2005 Annual Report of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom States that China's Suppression of Falun Gong Is Especially Serious

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom released its 2005 annual report on May 11. In the report, China is listed as one of the 11 countries designated as severe violators of religious freedom, referred to as "countries of particular concern", or CPC's. The report pointed out that the most serious religious freedom abuses are experienced by groups including Falun Gong, which involve imprisonment, torture, and other forms of ill treatment.

According to a report from Radio Free Asia on May 11, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom released its 2005 annual report Wednesday at the National Press Club in Washington DC. The report once again lists China among countries designated as CPC's. Michael K. Young, who is in charge of China's issues in the commission, stated during the press conference that the Chinese government violates religious freedom. Its suppression against unregistered religious groups and Falun Gong is especially severe.

Michael Young said, "Since 1999, the U.S. State Department has respected our commission's recommendation. This year, we once again list China as a CPC. The status of religious freedom in China is still not good. Many unregistered religious groups including Roman Catholics, house churches and Protestants, and spiritual groups such as Falun Gong are experiencing various forms of oppression from the Chinese government. Abuses involve threats, harassment and imprisonment."

The report states, "Beginning with the banning of Falun Gong in 1999, the Chinese government has continued to carry out a campaign against what it calls "evil cults" and "heretical sects." Thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have been sent to labour camps without trial or sent to mental health institutions for re-education due to their affiliation with [Falun Gong]. Falun Gong practitioners claim that between 1,000 to 2,000 practitioners have been killed as a result of police brutality. Given the lack of judicial transparency, the number and treatment of Falun Gong practitioners in confinement is difficult to confirm. Nevertheless, there is substantial evidence from foreign diplomats, international human rights groups, and human rights activists in Hong Kong that the crackdowns on the Falun Gong are widespread and violent. In addition, the Chinese government has reportedly continued to pressure foreign businesses in China to sign

statements denouncing the Falun Gong and to discriminate against its followers in hiring. Local officials in foreign countries have also stated that they were warned by Chinese diplomatic personnel about the loss of potential business contacts if they continued to advocate on behalf of Falun Gong."

According to Voice of America, this list of countries that severely violate freedom of religion will be used to constitute U.S. foreign policy. For example, it may help to determine whether to impose sanctions or other measures.

The full text of this report can be found at: http://www.uscirf.gov/countries/publications/currentreport/2005annualRpt.pdf#page=1

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