Rapporteurs included Manfred Nowak,
whose mandate is to investigate torture;
Asma Jahangir, whose
mandate is freedom of religion and
belief; and Margaret Sekaggya, who investigates
the status of human rights defenders
around the world.
All three sent numerous urgent appeals to the
Chinese government concerning
Falun Gong practitioners, Tibetans, Christians, and Uighurs, or
those who have sought to defend their legal and human rights.
The persecution of Chinese lawyers have been raised in several
reports, some of them were jailed because taking up cases to
defend Falun Gong practitioners in China.
Ms. Sekaggya, for example, on 31 March 2009, sent a joint urgent
appeal with other Special Rapporteurs to gain information about
Wei Liangyue, director of the Harbin-based Jiaodian Law Firm,
and his wife, Du Yongjing. During over 20 years of his law
practice Mr. Wei provided legal aid to local people facing human
rights violations, including Falun Gong practitioners who had
been detained for their beliefs, Ms. Sekaggya said. Mr. Wei and
Ms. Du were detained by the authorities, not allowed to hire a
lawyer to represent them or discuss their case publicly, and
were feared to have been psychologically or physically abused
while in custody.
Another human rights lawyer,
Zhang Kai, was “was hung up with handcuffs in an iron cage,” and
his colleague who also defended Falun Gong practitioners was
"slapped in the face by a police officer." During their
interrogation they were both threatened not to defend any Falun
Gong cases, Ms. Sekaggya wrote.
Mr. Nowak gave a similarly troubling portrayal of the violence
visited on innocents by Chinese security forces, which included:
“16 deaths of Falun Gong practitioners due to injuries allegedly
sustained in custody in China.” Mr. Nowak sought an explanation
for those deaths, along with other cases of harassments,
beating, and torture.
Cases include that of Zhou Xiangyang, who was sentenced
to 9 years in prison in May 2003 where he was “brutally
tortured” for allegedly refusing to give up his belief in Falun
Gong (he was allegedly told that he would have to renounce his
belief before being eligible for medical treatment).
Wang Yonghang, a
former lawyer from Dalian City, Liaoning Province, was severely
beaten, resulting in a broken right ankle. Others were tortured
to critical condition, put into solitary confinement for months,
or sent to forced labor camps
for years because of their Falun Gong-related peaceful
activities or beliefs.
Jahangir, a Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion and
belief, dealt with many of the same issues, and referred to some
of the same cases as Mr. Nowak and Ms. Sekaggya. The allegations
Jahangir transmitted to the CCP also included information
related to the 16 deaths of Falun Gong practitioners due to
injuries allegedly sustained in custody.
“While the circumstances under which the deaths occurred differ,
all the victims were Falun Gong practitioners and they all died
under the supervision of law enforcement officers or soon after
their release from custody,” Ms. Jahangir noted. "Concern is
expressed that the arrests and deaths of these individuals were
solely connected with their activities as Falun Gong
The government of China's typical response to such reports has
been to ignore or flatly deny them.
UN Special Rapporteurs' reports are among the most highly
regarded documents on the status of human rights in the
concerned countries. Its annual reports - based on allegations
received and investigated the previous year, given with the
relevant government's response - often generate heated debate
during UN sessions.
Falun Gong Human Rights Working Group
Source: Falun Gong Human Rights Working Group,
9974 Scripps Ranch Blvd. #228, San
Diego, California 92131.