door de staat georkestreerde gedwongen orgaanroof van Falun Gong beoefenaars om booming transplantatie China's handel te bevoorraden.

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april 25, 1999april 25, 1999

EDMONTON-”Het was een dag waarop goedheid echt gezegevierd.”

Dat is hoe Michael Cooper, MP voor Edmonton-St. Albert, beschreef april 25, 1999, evenement waarin een geschatte 10,000 Falun Dafa aanhangers bijeen in Beijing om vreedzaam te protesteren tegen de verharding toon van door de staat gecontroleerde media tegen hun praktijk en de onrechtmatige arrestatie van hun collega-beoefenaars in de nabije Tianjin.

Cooper sprak op een bijeenkomst gehouden in Edmonton Dr. Wilbert McIntyre Gazebo on April 22 om de verjaardag van het beroep te herdenken. De rally ook van gehoord Garnett knielde, MP voor Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan, en aanhangers van Falun Dafa (ook wel Falun Gong) die vervolging ervaren in China.

Het was de grootste vreedzame pro-democratische demonstratie in China sinds het Tiananmen-plein pro-democratische demonstraties 1989. Het was een opmerkelijke prestatie.

- MP Michael Cooper

Het protest was de grootste aantrekkingskracht voor de vrijheid van geloof in de recente geschiedenis van China, en de laatste keer dat Falun Gong aanhangers in staat waren om te verzamelen voordat de wrede vervolging tegen de praktijk werd gelanceerd in juli 1999 door de toenmalige Chinese Communistische Partij (CCP) leider Jiang Zemin.

‘Een opmerkelijke prestatie’

“Het is een eer om hier bij te staan [Falun Dafa aanhangers] voor waarachtigheid, mededogen, en verdraagzaamheid, solidair te staan ​​aan de dappere meer dan 10.000 mannen en vrouwen die te herdenken [verzamelde] in Peking op die noodlottige dag van April 25, 1999,”Cooper zei. waarachtigheid, mededogen, en verdraagzaamheid zijn Falun Dafa's leidende principes.

april 25, 1999

Garnett knielde, MP voor Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan, gesprekken op een rally in Edmonton Dr. Wilbert McIntyre Gazebo on April 22, 2017 de 18e verjaardag van de in april te markeren 25, 1999 beroep in Beijing door Falun Dafa beoefenaars. (Omid Ghoreishi / The Epoch Times)

"Mannen en vrouwen, die opkwam voor gerechtigheid, die opkwamen voor de vrijheid, die kwam op voor de mensenrechten, die opkwam voor de tientallen Falun Gong beoefenaars die dagen eerder waren afgerond, aangehouden, en geslagen. Het was de grootste vreedzame pro-democratische demonstratie in China sinds het Tiananmen-plein pro-democratische demonstraties 1989. Het was een opmerkelijke prestatie," hij zei.

Maar de reactie van de Chinese regime was een typisch voorbeeld van een “wrede communistische dictatuur,”Cooper merkte.

Slechts drie maanden later, Jiang's regime lanceerde een campagne van vervolging van Falun Dafa, die in het verleden 18 jaren heeft geresulteerd in duizenden gezinnen worden vernietigd, veel naar werkkampen gestuurd, veel doodgemarteld, en nog veel meer te verliezen hun leven in illegale door de staat gesanctioneerde China's orgaantransplantatie handel.

april 25, 1999

Dr. Minnan Liu van de Falun Dafa Vereniging van Edmonton spreekt op een bijeenkomst in Edmonton Dr. Wilbert McIntyre Gazebo on April 22, 2017 de 18e verjaardag van de in april te markeren 25, 1999 beroep in Beijing door Falun Dafa beoefenaars. (Omid Ghoreishi / The Epoch Times)

“In het licht van een aantal van de meest flagrante schendingen van de mensenrechten en misdaden in de moderne wereld begaan door de communistische dictatuur van China, hoe hebben Falun Gong beoefenaars reageerden?”Vroeg Cooper.

"[ze hebben] reageerde rustig, door middel van onderwijs, door middel van een campagne van het bewustzijn, om licht te laten schijnen over bozen-het kwaad die worden gepleegd op een dag-tot-dag basis in China tegen Falun Gong, en de tientallen miljoenen beoefenaars aan de overkant van China.”

Gedwongen orgaanoogst

Cooper vertelde de menigte dat hij en collega-MP Genuis en anderen in de House of Commons zal blijven aandringen op de Canadese regering naar Peking te dwingen om de vervolging te stoppen en het bevorderen van “vrijheid, democratie, en de rechten van de mens.”

Canada kan een belangrijke rol spelen, opkomen voor de universele rechten van de mens. We hebben een verantwoordelijkheid om dat te doen, vooral wanneer de regering praat over het vergroten van onze betrokkenheid bij China.

- MP Garnett knielde

knieling, die onlangs een voorstel van wet tot bestrijding van gedwongen orgaanroof van gewetensgevangenen in China, zei vervolging tegen alle geloofsgemeenschappen in China is in opkomst.

“Als China doet zijn best om zijn internationale imago te vergoelijken, de vervolging escaleert, het wordt erger, en het vereist een sterke reactie van die van ons in het Westen en in de hele wereld inzetten voor rechtvaardigheid en mensenrechten,”Vertelde hij de rally.

knielde's bill C-350, die een wetsvoorstel in de laatste parlement van oud-minister Liberal justitie Irwin Cotler ingediend herleeft, goedmaken Canada's Wetboek van Strafrecht en Immigration and Protection Act Refugee. Het wetsvoorstel beoogt om er een strafbaar feit voor iemand om een ​​orgaan dat ze weten dat werd verkregen zonder toestemming te verwerven, en aan degenen die betrokken zijn bij gedwongen orgaanroof ontvankelijk naar Canada te maken.

Luo Zehui (R) vertelt via een vertaler hoe haar vader flauwgevallen onder foltering en vervolgens gecremeerd terwijl hij nog leefde in China voor het beoefenen van Falun Gong bij een rally in Edmonton Dr. Wilbert McIntyre Gazebo on April 22, 2017. Het evenement werd gehouden om de 18e verjaardag van de in april te markeren 25, 1999 beroep in Beijing door Falun Dafa beoefenaars. (Omid Ghoreishi / The Epoch Times)

Volgens onderzoek door de voormalige Canadese minister van Buitenlandse Zaken David Kilgour, Canadese mensenrechtenadvocaat David Matas, en Amerikaanse onderzoeksjournalist Ethan Gutmann, tot 90,000 orgaantransplantaties vinden plaats in China op jaarbasis, met de meerderheid van hen is Falun Gong gewetensgevangenen die worden gedood voor hun organen.

“Canada kan een belangrijke rol spelen, opkomen voor de universele rechten van de mens. We hebben een verantwoordelijkheid om dat te doen, vooral wanneer de regering praat over het vergroten van onze betrokkenheid bij China,"Knielde zei.

Vervolging

De rally gehoord van twee Falun Gong beoefenaars die persoonlijk ervaren vervolging, terwijl in China.

Calgary inwoner Luo Zehui doorgegeven in een emotionele toespraak via een vertaler dat haar vader, Jiang Xiqing, werd in een werkkamp en gemarteld voor het beoefenen van Falun Gong.

april 25, 1999

Zhang Ping (R) vertelt via een vertaler hoe ze meerdere keren in China gevangen werd gezet voor het beoefenen van Falun Gong bij een rally in Edmonton Dr. Wilbert McIntyre Gazebo on April 22, 2017. Het evenement werd gehouden om de 18e verjaardag van de in april te markeren 25, 1999 beroep in Beijing door Falun Dafa beoefenaars. (Omid Ghoreishi / The Epoch Times)

Jiang flauwgevallen onder foltering, en werd vervolgens gecremeerd, terwijl hij nog leefde, een tranen Luo genoemde.

Zhang Ping, ook vanuit Calgary, sprak over hoe zowel haar lichamelijke en geestelijke toestand verbeterd met de praktijk en hoe ze in staat was om haar relaties met familieleden te harmoniseren en die in haar gemeenschap, dankzij Falun Gong.

Echter, als gevolg van de campagne van vervolging van de CCP, ze werd gearresteerd en vastgehouden op meerdere gelegenheden. Ze eindelijk ontsnapt China naar Canada te komen in 2015.

“Na het verlaten van mijn geboortestad, binnen minder dan een jaar hoorde ik over drie collega Falun Gong beoefenaars die stierf aan vervolging," ze zei.

"Er waren 43 bevestigde de dood lokaal en 989 in mijn provincie sinds de vervolging begon.”

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Pan Yiyang, attends a 2013 meeting in Beijing. (REUTERS/Stringer)Pan Yiyang, attends a 2013 meeting in Beijing. (REUTERS/Stringer)

BEIJING—A court in northern China on Tuesday jailed for 20 years a former senior provincial government official who bribed a now disgraced former aide to retired leader Hu Jintao, state news agency Xinhua reported.

The court in Tianjin found that Pan Yiyang abused his positions as vice governor of the northern region of Inner Mongolia and Communist Party boss of Ganzhou in the eastern province of Jiangxi and took bribes, aldus het agentschap.

Tussen 2000 en 2013, Xinhua said, Pan “many times” offered bribes totaling 7.6 miljoen yuan ($1.10 miljoen) to Ling Jihua, a close aide to former president Hu, who retired in 2013, to be succeeded by Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

Ling was jailed for life last year after being found guilty of taking bribes, illegally obtaining state secrets and abuse of power, at a secret trial, where his wife testified against him.

The Tianjin court found that Pan had cooperated in the investigation against him, admitted his guilt and had repented, meaning he was given a lighter sentence, Xinhua added.

It was not possible to reach a legal, or family, representative of Pan for comment. Courts are controlled by the party and generally do not challenge party accusations of corruption against senior former officials.

Xi has launched a sweeping war against deep-seated corruption since taking office more than four years ago, warning, like others before him, that the problem is so bad it could affect the party’s grip on power.

Dozens of senior officials have been jailed, including the feared former state security chief, Zhou Yongkang.

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Falun Gong practitioners gathered around Zhongnanhai to silently, peacefully appeal for fair treatment on April 25, 1999. (Photo courtesy Clearwisdom.net)Falun Gong practitioners gathered around Zhongnanhai to silently, peacefully appeal for fair treatment on April 25, 1999. (Photo courtesy Clearwisdom.net)

A safe environment to do slow motion exercises and meditate. That was all the 10,000 beoefenaars van Falun Gong, een traditionele Chinese spirituele praktijk, were asking for when they gathered near the Chinese leadership headquarters at Zhongnanhai on April 25, 1999.

The peaceful appeal, echter, was seized upon by then Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Jiang Zemin as an excuse to eventually launch the Party’s latest, and possibly most savage, persecution campaign.

Official policy hasn’t shifted since Jiang’s call to “defeat” Falun Gong 18 jaren geleden, though the Party’s campaign is widely thought to have failed.

Horrors of Persecution

The Chinese regime had initially endorsed Falun Gong, of Falun Dafa, after it was first introduced to the public in 1992 by founder Mr. Li Hongzhi. Dhr. Li received awards from several state organizations, including the Ministry of Public Security, for the efficacy of his “qigong” (energy practice) in helping the Chinese people stay healthy and uplift their morals.

The practice involves doing meditative exercises and living according to teachings based on the principles of truthfulness, mededogen, en tolerantie. After it was first taught by Mr. in, the practice spread rapidly by word of mouth. Door 1999 er waren 70 naar 100 million practitioners in China by 1999, according to official and practitioner estimates.

With the numbers practicing Falun Gong becoming greater than the membership of the communist party, support turned into surveillance near the end of the century.

Trouble had to be manufactured.

The April 25 appeal at Zhongnanhai was sparked by the sudden arrest of 45 Falun Gong practitioners in the coastal city of Tianjin, Beijing’s port city.

In a letter circulated to the Politburo on the evening of April 25, Jiang Zemin framed the event as a “siege” and the “the most serious political incident since June 4,” the pro-democracy student protest in 1989 that the regime suppressed in a bloody massacre. Jiang expressed the fear that the “Marxism, Materialism, and Atheism” promoted by the CCP could not win against the teachings of Falun Gong.

Three months later, Jiang initiated a highly oppressive campaign to eliminate Falun Gong.

In the early years of the persecution, the entire population was bombarded with hate propaganda against the group. School children faced expulsion if they refused to go along with the demonization of the practice. Chinese officials were promised wealth and promotion if they got their hands bloody.

Practitioners have been arrested for refusing to give up their faith or for telling their fellow citizens about what Falun Gong is and how it has been persecuted. Arrested, they have been sent to extralegal labor camps or other detention facilities.

Most have been detained without the formality of legal proceedings. Those who were hauled to court were prosecuted for distributing or possessing Falun Gong materials using a criminal law that Chinese lawyers consider vague and unconstitutional.

According to human rights reports, practitioners are usually subjected to the worst treatment among prison or labor camp inmates. Minghui.org, een coördinatiecentrum voor de eerste hand informatie over de vervolging, is replete with reports of practitioners enduring medieval-style tortures, brutal beatings, and sleep deprivation. Female practitioners face rape or gang rape by other prison inmates or guards.

Practitioners in detention also form the bulk of prisoners of conscience being harvested alive to fuel the Chinese regime’s profitable organ trade, volgens een 2016 report by journalist Ethan Gutmann, former Canadian Secretary of State David Kilgour (Asia/Pacific), and international human rights lawyer David Matas. That report estimates that between 60,000 en 100,000 Chinese have had their organs forcibly harvested each year in the period 2000-2015.

De United States House of Representatives en de Europees parlement recently passed resolutions strongly condemning the Chinese regime for organ harvesting.

‘Cracks in the Crackdown’

In een recent report on the state of religion in China, Freedom House, a United States-based human rights nongovernmental organization, considers the Chinese regime’s degree of persecution of Falun Gong today to be “very high.”

But the Chinese regime hasn’t succeeded in wiping out the practice. Drawing on official Chinese documents and data from Minghui, Freedom House estimates that there are between 7 naar 10 million Falun Gong practitioners still active in China, while Falun Gong sources suggest the figure is between 20-40 miljoen.

“The simple fact that Falun Gong has survived the CCP’s onslaught is impressive and amounts to a genuine failure of the party’s repressive apparatus,” the report says.

The report also notes that since Chinese leader Xi Jinping took office in 2012, several factors have caused “cracks in the crackdown” of Falun Gong.

Xi’s anti-corruption campaign has resulted in the purge of key officials overseeing the persecution, such as former security czar Zhou Yongkang, and Li Dongsheng, formerly the head of the “610 Office,” the Gestapo-like, extralegal anti-Falun Gong agency created by Jiang Zemin.

Institutions running the persecution have been weakened. Bijvoorbeeld, de 610 Office has undergone several changes of leadership since the fall of Li Dongsheng, and was inspected for the first time by the anti-corruption agency in 2016. Ook, no new anti-Falun Gong campaign has replaced the most recent one from 2013 naar 2015.

A confluence of the above factors appears to be the reason that the regime’s legal apparatus has thrown out cases against arrested practitioners. This phenomenon, which began in late 2016, has resulted in over 17 dismissed cases by local procuratorates and courts.

‘A Little More Space’

The situation in the northeastern province of Liaoning, one of the most severely persecuted regions, is a case in point.

Key Liaoning official, Wang Min, the former Party chief of Liaoning, and Su Hongzhang, head of Liaoning’s Political and Legal Affairs Commission, were purged in 2015 en 2016 respectively. Wang and Su were identified by the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong, a U.S.-based NGO, as being involved in cases of persecution.

Direct outreach to legal officials appeared to have played a part in the the local procuratorate rejecting the case against Li Shijin and Lin Youyan, two female practitioners from Liaoning’s Tieling County who were arrested for handing out calendars with information about Falun Gong.

Lawyers representing Li and Lin explained to legal officials that there the regime has no law banning Falun Gong, volgens Minghui. Family members of the practitioners gave testimonies about the benefits of the practice to the Chinese officials. The officials then suggested the family members file a legal appeal, which later led to the case being dismissed.

When the two practitioners were in detention, they talked about Falun Gong to other inmates and the guards. According to Minghui, “everyone in the cells and guards said farewell and wished them well” after they were released on Feb. 17.

At least three other practitioners from Liaoning have had cases against them dismissed and have been released as of April 2017, according to reports on Minghui.

Yet the instances of reversal remain overshadowed by the greater incidence of persecution. Liaoning tops the list of regions where practitioners were prosecuted in maart 2017, met 31 van 110 reported cases.

Heng He, a senior political commentator with New Tang Dynasty Television, believes that the contradictory situation that has emerged in Liaoning and other areas of China boils down to politics.

“The persecution of Falun Gong saw the rise of a huge persecutory interest group,” Heng said. “The group’s political, financial and other benefits totally depend on whether the persecution can continue or not.”

On the flipside, officials in the anti-Falun Gong machinery have “a little more space to make their own choices” in the absence of continued top-down political impetus, Heng He said. And some, perhaps sensing a shift in the wind under the Xi leadership, have chosen to instead exercise their humanity.

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