Monday, July 16, 2012

Human Rights Update

We start this week with some good news from our friend Guy Otterwell.   He has good news from Burma for us.  "The "three Khuns" are of the Karenni people in the Kayah region of eastern Burma; they were leaders of student protest in 1998, arrested in 2008, tortured, sentenced to 37 years; our Amnesty group was among those appealing for them.  Khun Bedu and Khun Dee De were among those released on 13 January, for a while Khun Kawrio's whereabouts remained unknown, but then he was among those released this July.  He sent this message to Amnesty:
"Thank you all so much, I will keep working for democracy and human rights development in Burma and in the Kayan region. I hope to meet you all personally some time; I want to send best regard to you all."
And here is a photo of the three Khuns reunited after their release: Khun Kawrio, Khun Bedu and Khun Dee De."

Indeed it is nice to have some encouragement and to realize that our labors as human rights activists have value and justify the effort.
UA: 201/12 Index: ASA 17/022/2012 China        Date: 12 July 2012

Now something less nice from China

Chung Ting-Pang, a Taiwanese Falun Gong practitioner, was detained at an airport in Ganzhou, China, on 18 June. His current whereabouts are unknown. He is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.
Chung Ting-Pang travelled to Yongkang city in Jiangxi province, China, on 15 June to meet his relatives who live there. He was due to return to Taiwan on 18 June. His relatives took him to the airport in Ganzhou, Jiangxi province, and watched him walk to the area restricted to passengers. However, he never arrived in Taiwan where he lives with his wife, son and daughter. The relatives later found out that national security officials had detained Chung Ting-Pang at the airport.

According to Chung Ting-Pang’s relatives in Jiangxi province, the national security officials first told them that they had summoned Chung Ting-Pang to assist with “an investigation of Falun Gong activities”. However, according to an article published by the official Chinese state news agency Xinhua, the national security authorities are holding him on suspicion of having conducted criminal activities that are “detrimental to national and public security”. These alleged criminal activities are believed to include attempts to transmit Falun Gong material on an official TV network. Also according to the news article the authorities decided in the evening of 18 June to impose “compulsory monitoring” on him and to “place him under residential surveillance”. The family has not received any written notification of his detention.

Since his detention, Chung Ting-Pang’s relatives in Yongkang have been allowed to meet with him only once, on 19 June. At that time he was being kept by the authorities in a hotel under constant guard. No one has been able to meet or speak with him since 19 June. When the relatives tried to meet with him a second time, they were told that he had been moved to another hotel but the authorities refused to tell them his exact whereabouts.  

The Chinese authorities often restrict family and lawyer’s access to criminal suspects held under suspicion of “endangering state security”.

Please write immediately in English, Chinese or your own language:
n        Calling on the authorities to clarify the charges against Chung Ting-Pang, and to release him unless he is charged with an internationally recognizable criminal offence;
n        Urging the authorities to guarantee that Chung Ting-Pang is not tortured or otherwise ill-treated whilst he remains in custody;
n        Urging the authorities to ensure that he has immediate access to lawyers, his family and any medical attention he may require.

Deputy Director of Ganzhou National Security Bureau
WEI Yuejun        
Ganzhou City National Security Bureau
50 Bayisi dadao, Zhanggong qu, Ganzhoushi 341000, Jiangxisheng,
People’s Republic of China
Salutation: Dear Deputy Director

Governor of Jiangxi Provincial People’s Government
Lu Xinshe Shengzhang
Jiangxisheng Renmin Zhengfu
69 Beijingxilu
Nanchangshi 330046
People's Republic of China
Salutation: Dear Governor

And copies to:
Premier of the People's Republic of China
WEN Jiabao Guojia Zongli
The State Council General Office
2 Fuyoujie
Beijingshi 100017
People's Republic of China
Fax: +86 10 6596 1109 (c/o Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:
Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email Email address Salutation Salutation        
Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.
Additional Information
Falun Gong is a spiritual movement which gained large numbers of supporters in China during the 1990s. After it staged a peaceful gathering in Tiananmen Square in July 1999, the government outlawed the group and launched a long-term campaign of intimidation and persecution. Practitioners have been held in psychiatric hospitals, re-education through labour (RTL) facilities (a form of administrative detention imposed without charge, trial or judicial review), sentenced to long prison terms, and been held in specialized detention centres whose mission is to “transform” Falun Gong practitioners via coercion  into renouncing their spiritual beliefs, often through the use of torture and ill-treatment. Torture and other ill-treatment are endemic in all forms of detention, despite China’s ratification of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in 1988. Falun Gong sources have documented numerous deaths in custody of their practitioners, believed to have been caused by torture and other ill-treatment.

In 2002, around 20 people including Liu Chengjun were detained for interrupting a TV broadcast and transmitting material about Falun Gong to the network. Liu Chengjun died in custody in December 2003, allegedly from injuries and illnesses sustained through torture and other ill-treatment.

“Residential surveillance” is a provision in China’s Criminal Procedure Law that allows the police to confine criminal suspects to their domicile for up to six months whilst a criminal investigation takes place. Amendments to the law, adopted in March and in force from January 2013, will for the first time allow the authorities to  hold suspects in connection with certain types of crimes, including crimes of “endangering state security”, in residential surveillance in “a designated place of residence that is not their domicile nor an unofficial place of detention,.

Name: Chung Ting-Pang
Gender m/f: m

UA: 201/12 Index: ASA 17/022/2012 Issue Date: 12 July 2012

I append an update on human rights from Guy Otterwell for your information. 

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