A 2003 Reporters Without Borders (RSF) report indicated that the number of people in China who have been incarcerated as a result of Internet publishing ranked first in the world.
According to incomplete statistics, WOIPFG has found that as of the end of April 2004, as a result of Internet-related activities, 108 Falun Gong practitioners have been incarcerated, illegally sent to labor camps, and tortured. Three identified Falun Gong practitioners arrested for Internet-related activities were tortured to death. Among the Falun Gong practitioners who have been arrested and persecuted as a result of Internet surveillance, those with advanced degrees constitute a relatively high percentage.
It has been confirmed that among these 108 practitioners, at least eight are university professors and teachers from Qinghua University, Southwest University, Southwest College of Petroleum, Shenyang University of University Industry, Beijing University of Chemical Engineering, and the China Academy of Science.
In addition, more than 20 other victims of Internet surveillance have bachelor’s degrees or more advanced degrees. More than 12 have master’s degrees and Ph.D. degrees. Around 90% of these 108 Falun Gong practitioners are under 40 years old. The majority had good and stable jobs such as bank employees, company professionals, and governmental staff. Some of them were college students. These statistics are provided to show that the people who are being persecuted, vilified, and tortured by China’s suppression of freedom of information and belief are exemplary and law-abiding citizens.
On January 28, 2003, an Amnesty International report indicated that the number of people in China who have been arrested and incarcerated as a result of publishing dissent or exchanging information over the Internet has been rising sharply. During the year 2003, the number of people arrested increased 60% from past years. Those who have been arrested include students, dissidents, Falun Gong practitioners, blue-collar workers, writers, lawyers, educators, public servants, former government officials, engineers, and businessmen. The reasons for their arrests include signing Internet petitions, calling for an end to corruption, planning to establish pro-democracy groups, exposing the truth about SARS, communicating with overseas organizations, objecting to the persecution of Falun Gong, and demanding a redress of the government's suppression of the 1989 pro-democracy movement.
An important factor behind these arrests and persecutions is the Golden Shield System—Internet monitoring and Internet police have played an insidious role. Those who are unfamiliar with the Golden Shield System can reference the thirty-nine-page report by Canada's International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development: “China's security apparatus announced an ambitious plan: to build a nationwide digital surveillance network, lining national, regional and local security agencies with a panoptic web of surveillance.” (http://go.openflows.org/CGS_ENG.PDF) This Golden Shield security communication system demonstrates how Chinese police and security bureaus have used technologies developed by international corporations for commercial purposes to track and suppress China’s dissidents. This system gives China’s current regime unprecedented power to monitor and follow human rights activists and pro-democracy activists.
During the process of confirming these persecution cases, the investigators from WOIPFG found out that none of the communications or information exchanges by these Falun Gong practitioners involved any hint of anti-Chinese Communist Party, subversion of the Chinese government, or any sort of illegal content. Almost all the information they posted on the Internet is related to their personal beliefs and exposing how local Falun Gong practitioners were arrested and persecuted. However, these innocent people were treated as “enemies” by the Chinese authorities and police (including Internet police) and were suppressed and persecuted. Many Chinese policemen tried to justify their illegal persecution of Falun Gong practitioners by claiming they are only “following Jiang Zemin’s orders.” However, those who follow inhumane orders will also be held responsible for their crime. For example, all officers and soldiers who followed the illegal orders of Hitler to kill Jews were eventually brought to justice in the international courts. We hope all officials, policemen, and Internet police who follow Jiang’s illegal orders to persecute Falun Gong will stop immediately. We at WOIPFG will continue to accomplish our mission to investigate the criminal conduct of all institutions, organizations, and individuals involved in the persecution of Falun Gong to full closure.
This article is one part of a systematic exposure of the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners via Golden Shield System and Internet monitoring. For more information, please take note of WOIPFG's latest report at www.upholdjustice.org. If you would like to supply WOIPFG with more information, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three Falun Gong Practitioners with Known Identity Persecuted to Death as a Result of Internet-Related Activities
According to WOIPFG’s incomplete statistics, from July 1999 to April 2004, ninety-seven Falun gong practitioners have been incarcerated, illegally sent to labor camps, and tortured as a result of Internet-related activities, and three Falun Gong practitioners with known identity have been persecuted to death.
On June 27, 2001, Li Changjun was tortured to death at a police detention center. It was verified by Hong Kong's Human Rights and Democracy Information Center that Li Changjun, 33 years old, worked at the Tax Bureau of Wuhan City in Hubei Province (central China), was arrested several times because of not giving up the practice of Falun Gong. Li Changjun’s mother said that her son’s body was covered with scars and bruises, his face and neck had turned a black and purple color, and he looked terribly thin.
The following deaths have been verified by WOIPFG:
Li Changjun, male, unmarried, was born in 1968 in Suizhou City, Hubei Province. He graduated in July 1991 from Gezhouba Water and Electricity Engineering College and became an electrician at the Zaoyang City Cigarette Factory. He then took a course in computer technology at Central China Science and Engineering University and received a master’s degree. Upon graduating from the university in July 1999, he was assigned to work at the Tax Bureau of Wuhan City. However, he was fired because he persisted in practicing Falun Dafa. Afterward, he was illegally detained several times at Beijing, Suizhou, Wuhan, and several other places.
On May 16, 2001, Li Changjun and six other Falun Gong practitioners were arrested by policemen when they were downloading Falun Gong materials that exposed the persecution. (The seven of them all have at least a master’s degree.) They were illegally detained at Wuhan City Public Security Bureau and suffered inhuman torture and persecution. They started hunger strike to protest. After 40 days of suffering, Li Changjun died on June 27 10:08 p.m. Later, his relatives saw his body: he was very thin, his face and neck had turned black and purple in color. His fists were clenched, his teeth and face were distorted, and his back was terribly burned.
Chen Qiulan, female, 47 years old, was a Falun Gong practitioner in Daqing, Heilongjiang Province. Chen was arrested in July 2001 for posting Falun Gong material on the Internet. Chen Qiulan was persecuted to death on August 14, 2001, at a detention center in Daqing, Heilongjiang Province, in the northeast of China.
Associated Press (AP) reported that a Chinese policeman named Li from the detention center said Chen Qiulan suffered from a heart attack. Li also is reported to have said that Chen Qiulan, who was 47 years old, was arrested in July because of posting Falun Gong news on the Internet. However, a Hong Kong Falun Gong spokeswoman, Sophie Yang, told CNN that Chen Qiulan was beaten to death after two months’ torture, and that Chen was not allowed to see a doctor.
Bai Xiuhua, female, age unknown, was a Falun Gong practitioner in a city in Ahcheng, Heilongjiang Province. Bai worked as a policeman in charge of household registration in Haerbing Jiancheng Factory in Ahcheng. Bai Xiuhua was arrested in July 2002 for preparing Falun Gong material on the Internet. Bai was detained at The Second Detention Center and was sent to Wanjia Labor Camp in Haerbing City. Bai Xiuhua was persecuted to death on August 28, 2002. The family didn’t know about Bai’s death until after the cremation.
Falun Gong Practitioners Who are Well Versed in Internet Technology Become the Major Target of Persecution
As is evident from the illegal sentences, the terms of imprisonment, and the persecutory actions against Falun Gong practitioners in Mainland China, those practitioners who disclose the truth about the persecution to other countries through channels such as the Internet or by tapping into local TV signals to disclose the truth about the persecution to the people in Mainland China have all been persecuted and suppressed more brutally.
Falun Gong practitioners who used the Internet were sentenced to up to 14 years imprisonment, whereas those who tapped into TV signals were given sentences as long as 20 years (an example is Liu Chengjun, who was tortured to death for participating in the Changchun Cable TV interception event). This sort of treatment directly reflects Jiang’s apprehensions and his subsequent efforts to prevent information about the persecution from reaching the public. It indicates that the persecution is based on fabrications and not only deprives Falun Gong practitioners of their basic rights to freedom of belief, but also deprives people of their right to freely obtain information and to know the true facts.
Listed below are verified cases in which Falun Gong practitioners were persecuted with priority for using the Internet.
Yao Yue, graduate student of Microelectronics, Qinghua University, Beijing. Because of posting “materials” about Falun Gong on the Internet, Yao was sentenced to 12 years on December 13, 2001.
Meng Jun, lecturer at Qinghua University. Because of posting “materials” about Falun Gong on the Internet, Professor Meng was sentenced to 10 years on December 13, 2001.
Wang Xing, academic staff at Qinghua University. Because of posting “materials” about Falun Gong on the Internet, Professor Wang was sentenced to 9 years on December 13, 2001.
Dong Yanhong, female, 30, Beijing Falun Gong practitioner, winner of the National Calligraphy Contest. Ms. Dong was listed as a “focus” by the Qinghua Southwest Building Residents’ Committee, and was jailed in January 2001. On December 13, 2001, she was illegally sentenced to 5 years imprisonment by the Beijing Intermediate People’s Court for using the Internet to spread information about the persecution of Falun Gong and for distributing Falun Gong flyers.
Li Wenyu, husband of Dong Yanhong, employee of Qinghua University, Beijing. Because of posting “materials” about Falun Gong on the Internet, Li was sentenced to 3 years on December 13, 2001.
Wang Xuefei, Shanghai student. Because of posting “materials” about Falun Gong on the Internet, Wang was sentenced to 11 years on December 13, 2001.
According to a Hong Kong human rights organization, six students from Qinghua University were tried by Zhuhai Court in Guangdong Province for “sabotaging the implementation of law with cult activity.” These students are Lin Yang (male), Huang Kui (male), Ma Yan (female), Li Chunyan (female), Jiang Yuxia (female), and Li Yanfang (female). All are enrolled in master’s or Ph.D. programs in the departments of Hydroelectric Engineering, Architecture, or Applied Physics. Lu Siqing, a member of the Hong Kong Democratic and Human Rights Center, revealed that these students had been posting articles to expose the persecution of Falun Gong on the Internet since July 2000. In November 2000, they were arrested in the city of Zhuhai in Guangdong Province.
On February 19, 2004, Reporters Without Borders headquartered in Paris publicly condemned China for recently sentencing five Falun Gong practitioners to imprisonment. The five practitioners are Chen Zhemin, Yuan Qiuyan, Li Jian, Ying Yan, and Lu Zhengqi. Because they used the Internet to expose the fact that female graduate student Wei Xingyan of Chongqing University was raped by police, they were sentenced by the authorities to 5 to 14 years imprisonment for “blemishing government’s image.”
Reporters Without Borders said in the statement, “it is completely without grounds to suppress members of this spiritual movement.” They also urged the release of those Falun Gong practitioners who were jailed for posting information on the Internet.
According to a report dated March 2, 2001, from the China Center Press, Falun Gong practitioners Xue Hairong, An Lizhu, Li Fengqin, Feng Xiuchun, and Hao Funing were brought to trial at the No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court in Beijing for using a computer, printer, copier, and scanner at Xue Hairong’s apartment to download materials related to “Falun Gong” from the Internet. Xue Hairong was sentenced to seven years in prison. Li Fengqin and others were sentenced to five to six years in prison.
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