EU Parliament Members Voice Support for Falun Gong Practitioners in Heilongjiang Human Rights Case
February 08, 2015 | By a Falun Gong practitioner in Germany
(Minghui.org) Over 20 Members of European Parliament (MEPs) sent a joint letter on February 3 to the Chinese Ambassador in Germany, local courts in Heilongjiang Province, and the provincial “610 Office” to demand the immediate release of four Falun Gong practitioners arrested in March 2014.
The letter also condemned the illegal acts of the local courts and police department and requested provincial authorities to invalidate the verdict of the illegal trial. The latest hearing was held on January 8, 2015. The verdict hasn’t been made public.
The four practitioners were arrested along with four rights lawyers as they met at a hotel in Jiansanjiang, Heilongjiang to discuss means to rescue other practitioners detained at the Qinglongshan Brainwashing Center, officially known as the “Jiansanjiang Farm Legal Education Center.” The lawyers were all released by mid-April, but the four practitioners are still detained.
In addition to leading the effort of the joint letter, MEP Klaus Buchner also openly condemned the persecution on his Facebook page on February 5:
“The more than 15 years of persecution of Falun Gong and systematic live organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners by the Chinese Communist Party violated not only the freedom of belief, freedom of one’s own opinion, and other basic rights protected by the Chinese Constitution, but also the conventions that China has signed, for example, the United Nations Convention against Torture.”
This was the second time Mr. Buchner has voiced his support of Falun Gong following a previous Facebook post on January 7, 2015. Mr. Buchner continued in his February post:
“In order to end this crime against humanity based on Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the genocide against Falun Gong practitioners based on Article 6 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, a resolution against organ harvesting in China was passed on December 12, 2013, in Strasbourg.”
“The resolution demands the Chinese Communist Party to immediately release all imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners and immediately stop harvesting organs from Falun Gong practitioners, other nonviolent political prisoners, and members of religious and ethnic minorities.”
The February 3 joint letter was sent to Ambassador Shi Mingde of the Chinese Embassy in Germany; Zhang Dejiang, Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) People’s Congress; Zhou Qiang, Head of the Supreme Court; Wang Xiankui, Secretary of the Heilongjiang Provincial CCP Committee; Gu Songhai, Director of Heilongjiang Province 610 Office; Zhang Shuyuan, Head of Heilongjiang Province High Court; and Fu Wen, Head of Jiangsanjiang Land Reclamation Court.
A more detailed list of requests are as follows:
1. Immediately release the four Falun Gong practitioners Shi Mengwen, Wang Yanxin, Li Guifang, and Meng Fanli, who have been detained since the March 2014 arrest;
2. Guarantee the freedom and safety of the four Falun Gong practitioners, their family members and defendant lawyers;
3. Do not revoke the license of the defendant lawyers;
4. Immediately release all Falun Gong practitioners imprisoned in Heilongjiang Province;
5. Void the ruling of Jiansanjiang Land Reclamation Court after the unlawful trial in January;
6. Investigate the unlawful actions of the Jiansanjiang Land Reclamation Court, the Jiansanjiang Land Reclamation Procuratorate, and the Jiansanjiang Public Security Bureau.
Regarding the unlawful trial of the four Falun Gong practitioners by Jiansanjiang Land Reclamation Court, Mr. Buchner communicated with Ambassador Yang Yanyi of the Chinese Mission to the EU on January 8, 2015. He also expressed his protest to the communist regime in his Facebook.
He wrote in an essay entitled “Focus on China” published on Facebook, “Falun Gong practitioners have been persecuted and detained because of their beliefs. Even their defense lawyers were detained or tortured. Freedom of belief stipulated by the constitution of the People’s Republic of China has to be granted to these believers.”
Regarding the Chinese Communist Party’s hate propaganda and killing practitioners for their organs, Mr. Buchner pointed out that propaganda paves the way for the regime’s persecution of Falun Gong; it is one of the most evil means used by totalitarian and authoritarian regimes. The suppression applies to a lot of people, even an entire religion or population of the country. “European countries must take action,” he said.
Having witnessed the Nazis’ genocide against Jews, Mr. Buchner expressed that the purpose of the Chinese Communist regime is to abolish people’s spiritual belief and freedom by tightly controlling their minds. The regime does not allow people to lead a spiritual life as it can bring people freedom and kind relationships.
Mr. Buchner said, “We Europeans truly care about such situations and protest such acts. We also tell the authorities there we do not wish such things to happen as it can really affect our relations.”
He also indicated that he and other Members of European Parliament would follow the case’s development, continue to rescue Falun Gong practitioners involved, and support their defendant lawyers.
Heilongjiang Human Rights Case Playback
The March case centered around Qinglongshan Brainwashing Center. According to Wang Quanzhang, there are hundreds of similar black jails, or extralegal detention facilities, in China. Such facilities have operated at a low profile for years and effectively replaced forced labor camps that were officially shut down in 2013.
The four human rights lawyers, Falun Gong practitioners detained in Qinglongshan Brainwashing Center, and practitioners’ family members went to the brainwashing center on March 20, 2014. Denied entry, they called out near the entrance for the release of detained practitioners.
The next day, the lawyers and seven practitioners were arrested as they met at a local hotel. Four out of the seven practitioners have been detained since.
The lawyers were tortured in detention: police beat lawyer Tang Jitian and others, resulting in a total of 24 broken ribs among the four lawyers. Three Falun Gong practitioners were tortured to the brink of death.
Wang Yu, Zhang Weiyu, and six other lawyers have represented the four practitioners for about a year. They experienced harassment and interference while trying to perform their duties as defense counsels.
The eight lawyers have protested the secret trials and filed complaints to the Heilongjiang High Court, Provincial Procuratorate, Land Reclamation Procuratorate Branch, Land Reclamation Court, and Heilongjiang Provincial People’s Congress.
So far, more than 60 lawyers in China have joined the Jiansanjiang Law Support Group, which provides legal assistance to the lawyers and family representatives. The group demands an end to the unlawful trials and a revocation of the Land Reclamation Court’s ruling.
Four of the practitioners’ family members and lawyers Gong Xiangdong and Zhang Weiyu tried to visit the four practitioners at the Jiansanjiang Detention Center on January 28, 2015, but their request was denied. Instead, they were beaten and verbally abused by policemen directed by the head of the detention center.