Quote of the Week:
“Others believe that the struggle of these people against their persecution is all in the name of Falun Gong. However, what I’ve learned about is the other side of the picture: they are protesting for a beautiful tomorrow in our nation. In this situation, I should stand on their side, and I should do so without hesitation… those who have sat on the ‘tiger bench’ [torture implement] constitute the greatest hope we have in our Chinese nation.” -- celebrated Beijing attorney Gao Zhisheng, in an interview with The Epoch Times (1/6), commenting on Falun Gong’s grassroots rights activism in China (full interview at: http://www.theepochtimes.com/news/6-1-6/36584.html)
627 DEATHS FROM MALTREATMENT IN 2005
The Falun Dafa Information Center (FDI) has confirmed that 627 Falun Gong deaths -- all stemming from maltreatment in custody -- came to light and were documented in the year 2005. The year saw on average 50 deaths a month, pushing the known total death toll during the six-plus-year persecution to 2,791. The actual figure is believed to be significantly higher, perhaps as much as ten-fold higher, say government sources in China. In most cases victims have been subjected to starvation, forced labor, prolonged and repeated physical beatings, and torture. In not a single case yet known have Chinese authorities attempted to hold perpetrators accountable, much less investigated abuses. FDI is calling on the international community to redouble its efforts in 2006 to bring an end to these unlawful acts and hold accountable all responsible; several Falun Gong legal initiatives are underway.
***MEDIA ALERT: AMERICAN CHARLES LEE SLATED FOR RELEASE TO U.S. ***
Charles Lee, the Menlo Park, California, medical doctor unlawfully arrested in China for his participation in Falun Gong and human rights activities, is slated for release on January 21 and repatriation to the United States, says a U.S. consular official in Shanghai. He is expected to arrive in San Francisco the same day. Lee has been a political prisoner for three years. Sources close to Lee describe him as having endured in custody beatings, brainwashing, torture, and forced labor -- including the assembly of Christmas tree lights for export. Lee has expressed willingness to speak with the media upon his arrival. FDI is concerned that Lee might be subjected to extreme, last minute “reform” measures in custody, such as electrical shocking, as punishment; many former detainees detail extreme torture prior to their release. For more information, contact Dr. Sherry Zhang: 415-845-5295
***MEDIA ALERT: ARREST RUMORED FOR ATTORNEY GAO ZHISHENG***
Citing inside sources in China, the Epoch Times reports (1/8) that Chinese authorities are planning to arrest Beijing attorney Gao Zhisheng, wishing to silence the courageous lawyer. Gao, recently the subject of a front page New York Times story (news), has been tenacious in his defense of the human rights of the Falun Gong and other victims of abuses in China. Arrest is also said to be planned for attorney Guo Feixiong, who recently defended the villagers of Taishi where dozens were gunned down by police and spent three months in custody for his whistle blowing efforts. In a related development, Shandong province attorney Liu Ruping has been sentenced to 15 months in China’s gulag after posting an article online criticizing the CCP for forced “re-education” (brainwashing) of Falun Gong adherents; authorities charged Liu with “propagating Falun Gong” and possessing materials related to the practice.
REUTERS: “SPANISH COURTS ‘COULD TRY TIBET GENOCIDE CASES’”
In a promising legal development reported by Reuters (Jan. 10), Spain’s High Court is slated to investigate the possibility that seven former communist Chinese rulers perpetrated genocide in Tibet. The move, prompted by a criminal suit, follows a ruling by Madrid’s highest court that genocide cases may be tried in Spanish courts; Spaniards need not have been affected in the incident at issue. Among the seven accused are former CCP head Jiang Zemin and former Prime Minister Li Peng. The case, built on the principle of universal jurisdiction, for which it stands, could impact tremendously other suits involving top Chinese officials, notably for their involvement in the attempted elimination of the Falun Gong.
CCP TRIES TO IMPERSONATE SPOKESWOMAN IN TELE-HATE PITCH
Practitioners of Falun Gong around the world report having recently received a wave of harassing phone calls, traced to Beijing. Persons in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Italy, Israel, Denmark and elsewhere received calls playing a recorded voice, in both Chinese and Chinese-accented English, falsely claiming to be FDI spokeswoman Gail Rachlin. (Rachlin, for the record, does not speak Chinese.) The bizarre message urged listeners to “accurse” several world leaders and “keep them out of the outer space”--terms and concepts unfamiliar to Falun Gong. “This would border on comic relief,” says Rachlin, “if it weren’t such an outrageous act. To think that the government of a nation China’s stature would spend its resources badgering and impersonating members of an apolitical meditation group around the world -- it tells something about the CCP’s skewed priorities.” Similar calls were received last February (for details, see http://www.faluninfo.net/DisplayAnArticle.asp?ID=9153).