Chinese Human Rights Defenders
Chinese Human Rights Defenders is a small Hong Kong-based NGO that is a relatively new addition to the field of monitoring human rights in China, having become active in late 2005. Thanks to a well-developed network of informants and activists throughout China, it has quickly developed a reputation as a credible source of information on developments in the country.
As indicated by its name, its primary focus is on human rights defenders, particularly petitioners and lawyers. Nevertheless, in the course of its research, in recent years CHRD has issued a number of updates and reports that highlight various aspects of the persecution suffered by Falun Gong practitioners and their supporters.
Of particular note is a February 2009 report about “Re-education through labor” camps, based primarily on interviews and surveys conducted among petitioners. Over half of the interviewees covered in the study mentioned the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners, stating that practitioners made up one of the largest groups of detainees in the camps where they were held.
CHRD : Re-education through Labor Abuses Continue Unabated: Overhaul Long Overdue (Excerpts) (February 2009)
- ”Inside the camp, disobedient detainees were made to sit on the ?tiger bench, especially if they were Falun Gong practitioners. They were severely persecuted…Falun Gong practitioners were often not allowed to sleep until they promised to reform and wrote letters denouncing their beliefs. Only then would their situations improve,” said Du Fengqin. (Interview 6)
- ”Of all the detainees, the Falun Gong practitioners were the largest group… Normally, Falun Gong practitioners weren’t allowed to have visitors unless they admitted their guilt and worked especially hard”, said Feng Xixia (Interview 11), who spent three months in a RTL camp in Shaanxi Province.
A Civil Society Report on China’s Implementation of the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (October 10, 2008)
“[…] The prioritization of political considerations over individual human rights is most clearly demonstrated by the case of Falun Gong.
After the Chinese government decided to crack down on Falun Gong, it established Office 610 to persecute Falun Gong adherents. As a political office, it has higher status than the judiciary, the PSB and the Procuratorate. In theory, Falun Gong practitioners can petition its Letters and Visits Office or sue Office 610 for torture. In practice, even these limited complaint mechanisms are closed to Falun Gong practitioners because they are treated as a “special category” and their complaints are not accepted by government offices. Falun Gong practitioners rarely lodge official complaints for fear of being subjected to even worse persecution due to their membership in [Falun Gong].
It is believed that Office 610 is responsible for the torture and cruel treatment of many Falun Gong practitioners and that its officers are never punished or held legally responsible for their crimes.”
See here for CHRD’s full submission to the United Nations Committee against Torture prior to their review of China’s implementation.
Alerts on Falun Gong deaths, imprisonment, and denial of legal rights
Alerts on assaults against lawyers who defended Falun Gong
Non-practitioners punished for suspected association with Falun Gong or for expressing supportive views
The following cases are included here as they highlight the extent to which the CCP has been willing to go in order to silence voices critical of the campaign against Falun Gong. Together with intenstive anti-Falun Gong propaganda, such measures are a key factor in the distorted views that many Chinese hold about Falun Gong. The cases also point to the risk Falun Gong practitioners face for merely possessing printed materials or CDs related to the practice.