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10 Things President Obama Should Know For His Visit to China

  1. Within a 50-mile radius of central Beijing, hundreds of innocent Falun Gong practitioners are being held and tortured in detention centers, forced labor camps, and prison camps.
  2. During Obama’s 3-day trip, an estimated 72 Falun Gong practitioners will be abducted by security forces, 15 will be sent to a forced labor or prison camp for the next 1 to 18 years, and at least one will likely be tortured to death.
  3. Several Communist Party officials Obama may meet are being investigated for egregious human rights violations, including torture and genocide.
  4. Tiananmen Square, a likely destination during Obama’s sightseeing tour, has been the scene of countless Chinese citizens being pummeled, beaten, and shoved into police vans by security forces for peacefully protesting against the persecution of Falun Gong. Many died after being detained there.
  5. At least 97 Falun Gong practitioners from Beijing and 414 from the surrounding Hebei province have been killed due to persecution over the past decade.
  6. In 1999, roughly 1 out of every 15 Chinese practiced Falun Gong. Thus, many of the people President Obama meets or sees walking down the street have a friend, relative, or colleague who has been victimized by the last decade of persecution.  
  7. Whatever Obama hears—or doesn’t hear—from Party officials about Falun Gong will be profoundly shaped by propaganda and censorship.
  8. Despite Party leaders rhetorical commitment to the “rule of law,” judges, prosecutors, and security agents are routinely manipulated by Party officials into carrying out illegal abductions, detentions, “re-education,” torture, and murder.  
  9. Public interest lawyers who have represented Falun Gong practitioners have been harassed, disbarred, and tortured.
  10. In Beijing and across China, Falun Gong practitioners and their supporters are engaging in a tireless grassroots effort to stop the violence.


1. Within a 50-mile radius of central Beijing, hundreds of innocent Falun Gong practitioners are being held and tortured in detention centers, forced labor camps, and prison camps.
Throughout Beijing and its surrounding districts is a network of police stations, detention centers, labor camps and prison camps where security agents take Chinese citizens who practice Falun Gong. A practitioner somewhere in the city is picked up on nearly a daily basis by police from his or her home, workplace, or while attempting to distribute leaflets about the practice and the persecution against it. They are then sent without a trial to up to 2.5 years of “re-education through labor” or are “sentenced” in sham trials to prison camps for up to 18 years. Beyond Beijing, Falun Gong practitioners make up the single largest contingent of prisoners of conscience in China.

For more information:
•    "A Journalist's Walking Guide to the Persecution of Falun Gong in Beijing"
•    "How do we know the persecution is brutal and ongoing?"

2. During Obama’s 3-day trip, an estimated 72 Falun Gong practitioners will be abducted by security forces, 15 will be sent to a forced labor or prison camp for the next 1 to 18 years, and at least one will likely be tortured to death.
In recent weeks, sources inside China have reported a daily average of 24 cases of Falun Gong practitioners being taken away by police, and a daily average of 5 Falun Gong practitioners being sent to forced labor or prison camps. Amnesty International stated that during 2007 “over 100 Falun Gong practitioners were reported to have died in detention or shortly after release.” The Falun Dafa Information Center has documented a similar rate of 100 deaths per year—approximately one every 3.5 days—in 2008 and 2009. During the 16 days of the Olympics alone, ten Falun Gong adherents are confirmed to have died.

For more information:
•    Amnesty International 2008 Annual Report excerpts
•    A list of 104 documented Falun Gong deaths in 2008

3. Several Communist Party officials Obama may meet are being investigated for egregious human rights violations, including torture and genocide.
Last week, a Spanish judge decided to move ahead with a criminal investigation of five sitting and former high-ranking Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials on charges of genocide and torture for their involvement in egregious human rights violations carried out against Falun Gong practitioners in China. The five individuals are:

  • Jiang Zemin – Hu Jintao’s predecessor, head of the CCP from 1989 to 2003. Primary instigator of the campaign against Falun Gong; issued orders to “eradicate” Falun Gong and use torture if necessary against the estimated 70-100 million Chinese citizens who were practicing it in 1999.
  • Luo Gan – Former member of the CCP Politburo Standing Committee and director of the leadership team overseeing the extra-legal 610 Office, a nationwide secret police task force that has lead the violent eradication campaign against Falun Gong.
  • Jia Qinglin – Current member of the CCP Politburo Standing Committee and the 4th most powerful man in China; served as Party Secretary of Beijing in the early years of the persecution and directed security forces to crackdown on Falun Gong, leading to the illegal detention, torture, and death of thousands.
  • Bo Xilai – Party Secretary of Chongqing and former Commerce Minister; during his time as mayor of Dalian and governor of Liaoning province in northeast China, actively encouraged the crackdown on Falun Gong, leading to the illegal detention, torture, and killing of thousands.
  • Wu Guanzheng - Head of an internal Party disciplinary committee and former governor of Shandong; In a Pulitzer prize-winning article, The Wall Street Journal’s Ian Johnson describes how Wu imposed fines on his subordinates if they did not sufficiently crackdown on Falun Gong, leading officials to torture local residents, in some cases, to death.
  • In 2004, a U.S. federal court found that Liu Qi, the man who headed Beijing’s Olympic Organizing Committee, was responsible for the torture of Falun Gong adherents during his tenure as Beijing’s mayor from 1999 to 2002. According to the Center for Investigative Reporting, which publicized the case in April 2008: “In an extensive legal opinion, the U.S. District Court in San Francisco determined in 2004 that Liu Qi was responsible for the illegal detention and torture of two Chinese nationals and a sexual assault against a French woman in China.”

For more information:
•    The Epoch Times, “Spanish Judge Calls Top Chinese Officials to Account for Genocide
•    The Wall Street Journal, “Death Trap - How One Chinese City Resorted to Atrocities To Control Falun Dafa"
•    The Center for Investigative for Reporting, “Beijing Olympic Chief Linked to Torture"

4. Tiananmen Square, a likely destination during Obama’s sightseeing tour, has been the scene of countless Chinese citizens being pummeled, beaten, and shoved into police vans by security forces for peacefully protesting against the persecution of Falun Gong. Many died after being detained there.
During the first several years of the persecution, thousands of Falun Gong practitioners from across China traveled to Beijing to peacefully appeal to the Party to stop the campaign and allow them to freely practice their faith. They turned to Tiananmen after discovering that every legally enshrined avenue for petitioning had been closed off. Security agents routinely roamed the square, abruptly knocking down, beating, and pushing into police vans practitioners, young and old, who would unfurl banners saying “Falun Gong is Good” or “Restore Falun Gong’s Name.” This was typically followed by interrogation, jailing, torture, and in some cases, death.

In November 2001, a group of some 50 Western followers of Falun Gong—including Americans—traveled to Tiananmen, meditated, and unfurled a yellow banner reading “Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance,” the practice’s core tenets. They were immediately detained, beaten, and deported the next day.

For more information:
•    "Righteous Resistance"

Photos:
•    Police arrest Falun Gong practitioners on Tiananmen Square
•    Policeman steps on Falun Gong practitioner’s head on Tiananmen Square
•    Police detain Western Falun Gong practitioners appealing on Tiananmen Square

5. At least 97 Falun Gong practitioners from Beijing and 414 from the surrounding Hebei province have been killed due to persecution over the past decade.
The Falun Dafa Information Center has confirmed the deaths of over 3,000 Falun Gong adherents as a direct result of the persecution campaign that the CCP launched in 1999. The cases are compiled from a variety of sources, including international media reports, testimony of relatives or friends of the deceased, photographic evidence, and follow-up phone calls made by researchers to the relevant police or prison authorities. It is feared that the actual number of Falun Gong deaths from torture, malnutrition, neglect and forced organ harvesting, however, is already in the tens of thousands.

For more information:
•    "Killings"
•    Photo Gallery “Killed for their Belief
•    London (Sunday) Times: “Yu Zhou dies as China launches pre-Olympic purge of Falun Gong

6. In 1999, roughly 1 out of every 15 Chinese practiced Falun Gong. Thus, many of the people President Obama meets or sees walking down the street have a friend, relative, or colleague who has been victimized by the last decade of persecution. 
Chinese government estimates from 1999 state that 70-100 million people were practicing Falun Gong. They were found in every province and strata of society, from high-ranking government officials to factory workers, from successful entrepreneurs to housewives, from professors at top universities to illiterate peasants. Including family and friends, the persecution has directly affected hundreds of millions of people across Chinese society.

For more information:
•    “Key Statistics Related to Falun Gong
•    “Persecution of Family and Loved Ones
•    “Persecution at Work and School

7. Whatever Obama hears—or doesn’t hear—from Party officials about Falun Gong will be profoundly shaped by propaganda and censorship.
Most Chinese are woefully misinformed about Falun Gong—as they are about other tragedies from recent Chinese history such as the 1989 massacre or the Great Leap Forward famine. Independent information on these topics remains blocked inside China and the CCP has engaged in a systematic and deliberate propaganda campaign to twist reality and promote the party line.

In order to saturate society with its anti-Falun Gong propaganda, the regime has banned all books, articles, audiotapes, videos, flyers, and items that cast Falun Gong in a positive light, while blocking any websites where such information might be available. Meanwhile, it has proactively circulated via television, newspapers, school textbooks, and even comic books, hate speech and fabrications that vilify Falun Gong practitioners as crazy, dangerous, and ultimately, less than human.

As a result, it is nearly impossible to find any public expression in defense of Falun Gong – be it in government, media, or academic discourse. Meanwhile, under duress from the regime, there is no shortage of individuals who will recite the Party line on Falun Gong word for word, whether they believe it to be true or not. This is especially true of high-ranking officials Obama will likely meet.

For more information:
•    “The Party’s Use of Propaganda
•    “Media censorship

8. Despite Party leaders rhetorical commitment to the “rule of law,” judges, prosecutors, and security agents are routinely manipulated by Party officials into carrying out illegal abductions, detentions, “re-education,” torture, and murder. 
For the past decade, Party officials have exerted influence over judges to send thousands of innocent Falun Gong practitioners to prison where they are subjected to extreme torture and mistreatment, sometimes leading to death. “Trials,” which ultimately amount to judges reading out a pre-determined sentence, typically last less than a day and are often held in secret, with the practitioners’ family not notified until after the fact. This trend has intensified since the end of the Beijing Olympics. Between January and June 2009, 882 cases of practitioners being “sentenced” for up to 18 years in prison were reported.

Meanwhile, the 610 Office, an extra-legal task force created in 1999 to lead the anti-Falun Gong campaign continues to operate throughout China. Its agents directly abduct and torture practitioners, as well as instruct other members of the party or society to do so.

For more information:
•    “Law and Disorder
•    “China’s Gestapo” Marks a Decade
•    Congressional-Executive Commission on China, 2009 Annual Report (Falun Gong-related excerpts)

9. Public interest lawyers who have represented Falun Gong practitioners have been harassed, disbarred, and tortured.
In recent years, over 20 civil rights lawyers have defied Party directives and taken the cases of Falun Gong adherents, offering advice, representing them in court, and publishing accounts of abuse. More broadly and at great risk, the lawyers have called into question the fundamental basis of the entire persecution of Falun Gong, protesting it as a violation of Chinese citizens’ freedom of belief. In response to their efforts, they have themselves faced persecution at the hands of the authorities. They have faced disbarment, detention, exile, beatings and torture, including being shocked with electric batons.

For more information:
•    “Lawyers and Rights Defenders
•    Human Rights in China: “Chinese Rights Defense Lawyers Under All-out Attack by the Authorities

10. In Beijing and across China, Falun Gong practitioners and their supporters are engaging in a tireless grassroots effort to stop the violence.
In spite of continued persecution and at grave risk, China’s Falun Gong practitioners persist in their efforts to educate their fellow citizens about the innocence of their practice and the cruelty of the persecution they face. 

Their efforts include:
•    Producing and distributing literature and VCDs documenting rights abuses to their compatriots;
•    Hanging banners in public squares and parks proclaiming Falun Gong’s goodness; and,
•    Promoting Falun Gong-developed software to enable Chinese citizens to safely circumvent the country’s Internet blockade, thus allowing them to freely access information.

An estimated 200,000 underground “material sites” operate across China, from which practitioners use proxy servers to safely download, print, and produce literature about the persecution of Falun Gong.

For more information:
•    “Righteous Resistance
•    “Top Four Reasons Why ‘Green Dam Youth Escort’ Censorship Software Targets Falun Gong
•    New York Times, “Iranians and Others Outwit Net Censors”