South Korea: Urging the Government to Grant Falun Gong Practitioners the Right to Stay in South Korea on Humanitarian Grounds

Recently, the South Korean government has been widely criticised for yielding to Chinese Communist Party (CCP) pressure in the deportation of Falun Gong practitioners to China. Voices worldwide are calling upon South Korea to grant humanitarian stay to Falun Gong practitioners who seek asylum in South Korea.

On September 20th, US Representative Chris Smith, senior member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights, issued a statement at a hearing in Congress urging the South Korean government to stop the deportation of Falun Gong practitioners to China and to grant them asylum.

Chris Smith, United States Representative, senior member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights

Mr. Smith stated that it is well known that Falun Gong is being brutally persecuted in China and he and other representatives urged the South Korean government not to repatriate Falun Gong practitioners to China. As a signer of the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the Convention against Torture, South Korea should protect the human rights of Chinese Falun Gong practitioners who seek asylum in South Korea.

Suzanne Scholte, President of the Defense Forum Foundation

On September 20th, Suzanne Scholte, President of the Defense Forum Foundation, a nonprofit foundation that sponsors educational programs on foreign affairs, defense, national security, and human rights issues, called on the South Korean government not to repatriate Falun Gong practitioners to China. Repatriation of the practitioners to China will inevitably subject them to persecution and violates the UN convention.

David Kilgour, former Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific) for Canada, wrote a letter to the South Korean Ambassador. He stated in the letter that since July 1999, the CCP has been persecuting Falun Gong practitioners throughout China using torture, forced labour, beatings, rape, and forced harvesting of vital organs for profit.

David Kilgour, former Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific) for Canada

Mr. Kilgour stated that people could read the independent report on www.david-kilgour.com, prepared by himself and David Matas, international human rights lawyer, which discusses the allegations that the Chinese government has been harvesting organs of persecuted Falun Gong practitioners. They have also published a book, Bloody Harvest, on the same subject. Mr. Kilgour said that all democratic countries are in agreement that Falun Gong practitioners seeking asylum in other countries cannot return to China. He hoped that South Korea will follow UN convention in handling Falun Gong practitioners’ applications for asylum.

Media paying attention to South Korea’s repatriation of Falun Gong practitioners

Recently, AFP, Radio Free Asia and other media outlets have carried reports on South Korea’s repatriation of Falun Gong practitioners. Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Ramstad reported on the situation in length.

Jin Jingzhe, carrying red-tassled baton, leads the marching band of a Korean Falun Gong practitioners during a parade at a civic festival in Incheon in October 2010

The report carried a large photo showing Falun Gong practitioner Jin Jingzhe leading a marching band during a parade at a public festival. The caption states that Seoul police arrested Mr. Jin earlier this month after immigration authorities denied his appeal for asylum.

The report stated, “Supporters of Mr. Jin have marshaled letters from human rights groups, 23 members of the US Congress and the vice president of the European Parliament to President Lee Myung-bak urging him to intercede in Mr. Jin’s case.”

The reporter also called Mr. Jin in the Hwaseong Fortress Foreigners’ Detention Centre and his legal advisor, Oh Se-yeol. Mr. Oh said he may ask Justice Minister Kwon Jae-jin to grant a humanitarian stay of the immigration court’s rejection of asylum status. He added, “We hope the public will recognise the urgent situation of Falun Gong practitioners and the Korean government will make a humanitarian decision for Falun Gong refugees.”

South Korean government urged not to yield to CCP pressure and repatriate Falun Gong practitioners

On noon on September 23rd, Falun Gong practitioners in Hong Kong marched to the South Korean Consulate to appeal. A practitioner read a statement to South Korean President Lee.

Consul Park of the South Korean Consulate accepts a statement addressed to South Korean President Lee from Hong Kong Falun Gong practitioners

In the statement, Hong Kong practitioners made the following urgent appeal: “Don’t deport Mr. Jin to China because the CCP still brutally persecutes Falun Gong practitioners. We call on the South Korean government not to detain and repatriate Chinese Falun Gong practitioners residing in South Korea, and to immediately grant asylum status to the practitioners applying for asylum until the end of the CCP’s persecution.”

Falun Gong practitioners in Malaysia also handed over an appeal letter to the South Korean Embassy on September 22nd and called on the South Korean government to immediately stop the repatriation of Falun Gong practitioners.

On September 19th, Ukraine Falun Gong practitioners gathered in front of the South Korean Embassy and made the following request: “We hope that the South Korean Government will not repatriate asylum-seeking Falun Gong practitioner to China because the persecution is still ongoing. We don’t want to see them persecuted because of their belief.”

On September 20th, Falun Gong practitioners in the San Francisco Bay Area held a press conference in front of the South Korean Consulate in San Francisco and handed over a letter of appeal. Practitioners in Los Angeles held a protest in front of the South Korean Consulate downtown and called on South Korean President Lee not to yield to the CCP and repatriate Falun Gong practitioners.

Falun Gong practitioners in Montreal, Canada protest the South Korean government’s repatriation of Falun Gong practitioners in front of the South Korean Consulate

On September 21st, Canadian Falun Dafa Association President Xun Li wrote to South Korean Ambassador Jo-Hong Nam and asked him to tell President Lee to protect Falun Gong practitioners, as Western countries are, and not to deport them. A practitioner handed a letter addressed to President Lee to the South Korean Consulate in Montreal.

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