Days before Human Rights Day on December 10, Falun Gong practitioners in 29 countries submitted a list of human rights perpetrators to their respective governments, requesting these nations to sanction the listed perpetrators and their family members with visa restrictions and to freeze their assets because of their involvement in the persecution of Falun Gong in China.
These countries include the Five Eyes (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States), 18 nations in the European Union (Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Poland, Belgium, Sweden, Austria, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Czech, Romania, Portugal, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia), and 6 additional nations (Japan, South Korea, Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Mexico).
Among this list are some Central Committee-level officials of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). They include Han Zheng (Politburo Standing Committee member), Guo Shengkun (Secretary of the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission), Zhou Qiang (President of the Supreme Court), Liu Jinguo (Deputy Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection), and Fu Zhenghua (Deputy Director of Committee for Social and Legal Affairs in Political Consultative Conference).
Similar to lists submitted previously, the perpetrators are from all levels in various professions from all across China. They include secretaries of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee at various levels, heads of 610 Offices at various levels, police chiefs, Domestic Security Bureau officers, presiding judges, assistant judges, directors of prisons, directors of labour camps, and so on.
Other than the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, it is the first time for practitioners to submit such a list to other countries. Lists submitted previously were also included in this submission for these countries.
European Union ministers approved the Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy on December 7. Known as the EU version of the Magnitsky Act, it gives 27 EU members authority to sanction individuals and organizations for human rights abuses anywhere in the world. This includes barring them from entering EU countries and freezing their assets.
Besides the 18 EU countries mentioned above, Falun Gong practitioners also plan to submit the lists to more EU countries in the near future.
An Effective Approach That Intimidated Human Rights Violators
These countries’ legal procedures may vary. We can look at the U.S. as an example. One official from the U.S. Department of State once encouraged religious and faith groups to submit perpetrator lists without being overly concerned about legal details. As long as there is clear evidence of human rights violations, one should not hesitate to submit a list. Multiple laws are potentially applicable and the Department of State will find a suitable one.
Another official from the Department of State said some laws require public designations and thus solid evidence is required. Due to these reasons, not many evildoers have been publicized. In contrast, some other laws such as those regarding visa restrictions have lower thresholds. As long as a visa officer has “reasonable doubt,” he or she can deny an application without detailed explanations. But the perpetrators themselves should know the reason for the denial.
This official told a Falun Gong practitioner that he cannot disclose the details of visa denials because the applicants’ privacy is protected, but he could say that there have been cases where CCP officials’ visa applications were denied due to their involvement in the persecution of Falun Gong. This state department official acknowledged Minghui.org as a reliable source. He also praised the detailed and clear information submitted by practitioners.
Barring an individual from entry into a country is deemed a very effective approach. Even without asset freezing, it would discourage the individual from transferring assets to that country.
Sanctioning perpetrators has been impactful in China. Some government officials took down their pictures from the wall to avoid being reported. “I did not beat you and please do not report me,” said one official when releasing a detained Falun Gong practitioner, “My child plans to study overseas later.” Some police chiefs also became worried. “Why are you reporting me? My child needs to go overseas, too,” one of them said.
A Global Trend
Since the U.S. enacted the Global Magnitsky Act in 2016, many lawmakers and human rights advocates have been pushing for similar legislation in other nations.
The Netherlands had proposed such laws in the EU since 2011. When EU countries discussed this issue in 2019, the Netherlands indicated that if a consensus could not be reached within the EU, it would enact its own law. Nations from the Nordic Council such as Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, and Norway also said the same. If a Magnitsky law could not be introduced in the EU, they would pass a similar law in the Council.
The EU officially adopted the Magnitsky Act on December 7, 2020, in Brussels, Belgium. “Today’s decision emphasizes that the promotion and protection of human rights remain a cornerstone and priority of EU external action and reflects the EU’s determination to address serious human rights violations and abuses,” wrote the announcement on the same day.
Since 2019, the Australian parliament had been soliciting feedback, both domestically and overseas, on sanctioning human rights violations. Positive responses were received from 160 organizations and individuals. “We cannot control whether perpetrators are brought to justice within their home country, but targeted sanctions legislation will make Australian beaches, schools, medical care, and financial institutions off-limits to people who have profited from unconscionable conduct,” wrote Kevin Andrews MP, Chair of the Human Rights Sub-committee of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, during a press release on December 7.
Additional laws are expected to be passed by the Australian parliament in 2021, preventing the country from becoming a safe haven for evildoers. This is considered the biggest legislation advancement in Australia on human rights in the past few decades.
An all-party group of Japanese lawmakers was formed earlier this year in response to the new national security law imposed on Hong Kong by Beijing. During its inaugural meeting on July 29, attendees planned to pass similar laws as the Magnitsky Act to curb human rights offenders. The national security law was enacted in Hong Kong on June 30 and also highlighted the urgency of this issue.
Earlier this year, Falun Gong practitioners in Canada launched a signature drive calling to enforce the Magnitsky law, known as the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act, passed in October 2017, to sanction CCP officials for suppressing Falun Gong. Over 20,000 people signed the petition within one month.
In the past several years, Falun Gong practitioners first submitted perpetrator lists only to American and Canadian governments. Later on, it was expanded to the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. This time, it has included Japan, a majority of EU countries, and even a smaller country like Liechtenstein. This has left little room for human rights offenders to escape the consequences of their bad deeds. As the CCP continues to be rejected worldwide, these perpetrators will one day face justice inside China.
Falun Gong practitioners said that they would continue to compile information from Minghui on perpetrators in the persecution. As more cases are collected and translated, additional lists will be submitted and more countries will receive them.
Some human rights violators may wonder if they are on these lists. One way to verify is to check the list of evildoers on Chinese Minghui (https://library.minghui.org/criminal/html/lastname). Over 100,000 individuals have been listed and all of them are subject to sanctions sooner or later.
We sincerely hope that CCP officials would give a second thought when following the persecution by the CCP. By not acting against the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance and persecuting innocent practitioners, they are also avoiding having themselves and their families face consequences for their crimes.
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