Eric and his father’s story is the subject of a new short film, ‘Split by the State’. (Alexander Nilsen)Eric and his father’s story is the subject of a new short film, ‘Split by the State’. (Alexander Nilsen)

“Split by the State”

 

As millions of Australian families prepare to celebrate Father’s Day to honour their paternal bonds, for Sydney refugee Eric Jia, his version of Father’s Day is a lonely affair.

The last time he saw his father Ye Jia was 15 years-ago when he was 3-years-old. This father and son were forcefully split by China’s one-party state, simply because Ye Jia wanted to meditate and follow his beliefs.

Eric and his dad in Shaanxi province China during happier times.  (Alexander Nilsen)

Eric and his dad in Shaanxi Province China during happier times. (Alexander Nilsen)

 

He practices Falun Gong, a traditional Chinese meditation and spiritual practice based on the principles of ‘Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance’. It rose to popularity in China in the 1990’s, with over 100 million people experiencing its health benefits.

: Eric doing the Falun Gong meditation exercise at home in Sydney, Australia. China is the only country in the world that doesn't allow Falun Gong practitioners to meditate freely.  (Alexander Nilsen)

Eric doing the Falun Gong meditation exercise at home in Sydney, Australia. China is the only country in the world that doesn’t allow Falun Gong practitioners to meditate freely. (Alexander Nilsen)

 

These numbers proved too overwhelming for the Chinese regime, which with around 60 million communist members at the time, saw the practice as a threat. Former dictator Jiang Zemin initiated a country-wide crackdown and persecution against the peaceful movement, that hasn’t waned since it began on July 20, 1999.

The decision to persecute Falun Gong was made by former Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin alone. Other members of the leadership favoured a more conciliatory approach, recognising that Falun Gong was peaceful. (NTD Television)

The decision to persecute Falun Gong was made by former Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin alone. Other members of the leadership favoured a more conciliatory approach, recognising that Falun Gong was peaceful. (NTD Television)

 

As days and months turned into years, the state-sanctioned persecution has taken a heavy toll on fathers, sons and families alike, who have suffered severely and have too often been torn apart.

In modern China torture is a routine component of law-enforcement and punishment. Jiang Zemin issued his famous edict, “It is not a crime to beat a Falun Gong practitioner to death.” (en.minghui.org/)

 

Eric and his father’s story is the subject of a new short film, “Split by the State”, its release comes on Father’s Day.

The film’s director Gina Shakespeare said: “this film is dedicated to prisoners of conscience, like Ye Jia, who today number in their millions. It’s also an exposé of the Chinese regime’s relentless use of physical and psychological torture against Falun Gong adherents and their families, told through a young man’s heart.”

Ms Shakespeare recalled being deeply touched as she read Eric Jia’s original letter he wrote to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in 2016, pleading to save his dad from a Chinese prison.

 

“I knew Eric’s story needed to be told and that the letter he wrote was actually the beginning of a powerful script, one that would also move others” she said.

“Hearing that his dad was spending eight years in a Chinese prison, had been tortured, starved and subjected to filthy and inhumane living conditions, I could never fathom this type of ill-treatment, this just doesn’t happen in Australia” said Ms Shakespeare.

“Eric possesses an incredible resilience and determination. His desire for justice and to be reunited with his father, after all this time has never diminished. I really hope the Prime Minister can pressure China to release Eric’s dad urgently.”

Australia's Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull. (Alexander Nilsen)

Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. (Alexander Nilsen)

 

Eric spends a good deal of time assisting other Falun Gong families still imprisoned in China by speaking out at rallies, collecting signatures for petitions and even calling prisons in mainland China. Surely something his father would be proud of. 

You can also help Eric and his family by sharing the film and by visiting this website and signing the petition.

www.splitbythestate.org

 

 

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Falun Gong practitioners march in downtown Vancouver on July 16, 2017, to call for an end to the persecution of their spiritual discipline ordered by the Chinese regime 18 years ago on July 20, 1999. A procession of practitioners in white hold memorial wreaths to pay tribute to those who have been persecuted to death. (Tang Feng/The Epoch Times)Falun Gong practitioners march in downtown Vancouver on July 16, 2017, to call for an end to the persecution of their spiritual discipline ordered by the Chinese regime 18 years ago on July 20, 1999. A procession of practitioners in white hold memorial wreaths to pay tribute to those who have been persecuted to death. (Tang Feng/The Epoch Times)

This week across Canada and around the world, thousands are gathering in front of Chinese embassies and consulates to mark 18 years since the Chinese Communist Party launched a campaign of violence and hatred to “eradicate” the spiritual discipline of Falun Gong, also called Falun Dafa.

“The Chinese Communist Party’s persecution of Falun Gong is still ongoing. There are 12 Falun Gong practitioners with Canadian ties currently being illegally held in China,” said Falun Dafa Association of Vancouver spokesperson Sue Zhang at a rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on July 16.

As well as giving speeches and holding marches and candlelight vigils calling for an end to the persecution, Falun Gong adherents are seeking help from the Canadian government to free their fellow practitioners from detention and imprisonment in China. Among them is a Canadian citizen, Sun Qian, who has been detained in Beijing since February.

ID card image of Sun Qian. (The Epoch Times)

ID card image of Sun Qian. (The Epoch Times)

Canadian Prisoner of Conscience Abused in China

Sun, a 51-year-old Chinese-Canadian businesswoman and Vancouver resident, is currently being held at the Beijing First Detention Centre, where she has been shackled, handcuffed to a steel chair, continuously pepper sprayed in the face, and now may be indicted for her faith.

Despite appeals for her release by several high-level Canadian officials, including Conservative members of Parliament Peter Kent and Michael Cooper, former Liberal justice minister Irwin Cotler, and Green Party leader Elizabeth May, Sun continues to be detained.

Canadian Falun Gong practitioners continue to be hopeful that Sun will be released as a result of a strong voice from elected officials. 

Sun Qian has been shackled, handcuffed to a steel chair, continuously pepper sprayed in the face, and now may be indicted for her faith

When former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin initiated the persecution on July 20, 1999, Canada was, in fact, the first country to publicly condemn the persecution. “Canada filed an official protest with China’s foreign ministry after 30,000 Falun Gong adherents were detained in 30 cities across China, sources said,” reported The Globe and Mail on July 26, 1999.

Ottawa-based Xun Li, president of the Falun Dafa Association of Canada, also recalled that it was the strong voice of elected officials, along with steady media coverage, that helped to secure the release of Zhang Kunlun, who is believed to be the first Canadian arrested in China for practising Falun Gong.

Professor Kunlun Zhang with his painting

Professor Kunlun Zhang with his painting “Red Wall,” which is based on his experience as a prisoner of conscience in China, at the Art of Zhen Shan Ren International Exhibition in Washington, D.C., on July 18, 2013. (The Epoch Times)

Zhang is a former visiting professor at Montreal’s McGill University. He was arrested in 2000 and sent to forced labour camp for three years but was released in January 2001, shortly before then-prime minister Jean Chrétien’s trade mission to China.

While in custody in China, the professor was subjected to abuse including torture with electric batons. He was also forced to watch broadcasts of hate propaganda vilifying Falun Gong.

“China was afraid of being exposed [for their human rights abuses], because professor Zhang is a Canadian citizen,” Li said.

Large-Scale Killing for Prisoners’ Organs

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a practice of meditation and exercises handed down from ancient China that includes teachings based on the universal principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance. In July 1999, the Chinese communist regime ordered a persecution and an extensive hate propaganda campaign against Falun Gong due to the popularity of the practice that was not under the control of the state.

[The Communist Party initiated] the worst instance of religious persecution since the Cultural Revolution, with the clampdown against Falun Gong.

— University of Ottawa professor André Laliberté

“[The Communist Party initiated] the worst instance of religious persecution since the Cultural Revolution, with the clampdown against Falun Gong,” wrote University of Ottawa professor André Laliberté, a leading scholar on religion in China, in a paper in 2015.

The persecution has garnered condemnation from human rights groups, the United Nations, and various governments around the world.

Sue Zhang cited a February 2017 Freedom House report that details how Falun Gong adherents continue to be subjected to widespread and severe human rights abuses. And the most recent 2016 U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission report states how extreme physical and psychological abuse continues against Falun Gong.

[Our] review found credible evidence suggesting that beginning in the early 2000s, Falun Gong detainees were killed for their organs on a large scale.

— Freedom House 2017 special report

There are also reports by investigators including two Canadian researchers estimating that 60,000 to 100,000 transplants per year are performed in China—as opposed to the official Chinese figure of 10,000 per year—with the primary source being Falun Gong detainees having their organs forcibly removed, and being killed in the process, to supply China’s extremely lucrative transplant industry.

Freedom House noted that it had reviewed the available evidence compiled by these investigators and “found credible evidence suggesting that beginning in the early 2000s, Falun Gong detainees were killed for their organs on a large scale.” “There are reasons to believe that such abuses continue,” the report stated.

Over 50 Falun Gong  adherents participate in a 36-hour hunger strike on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on March 13, 2002, to appeal to the Canadian government to help stop the Chinese regime's order to

Over 50 Falun Gong adherents participate in a 36-hour hunger strike on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on March 13, 2002, to appeal to the Canadian government to help stop the Chinese regime’s order to “kill [Falun Gong practitioners] without mercy,” in this file photo. Police received orders to “shoot on sight” if Falun Gong practitioners are seen handing out or posting Falun Gong flyers in China. (Minghui.org)

Moral Principles

At the Vancouver rally, Li Jianfeng, a former judge in mainland China, praised the principles taught by Falun Gong and called for greater support of the spiritual practice in Canada.

“I call on all Vancouverites to support Falun Gong,” Li said. “What it spreads is ‘Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance.’ … These high-level moral principles, if they can flourish in Canada, will bring us blessings and a good future.”

Following the rally on July 16, Vancouver practitioners and supporters held a march downtown. They will also hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese consulate on July 19. Events are planned in other Canadian cities later this week, including in Ottawa on July 19 and in Toronto on July 21.

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Hongyan Lu speaks at a rally in front of the Chinese embassy on April 25, 2017, to mark the 18th anniversary of Falun Gong practitioners’ large-scale appeal for freedom of belief in China on April 25, 1999, and to call for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong. To her right is Falun Gong practitioner Joanna Qiao holding a sign seeking help to call for the release of Lu’s mother, Huixia Chen, from detention in China and facing three years to life imprisonment for her belief. (Donna He/The Epoch Times)Hongyan Lu speaks at a rally in front of the Chinese embassy on April 25, 2017, to mark the 18th anniversary of Falun Gong practitioners’ large-scale appeal for freedom of belief in China on April 25, 1999, and to call for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong. To her right is Falun Gong practitioner Joanna Qiao holding a sign seeking help to call for the release of Lu’s mother, Huixia Chen, from detention in China and facing three years to life imprisonment for her belief. (Donna He/The Epoch Times)

OTTAWA—The largest appeal for freedom of belief in Chinese history was commemorated in front of the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa on April 25, 2017.

On April 25, 1999, more than 10,000 people gathered peacefully in Beijing to appeal for their freedom to practice Falun Gong and the release of arrested fellow practitioners. Forty-five or so practitioners had been beaten and detained in the nearby city of Tianjin.

The 45 practitioners were released that evening, so those who had gathered to appeal left quietly and went home.

However, just three months after the unprecedented appeal, then-Chinese Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin launched a nationwide campaign of persecution to “eradicate” Falun Gong that continues today.

“We are honouring the spirit of peace, justice, and compassion with which that appeal was held 18 years ago,” said Xun Li, president of the Falun Dafa Association of Canada.

“I am here to honour the April 25th peaceful appeal. Meantime I also hope to draw attention to my mother’s case,” said Hongyan Lu, a Falun Gong practitioner living in Ottawa.

Hongyan recounted how her 60-year old mother Huixia Chen suffered from hepatitis B, cirrhosis, stomach problems, and endometriosis in 1998 when she began practicing Falun Gong, also called Falun Dafa.

“Just a few months into practicing Falun Gong that year, all her illnesses miraculously went away and she became good-tempered,” said Hongyan.

However, Huixia was arrested in June 2016, together with other fellow practitioners.  

In the first 20 days after the arrest, Huixia “was tortured and locked in a chair made of metal bars and not allowed to move,” said Hongyan. “This destroyed her health and made it hard for her to walk or stand up. She’s very weak. She has also been forced to endure brainwashing sessions.”

Huixia is detained in Shijiazhuang Second Detention Center.

“My relatives in China are still struggling to get any updates on my mother and unfortunately have made little progress,” Hangyan said. “We have no idea what’s happening or what may happen to my mother under a regime without an independent or effective legal system.”

Hongyan noted that her mother’s experience is typical of the tens of millions of Falun Gong practitioners in China.

“I call for the end of the persecution and the release of my other and all other incarcerated Falun Gong practitioners,” she said.

“It’s time to end this evil crime.”

Falun Gong is a traditional spiritual discipline of the Buddhist school. It consists of meditation, qigong exercises, and moral teachings based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. The practice spread quickly due to the profound benefits experienced by practitioners in their physical health and mental and moral wellbeing.

By the late 1990s Chinese government surveys estimated that 70–100 million people had taken up the practice. Due to paranoia over the immense popularity of the practice, which was not under state control, Party leader Jiang officially launched the brutal persecution in July 1999.

In 2006 the United Nations stated that 66 percent of reported victims of torture were Falun Gong practitioners. The U.N. and other groups have also reported growing evidence of rape, torture, widespread hate propaganda, deaths, and even state-orchestrated forced organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners to supply China’s booming transplant trade.

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Falun Gong practitioners in Brisbane Square, on July 16, 2016. Practitioners are protesting against the communist regime’s killing of potentially hundreds of thousands of Chinese citizens and pillaging their organs for profit. (Jern/NTD Television)Falun Gong practitioners in Brisbane Square, on July 16, 2016. Practitioners are protesting against the communist regime’s killing of potentially hundreds of thousands of Chinese citizens and pillaging their organs for profit. (Jern/NTD Television)

BRISBANE, Australia—Certain days and events stay in our memories for many reasons, some joyful, others sad, but for Chinese families gathered in Brisbane Square on a rainy July 16, the memories of certain events in their homeland are shocking. They have come to mark the seventeenth anniversary of the brutal persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in mainland China. 

The persecution was launched on July 20, 1999, when, behind the scenes, former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin gave orders to eradicate the peaceful spiritual discipline. Millions of Chinese overnight lost their freedom to gather openly for meditation and exercises in parks, and to follow a peaceful cultivation practice based on the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance. Many thousands have since been detained and tortured, many losing their lives

A number of Falun Gong practitioners at the Brisbane event experienced the ongoing persecution in China first hand, their lives changed forever and, forced to flee, now unable to return to their native country.

Emma Ma, in Brisbane Square, on July 16, 2016. (Emily Wang)

Emma Ma, in Brisbane Square, on July 16, 2016. (Emily Wang)

Emma Ma was just 14 years old when Falun Gong was first banned in China. She recalled how the practice had made her whole family harmonious and then, in 1999 when her parents were illegally taken and their possessions confiscated, she was forced to live with relatives. That was difficult as the relatives believed the propaganda, broadcast in all the media at the time, which spread lies about Falun Gong around the whole country. She also witnessed the brutality of the crackdown and described her school where “teachers and students, even during the class, the police officers would forcibly take them away.”

Now she lives in Australia and practises Falun Gong freely, with her husband who also fled China as a result of persecution.

David Yu and his wife and daughter in Brisbane Square, on July 16, 2016. (Emily Wang)

David Yu and his wife and daughter in Brisbane Square, on July 16, 2016. (Emily Wang)

David Yu, a PhD student at the University of Queensland, also in Brisbane Square with his family, remembers that 17 years ago he was “PhD student at the Tsing Hua University in China.” He said “I benefited much from practising Falun Gong—my moral standard, health, all improved a lot.”

On hearing about the ban, he thought he needed to let the government know how good Falun Gong was. “I think the government shouldn’t ban Falun Gong, so I went to the petition department of the government together with other practitioners,” he said. His message was “that all the Falun Dafa practitioners are good” people. For this he lost his freedom for six years. The persecution extended to his other family members, who were also practitioners. In his family, a total of 23 years have since been lost in prisons or labour camps because of the persecution.

Yu wants more kind people to speak out to stop the ongoing persecution and the horrendous crime of organ harvesting from detained Falun Gong practitioners in China.

At Brisbane Square on July 16, 2016. Jiang Zemin  adopted the policy of

On Brisbane Square, July 16, 2016. (Jern/NTD Television)

Justice Sought

Xie Weiguo, now a senior research fellow at the University of Queensland, recalls being one of the thousands of people arrested, in 1999, while appealing for Falun Gong at the central state offices. Now he and his family live in Australia and are unable to return to China still: “I cannot go back to China because I was blacklisted,” he said. 

His father warned him it was not safe for him to return even for a funeral. “I was very sad when my mother died, in 2003, because I cannot go back to China,” Xie explained. He hopes that the former leader Jiang Zemin, who illegally banned Falun Gong, is brought to justice soon.

John Meng at the protest in Brisbane Square, on July 16, 2016. (Emily Wang)

John Meng at the protest in Brisbane Square, on July 16, 2016. (Emily Wang)

John Meng, a software developer working in Brisbane now, remembers he was travelling in China when the news of a ban on Falun Gong was broadcast in 1999. “Suddenly the media of the whole nation, was pointing their fingers at Falun Gong and tried their best to stigmatise or demonise Falun Gong and I was very shocked,” Meng said.

“My life was totally changed after that day. My parents and my relatives, they listened to the media in China, and they opposed me practising Falun Gong,” he said. In 1999 at his workplace, the Tsing Hua University, they first suspended him from teaching duties and then when he tried telling the truth about Falun Gong to others he said “I was taken to jail. I was put behind bars for quite a long time.”

Meng wants the present Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, to bring the former leader, Jiang Zemin, to trial for the deaths of thousands of Chinese Falun Gong practitioners and his crimes against humanity exposed and stopped.

Steven Zhang, in Brisbane Square, on July 16, 2016. (Emily Wang)

Steven Zhang, in Brisbane Square, on July 16, 2016. (Emily Wang)

Steven Zhang recalls his sister being persecuted in 1999 and suffering greatly, but he knows good will triumph over evil. Zhang collects signatures everyday from kind people to help stop the persecution of Falun Gong.

In China, over 209,000 Falun Gong practitioners and Chinese citizens have lodged complaints against Jiang with the regime’s highest legal authorities, according to incomplete data compiled by Minghui, a website that reports on Falun Gong and the persecution in China.

With reporting by Iesha Smythe and Heeyo Ge

 

 

 

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Many countries around the world are replacing their old bills with coins to increase the money’s durability and curb counterfeiting, among other practical reasons. China is replacing its one dollar bills for the aforementioned reasons—and for censorship.
On Jan. 12, the Jinan Branch of People’s Bank of China announced on its website that commercials banks would stop issuing 1 yuan bill and instead issue 1 yuan coins. This initiative will start with 5 cities in the province of Shandong in eastern China before being extended to an additional 4 cities. The goal is to eventually stop the circulation of the bill in the chosen cities.
The bank did not provide a reason for its decision. However, many Chinese media, including People’s Net, the online version of state mouthpiece People’s Daily, applauded the decision. Chinese media noted that moving from paper money to coins brings several advantages: longer money durability, convenience, health reasons (coins can be cleaned), and environmental benefits (coins can be recycled).
Switching to coins would also help “to eliminate the spread of reactionary comments with the small denomination banknotes by criminals” and “cleanse the money circulation environment,” according to People’s Net.  
Chinese state media doesn’t make it clear who these “criminals” are or what they mean by cleaning up the “money circulation environment.” However, a group of Chinese people have been actively writing on paper bills to raise awareness of an ongoing persecution.
Practitioners of Falun Dafa, or Falun Gong—a self-improvement practice that involves meditative exercises and moral teachings of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance—have for the past 16 years been suppressed by the Chinese regime. According to incomplete data from Minghui.org, a clearinghouse of information about the persecution of Falun Gong, over 3,900 practitioners have been killed and hundreds of thousands of others have been incarcerated in the regime’s prison system.
One note with words about Falun Gong. (NTDTV)
To counter the Communist Party’s propaganda against Falun Gong, some practitioners write messages on Yuan notes in the hopes that their fellow Chinese citizens will chance on their message when making purchases. Commonly written writings include: “People from All Over the World Know Falun Dafa Is Good” and “The Whole World Will Trial the Murderous Party.”
Falun Gong practitioners are risking their safety in writing on Yuan notes. In November 2013, Liu Yanhua and Wu Wenjin, Falun Gong practitioners in Yichun City, Heilongjiang Province, were each sentenced to 10-year prison term for exchanging currency with messages about Falun Gong.
China’s Internet users’ reaction to the discontinuing of the 1 Yuan bill proved mixed, with some preferring bills while others favoring coins. But Chinese netizens certainly believe that censorship is one of the reasons for phasing out of paper money, and they are critical of the Chinese regime for doing so.
“Explanations that betray public opinion are more easily rolled out,” wrote “Focused on Being a Good Person for 30 Years” on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter-like service.
“The real reason is not hygiene or financial issues, but because reactionary comments, a prevalent phenomenon, can be too easily written on the 1 Yuan note,” wrote Anhui netizen “To Lie.”

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A uniquely cheerful form of protest in China—the hanging of banners containing a New Year’s greeting even as it imparted a human rights message—has resulted in three women being detained by police in the city of Tianjin.
The daughter of one of them, Karen Xu, a resident of Washington, D.C., is a sales representative for the Chinese version of this publication.
“My mom is old. I worry what will happen to her if she’s locked up for long,” Xu said in a telephone interview. “My mom might be like those who are tortured to extract a confession, or forced to abandon her beliefs,” Xu said.
Her mother, Wang Sirong, 65, is a retired public servant and a practitioner of Falun Gong, a traditional Chinese practice of meditation and moral teachings that has been persecuted in China since 1999. She and three other Falun Gong practitioners were hanging banners in  central Tianjin, a port city in the northeast of China, on Feb. 8.
Given that it was the Lunar Chinese New Year, the banners contained festive messages, along with a positive message about Falun Gong. “Greetings. Practitioners of Falun Dafa Wish Tianjin Residents a Happy New Year. Please Remember Falun Dafa Is Good. Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance Is Good,” one of them said. Falun Dafa is another name for Falun Gong.
Based on surveillance footage, police tracked down all four of them, and on Feb. 13 ransacked their homes and detained them all, Xu said. Wang was taken to the Nankai Detention Center.
Wang suffered osteoarthritis and other ailments when she began performing Falun Gong exercises in 1997; she quickly recovered her health and has been active in exposing the Communist Party’s persecution of the practice for the last nearly 19 years.
Others have not been as fortunate to escape detention for so long. In a recently reported case, a Chinese woman was arrested 9 times in 14 years for her practice of, and attempts to raise awareness about, the persecution of Falun Gong.
Karen Xu speaks at a rally in front of the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., on March 3, 2016, demanding that her mother, Wang Sirong, be released. (NTDTV)
Xu held a rally in front of the Chinese Embassy in Washington on March 3, part of an effort to raise awareness about her mother’s detention. “I was shocked when I heard the news. It seemed like it was only a few days ago that mom told me on the phone that I must take good care of myself.”
“I call on the Tianjin police and government to unconditionally release my mom Wang Sirong and three others Falun Dafa practitioners who have been illegally detained,” Xu added.
She and her peers are attempting to bring the matter to the attention of U.S. officials, whose efforts are often decisive in determining the outcome of such cases of persecution.
Ge Min, a spokeswoman for the Falun Dafa Association of Washington, D.C., a voluntary group that interfaces with government on behalf of Falun Gong practitioners, said in a telephone interview: “These illegally detained Falun Gong practitioners have not committed any crimes. They are simply trying to be good people, following the principles of truthfulness, compassion and forbearance.”
According Minghui.org, a Falun Gong website that carries voluminous first-hand information about the persecution, 735 practitioners have been abducted between Jan. 1 and Feb. 5 this year, with 16 of them being taken away in Tianjin.
The location was particularly troubling to Xu, given a recent expose of the vast scale of organ transplantation, for profit, at the Tianjin First Central Hospital recently. Many of the organs transplanted by the hospital are believed by researchers to have come from Falun Gong detainees.
“On the surface, organ harvesting does not exist in China,” Xu said in a telephone interview. “However, in China, getting an organ is just as easy as buying vegetables in the market.”
Xu moved to United States in 2009 primarily to avoid persecution, given that she is also a practitioner of Falun Gong. The whereabouts of the three individuals arrested along with her mother—Li Xiaohe, Li Xiaoxiao and Xing Wei—remain unknown.

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Wu Sha, the former head of the Chinese regime’s security committee in the southern city of Guangzhou, has been formally purged.
In a statement on Feb. 26, China’s anti-corruption agency, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, announced that Wu had been expelled from the Party for a litany of misdemeanors: “serious violations” of political discipline, engaging in “indecent relationships,” illegally enriching others, partaking in sex-for-money deals, and gambling with a fake ID.
Wu had called time a career spanning over 30 years in the Chinese regime’s security system. Wu transferred to Guangzhou City’s public security bureau in 1984, and was appointed head in September 2005. In a little over a year, Wu was promoted to higher offices—Party secretary of Guangzhou’s Political and Legal Affairs Commission (PLAC), and Standing Committee member in Guangzhou’s Party committee. The PLAC controls the Communist Party’s legal, security, and prison systems.
During Wu Sha’s time heading key offices in Guangzhou, he also oversaw the torture and abuse of Falun Gong practitioners in brainwashing centers.
Debilitative Abuses
Practitioners of Falun Gong—a self-improvement practice that involves meditative exercises, as well as moral teachings of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance—have for the past 16 years been targeted by the Party for persecution.
Since former Party chief Jiang Zemin gave the order to “eradicate” Falun Gong on July 20, 1999, large numbers of practitioners have lost their jobs, over 3,900 have been killed, and hundreds of thousands of others incarcerated in the regime’s prison system, according to incomplete data from Minghui.org, a clearinghouse of information about the persecution of Falun Gong. Researchers say the regime is responsible for harvesting organs from living Falun Gong practitioners, killing them in the process, and profiting from the sales.  
Minghui details two particularly harrowing accounts of persecution between 2005 and 2015, the years Wu Sha held sway over Guangzhou’s security system.
While detained at Sanshui Brainwashing Center in 2010, Zhang Fengqian, a professor of ancient Chinese philosophy at Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou, was subjected to brainwashing so rigorous that his mental facilities were impeded.
Another Falun Gong practitioner detained at the brainwashing center said over twenty people monitored Zhang during the day, and at night, they would tie his arms and feet to the corners of a bed. Zhang was forced to remain face down, spread-eagle, until his captors unbound him the next day.
Staff in the brainwashing center made Zhang watch videos and read books that defame Falun Gong to force him to give up the practice, and instead swear allegiance to the Communist Party.
Zhang was released in July 2011, but was again detained some time after, according to a December 2011 Minghui report. His current whereabouts are unknown.
Another prominent case is that of Deng Fangchen, a Hunan native who ran a leather furniture design business in Guangdong Province. She was first arrested in January 2010, and spent time in a detention center before being secretly transferred to the Guangzhou Brainwashing Center. Later, officials from the local 610 Office, an extralegal, Gestapo-like organization created expressly to persecute Falun Gong, closed her shop and forbade her landlord from leasing to her.
Three years later, 10 plainclothes police officers raided Deng Fangchen’s apartment, confiscated Falun Gong material, evicted her family, including her elderly, sickly father, and detained her at Panyu District Detention Center.
Deng went on hunger strike to protest her abuses. Detention center guards tied her to a chair and force-fed her through a tube inserted down her nostril. Deng was forced to lie in her own feces when she soiled herself because she wasn’t allowed to use the bathroom.
According to Minghui, Deng is currently illegally imprisoned at Guangdong Women’s Prison.
In Guangzhou, 5 practitioners were killed during Wu Sha’s tenure, according to incomplete data from Minghui. There were 26 verified cases of death and 2,591 cases of persecution in the whole of Guangdong province.
The World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong, an international nonprofit that tracks individuals and organizations responsible for abusing Falun Gong practitioners, holds Wu Sha directly responsible for the persecution of Deng Fangchen and Zhang Fengqian.

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The Jilin Women’s Prison in the northeast province of Jilin, China, recently put on a flamboyant fashion show in which both prison guards and prisoners took part—but the display of apparently progressive conditions in the jail shouldn’t be taken as an indicator of what really goes on inside the same walls.
Epoch Times recently reported about Che Pingping, for instance, a prisoner there, who has been subject to constant torture and brainwashing for her beliefs, in the very same walls as the cellmates strutting down the catwalk.
The difference is that Che is a practitioner of Falun Gong, a spiritual practice that has been persecuted in China since July 20, 1999. Adherents of the practice strive to follow the principles of truthfulness, compassion and forbearance in their daily lives, and perform the five meditative exercises.
Che has been arrested 9 times in 14 years. The latest information from her family members indicated that she was being forced to sit on a tiny bench in an unheated room, a type of torture that causes severe pain in the back and buttocks.
None of this would be clear for Chinese viewers who clicked on the links on gallery featured on Sina Photos, a popular website in China. Consisting of eight photographs, they include descriptions like “Lively music, graceful postures, costumes in different styles, and a happy smile with confidence: 40 female prison guards and 40 prisoners together walk down the catwalk.”
Another photo says: “The costumes are designed by Ms. Ren, who has be in prison for 10 years. This is the third year that Ms. Ren has been the costume designer, and she will be released this year. Her greatest wish now is to make a dress for her daughter who is studying in junior high school.”
The overall effect of showcasing the performance is to create the impression that Jilin Women’s Prison is a humane place for the incarceration of its female population.
Even the law would suggest that: The Prison Law of the People’s Republic of China is listed on the official website of the Jilin Province Prison Administration Bureau, and clause 14 prohibits torture and abuse of inmates.
But these rules don’t hold true for those locked up for political reasons. Apart from Che Pingping, there is also the case of Zhang Jie, a housewife who became a petitioner—that is, one who protests outside official buildings seeking justice—who was sentenced to 6 years in prison in 2009 for the crime of “assembling crowd to disturb social order.” Her case was documented on the human rights website Chinese Human Rights Defenders.
Zhang had been attempting to gain redress for the demolition of her sister’s home by real estate developers acting in cahoots with local officials.
The Jilin Women’s Prison refused Zhang’s request for medical bail, even though her poor health rendered her incapable of taking care of herself. After Zhang’s younger sister, Zhang Xiuyun, filed a lawsuit against the Jilin Women’s Prison for malfeasance, she disappeared.
Cases that of Zhang Jie and Che Pingping are the other side of prisons in China, which are censored instead of being promoted in colorful photo galleries.

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Never Again.
These words are often uttered after an atrocity beyond humanity’s comprehension has taken place. Taken as a motto by many Americans after the unspeakable evils of Nazi Germany in WWII were revealed and as a rallying cry after the horrific events of 9/11, still the primal outrage that ignite such statements soon fade and we find ourselves inexplicably uttering those bitter words yet again.
And yet again the situation is before us. Have we learned from history’s lesson?
Thirty-one-year-old Bay Area resident, Yolanda Yao, was like any other college student, pursuing a Ph.D. in Environmental Studies at Beijing Normal University until the afternoon of Oct. 23, 2011 when all sense of a normalcy was irreparably taken and with it long held hopes and dreams extinguished.
Yolanda Yao with classmates at Beijing Normal University, Environmental College Sep. 2010. (credit: unknown)
That day, according to Ms. Yao, she and three other college friends were having lunch in the apartment of one of the friends when they were besieged by police and taken to the Beijing Changping District Dongxiaokou police station where she faced over 12 hours of unrelenting interrogation. When she wouldn’t renounce her beliefs she was transferred to the Beijing Changping District detention center and locked in a cell with 20 other prisoners.
Ms. Yolanda Yao practices a gentle mind-body meditation system called Falun Gong. Falun Gong involves four slow moving exercises and a meditation practice and living according to the universal principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. Falun Gong is practiced peacefully everywhere around the world by over 100 million people who have experienced innumerable health benefits and elevation in moral character.
Everywhere that is except for China.
In China it is illegal to practice Falun Gong and the simple act of meditating in a park or at home can become a life or death choice. In 1999 the then-paramount leader Jiang Zemin began brutally suppressing the practice, a suppression that continues to this day. Millions of families have been torn apart, and there has been untold loss of life and property and unimaginable suffering.
A Living Hell
Recalling her days of detention, Ms. Yao had these words: “a living hell.”
“Looking back at the darkest 20 months in my life, over 600 days and nights might not seem too long, however to a person who suffered constant physical and mental torture, it felt like it was never going to end.”
At night she slept on a cold wooden floor, huddled together for warmth in the crowded cell and monitored around the clock by other prisoners, waking up to excruciating back pain. Meals consisted of spoiled cabbage mixed with mud and sand and only one cup of water a day. This continued for a month until she was transferred to Beijing Women’s Labor Camp.
Conditions at the labor camp were significantly worse. Ms. Yao describes the desperation she felt “like crawling in a freezing dark night without ever seeing any light.”It felt like it was never going to end.— Yolanda Yao
“The policemen at the labor camp used all means necessary to force Falun Gong practitioners to give up the practice. They forced us to sit on a child’s chair for over ten hours every day. This caused legs and feet to swell, and at the end our back and hip would bruise, and even worse, they would ulcerate.” The use of toilets was also severely restricted leading to incontinence, urinary tract infections, and in severe cases ruptures.
According to Ms. Yao, she was forced to do heavy labor in summer temperatures surpassing 100 degrees Fahrenheit and in winter when temperatures in Beijing are well below freezing outside. Sleep deprivation is widely used on Falun Gong practitioners held prisoner, and Ms. Yao was no exception, often getting only 3 hours of sleep each night before the grueling physical labor began.
“The guards forced us to use a rickshaw to pull excrement. There are many dunghill maggots, liquid excrement flowed everywhere and exuded stench.” Due to the high temperature, dehydration and forced labor, Ms. Yao was on the brink of passing out many times. On one occasion Ms. Yao was soaked in pesticides when the 70-pound barrel she was carrying leaked.
Inside the walls life consisted of cleaning the filthy latrines, showers in cold water even in winter, or going weeks without bathing. Around the clock brainwashing sessions were the norm as prisoners were forced to watch propaganda videos slandering the practice and its founder and coerced to sign guarantees that they would stop practicing Falun Gong or face additional tortures.
The CCP’s campaign of propaganda and lies against Falun Gong has extended outside its borders, infiltrating even democratic countries with many people being unable to discern the truth from lies.
Many Falun Gong practitioners protested the inhumane treatment by going on hunger strike only to be sent to labor camps hospitals to be forcibly feed through the nose. This along with numerous torture practices including beatings with electric batons, being submerged in sewer water while locked in a tiny metal cage, or gang rape has led to 3925 documented deaths.
Because of the difficulty of getting information out of China, the deaths from torture and abuse are believed to be much higher. In addition, researchers estimate that the unimaginable act of harvesting organs from still living practitioners for use in transplantation has killed tens, if not hundreds, of thousands.
Urgent Rescue
It was pressure from international human rights organizations that saved Ms. Yao’s life. Pressure from abroad eventually toppled the infamous labor camp system in Mainland China in 2013, ending Ms. Yao’s detention and decades of bloody state-sanctioned torment in the form of “re-education through labor.”
Now Ms. Yao’s nightmare has resurfaced. This time it’s her parents, Guofu Yao and Xin Liang, that face an uncertain future. The pair have not been seen since they were taken by force from their home on Dec. 5, 2015 by a group, according to eye witnesses, of more than 30 plainclothes police.
“My heart was broken into pieces,” Ms. Yao remembers when hearing news of her parents’ arrest.

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The deputy head of a provincial public security department has been arrested for bribery and abuse of power in China. Xiu Hui is now in the custody of the system he sat atop for many years where he dished out torture and severe punishment to persecuted groups.
The majority of Xiu’s victims were practitioners of Falun Gong, a traditional spiritual discipline that’s been persecuted in China since 1999.
According to state mouthpiece media People’s Daily Online, the procuratorate in Xinjiang Province announced that an investigation against Xiu was underway.
Since 2002, Xiu’s entire career was in public security in Xinjiang. From January 2002 to September 2010 he was party secretary and administration of re-education through labor. He then became party secretary and director of prisons until June 2013, when he was promoted to deputy head of public security.
But the crimes he is accused of are minor in comparison to the cruel torture he ordered on innocent people in his various positions, according to Minghui.org, a website that provides up-to-date reports about the persecution of Falun Gong.
Falun Gong, a spiritual practice that teaches people to live by the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, became targeted for persecution in China on July 20, 1999, when then Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin ordered a nationwide crackdown on the group.
Thousands of Falun Gong followers have been persecuted to death, and hundreds of thousands have been imprisoned in detention centers, brainwashing centers, labor camps, and prisons. Countless more have been victims Before the launch of the suppression, there were an estimated 70 million Falun Gong followers in China, according to a state survey at the time.
Deaths Under Xiu’s Watch
Minghui notes 10 prominent cases of severely persecuted Falun Gong practitioners, nine to death, in labor camps under Xiu’s watch.
Ge Lijun, born in 1976, was expelled from a college in Xinjiang after the school learned he practiced Falun Gong meditation. From 1999 to 2009, Ge was sent to Ghangli City Forced Labor Camp three times for a total of six years. The last time he was released, in March 2009, he was in a poor health from being tortured with electric shocks, sleep deprivation, and other methods. Ge died three months later after local hospitals refused to treat him on order of the police and security bureau.
Niu Guifen passed away in November 2013, one year after being released from Xinjiang’s Women’s Prison. During her 4.5-year sentence, Niu was subjected to physical and psychological torture as authorities tried to coerce her into renouncing her beliefs.
Xie Zhenggong, originally an employee at Bayi Iron and Steel Company at Ürümqi, served a six-year prison at Xinjiang No. 5 Prison beginning in 2003. While incarcerated, Xie was physically abused by other inmates, who were told by prison authorities they would have their prison terms reduced if they could successfully coerce Xie into abandoning Falun Gong. Xie eventually died in March 2012 at the age of 42.
The World Organization to Investigation the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG) has confirmed the serious human rights violations and persecution taking place at the Xinjiang No. 5 Prison.

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Qinglongshan, Chinese for “Azure Dragon Mountain,” is an otherwise unremarkable farming project on the northeastern edge of China, just across the river from Siberian Russia.
It’s also home to a notorious “Legal Education Base,” a state facility commandeered for the forcible ideological remolding of practitioners of Falun Gong, a traditional meditation and spiritual practice that has been persecuted by the Communist Party since 1999.  
For years, rights lawyers have defended practitioners, then themselves as the police harassed and pressured them to cease their work.
On Dec. 1, three lawyers working on the most well-known case of abuse at Qinglongshan were called in for questioning, part of an attempt by the Communist Party’s secret police force to ascertain their involvement in a petition against Jiang Zemin, the former head of the Communist Party who initiated the campaign against Falun Gong.
They had on Oct. 28 submitted a criminal complaint against local authorities, on behalf of their clients, to Heilongjiang’s prosecutors. But rather than look into the matter, prosecutors simply passed the documents on to the secret police force—the very agency that is being accused of running an illegal brainwashing center.
The secret police were particularly incensed by the fact that among the legal documents there was a petition, signed by 1,300 residents of the Jiansanjiang area in which Qinglongshan is located, in support of torture victims who are now suing Jiang Zemin.
“It seems that it made quite a big impact,” said Chang Boyang in an interview with Epoch Times, referring to the regime’s reaction.
The lawyers—Chang Boyang, Ren Quanniu, and Wang Lei, all in central China’s Henan Province—were contacted by their local judicial bureau at the behest of the 610 Office in the northern subzero province of Heilongjiang.
It seems that it made quite a big impact — Chang Boyang, human rights lawyer

“Family members of the defendants have reported Jiang Zemin, and we filed a lawsuit against the judge for his failure to abide by the law,” Chang said. “We demand that the judge’s violations be investigated, as well as the illegal existence of the Qinglongshan brainwashing center.”
The 610 Office is the unofficial name of an extralegal Communist Party agency set up by Jiang Zemin to facilitate the persecution of Falun Gong. It has the Party’s authority to oversee police and courts at multiple administrative levels.
A ‘Special Task Force’
Regime authorities in Jiansanjiang responded to the letter and associated local petition by creating the “1028 Special Task Force” to harass rights lawyers involved in the case, believing them to be responsible for the upsurge in public interest, said lawyer Ren Quanniu, who got his information from inside sources.
The original package of documents that set off alarms inside the regime’s security organs were submitted on Oct. 28 by Han Sujuan, a Falun Gong practitioner who had been held at Qinglongshan. With the help of defense attorneys, she and others involved in the Jiansanjiang case delivered a joint letter of complaint from more than 50 victims and a disc of 14 other victims’ recorded speeches to the Heilongjiang Procuratorate.
Suits Against Former Leader
The support for the Falun Gong defendants appear to be part of a trend of Chinese signing petitions condemning the regime’s persecution across the country.
In Tangshan, a metropolis near Beijing, 27,000 people signed their names and gave their fingerprints in cinnabar ink (the traditional Chinese style of signature) to support the legal action against Jiang Zemin.
We demand that the judge’s violations be investigated, as well as the illegal existence of the brainwashing center.— Chang Boyang

Since this May, when new legislation made it possible for ordinary Chinese to have their civil cases processed by courts and submitted to higher judicial authorities, over 200,000 people have filed suits against Jiang Zemin for his role as chief persecutor of Falun Gong.
It is not clear what inspired the May judicial reform, but in recent years, the communist regime has increasingly appealed to such slogans as “rule of law” to bolster its legitimacy in a society where Marxist ideology has diminishing currency.
Official reactions to the lawsuits have been mixed. While some law enforcement staff have processed the documents or even supported Falun Gong practitioners in their efforts, others have interfered with the process by harassing or detaining the plaintiffs.
Earlier this year, a petition condemning the practice of forced organ harvesting, in which Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners are murdered for profit in state-run hospitals, garnered 50,000 signatures nationwide.
Legal Attrition at Jiansanjiang
The Qinglongshan brainwashing center dates back to 2010, when Chinese police established the “Heilongjiang Agricultural Bureau Legal Education Base” in the village environs. It serves as an unofficial “black jail” and brainwashing center, according to reports published by Minghui.org, a website run by Falun Gong practitioners to document the persecution.
Since China abolished the labor camp system in 2013, so-called “black jails” such as Qinglongshan have become the facility of choice for regime agencies involved in the repression of Falun Gong in recent years.
Practitioners held at Qinglongshan are beaten by police and hired thugs, confined in torturous conditions, and bombarded with anti-Falun Gong material in an attempt to force them to renounce their faith and pledge allegiance to the Communist Party.
This May, four practitioners still jailed at Qinglongshan—Li Guifang, Shi Mengwen, Wang Yanxin, and Meng Fanli—were illegally sentenced to prison terms ranging from two to three years each. Heavily-armed police deployed at various checkpoints prevented the lawyers from ever reaching the court.
Jenny Li contributed to this report

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