Germany: Citizens of Oberursel Express Concern over Severe Human Rights Abuses in Potential Chinese Sister City

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A wave of "China fever" recently took hold of the town of Oberursel in central Germany. In August 2012, Mr. Hans-Georg Brum, the Mayor of Oberursel, embarked on his first-ever tour of Huludao City in Liaoning Province, China. The feasibility of a Sister City Programme for the two cities was discussed. But later, when human rights abuses in the Huludao City Forced Labour Camp were exposed in Oberursel, it aroused public concern. All the major local newspapers reported it as breaking news, and the usually quiet town has been stirred up as if a stone had been thrown into a pond.

On September 10, the Frankfurt Review reported that Falun Gong practitioners in Oberursel exposed the Chinese Communist Party's persecution of Falun Gong

With only 45,000 residents and less than 12 miles away from the northwest of Frankfurt, Oberursel is located in the scenic Hochtaunuskreis District.

On Saturday morning, September 8, Falun Gong practitioners set up a display stand on a pedestrian street in downtown Oberursel. They wanted to tell the people of Oberursel that there was another side to Huludao City that their Mayor had just visited: the forced labour camps carrying out the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners.

The Mayor of Oberursel learns the facts

Though Mayor Brum had met with Falun Gong practitioners a few days before to learn about the communist regime’s persecution of Falun Gong, he came to the practitioners' activity on September 8 and spoke with them for over an hour.

Mr. Jufeng Guo travelled from Dortmund to participate in the event. A Falun Gong practitioner, he was illegally imprisoned in several forced labour camps in China for two-and-a-half years. During this time, he was imprisoned in Huludao Forced Labour Camp for about six months. Through an interpreter, Mr. Guo told Mayor Brum how he had been tortured there. Because he staged a protest hunger strike, the camp guards force-fed him by ordering four inmates to hold him down on a bed while a doctor inserted a plastic tube into his stomach through his nose. What they poured into his stomach was nothing but beer. Consequently Mr. Guo began vomiting, with the feeding tube stuck down his oesophagus. The vomiting and stomach cramping caused him unbearable pain. His throat swelled, and he experienced extreme pain when he swallowed. Punitive force-feeding is often employed in the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners.

Mr. Guo continued, describing how he was shackled to a bed in the spread-eagle position for nine days. This torture is called the death bed.

Mr. Guo showed a display board with photos of 12 Falun Gong practitioners whom he had known in China. He said that all of them died in forced labour camps or prisons because they refused to give up their belief in Falun Gong. Mr. Cao Yuqiang and Mr. Wang Zhehao were both persecuted in Huludao Forced Labour Camp. Mr. Cao died as a result of torture in 2004, weighing just over 80 pounds. He was imprisoned in three different forced labour camps in Liaoning Province and was last held in a camp in Huludao City. His teenage son, Cao Xiaodong, had to go live with his grandfather. Mr. Wang Zhehao was tortured in Huludao Forced Labour Camp by brutal forced-feeding. He was only 27 years old when he died as a result of the persecution in 2004.

Mr. Cao Yuqiang

Cao Xiaodong, the son of Mr. Cao Yuqiang

Mr. Wang Zhehao was tortured in Huludao Forced Labour Camp by brutal forced-feeding. He was only 27 years old when he died from the persecution in 2004

Mr. Guo pointed out that those who see the outside of the Huludao City Forced Labour Camp could never imagine what has taken place, and is still taking place, behind its walls. Passersby only see neat houses, trimmed grass, and even small animals on the grounds. This warm and inviting façade, however, was deliberately created to cover up the horrible things that take inside.

People sign to protest the persecution

People kept coming to the practitioners' stand on September 8 to sign their names in support of the effort to end the persecution of Falun Gong. A lot of shoppers in Oberursel stopped by to pick up informational materials. Many of them already knew something about China.

A middle-aged local man said that he went to China on a business trip in the early 80s. He had been concerned then about what was going on in China and was well aware of the current situation there, for instance, the fact that upper-level officials have put all their savings (or, rather, their illegally-acquired funds) in foreign banks and have sent their families abroad. It is common practice in the corrupt communist regime. He offered to pass on information about Falun Gong to his contacts in China.

A young couple stopped by to pick up informational leaflets. After listening carefully to the brief introduction about the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in Huludao City, the young woman said that the Sister City Program should concern itself with human rights issues rather than only focusing on economic advantages. She said that she has been very concerned about the issue of human rights and had heard about the CCP's persecution of Falun Gong a long time ago. She hoped that more and more people in Oberursel would learn about the persecution.

Frankfurter Neue Presse and Frankfurter Rundschau, the two major local newspapers, reported on the event. Five citizens in Oberursel were interviewed as part of the report. They shared the same opinion, that human rights violations could no longer be ignored by any government in exchange for economic advantage.

Mr. Kalmund, a Falun Gong practitioner, stated after the event that the purpose of the activity was neither to prevent the Sister City Program for both Oberursel and Huludao, nor to object to the economic ties between the two cities. But no one should gain economic benefits at the expense of ignoring these heinous crimes of persecution and murder. Mr. Kalmund said that Falun Gong practitioners would continue to expose the persecution in the Huludao City Forced Labour Camp to politicians, civic organizations, and the residents of Oberursel.

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