United States: US Department of State 2009 Human Rights Report: China Human Rights Remain Poor and Have Worsened in Some Areas

On March 11th, 2010, the US Department of State published its 2009 Human Rights Report. The report stated: "The [Chinese] government's human rights record remained poor and worsened in some areas...The detention and harassment of human rights activists increased, and public interest lawyers and law firms that took on cases deemed sensitive by the government faced harassment, disbarment and closure. In addition, the government limited freedom of speech and controlled the Internet and Internet access."

The report pointed out that the regime continued to persecute Falun Gong:

"In the past the mere belief in the discipline (even without any public practice of its tenets) sometimes was sufficient grounds for practitioners to receive punishments ranging from loss of employment to imprisonment. Falun Gong sources estimated that since 1999 at least 6,000 Falun Gong practitioners had been sentenced to prison, more than 100,000 practitioners had been sentenced to Reeducation Through Labour (RTL), and almost 3,000 had died from torture while in custody. Some foreign observers estimated that Falun Gong adherents constituted at least half of the 250,000 officially recorded inmates in RTL camps, while Falun Gong sources overseas placed the number even higher."

...

"Police continued to detain current and former Falun Gong practitioners and used possession of Falun Gong material as a pretext for arresting political activists. The government continued its use of high-pressure tactics and mandatory anti-Falun Gong study sessions to force practitioners to renounce Falun Gong. Even practitioners who had not protested or made other public demonstrations of belief reportedly were forced to attend anti-Falun Gong classes or were sent directly to RTL camps. These tactics reportedly resulted in large numbers of practitioners signing pledges to renounce the movement."

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"According to China News Weekly, the country had 22 "ankang" institutions (high-security psychiatric hospitals for the criminally insane) directly administered by the Ministry of Public Security (MPS). Political activists, underground religious believers, persons who repeatedly petitioned the government, members of the banned Chinese Democracy Party (CDP), and Falun Gong adherents were among those housed with mentally ill patients in these institutions. The regulations for committing a person to an ankang facility were not clear, and detainees had no mechanism for objecting to public security officials' determinations of mental illness. Patients in these hospitals reportedly were given medicine against their will and forcibly subjected to electric shock treatment. Activists sentenced to administrative detention also reported they were strapped to beds or other devices for days at a time, beaten, forcibly injected or fed medications, and denied food and use of toilet facilities."

The report also listed several individual persecution cases:

"During the reporting period no new information became available regarding the death of Falun Gong practitioner Yu Zhou, who was arrested in Beijing in January 2008 and died in February 2008."

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"On February 1st, Zhu Lijin was arrested for distributing Falun Gong pamphlets. She was sentenced to 15 months in RTL without a trial. Authorities used special reeducation centers to prolong detention of Falun Gong practitioners who had completed terms in RTL."

The report also documented several lawyers who are being persecuted for defending for Falun Gong:

"On February 4th, authorities detained human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who had represented Chinese Christians and Falun Gong practitioners. At year's end his whereabouts remained unconfirmed, although according to NGO reports, in August he reportedly was seen in his hometown under heavy police escort. Before his arrest Gao published a letter detailing his torture during a previous period of detention.

In April Beijing lawyer Cheng Hai was attacked and beaten while on his way to meet with a Falun Gong client in Chengdu. According to Cheng, those responsible for the attack were officials from the Jinyang General Management Office, Wuhou District, Chengdu. In May police officers in Chongqing arrested and beat lawyers Zhang Kai and Li Chunfu when they interviewed the family of a Falun Gong practitioner who allegedly died in police custody."

Source http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/eap/135989.htm

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