The language used leaves little doubt that the regime intended in 2007 and the year of the Olympics of 2008 to increase its massive state resources to control and abuse practitioners during this period. China’s persecution of Falun Gong is in violation of Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which China has signed but not ratified, notes the Commission.
The Commission’s report was signed off by its Chairman, Representative Sander M. Levin and Co-Chairman Senator Byron L. Dorgan. “The 23-member Commission was created by Congress in 2000 to monitor human rights and the development of the rule of law in China,” says its website. It consists of nine members of the House of Representatives, nine Senators, and five senior Administration officials appointed by the President.
The “6-10” office was named after the date, June 10, in which it was created in 1999 to carry out the eradication of this highly popular qigong cultivation practice—about 70 million. In the following month, on July 22, the regime formally outlawed the practice of Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa. Since then, Chinese security forces continue to imprison practitioners, subjecting some who will not renounce the practice to torture in reeducation through labor (RTL) camps and other detention facilities.
The report describes how the central authorities intensified its nine-year campaign of persecution in the months leading up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In April 2008, the central government’s 610 Office issued an Olympic directive nationwide to step-up their propaganda efforts against Falun Gong, accusing practitioners of wanting to interfere and destroy the Olympics.
“References to the directive appear on official Web sites in every province and at every level of government,” says the report. From levels above, references to this 6-10 directive made its way down to the local level and to even many non-state activities’ websites.
Communist security officials tried to link Falun Gong with terrorist’s threats, but never produced any evidence to substantiate their charges, according to the Commission’s report.
The general tone of this crackdown is captured in the quote given by the Commission of Zhou Yongkang, who in September 2007 was Minister of Public Security and on the Politburo Standing Committee, when he ordered police to “strike hard on overseas and domestic hostile forces, ethnic splittists, religious extremists…and Falun Gong” to safeguard “social stability” for the 17th Party Congress and the Olympics.
“Strike hard” is a Communist Party slogan used during the most violent periods of the Party’s reign. We don’t have any concept equivalent to it in democratic countries.
The number detained during the Olympic period from December 2007 to June 2008 was at least 8,037 practitioners, based on reports from Falun Gong Information Center, which states that at least 200,000 are being detained in RTL camps and other prisons.
The sources for the Commission’s description of the recent intensification of the persecution of Faun Gong are the Chinese local government’s websites in the 31 provinces. For example for the year of 2007, “Miyi county in Sichuan province recorded detentions of 62 practitioners as part of its ‘strike hard’ campaign and claimed to have ‘transformed’ 14 of them,” says the report.
The Commission found that in April 2008, the Shanghai Public Security Bureau required Falun Gong practitioners and other dissidents to remain in the city during the Olympics and report to the public security office at least once a week until the end of October. They threaten to detain or punish anyone who did not comply.
“Chinese government Web sites regularly report detentions of Falun Gong ‘criminal suspects’ and some provincial and local authorities offer rewards as high as 5,000 Yuan (US$732) to informants who report Falun Gong ‘escaped criminals’,” says the report.
The persecution of Falun Gong extends to foreigners and to controlling their behavior. “In November 2007, Beijing Olympic organizers reminded visitors to the games that possession of Falun Gong writings is strictly forbidden and that no exceptions would be made for international visitors,” says the report.
The Chinese regime seem to be obsessive in its preoccupation to change adherents of Falun Gong by “ideological reprogramming” practitioners after they have completed their sentences in reeducation through labor (RTL) camps. The 6-10 Offices set up special prisons that apply methods of coercion, such as solitary confinement and deprivation of sleep, which aim at “transformation through reeducation.” Their purpose is to make practitioners disavow their belief in Falun Dafa, and the “transformation” rates are published.
The Commission quotes Pulitzer Prize winner Ian Johnson who observed that it is at these “unofficial prisons” that the killings of Falun Gong practitioners occurred.
Support for this horrific state of affairs is found in the Commission’s findings taken from human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng, who the Commission said has “exposed numerous forms of torture and violence employed by the 6-10 Office against Falun Gong practitioners.”
“Of all the true accounts of incredible violence that I have heard, of all the records of the government’s inhuman torture of its own people, what has shaken me the most is the routine practice on the part of the 6-10 Office and the police of assaulting women’s genitals,” said Gao, according to the report.
Gao has been called the “conscience of China.” A self-taught attorney and Christian, he won fame for some high-profile cases, and later used his considerable ability to defend activists, Falun Gong practitioners, and Christians who are persecuted by the regime. He has written three letters that were made public: to the National People’s Congress, to Hu Jintao and to Wen Jiabao. In the letters he describes the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners, detailing a wide range of abuses they suffer in custody, including torture and executions.
“This was the first time in China a lawyer revealed such torture of Falun Gong practitioners,” said Guo Guoting, a renowned China human rights attorney.
Gao was re-arrested in September 2007 after publishing an open letter to the U.S. Congress, condemning the Chinese Communist Party for having increased the persecution of religious and human rights defenders before the 2008 Olympic Games. His whereabouts now is unknown.
In addition to the annual report, which is available on the Commission’s website (www.cecc.gov), the Commission made available the case records of 1,088 political prisoners from its Political Prison Database (PPD). The Commission uses the PPD for its own advocacy and research work, while welcoming the public to use it (ppd.cecc.gov), who most likely will want the updated information on particular political and religious prisoners.