WOIPFG Spokesperson Discusses How the Persecution of Falun Gong Is Related to Western Corporations at the International Conference on 'Genocide in the New Era'

The International Conference on “Genocide in the New Era”, organised by “Friends of Falun Gong Europe” and “International Advocates for Justice”, took place in Sweden’s capital, Stockholm from January 26th to January 28th 2004. This is one of the conference speeches by World Organisation to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG) Spokesperson Monika Weiss, entitled "Corporate Responsibility", which was given in the afternoon of Tuesday January 27th.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The persecution of Falun Gong and the tremendous scale of human rights violations going on in China and outside of China since July 1999, the painful and humiliating consequences for millions of peaceful people in China and the deaths of (to date) at least 869 practitioners of Falun Gong are a concern to many people around the world.

So in January 2003, the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG) was founded in Boston, USA. The Asian and the European Branch followed, with the European branch centered in Germany.

The World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong carries out the following mission:

  • To investigate the criminal conduct of all institutions, organizations, and individuals involved in the persecution of Falun Gong;

  • to bring such investigation to full closure;

  • to exercise fundamental principles of humanity;

  • and to restore and uphold justice in society.

My own country, Germany, is a very special place regarding the disaster of the Holocaust under the Nazi regime. History is teaching us, and we should keep this lesson in mind regarding the recent situation in China. We want to stop having this kind of history repeated in the form of the persecution of Falun Gong in China, which, corresponding to Article II of the UN convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, can clearly be called Genocide.

The persecution needs money, of course. Where does the money come from, how can it be generated? What might be the role of big companies, especially those which are investing from abroad? How is the Chinese regime abusing people in forced labor camps? A few weeks ago, we received information that about one dozen Falun Gong practitioners working in the Volkswagen Joint Venture in Changchun, the capital of Jilin province in China, have been dismissed from work because of their belief. Recently, another similar case has been confirmed.

On our request, we received a letter from Volkswagen headquarters in Germany three weeks ago, affirming that they are not discriminating against employees for their beliefs and that they will bring this issue up in their Chinese branch. We will keep on investigating this case.

The pressure on companies in China with regard to employees who are practicing Falun Gong, has become obvious. In October of last year, it was learned that the US based Mary Kay Corporation, which employed about 120,000 Chinese women, forced them to sign a standard statement, in which they had to guarantee not to practice or support Falun Gong. In this action, several of the employed women were dismissed from work because they would not sign this statement. This message was extremely disturbing.

The Mary Kay Corporation is well known because of its upright principles and values and, I am quoting the Washington Times from December 12th last year, "has been repeatedly selected by various respectable organizations as one of the best companies to work for in America. The International Women's Forum gave the company its Award of Corporations that Make a Difference". Referring to this required statement of guarantee, the Washington Times continued: "What kind of difference will Mary Kay make in China?"

Will the Chinese government coerce Mary Kay into abandoning its founding principles; will this company give up its moral standards in order to keep on with its business in China? The Chinese branch of this company changed its policy slightly and made its Chinese employees sign a statement saying that they are obeying Chinese law. Does it really make a difference? We did not get any evidence that the formerly dismissed women were reemployed.

What about the products of forced labor camps in China?

Products of labor camps represent huge profits, because the detainees usually receive no payment, working as many as 10 hours to more than 16 hours per day, often including the weekends, and sometimes even continuously overnight.

Labor camps are encouraged by government to build up companies. These companies are exempt from corporate income tax and the land inquisition levy. Advertisements are even promoting labor in areas where there are prisons and labor camps as a way to attract foreign investment. This reads like this: "Our business is a special enterprise that enjoys an amicable relationship with the local government and relevant offices, and it is a recipient of various preferential policies granted by the government. We provide a flexible, harmonious investment environment. Xinsheng Coal Mine warmly welcomes both domestic and overseas investment."

Evidence shows that companies like Beiying Mickey Toys Co. Ltd, Lanzhou Zhenglin Nongken Food Ltd., Jin Printing Co. Ltd., and Qiqihaer Siyou Chemical Industry Co. Ltd., have worked together with different labor camps.

Meanwhile in the labor camp, 57 year old Falun Gong practitioner Wan Guifu worked for Lanzhou Zhenling Nongken Food Ltd. and was forced, like many others, to crack the shells of large water melon seeds with his teeth and peel the husk off by hand to get the kernels. In winter, they had to do this work outside in the freezing cold. Many of the detainees suffered split and bleeding hands. When Wan Guifu could not fulfill this task any more, labor camp officials encouraged prisoners to torture him, which resulted in his death; others where tortured to death as well for the same reason.

Lanzhou Zhenling Nongken Food Ltd. has become the largest producer of roasted seeds and nuts in China. Their main product, Zhenglin hand-picked Melon Seeds, are exported into places such as the US, Canada, Australia and others. Currently, WOIPFG is investigating and verifying more such cases.

This initial report only begins to expose the illegal prison labor in the labor camps and how they are related to the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. What I have reported is just the tip of the iceberg.

Falun Gong practitioners Amy Lee and Jennifer Zeng gave testimony of their situation in Beiying Xin'an Female Labor Camp and working on 10,000 toy rabbits for Beiying Mickey Toys Co. Ltd. which turned out to be subcontracted by Nestl? These rabbits were found to be part of a promotion for Nesquick in 2001 and have been identified by these two practitioners. Jennifer Zeng reports: "The processing fees went to the labor camp. We didn't get anything. Usually we began work at 5 o'clock in the morning and worked until 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning the next day. Sometimes, we had to work overtime; otherwise we could not finish the job. I was so exhausted that I could not count clearly from 1 to 9. Long hours of intensive work and severe lack of sleep made me feel for a long period of time, that the only thing I needed in my life was sleep."

World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong is recently doing research on Henan Rebecca Hair Products, Inc., which uses slave labor in forced labor camps. Xuchang City in Henan Province is a major production center for wig products in China. When the Henan Province No. 3 Forced Labor Camp was on the verge of bankruptcy, the labor camp abducted many Falun Gong practitioners and forced them to do slave labor making products for export. The camp survived and prospered this way. Qu Shuangcai, the former labor camp head, was known for eagerly persecuting Falun Gong. In May 2003, he was transferred to the Shibalihe Female Labor Camp in Zhenzhou City and put in charge of that labor camp. Right away he signed a contract with Henan Rebecca Hair Products, Inc., in Xuchang City. In addition, within several months, three female Falun Gong practitioners were tortured to death.

The chairman of the board of Rebecca Hair Products, Inc., who is the general manager and distributor, resides in the US. Guard Shen Jianwei from No. 3 Labor Camp often said: "A while back, when the labor camp was short of funding and was about to be shut down, many Falun Gong practitioners became available. The government allocated 20.000 Yuan to "reform" each practitioner. The labor camp used eight million Yuan of government to funding to construct residential buildings to encourage the guards to persecute these practitioners." Right now the labor camp "buys" practitioners from other places for 800 Yuan each, as slaves to increase the volume of products. None of the illegally detained Falun Gong practitioners ever got payment for their forced labor. Henan Rebecca Hair Products, Inc., is a joint-capital entity owned by Sun Ah Company in the US. Its products can be directly shipped and sold in the US. Rebecca Hair products are very popular in more than 30 countries and regions including North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

Where does the money go? WOIPFG is investigating this issue. Companies should be very careful and realize that currently part of the Chinese society is completely devoted to attacking Falun Gong. Investing in China is supporting this persecution. Exposing such cases will help stop investments in the wrong places, and help stop the persecution in China.

Money is a reason why small countries all over the world keep quiet, when it comes to preventing this persecution, and when it comes to political resolutions against China, e.g. in the UN. One of our common values, according to the UN Declaration of Human Rights, is freedom of belief. The goal of the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong is to stop the persecution of people because of their belief, to stop the persecution of Falun Gong completely and everywhere. Our goal is the release of all detained and tortured practitioners in China, and of course, the freedom to practice Falun Gong.

Upholding justice includes having the awareness of how this persecution works and not supporting it by any conduct in the commercial sector.

Thank you.

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