February 02, 2005
Veteran media analyst: Biased AP Report "Very Disturbing"
Sherrie Gossett, of Accuracy In Media, the Washington-based watchdog group, spoke recently on the inaccurate January 21 report by the Associated Press. Gazette: "I found it [the AP article] very disturbing, because it seems to be exactly identical to a press release issued by the State government in China. There seemed to be no balance... Mainly we don't know if those people are Falun Gong worshippers at all. But we do know that Chinese state government wanted to pursue that and push that in the minds of the public, which had the effect of doing what?--of demonizing the movement... what's really disturbing about this article by the Associated Press is that there is no context to the torture that has taken place in China, to the continued slave labour camps that are still happening right now, there is nothing about people who died in custody. There was no reference by that western reporter to any of that, and there was no reference to the fact this was clearly staged by the government. We don't hear the reporter complaining and saying ... 'We want to see the prisoners by themselves without guards' presence'... You are left with a one-sided story, and that one-sided story is exactly what the Chinese state wanted to put out. So where was the critical journalism? Where was the asking of tough questions?"
US Congress Members write to Chinese Ambassador
Members of Congress Tom Lantos (CA) and Anna Eshoo (CA) wrote to Chinese Ambassador Yang Jiechi this past week to express "serious concerns" over the continued imprisonment of American Falun Gong adherent Dr. Charles Lee. The letter described as "extremely disturbing" the treatment Lee has met with in Chinese custody, citing reports of physical and mental abuse. Lee is said to have developed a heart condition in prison and suffers from "failing health," according to the congress members. The letter renewed a call for Lee's immediate release and urged the Ambassador to consider his safety. Lee, a Medical Doctor and human rights activist from California, has been held for over two years now in a Nanjing jail. He is the longest-held American Falun Gong practitioner. Lee was arrested on Jan 22 of 2003 for "intending" to disseminate in China information on the Falun Gong and human rights violations perpetrated against the group. All such information is freely available around the world, but rigorously blocked from within China.
News from China:
27 New deaths in China surface... in one week
Sources have confirmed this week 27 new Falun Gong deaths in China stemming from maltreatment -- mostly torture -- in custody. The number of confirmed deaths has now reached 1,343 over the past five years, with thousands more thought to be as yet unknown. The deaths continue a pattern of horrific abuse at the hands of captors and complicity at multiple levels of the Chinese penal system. Cheng Jingshan, a 64-year-old male farmer from Guyi village in Hebei province, is counted among the 27. Cheng was arrested last fall for attempting to pass out information on Falun Gong. Once at the Luancheng county detention centre Cheng was "beaten cruelly" according to witnesses, even to the point of disfigurement. Repeated torture led to blood pooling in and damaging his brain. The abuse proved too much for Cheng, who had only one year earlier been taken into captivity and tortured with bamboo sticks, electric shocks, and hangings. Cheng never recovered and died on January 11.
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