International Government & NGO Response

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  • Sanctions imposed on Chinese officials responsible for persecuting Falun Gong

  • International parliamentary resolutions and statements

  • International research and advocacy

 

Perpetrators of persecution face sanctions

In an unprecedented move, the U.S. government sanctioned two officials for engaging in human rights abuses against Falun Gong practitioners in China: Yu Hui[1] from Chengdu, Sichuan Province, and Huang Yuanxiong[2] from Xiamen, Fujian Province, in December 2020 and May 2021, respectively.  Both are officials of the 6-10 Office, an extralegal security agency the CCP created specifically to persecute Falun Gong. The sanctions have added important momentum to grassroots Falun Gong practitioner efforts to encourage local officials to refrain from persecuting adherents. Anecdotal accounts indicate that officials in different parts of the country have taken note and even released Falun Gong detainees for fear of the future repercussions for themselves or their family members should they be sanctioned.

 

A list of 150 officials who participated in the CCP’s campaign to eradicate Falun Gong (out of tens of thousands of known perpetrators) was submitted to the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Marc Garneau for sanctions in 2021.[3] MP James Bezan, who submitted the list on June 11, said, “They were selected because their egregious and extensive participation in this human rights atrocity is well documented, and their eligibility for sanction under the Act is beyond dispute[1].”

 

Legislation introduced or adopted

Several pieces of legislation introduced or adopted in the United States, either at the federal, state, or municipal level in recent years condemn the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China or try to enact measures that would help reduce abuses, especially in the organ transplant industry. In April 2021, two US senators introduced a bipartisan Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act of 2021, which aims to increase reporting requirements surrounding organ transplant abuses, establish a tiered system to identify which countries–such as China–are locations where egregious abuses in the organ transplant industry occur, and impose restrictions on medical training or equipment exports to such countries; as of May 2022, the Act had garnered 12 bipartisan co-sponsors.[4] The U.S. House of Representatives also introduced a more specific Falun Gong Protection Act, H.R.6319, in December 2021.

 

At the state level, on June 7, 2021, Texas adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 3 as a bill “condemning China's practice of involuntary organ harvesting,” and several cities in Virginia did the same.[5] [6] On February 11, 2022, the Virginia General Assembly unanimously passed House Resolution No. 9, “Condemning the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners by the Chinese Communisty Party,” to address the torture, forced labor, and organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners. H.R.9 urges communist China to stop persecuting Falun Gong immediately.[7]

 

Europe has also made multiple actions in recent years to address the concerns following forced organ harvesting. In February 2021, the United Kingdom passed a law to curb the export of medical devices to countries such as China.[8] The U.K.’s Medicines and Medical Devices Act 2021 marks the first legislative item by the United Kingdom that will prevent the “U.K. medicines industry [from being] compromised by the use of human tissue or cells sourced through human rights violations.” After voting in favor of the bill, Lord Alton of Liverpool said, “The most important thing the amendment and this debate tonight does is send a very clear message that we will not tolerate such appalling acts against humanity and will deliver for the people of China, not for the Communist Party of China.” Numerous members of the German Parliament condemned the CCP’s forced organ harvesting on Human Rights Day on December 10, 2021,[9] and the Yilan County Council in Taiwan passed a cross-party motion on December 24 to endorse the Universal Declaration on Combating and Preventing Forced Organ Harvesting (UDCPFOH).[10] In addition, the U.K. Organ Tourism and Cadavers on Display Bill has received wide bipartisan support in Parliament as of March 2022.[11] If passed, this bill will target British organ tourism to countries like China directly. The European Union similarly has a motion for resolution regarding organ harvesting in China scheduled on May 5, 2022.[12] If passed, the resolution will take specific actors like UN Human Rights chief Michelle Bachelet to be responsible for independent monitoring into China and call on EU Member States to prevent organ tourism.

 

Voices of support worldwide

Even as the CCP has escalated its assault on Falun Gong practitioners in China, international solidarity and support from foreign governments has become more prominent and vocal. In 2020, over 900 officials issued a joint statement calling on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to immediately stop the “systematic and brutal campaign to ‘eradicate’ the spiritual discipline of Falun Gong.”[13] Current and former ministers, senators, members of parliament, members of Congress, and state-level lawmakers from 35 countries in Europe, North America, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America were among the statement’s signatories.[14] These nations include: the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Denmark, Israel, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Romania, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia,  Australia, Cyprus, New Zealand, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Argentina, Chile, Japan, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Venezuela, the United States, and Indonesia. The joint statement urges the CCP “to immediately stop the persecution of Falun Gong in China, and to unconditionally release all detained Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience.” The officials span the political spectrum, making the policies and resolutions for Falun Gong a resoundingly bipartisan issue.

 

The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, an international cross-party group of legislators, also issued a similar statement on the 21st anniversary of the persecution of Falun Gong in July 2020.[15] Thirty-five U.S. members of Congress, then-U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback, and Commissioner Gary Bauer from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, issued their own individual statements in support of the human rights and religious freedom of Falun Gong practitioners around the same time.[16] In April 2022, recently appointed U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Rashad Hussain met with Falun Gong representatives and relatives of detained practitioners, publicly condemning their suffering afterwards.[17]

 

International research and advocacy

Over the past two decades, a wide range of international human rights groups and U.S. government reports have independently documented and recounted the systematic rights abuses – including torture and deaths in custody – suffered by those who practice Falun Gong in China. Below is a small sample of such actions and reports from the past two years:

 

US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) and State Department: Annual reports issued by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has highlighted the CCP’s human rights violations against Falun Gong practitioners. Aside from confirming the persecution of Falun Gong is ongoing, the Commission also concludes in the Annual Report 2021 that detained Falun Gong practitioners constitute a significant chunk of their Freedom of Religion or Belief Victim List.[18] This proportion of reported religious victims in China is only one measure of the persecution’s widespread scope and scale. However, the significance of this religious suppression has also been a concern of the State Department. In fact, USCIRF reported that the State Department acted upon these concerns and in 2020, through the use of visa restrictions, made a public designation against Chinese official “Huang Yuanxiong and his spouse for abuses against Falun Gong practitioners” under Section 7031(c).

 

 In 2022, the CECC continued to echo its previous recommendations from years past: advocating for political prisoners, developing creative human rights programming, supporting victims of persecution, ending forced labor imports, and stopping atrocity crimes.[19] [20] The CECC’s database of political prisoners includes hundreds of Falun Gong-related entries. The State Department report on China included 45 references to Falun Gong, including both demographic information and instances of persecution suffered by believers.[21]

 

Freedom House: Freedom House frequently refers to the plight of Falun Gong practitioners in its annual reports on civil liberties and internet freedom in China.[22] [23] Its 2017 report on religious revival, repression, and resistance in China included an in-depth chapter on Falun Gong among eight faith communities covered. More recently, cases of Falun Gong practitioners sentenced for exercising their right to free expression have been included in the organization’s China Media Bulletin, which is simultaneously distributed internationally in English and in Chinese to readers inside China. The November 2021 issue, for example,[24] cited the following cases of Falun Gong practitioners given heavy prison sentences:

 

A Tianjin court sentenced a family of Falun Gong believers to prison on September 4, likely in connection with printing and distributing information about the banned practice. The father, Li Guoqing received 12 years in prison; his wife Yu Bo 10 years, and their daughter Li Lei received 7 years. In another case, a Falun Gong practitioner and nurse received a four-year sentence in August in Jiangxi, after being caught speaking to someone on the street about the spiritual discipline.

 

Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC): On March 10, 2020, the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation released an unprecedented report that details the rampant extrajudicial execution and organ harvesting from dissidents within China, based on secret documents and reporting inside the country.[25] The analysis was made from the “significant body of evidence consistent with prisoners of conscience being used as organ sources.”[26] This hypothesis continued to prove itself further with the fact that “evidence includes the coincidence of the anti-Falun Gong campaign (in July 1999) with the rapid growth of China’s transplant industry six months later, widely reported blood tests and physical examinations consistent with those required for organ procurement, telephone admissions by Chinese doctors, threats of organ harvesting by prison and labor camp guards, and participation in the anti-Falun Gong campaign by Chinese transplant surgeons.”

 

On February 24, 2021, the VOC and the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse hosted a virtual conference about the Chinese Communist Party’s forced organ harvesting.[27] Over 100 medical and legal experts, as well as elected officials, attended the online discussion.[28] Kristina Olney, Director of Government Relations for VOC, said the CCP has run a billion-dollar business associated with forced organ harvesting. While the victims are mainly Falun Gong practitioners, they also include Uyghurs and it is important for the U.S. and other Western nations to stop the tragedy.

 

Dui Hua: The San Francisco-based Dui Hua Foundation maintains its own database of prisoners of conscience in China, submits cases to the Chinese government urging release, and scours government statistical sources for information on cases.  On March 23, 2022, the Dui Hua Foundation released a report featuring Guangzhou businessman Liang Jiantian, “who was convicted of producing illegal publications, including a vast trove of literature promoting the banned spiritual group Falun Gong,” and recently released from Panyu Prison. Between September 1996 and March 2000, Liang and his partner were accused of producing publications without a permit. Among the "illegal publications" printed, there were nearly 5 million books or pamphlets of Falun Gong materials, generating $2.13 million in revenue. “Liang, now 70 years old, was sentenced to life in prison in 2000. In 2007, Liang's sentence was commuted and replaced with a sentence of 20 years followed by seven years deprivation of political rights (DPR). During this period, his employment opportunities are limited, he is under constant surveillance, and he is unable to publish or give interviews to foreign journalists.” It is unconfirmed whether Liang is himself an adherent of Falun Gong.

 

Bitter Winter: Bitter Winter is a European-based online publication focused on religious freedom in China, which often publishes information obtained from sources within the country. Among other reports published over the past two years, an April 2021 update indicated that CCP officials and members are now using a grid system to surveil and suppress religious communities, whereby each “grid” constitutes 3.86 square miles.[29] Authorities are dividing up the communities in order to search and seize citizens who practice Falun Gong and other faiths. According to the article:

"It is difficult for those unfamiliar with the Chinese policy of surveillance to understand how extensive and intrusive the grid model is. It was first introduced in Beijing and Shanghai in 2004, and gradually is being implemented nationwide. Its implementation was greatly accelerated under President Xi Jinping. Its basic principle is that surveillance through technology—which today is of course much more totalitarian than in 2004—is not enough, and will never replace surveillance through human beings. Each street, each building should be watched by CCP members working as eyes and ears of the Party."

 

Hudson Institute: In 2021, the Hudson Institute held a panel on "China’s War on Religion."[30] During the discussion, experts remarked on the organ harvesting industry subsidized by the CCP:

“When there is a need for a particular organ, officials could search the database, locate a specific detainee, and kill the person for the organ to make a profit. Many prisoners of conscience have been detained in China, including Falun Gong practitioners and Uyghurs, who are treated as if they are organ farms.”

-Xiaoxu Sean Lin, Microbiologist & Former US Army Officer

More recently, in February 2022, Nina Shea who directs the Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom published an op-ed in the National Review arguing that “American policy-makers should clearly condemn [the] persecution against Falun Gong and declare it a genocide,” following on the precedent set by the Trump and Biden Administrations declaring atrocities in Xinjiang a genocide.[31]

[1] “Designation of People’s Republic of China Official Due to Involvement in Gross Violations of Human Rights,” U.S. Department of State, https://www.state.gov/designation-of-peoples-republic-of-china-official-due-to-involvement-in-gross-violations-of-human-rights/

[2] “On the Occasion of International Anticorruption Day and International Human Rights Day,” U.S. Department of State, https://2017-2021.state.gov/on-the-occasion-of-international-anticorruption-day-and-international-human-rights-day/index.html

[3] “Dozens of Lawmakers Urge Trudeau to Sanction Perpetrators Persecuting Falun Gong Ahead of Anniversary,” Falun Dafa Information Center, https://faluninfo.net/dozens-of-lawmakers-urge-trudeau-to-sanction-perpetrators-persecuting-falun-gong-ahead-of-anniversary/

[4] “H.R.1592 - Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act of 2021,” Congress.gov, https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/senate-bill/602; https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/1592/text?r=41&s=1

[5] “Bill: SCR 3,” Texas Legislature Online History, https://capitol.texas.gov/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=87R&Bill=SCR3

[6] “2021 Year in Review: Top News Items,” Minghui, January 11, 2022,  https://en.minghui.org/html/articles/2022/1/11/198092.html

[7] “Virginia: State Resolution Strongly Condemns the Persecution of Falun Gong in China,” Minghui, April 1, 2022, https://en.minghui.org/html/articles/2022/4/1/199747.html

[8] “Medicines and Medical Devices Act 2021,” legislation.gov.uk,  https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2021/3/contents

[9] “15 German Parliament Members Condemn Persecution of Falun Gong in China,” Minghui, August 7, 2021,  https://en.minghui.org/html/articles/2021/8/7/194479p.html

[10] “Yilan County Taiwan Supports the Universal Declaration of Stopping Organ Harvesting by CCP,” PureInsight, January 28, 2022, https://www.pureinsight.org/node/7683

[11] “Organ Tourism and Cadavers on Display Bill [HL],” UK Parliament House of Lords Library, June 30, 2021,  https://lordslibrary.parliament.uk/organ-tourism-and-cadavers-on-display-bill-hl/

[12] “Motion For A Resolution: with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law pursuant to Rule 144 of the Rules of Procedure on reports of continued organ harvesting in China,” European Parliament, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/B-9-2022-0252_EN.html

[13] “Over 900 Lawmakers from 35 Countries Condemn Persecution of Falun Gong in Statement Updated on Human Rights Day,” Falun Dafa Information Center, https://faluninfo.net/over-900-lawmakers-from-35-countries-condemn-persecution-of-falun-gong-on-human-rights-day/

[14] “Alphabetical list of signatories,” Falun Dafa Information Center, December 18, 2020, https://faluninfo.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Global-co-sign-names-927.pdf

[15] “On the twenty-first anniversary of the persecution of Falun Gong,” Inter-Parliamentart Alliance on China, July 20, 2020, https://ipac.global/on-the-twenty-first-anniversary-of-the-persecution-of-falun-gong-2/

[16] “On Solemn Anniversary, U.S. Lawmakers and Other Officials Condemn Chinese Regime over Falun Gong Persecution,” Falun Dafa Information Center, https://faluninfo.net/on-solemn-anniversary-u-s-lawmakers-condemn-chinese-regime-over-falun-gong-persecution/

[17] https://twitter.com/IRF_Ambassador/status/1519107825506598912?s=20&t=2BuNpbFHnZT6zbzGWm2pLw

[18] “Annual Report 2021,” United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, https://www.uscirf.gov/sites/default/files/2021-04/2021%20Annual%20Report_0.pdf

[19] “Annual Report 2021,” Congressional-Executive Commission on China, https://www.cecc.gov/publications/annual-reports/cecc-annual-report-2021;

[20] “CECC Annual Report: CCP ‘Continued to Detain Falun Gong Practitioners and Subject Them to Harsh Treatment,’” Minghui, April 3, 2022, https://en.minghui.org/html/articles/2022/4/3/199775.html

[21] “2020 Report on International Religious Freedom: China (Includes Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and Macau),”  U.S. Department of State, https://www.state.gov/reports/2020-report-on-international-religious-freedom/china/

[22] “Freedom in the World 2022 China,” Freedom House, https://freedomhouse.org/country/china/freedom-world/2022

[23] “Freedom in the World 2021 China,” Freedom House, https://freedomhouse.org/country/china/freedom-net/2021

[24] “Beijing’s Global Content Manipulation, Plenum Propaganda, Sports Activism (November 2021),” Freedom House, https://freedomhouse.org/report/china-media-bulletin/2021/beijings-global-content-manipulation-plenum-propaganda-sports

[25] “Human Rights Report: Inside China’s Secret Campaign of Harvesting Organs and Killing Political Prisoners,” Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, https://victimsofcommunism.org/human-rights-report-inside-chinas-secret-campaign-harvesting-organs-killing-political-prisoners/

[26] “Organ Procurement and Extrajudicial Execution in China: A Review of the Evidence,” Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, https://victimsofcommunism.org/publication/china-organ-procurement-report-2020/

[27] “Event Recap: Conference on the CCP’s Forced Organ Harvesting,” Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation,  https://victimsofcommunism.org/conference-on-the-ccps-forced-organ-harvesting/

[28] “Politicians and Experts Alike Condemn CCP’s Forced Organ Harvesting,” Falun Dafa Information Center,  https://faluninfo.net/politicians-and-experts-alike-condemn-ccps-forced-organ-harvesting/

[29] Introvigne, Massimo, “Grid System Used to Target ‘Illegal’ Religion,” Bitter Winter, April 19, 2021, https://bitterwinter.org/grid-system-used-to-target-illegal-religion/

[30] “Hudson Institute Explores China’s Suppression of Religion,” Falun Dafa Information Center, https://faluninfo.net/hudson-institute-explores-chinas-suppression-of-religion/

[31] “The CCP Wages a Second Genocide—Against Falun Gong,” Hudson Institute,  February 4, 2022, https://www.hudson.org/research/17523-the-ccp-wages-a-second-genocide-against-falun-gong

Add? "A similar list of over 100 Chinese officials known to have participated in the severe persecution of Falun Gong practitioners was also submitted to the US government. "