Over 600 parliamentarians have signed a joint statement calling on China to end human rights violations against Falun Gong practitioners on the 21st anniversary of the beginning of the Chinese authorities’ systematic crackdown on the group.
The statement, signed by parliamentarians from across the globe, claims “Since July 1999, millions of Falun Gong practitioners in China have been arbitrarily arrested and jailed without due process and many have been tortured and even killed. At the very least, thousands have died as a result of such torture and other abuses in police custody.”
The parliamentarians call on the Chinese government to respect its international legal obligations and end the persecution of the Falun Gong, including by immediately and unconditionally releasing all detained Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience.
The Chinese authorities’ ongoing repression of the Falun Gong is taking place amid a severe deterioration in the situation for human rights and freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) in the country. CSW continues to receive regular reports of violations against every major religious community, including Christians, Tibetan Buddhists and Uyghur Muslims, as well as against those who defend the right to FoRB. Examples of violations include arbitrary detention, the demolition or closure of places of worship, enforced disappearances, and extensive surveillance and harassment.
Falun Gong practitioners are also facing heavy pressure and interference from authorities in neighbouring Vietnam, where health exercises associated with the religion are treated as illegal despite no legal provisions against them, according to human rights groups including Defend the Defenders. On 18 July authorities in the central province of Ha Tinh deployed a large group of police officers to break up a gathering of Falun Gong practitioners who were studying in a private home in Cam Xuyen district, Ha Tinh province. Police officers confiscated documents from the gathering and threatened the attendees with severe punishment in the near future.
CSW’s Press and Public Affairs Team Leader Kiri Kankhwende said: “The
situation of Falun Gong practitioners remains dire. We join these signatories
in calling on China to stop all violations against the community, releasing all
those detained in connection with their religion or belief and ensuring that
Falun Gong practitioners and people of all faiths and none fully enjoy their
right to freedom of religion or belief. Reports of a crackdown on Falun Gong in
neighbouring Vietnam are also highly concerning, particularly in light of the
country’s own long history of violations of freedom of religion or belief. We
call on Vietnam to ensure that the right to freedom of religion or belief is
afforded to all citizens in accordance with Article 18 of the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the country is a party.”