Kidnapped Girl Rescued by Federal Agents Minutes Before Air China Take-off at JFK

Concerns Grow for Family in China, Now Facing Threat

NEW YORK, NY — The Falun Dafa Information Center disclosed Monday morning
that 14-year-old Beijing native Youran Zhao has been successfully rescued, and
is safe at this moment and unharmed, thanks to the tremendous efforts of U.S.
homeland security officers and others. She is under the care and legal custody
of her aunt and said to be recovering from the trauma. Zhao, as reported by
the Center (on 2-11), had gone missing after declaring Saturday evening (around
5 PM) her intent to seek political asylum; she was on a tour of the northeastern
U.S. with a group of students from China. She was said to be held against her
will by Chinese tour leaders, acting on orders from China’s notorious Public
Security Bureau (PSB), sources had said. Harrowing events Sunday confirmed these
allegations.

Federal authorities confirmed that Zhao, who practices Falun Gong, was missing
from the tour group Sunday around noontime when several police apprehended tour
chaperons on the campus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Tour chaperons
refused to disclose Zhao’s whereabouts, only insisting "She’s not here"
and that "other chaperons" had taken her somewhere. Investigators
have since learned that the tour leaders, acting on orders from China’s communist
regime to kidnap her back to Beijing, had hastened her off to JFK Airport around
7:30 AM Sunday, seeking to put her on the first available flight to China; Zhao’s
tour group, which remained in Boston on tour, was not scheduled to depart until
February 13.

Sunday afternoon U.S. Customs officials at JFK Airport successfully identified
Youran and the two Chinese chaperons who were attempting to smuggle Zhao out
of America via Air China. The two chaperons and Zhao were held until her guardian
and aunt, Ms. Xiufen Zhang of New Jersey, could arrive. Zhao and Zhang left
under the protection of airport personnel after witnesses identified men believed
to be Chinese agents who had been following Zhao.

The Information Center wishes to express its gratitude to the many U.S. customs
officials and police and others who assisted in this matter, and to call attention
to the welfare of Zhao’s family in Beijing, who have reportedly been threatened
by PSB agents with jailing and banishment to China’s gulag system.

Information Center spokesperson Mr. Erping Zhang, who was at the airport and
assisted in the investigation, said Monday: "That Beijing’s communist rulers
feel threatened by a harmless girl who seeks only protection from religious
persecution in a free, democratic country is a sad, and disturbing, reminder
of the state of human rights in China today. If these are the actions they brazenly
take on U.S. soil — resorting to kidnapping — one shudders to think how they
treat believers inside China. We are deeply concerned for the welfare of Zhao’s
remaining family in China, and call on media and rights groups to carefully
monitor their situation."

 

NEWS – Feb. 12, 2007
Falun Dafa Information Center, www.faluninfo.net

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Background
Founded in 1999, the Falun Dafa Information Center is a New York-based organization
that documents the rights violations of adherents of Falun Gong (or "Falun
Dafa") taking place in the People’s Republic of China. In July of 1999
China’s autocratic Communist Party launched an unlawful campaign of arrests,
violence, and propaganda with the intent of "eradicating" the apolitical
practice; it is believed certain leaders feared the influence of the practice’s
100 million adherents. The campaign has since grown in violence and scope, with
millions having been detained or sent to forced labor camps. The Center has
verified details of over 2,900 deaths and over 63,000 cases of torture in custody
(reports / sources). Falun Gong is a traditional-style Buddhist "qigong"
practice, with roots in the Chinese heritage of cultivating the mind/body for
health and spiritual growth.

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