Amnesty International Releases Documents Calling for the Rescue of Falun Gong Practitioner Bu Dongwei

Amnesty International released a document on April 30, 2007 titled “People's
Republic of China, The Olympics countdown — repression of activists overshadows
death penalty and media reforms”. The report pointed out that the Chinese government
uses detention and labor camp sat will to eliminate dissidents, including Falun
Gong practitioners. The report updated the case of Bu Dongwei.

“Amnesty International remains deeply concerned that such 'strike hard' policies continue to be used to constrain the legitimate activities of a range of peaceful activists in China, including journalists, lawyers and human rights defenders. This report updates concerns in these areas, illustrated by the experiences of several individuals who have been detained or imprisoned in violation of their fundamental human rights. The failure of the Chinese authorities to address the legal and institutional weaknesses that allow such violations to flourish continues to hamper efforts to strengthen rule of law in China — a cornerstone for 'harmony' or 'stability' – and casts a deep shadow over other legal reforms which have been introduced over recent months.

New measures have recently been introduced with regard to two human rights issues which Amnesty International is highlighting in connection with China's hosting of the Olympics: the death penalty and media freedom. In this update, Amnesty International summarizes these reforms and assesses how far they fulfil China's promises to improve human rights in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics, which will take place in August 2008. The briefing also includes developments with regard to the use of “Re-education through Labour” (RTL) and other forms of punitive administrative detention as well as the general situation for human rights defenders in China. There is little evidence of reform in these latter areas, with the Olympics apparently acting as a catalayst to extend the use of administrative detention, at least in Beijing, and a continued crackdown on human rights defenders, including prominent rights defence lawyers and those attempting to report on human rights violations.”

Case update – Bu Dongwei: Falun Gong practitioner Bu Dongwei is now known to be held at Tuanhe RTL facility in Beijing, where he is reportedly forced to do packing work. His family only received official confirmation of his whereabouts at the end of August 2006, three months after he was first detained. The authorities have reportedly claimed that he decided not to appeal against his two-and-a-half year term, but his family dispute this. Officials from Tuanhe RTL facility have reportedly asked Bu Dongwei's family to contribute money towards his living expenses — around 400 yuan per month (approx. US$52).

Bu Dongwei (also known as David Bu) was assigned to two-and-a-half years' RTL on 19 June 2006 in Beijing for “resisting the implementation of national law and disturbing social order” after police discovered Falun Gong literature at his home. The authorities initially refused to disclose his place of detention to his family. Bu Dongwei had been working in Beijing for the U.S. aid organization, the Asia Foundation, before he was taken away by police from his home in Haidian district on 19 May 2006. Amnesty International considers Bu Dongwei to be a prisoner of conscience, detained in violation of his fundamental human rights to freedom of expression, association and religion, and continues to call for his immediate and unconditional release.”

“In a recent case, Gao Zhisheng, a defense lawyer and rights activist, was convicted of 'inciting subversion' in December 2006 in connection with his activism, including his organization of a hunger-strike protest in Beijing in February 2006 to draw attention to the plight of several other activists who had been subjected to human rights violations. The authorities had already suspended the operations of his law firm and revoked his law license in late 2005 after he published an open letter calling for religious freedom and an end to the 'barbaric' persecution of the Falun Gong spiritual movement. Unusually, the court ruled that his three-year prison sentence should be suspended for five years, meaning that he would not be imprisoned unless he commits criminal offenses during the five year period.

Following his 'release' on 22 December 2006, Gao Zhisheng was reunited with his family, but they all remain under tight surveillance by the police. In April 2007 Gao Zhisheng claimed to other activists that he had been treated harshly during his four months in formal police custody, including being handcuffed and forced to sit in an iron chair or cross-legged for extended periods, and having bright lights shone on him. He said he only agreed to confess to his 'crime' in order to protect his family.”

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Posting date: 5/May/2007
Original article date: 5/May/2007
Category: Worl News


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