Letter from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to David Taylor MP

“The Government has not taken a position on the nature of the Falun Gong organisation. But we have serious concerns about such human rights abuses against individual practitioners. We have made clear to the Chinese that, as the Foreign Affairs Committee pointed out in its report on China in November 2000, their actions contravene the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (which China has signed though not ratified).

Heavy prison sentences have been handed down to Falun Gong leaders, and many other ordinary adherents have been detained without trial (“administrative detention”) because the Chinese leadership sees the movement as a threat to communist party rule […]. During a visit to China in July, the head of the UK delegation to the UN Commission on Human Rights called on the Chinese authorities to cease the use of administrative detention without trial.

The treatment of Falun Gong adherents features prominently in our exchanges on human rights with the Chinese. During the seventh round of the UK-China Human Rights Dialogue, held in London on 19-21 November, we expressed in particular our concern that leading figures in the Falun Gong movement were handed out unusually large prison sentences, and that there were reports of the use of torture despite clear Chinese government prohibitions.

More recently, I personally raised the treatment of Falun Gong adherents with the senior Chinese Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Li Zhaoxing, during a meeting I had with him on 30 October.

We will continue to press them on this issue.

Yours sincerely,

Denis Macshane” (Minister responsible for relations with China)

This letter finishes with a handwritten postscript by Denis Macshane that reads:
We keep pressing on this

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