Wednesday, June 22nd, from 10:00 to 11:30 AM
Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2255
Mr. Chairman, members of this Commission, ladies and gentlemen:
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak on the plight of Falun Gong practitioners in China.
We are grateful for the support this Congress has shown us during this difficult time. We are, however, sad to report that in the past six years, the persecution of Falun Gong in China has gone into a covert one but continued to worsen. Over the years, between 200,000 and 1 million have been reportedly sent to forced labour camps without trials. The persecution methods used in such camps are extremely cruel, encompassing a wide variety of brutal tortures; and yet the Chinese government has imposed strict blockades in an attempt to conceal information and absolve its responsibility. The labour camps in China have the authority to imprison Falun Gong practitioners for as long as three years without any due process and can arbitrarily extend the terms of imprisonment at will.
I. The latest casualty of a detainee at a forced labour camp
Most recently, Falun Dafa Information Centre (FDI) has learnt that Ms. Gao Rongrong, whose face was grossly disfigured as a result of torture in Longshan Forced Labour Camp, was tortured to death on June 16th, 2005. Ms. Gao went through nearly two years of incarceration, brainwashing, and torture for her beliefs in Falun Gong. Her case even involved directives from Luo Gan, one of the standing members on China's Politburo.
Ms. Gao, an accountant at the Luxun College of Fine Arts in Shenyang City, was stripped of her job in 1999, soon after Falun Gong met with suppression. Ms. Gao then lodged legal appeals with authorities in Beijing, calling for an end to the wrongful persecution. Authorities then, acting outside the law, detained Ms. Gao. In July 2003, Ms. Gao was sent to Longshan Forced Labour Camp. On May 7th, 2004, at approximately 3:00 p.m., Tang Yubao, the deputy head of the No. 2 Prison Brigade, along with team leader Jiang Zhaohua, summoned Ms. Gao to the office and began to torture her with an electric baton. The torture continued for about 7 hours, and the inmates in the labour camp said that Ms. Gao sustained multiple burns to her face, head, and neck. Ms. Gao's face was covered with blisters and her hair was matted with pus and blood. So severe were the injuries that Ms. Gao's face was disfigured and she had difficulty seeing things.
In a desperate attempt to escape her torturers, Ms. Gao later jumped from the 2nd floor office window of the facility, sustaining multiple fractures. Subsequent hospitalisation allowed those close to Ms. Gao to take photos of the injuries to her face and body. The shocking photos made their way overseas, where human rights activists publicised them widely. Details of her case were submitted to related government offices in the U.S. and other nations, and were also presented to the United Nations.
While hospitalised, Gao was under constant surveillance from the Chinese police. Authorities declared she would be returned to captivity upon release from the hospital. On October 5th, 2004, however, Ms. Gao - having recovered sufficiently to be moved - was able to leave the hospital with the help of a small group of friends, thus avoiding abduction by police and the possibility of further torture.
During Ms. Gao's short escape between October 5th, 2004 and March 6th, 2005, Falun Gong practitioners in the U.S. contacted the U.S. Department of State for rescuing Ms. Gao.
Politburo Standing Committee Member Personally Oversees Gao's Case
As international pressure mounted concerning Ms. Gao's case, one of China's highest-ranking officials stepped in: Politburo Standing Committee member Luo Gan. Luo proceeded to order the Liaoning Province Chinese Communist Party Political Judiciary Committee, the Procuratorate, the Department of Justice, and the Police Department to conceal any and all information about Ms. Gao's case.
After Ms. Gao's escape, Shenyang City Police Department (State Security Division) began tapping the phones of all Falun Gong practitioners in the region, hoping to discover who had helped publicise Ms. Gao's case and secure her escape. A manhunt ensued, as all individuals believed to have facilitated Ms. Gao's hospital escape were ordered rounded up. One such individual who was abducted, Mr. Feng Gang, had to be admitted to Masanjia Hospital after thirteen days of hunger strike protesting his unlawful abduction. Another individual, Mr. Sun Shiyou, is reported to have been severely tortured by authorities, including having his genitals shocked by electric batons. Mr. Sun's family members were also abducted.
On March 6th, 2005, Ms. Gao was located by police and again abducted. Neither her location nor her condition was revealed to family members until June 12th; they learnt she was being held at Medical University Hospital in Shenyang City. According to Ms. Gao's family, by the time they reached the hospital on June 12th, Ms. Gao had lost consciousness, her organs were atrophying, and she was hooked up to a respirator. They say she was little more than "skin and bones." Ms. Gao died four days later. Chinese police are now pressuring Ms. Gao's family to cremate her body quickly, trying to eliminate the evidence of torture.
It was reported that Public Security Bureau agents closely guarded the room in which Ms. Gao was held at the hospital. The agents intended to prevent news of her condition and maltreatment from reaching the outside world; this fits a pattern of complicity that reaches to the highest levels of China's regime.
II. Forced labour in China's labour camps
Ms. Gao's death is part of a disturbing pattern of systematic rights violations, systematic cover up, and zero accountability. And Ms. Gao is just the latest victim of China's forced labour camp system. The re-education-through-labour system has become a very effective tool of control and suppression in the past fifty years for the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP).
According to WOIPFG (World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong), there are two direct purposes behind China's system of "re-education-through-labour": first, to create a reliable and cheap labour force through forced labour, and secondly to brainwash prisoners. This is the so-called "reform one's mind through labour". This not only violates the basic human rights of the detainees, but also encourages the prison and labour camp systems to persecute the detainees because of the huge profit in products made through forced labour. In addition, it shakes the stability of international labour and trade markets when these cheap products are dumped on the international market. Many consumers buy the products, totally unaware of the reasons behind the cheap price.
Since China's former president Jiang Zemin launched the persecution of Falun Gong in 1999, according to incomplete statistics, more than 180 forced labour camps in China have directly participated in the persecution through illegal forced labour of over 200,000 Falun Gong practitioners. In addition to forced brainwashing and torture, China's labour camps also force a large number of Falun Gong practitioners to work as slave labourers. Falun Gong practitioners have been made to work overtime shifts, subjected to punishment or deprivation of food or sleep if assigned quotas are not met, and tortured if they refuse to cooperate. They are often arbitrarily detained beyond their release dates because of the huge profits that camps stand to gain as a result of free labour. Practitioners are forced to work more than 10 hours a day, sometimes even continuously overnight. Because of the terrible working conditions and highly labour-intensive work, Falun Gong practitioners have all suffered various degrees of damage, both mentally and physically. Some have become disabled or even died. About 30% of all the death cases of Falun Gong practitioners resulted from torture in labour camps. Sixty-nine labour camps have directly caused the deaths of Falun Gong practitioners, including elderly people in their 60s. Even women, children, or disabled practitioners have not been spared.
For example, Qiqiha'er Shuanghe Female Labour Camp is a processing site that has no government approved certificate for producing agricultural chemicals. Falun Gong practitioners are, however, forced to pack very toxic pesticide powders with no protective worksuits at all, which have caused serious physical harm to the practitioners. Many practitioners have had bleeding noses, others feel sick, vomit, have had severe coughs (there was blood in their phlegm) and abnormal bleeding; still others have nearly gone blind because the labour camp is filled with choking toxic pesticide dust. The victims are forced to continue their work even when they show symptoms of being poisoned. On the packages, it is clearly stated that in producing the pesticides there must be protective facilities and workers must take showers after work. However, there are no shower facilities in the chemical factory. In the hot summer, when the chemical dust and sweat mixed together, it would irritate the skin; as the sweat dried out, one could attain tinea-type skin ulcers. The victims would feel itchy and painful. The police would often forbid practitioners to wash, and therefore these practitioners have to go to bed with chemical dust all over their bodies.
At one time, Falun Gong practitioners Zhang Guiqin, Qi Baiqin, Lin Xiumei and Jiang Yuehong refused to work to protest the persecution, but they were tortured for doing so. They were forced to 'sit on iron chairs', a form of torture where their hands were handcuffed from behind their back, their feet were put into two square holes and they were sandwiched between the back of the iron chair and an iron slab in front of their chest. They were tortured until their feet were swollen, their skin torn and flesh gaping or they lost consciousness. Afterwards, six Falun Gong practitioners, headed by Gao Shanshan, jointly urged the authorities to stop the persecution. The labour camp confined Gao Shanshan into a solitary compartment at once and illegally extended her term in the labour camp for an additional two months to make this 20-year old practitioner suffer mentally.
Zhang Zhijie, the team leader of the prison guards at the Shuanghe Female Labour Camp, and guard Chen Jianhua illegally extended most practitioners' terms of detention for another year so that they could maintain a high employment and high bonuses.
Because it was illegal to produce agricultural chemicals, when the authorities came to inspect the camp, production would stop immediately. Falun Gong practitioners were also forced to pack sanitised chopsticks in their dormitories where they did not have even basic disinfecting facilities, not to mention proper workshops.
For another example, Shandong No.1 Female Labour Camp, located at 20 Jiangshuiquan Road, Jinan City, is commonly known as Jinan Female Labour Camp. Since October 2000, however, the number of detainees increased sharply to more than 700 people. More than 95% of them were Falun Dafa practitioners who had been illegally kidnapped and detained there. According to WOIPFG, the labour camp signed business deals with Jinan Tianyi Printing Co., Ltd. and several other companies, and turned the labour camp into handwork workshops for these enterprises, in order to increase profit from foreign investment so that the labour camp staff could get more bonuses. The labour camp forced the detainees to do excessive amounts of labour. As a result, detainees (including elderly ladies over 60 years old) had to work 13 to 14 hours a day and sometimes even overnight without pay. Due to working overtime for long periods of time, a lot of detainees had difficulty standing, and it was very common for someone to faint in the workshop. Those who refused to work would be put into a "confined solitary compartment" which was totally dark. The practitioners confined there were not allowed to go to sleep, to wash their faces or brush their teeth. They were also not allowed to come out of the compartment to go to the toilet and were forced to stand continuously for more than 20 days until they became unconscious. These people would then have such swollen feet that they could not wear shoes and could not walk.
III. Why are China's products so cheap
Because of the strong resistance from western democratic countries against "forced labour products", in 1991 China's State Council re-emphasised the ban on the export of "forced labour products" and stipulated that no prison is allowed to cooperate or establish joint ventures with foreign investors. In reality, however, the Chinese government has granted numerous preferential policies to enterprises under labour camps and prisons, to encourage and attract foreign investment and export. In the document  No.56 from the State Bureau of Taxation under China's Ministry of Finance, it is clearly stated that if the property rights of a company are solely owned by a prison or forced labour camp system, the company is exempt from corporate income tax and the land inquisition levy.
FDI and WOIPFG have collected ample evidence that shows China's labour camps have cooperated with companies to force Falun Gong practitioners to manufacture forced labour products without any payment during their detention. Products from these labour camps are exported to more than 30 countries and regions, including the United States, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, etc.
The forced labour system not only violates the basic human rights of the detainees, but also encourages abuse and torture as camps raise their quotas in pursuit of even more profit. Meanwhile, the camps use part of the profits to construct more forced labour facilities. In addition, the products produced through forced labour are competitive and highly attractive in international markets because of their extreme low cost. As a result, this has led some foreign companies not aware of a product's background to participate in joint venture production, importing and selling the forced-labour-produced items. This not only violates the laws of their own countries and international laws, as many countries forbid the importation and selling of products manufactured through forced labour, but also shakes the stability of international labour and trade markets, threatening some of their homeland companies that share the same market sectors.
A good example is the lobbying campaign initiated by the six largest U.S. textile and fabric trade organisations during their summit in Washington, D.C., on June 10th, 2003. On July 2nd, 2003, the American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI) published a shocking report stating that with the quota removal for Chinese textile products, more than 1,300 textile plants in the U.S. would have to close by early 2004, resulting in the loss of over 630,000 jobs. The U.S. textile and apparel market would be under China's control if protective measures were not implemented in a timely manner. Ample evidence indicates that some textile manufacturers such as the Shanghai Three-Gun Group Co., Ltd. the Shandong Leader Handicraft Articles Co., Ltd., and Henan Rebecca Hair Products Inc., China, collaborate with "re-education-through-labour" camps or detention centres to force Falun Gong practitioners into unpaid hard labour during their detention. The unlawfully detained practitioners are forced to endure more than 10 hours of hard labour per day or even overnight shifts in addition to their regular hours. Those products are produced at the cost that their competitors cannot match.
1. Beijing Xin'an Female Labour Camp
According to WOIPFG, Beijing Xin'an Female Labour Camp, located in Nanyuan, Daxing Country, Beijing, does handwork for several companies for their export products. Beijing Mickey Toys Co., Ltd, a joint venture specialising in design, manufacture, sales and export of soft toys, is one such company. In February 2001, nearly 1000 illegally detained Falun Gong practitioners were forced to make toys with no pay. This forced labour produced 100,000 toy rabbits for Beijing Mickey Toys Co., Ltd subcontracted by Nestle.
Ms. Jennifer Zeng is a Falun Gong practitioner currently living in Australia. She was detained in Xin'an Labour Camp and was one of the practitioners forced to make Nestle toy rabbits. She described her experience as follows. "In the labour camp, we were forced to do all kinds of heavy labour work, including planting grass and trees, clearing garbage, digging cellars for storing vegetables in winter, knitting sweaters, knitting cushions, making toys, producing disposable syringes, wrapping sanitised chopsticks and so on. Most of the products were for export. In particular, the sweaters we knitted were large sizes only suitable for foreigners who are big in build. In February 2001, we received an order for 100,000 toy rabbits. According to the police, the toys were being made for Nestle to be used in their promotions. The rabbits were about 30 cm. long, brown in colour, with a long neck, wearing a large bright red collar made from fleecy material, with two black whiskers on each side of the face, about 5-6 cm long. Some of the rabbits wore cowboy vests, some wore dustcoats, and some had one eye patched up like a pirate. There were English letters on their chests, with their fists clenched, thumbs up. There were three toes on their feet, canary yellow in colour. Their tails were white in colour and very short."
Falun Gong practitioners are forced to work for extremely long hours without pay in Xin'an labour camp. Ms. Zeng recalls, "It would go through over 30 processing lines to make a rabbit like this, and it would take over 10 hours to make one. But the processing fee for each rabbit was only 30 cents (equivalent to Au$0.06, US$0.04). The processing fees were paid to the labour camp. We didn't get anything. Usually we began work after getting up at 5 o'clock in the morning, and worked until 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning the next day. Sometimes we had to work overtime, otherwise we could not finish the job. At the busiest time, I did not dare to wash my hands after going to the toilet, in order to save a few minutes. At night, sometimes I was so exhausted that I could not even count clearly from 1 to 9. Yet I still had to force my eyes open to knit sweaters. The pattern of the sweater was quite complicated; sometimes we finally finished the knitting after much effort only to discover the next morning it had been knitted completely wrongly. So, we had to unpick the stitches and redo it. Long hours of highly intensive workload and severe lack of sleep made me feel, for a very long period of time, that the only thing I needed in my life was sleep."
The picture to the left is a photo of the toy rabbits manufactured for Nestle taken from Mickey Toys Co. Ltd. It's clear that they are the same as Jennifer described.
The Sydney Morning Herald and Geneva Le Temps, both reported on this case. On December 28th, 2001, the Sydney Morning Herald published an article by Kelly Burke: "Cute toy rabbits belie ordeal of Chinese labour camps". Nestle released a statement to the Herald, confirming that the company placed an order with an established Beijing-based toy manufacturer, Beijing Mickey Toys Co. Ltd. for 110,000 plush rabbits for a Nesquik promotion early that year.
2. Lanzhou Dashaping Detention Centre and Lanzhou No.1 Detention Centre
Lanzhou Zhenglin Nongken Food Ltd, established in 1988 in Gansu by Taiwanese businessman Lin Ken, is one of the earliest Taiwan-financed enterprises in Gansu. From 1992, the company embarked on a joint venture with Lanzhou Dashaping Detention Centre and Lanzhou No.1 Detention Centre (also known as Xiguoyuan Detention Centre). According to WOIPFG, some 10,000 detainees (including dozens of illegally detained Falun Gong practitioners) were forced to use their hands to peel the shells off melon seeds, and were engaged in intensive physical labour work. Those detainees were forced to crack the seeds of a large variety of melon between their teeth, and then peel the husk off with their bare hands to remove the kernels. In winter, they had to do this work outside in the freezing cold. Many of them suffered frostbite and the skin on their hands split, with pus and blood from the wounds oozing onto the melon seeds. In the summer, the cracking and extracting of kernels from shells continued unabated. Many had their teeth cracked and damaged from cracking melon seeds, and even lost their fingernails in the process of extracting the kernels from their shells. The detainees were forced to squat on their heels to do the work from early morning till evening for more than ten hours continuously, with no pay.
In order for Zhenglin Nongken Food Ltd and Xiguoyuan Detention Centre to make a huge profit, the detainees were given high quotas for their work. The detention centre staff tortured the detainees at will. Furthermore, there was corruption and economic crime. In 1998, a division chief of Dashaping Detention Centre committed suicide with a gun when he was found embezzling money of melon seed process fees.
In April 2001, 57 year-old Falun Gong practitioner Wan Guifu was illegally sent to Lanzhou No. 1 Detention Centre. Wan Guifu was forced to crack melon seeds with his teeth and extract the kernels with his fingers. His lips were badly swollen and the fingernails of both his hands fell off. His fingers were bleeding and oozing pus. Because he was unable to finish his quota, Wan Guifu was tortured by inmates of Cell No. 9, after secret instructions from the captain of the 4th crew of Lanzhou No. 1 Detention Centre. Wan suffered severe injury to his abdomen. On December 29th, 2001, he was sent to the Lanzhou Dashaping Labour Camp Hospital but died three days later. The doctors extracted a lot of fluid from Wan Guifu's abdominal cavity, a direct result of the severe torture. According to confirmation by people (names omitted) who were detained at Lanzhou Dashaping Detention Centre for a long period, the death rate of detainees at the centre was very high, but because of the blockade of information, details of the death cases are usually not reported.
These unpaid manual labourers provided huge profits for Zhenglin Nongken Food Ltd. In just a few years, Zhenglin Nongken Food Ltd became the biggest production base in China in roasted seeds and nuts. Its main product line, "Zhenglin handpicked melon seeds" (shelled by detainees), is sold in more than 30 countries including the United States, Canada, Australia, France, New Zealand, and Southeast Asian countries. At present, Zhenglin Nongken Food Ltd has subsidiary companies overseas in the United States, Canada, Singapore, and Malaysia. In Australia, they have an import business liaison person.
3. Shangdong Province No. 1 Women's Forced Labour Camp
Shangdong Province No. 1 Women's Forced Labour Camp, also called the Jinan Women's Forced Labour Camp, is located at 20 Jiangshuiquan Road, Jinan City, Shandong Province. It is the manufacturing site for Shandong Leader Handicraft Articles Co., Ltd.
The detainees are forced to make products without pay. Soon after October 2000, the number of detainees suddenly increased from 200 to 700, with approximately 95% of the new detainees being Falun Gong practitioners. In order to earn foreign exchange and more bonuses, the camp often forced practitioners to work extra hours to sew bedding. The over-60-year-old women were also forced to suffer through their exhaustion, working overnight in order to complete the tasks. The detainees often fall in a dead faint on the floor because of the long-term overtime and work overload. Those who refused to work were locked up in a dark, "strictly monitored" room. Rest, sleep, washing, and using the toilet outside were all denied. Detainees were forced to keep standing for over 20 days until they finally fainted. Their legs and feet became so badly swollen that they could not wear shoes and could not even walk. They were seriously debilitated, physically and mentally. The main products include handmade bedding and domestic accessories under the brand name of "Lijie."
Within the first six months of 2002, this forced labour camp made 570,000 Yuan (Yuan is the Chinese currency; 500 yuan is equal to the average monthly income of an urban worker in China. In this case the amount is roughly £39,000.) from its production. Within two years, it built an office building over a dozen stories high, a reception building, and a big stockroom facility. The products it manufactured were sold to the U.S, Canada, Chile, Argentina, European Union, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Australia, Japan, Korea, Singapore and over 30 other countries. It is claimed that Shandong Leader Handicraft Articles Co., Ltd., is a major enterprise for earning foreign revenue. Its annual turnover is 70 million Yuan (US$8.5 million) and annual export is over US$10 million.
4. Shanghai Qingsong Women's Forced Labour Camp
Chinese citizen Li Ying lived in Shanghai City and graduated from Shanghai Tongji University in 1992 with a major in Business Management. She worked in the Shanghai Zhonglu Management Consulting Company. On October 16th, 2001, she was detained for practising Falun Gong and sentenced to two years' forced labour in the Shanghai Qingsong Women's Forced Labour Camp. As a result of the persistent appeals of her fiancé, Australian citizen Li Qizhong, and the rescue effort of fellow practitioners all over the world, she was released on October 15th and arrived in Australia on November 29th, 2003.
Li Ying was forced to do hard labour during the time she was detained in Shanghai Qingsong Women's Forced Labour Camp, making products for many Chinese companies and factories. Aside for the plush toys exported to Italy, she had to make products for the "Three-Gun" brand of underwear. According to her testimony, all the "Three-Gun" underwear marked with "examined by # 16" are made by detainees of Shanghai Qingsong Women's Forced Labour Camp. The detainees have to get up at 5 a.m. and work from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m. or 12 midnight. These long hours of labour result in badly blistered hands and fingers, while the wage is just 3 Yuan (US$0.35) a day. The detainees have to pay a boarding fee of 75 Yuan (US$9) per month, which is deducted from their meagre wages.
Three-Gun Group Co., Ltd., is authorised to import and export. Its main product is the "Three-Gun" brand of underwear, which is sold to over 70 countries and regions. The Three-Gun Group is also a partner of the world-renowned Dow Corning and Dupont companies, from which it imports technology.
5. Henan Province's No. 3 Labour Camp and the Shibalihe Female Labour Camp in Zhenzhou City
Competition within the hair products industry is very intense since it is a highly specialised industry with minimal barriers in terms of capital, technology, and marketing. Furthermore, since the price of human hair raw materials and labour constitute a significant percentage of the overall product cost, companies fight for raw material resources and cheap labour. As a result, the detainees in nearby labour camps, jails, and detention centres have become the slave labourers for making low-cost hair products. Analysis of the situation reveals that this is one of the main reasons labour camps became the production sites for Henan Rebecca Hair Products and other Henan hair products manufacturers.
To make products for the Henan Province hair products, over 800 detainees (including illegally detained Falun Gong practitioners) in Henan Province's No. 3 Labour Camp and the Shibalihe Female Labour Camp in Zhenzhou City have been pushed to work day and night by guards who threaten them with torture, punishment, and humiliation. They work extra hours to bring in foreign exchange income and more profit for the labour camps and Henan Rebecca Hair Products Inc. To increase profits, Henan Province's No. 3 Labour Camp even "buys" Falun Gong practitioners as slaves from other places for 800 Yuan (US$100) each. When the labour camp was short of funds and was about to be shut down, many Falun Gong practitioners were abducted and incarcerated in this camp where they were forced to make hair products, thus reviving the labour camp's business.
According to a witness, "Henan Province's No. 3 Labour Camp was awarded the 'National Civilised Work Unit' citation from the Central Politics and Law Committee '610 Office' and the Labour Camp Bureau, for persecuting Falun Gong. At the time the award was put up, three detainees fainted from exhaustion. Qu Shuangcai, Director of the No. 3 Labour Camp, brutally persecuted Falun Gong practitioners and was favoured by his superiors. In May 2003, he was transferred to the Shibalihe Female Labour Camp in Zhenzhou City and promoted to director of that labour camp. Right away, he signed a contract with Henan Rebecca Hair Products, Inc. He also instituted the use of straightjacket restraints for torturing practitioners. Within several months of his arrival, three female Falun Gong practitioners were tortured to death."
With the help of free labour from Henan labour camps, in the first 10 months of 2002, the hair product export of Henan Province reached US$138.86 million, which made it a big industry with over 1 billion Yuan (US$125 million) in revenue, and Henan became the largest hair product manufacturer in the world. The hair product industry has had a consecutive annual growth rate of nearly 30%, and Henan's hair products have a market share of one fourth of the world's total. Owning five labour camps/hair product factories, Henan Rebecca Hair Products Inc. has been the world's leading producer of human hair weaves.
According to sources, the U.S. is the largest distribution and consumer market of hair products in the world. Rebecca accounts for a significant market share in the United States. Statistics show that the U.S. has a need for 15 million human hair weavings, 10 million of which come from Xuchang, Henan.
6. Other export products made in labour camps
Numerous other products made in China's labour camps by Falun Gong practitioners are finally exported to the United States and other countries.
Mr. Sam Lu is now an Atlanta resident. He was put in a jail in Guangdong Province for almost two months in 2001. According to his own testimony, Sam was forced to work on export products such as toys and shopping bags without pay. He still remembers one of the shopping bags was printed with "National Gallery of Art." Sam was put into a cell only about 300 sq. feet in size, with 20 prisoners and one toilet inside. They slept and worked in the cell.
Sometimes they were forced to work until 2:00 am to keep up with the schedule. Only two meals a day were provided. The police used a wire whip to beat prisoners if they did not do a good job or could not keep up with the schedule.
The same kind of tragedy is happening to Sam's wife Xuefei Zhou, who was sentenced to forced labour camp for three years without any trial and without a lawyer only because she handed out flyers in the street to clarify to the truth about Falun Gong. Xuefei was forced to do embroidery work for export. The hard work, malnutrition and torture made his wife almost lose her eyesight.
7. U.S. citizen Dr. Charles Lee is forced to make Christmas lights to be exported to U.S.
U.S. citizen Dr. Charles Lee was arrested upon arriving at Guangzhou Airport on January 22, 2003. He was rushed through a one-day show trial on March 21, 2003, and sentenced to a 3-year prison term for his "intention" of exposing human rights violations against Falun Gong practitioners by the Chinese government. He had not committed any crime, nor did he intend to. His only intent was to expose to the Chinese people the reality of the nature of the persecution that the Chinese government has concealed from them.
According to the information from "Friends of Charles Lee," throughout one and a half years of detention, Dr. Lee has suffered both physical and mental abuse: he has been beaten, force-fed, deprived of sleep, handcuffed for days at a time, and forced to watch anti-Falun Gong brainwashing videos. These tactics are employed to try to break his spirit, and cause him to abandon his belief in Falun Gong. It is evident that the persecution of Dr. Lee directly targets his belief in Falun Gong.
Starting from June 2004 to late 2004, Dr. Lee was forced to make Christmas lights daily. At times he was forced to work 10-12 hours per day and 7 days a week. These Christmas lights are to be exported to U.S.
IV. The information concealing and media coverage
How much does the world know about what happens in China's labour camps? Will people still buy China's exports if they know they are made in China's labour camps by Falun Gong practitioners?
Unfortunately, Ms. Gao Rongrong's death highlights the systematic cover up and the fear the Chinese Communist Party has for people to know the truth. Afraid of the publicity of Ms. Gao's disfigurement, Shenyang City Police Department (State Security Division) began tapping the phone lines of all Falun Gong practitioners in the region, and a manhunt ensued, resulting in the re-arrest of Ms. Gao and subsequent abduction and torture of other Falun Gong practitioners.
Ever since the Chinese Communist Party launched the persecution of Falun Gong in July 1999, the communist regime has utilised its state run media to orchestrate a hate campaign against Falun Gong, without allowing practitioners any voice. The Chinese government penalises severely anybody who dares to challenge its information blockade. Mr. Liu Chengjun, male, from Jilin Province, was involved in the incident of broadcasting Falun Gong programs through the Changchun Cable TV System on March 5th, 2002. In revenge, the Chinese authorities ordered a mass arrest in Changchun soon after. The police shot Mr. Liu in the leg after arresting him. On September 20th, 2002, Changchun City Intermediate People's Court sentenced him to 13 years in prison. On December 26th, 2003, Liu Chengjun left this world after enduring 21 months of prison torture.
The Chinese Internet market is fast-growing, yet, China is believed to extend greater censorship over the net than any other country in the world. In China, all 110,000 net cafés in the country have to use software to control access to websites considered harmful or subversive. A net police force monitors websites and e-mails, and gateways connecting the country to the global Internet are designed to prevent access to critical information. It has been reported that Cisco Systems has sold several thousand routers - costing more than US$20,000 each - to enable China to build an online spying system and the firm's engineers have helped set it to spot "subversive" key-words in messages. The system also enables police to know who has looked at banned sites or sent "dangerous" e-mails. Cisco is not only breaching a code of ethics, but also is violating the Global Internet Freedom Act, passed by the House of Representatives of U.S. in July 2003, which aims to combat online censorship imposed by repressive regimes such as China.
Not content with controlling Chinese language media in China, China's communist regime is doing its utmost to influence the world media. On January 21st, 2005, AP's Beijing Bureau released a story "Chinese Government Shows off Repentant Falun Gong Followers," which echoed the CCP's official portrayal of the January 2001 Tiananmen Square self-immolation tragedy, though numerous reports by independent media and human rights bodies worldwide have questioned and repudiated claims by the Chinese Communist regime linking Falun Gong to the immolations. The Falun Dafa Information Centre anticipated Beijing's propaganda shenanigans, and thus sent a media advisory to the AP and others detailing their concerns. That was before the AP's story ran. And yet the AP's piece went beyond merely failing to present or engage Falun Gong's concerns and did exactly what the advisory cautioned against.
With its admission to the WTO, China is under pressure to open up its massive media market. In the meantime, it is also seeking for vehicles to disseminate its own message across, not only to the overseas Chinese, but also to the world at large. For examples, when the AOL Time Warner and Rupert Murdoch's Phoenix Satellite Television Holdings were allowed to broadcast their programs in China, they were asked, in return, to carry news and propaganda of the state-owned China Central Television (CCTV) on the cable networks of AOL Time Warner and Rupert Murdoch's Fox. Furthermore, the broadcasting has to be managed to steer clear of issues that the Chinese authorities would deem offensive, such as the persecution against Falun Gong practice group, for the penalty could be cancellation of broadcast privileges. Former employees, rights organisation and the free press have criticised the Murdoch empire for its failure to raise sensitive issues in China. Maybe Murdoch has learnt how to bow to Beijing from the hard lesson of Star-TV discontinuing the BBC's World Service when Murdoch owned that company and talked about how dictatorships would crumble under the weight of global communications.
In their efforts to conquer the world's most populous and potentially lucrative Internet market, some multinational firms are making compromises that limit the right of Chinese Internet users to freedom of information. In October 2004, U.S.-based Google admitted to removing eight news sources, apparently deemed subversive, from its Chinese site. As recently as the search kingpin went public in August 2004, its founders vowed to hold the customer experience sacrosanct. According to Business Week (October 11, 2004), Google offers China users an uncharacteristic lack of disclosure on the removed content, aside from the censorship itself. On November 29, 2004, Reporters Without Borders condemned the action of the Chinese authorities in blocking access to Google's news website (Google News), starting a few weeks after the launch of an expurgated Chinese-language version of Google News. The press freedom organisation said in a statement "China is censoring Google News to force Internet users to use the Chinese version of the site which has been purged of the most critical news reports. [...] By agreeing to launch a news service that excludes publications disliked by the government, Google has let itself be used by Beijing."
Google's arch-rival Yahoo! has been censoring its Chinese-language search-engine for several years as directed by the Chinese government. For example, the top results of a search for "Falun Gong" produces only sites critical of the Chinese meditation practice in line with the regime's position. The same search using a non-censored search-engine turns up material supporting Falun Gong and material about the Chinese government's repression of its followers. Meanwhile, other search-engines not conforming to the censorship, such as Altavista, have already been blocked inside China.
"With the cooperation of companies such as Cisco, Sun Microsystems, Yahoo!, and Google, Chinese authorities have used American technology to monitor, sanitise, and ultimately isolate the Chinese web, creating the world's greatest Red Internet." (quoted from Can FDI(Foreign Direct Investment) Save the Shaking Chinese Economy? by Li Li and Ching-hsi Chang, 2004)
The latest episode of China's control in the world media is the CCP's coercion of Eutelsat to take NTDTV off the air, so Chinese people will lose the only open window to access uncensored TV programs.
IV. The lasting and far reaching impact
The persecution of Falun Gong over the past six years in the People's Republic of China has led to the unjust imprisonment of thousands of innocent practitioners, has subjected them to severe forms of mental and physical abuse, and has caused their families and loved ones countless hours of emotional agony. Consequently, in the wake of this savagery, many children have lost either one or both parents and sometimes even all of their caregivers. According to the 2005 report of GMR (Global Mission to Rescue Persecuted Falun Gong Practitioners), five children were killed in police custody; 18 children lost both of their parents during the persecution; 102 children lost one of their parents; 43 children are directly targeted, tortured, or thrown into prisons and labour camps because of their or their parents' belief in Falun Gong; 39 children are forced to separate from their parents because their parents are detained. In addition, hundreds of thousands of children have been forced to slander Falun Gong or, upon refusal, be expelled from school. Moreover, many young children are discriminated as their parents are practising Falun Gong. This data, however, only represented the information investigated and confirmed by GMR.
For example, Zhuangzhuang Pan is a five-year-old boy from Shuangyashan City, Heilongjiang Province. Zhuangzhuang's father Xingfu Pan, former Associate Director of Telecommunications Bureau Exchange Centre in the city of Shuangyashan, Heilongjiang Province, was persecuted to death on January 31st, 2005 because he practised Falun Gong; and his mother Li Zhang is serving a 9-year sentence in Harbin City Women's Prison. In addition, both Zhuangzhuang's uncle and aunt are in forced labour camps. Zhuangzhuang and his 64-year-old grandmother now depend on each other with no financial income.
In May, 2001, Xingfu Pan was arrested by Shuangyashan Patrol Team and was incarcerated in the Shuangyashan Detention Centre. On March 7th, 2002, Pan was unlawfully sentenced to 5 years in prison with no evidence. During his periods of incarceration, Pan was forced to do lots of heavy labour work in addition to enduring various brutal tortures. After years of forced labour as well as various mental and physical tortures, Pan's health deteriorated dramatically. On June 18th, 2004, he was diagnosed as having pleurisy and lung tissue damage. He was too weak to use the toilet on his own. On Jan. 31st, 2005, Mr. Pan Xingfu died, leaving his sixty four-year-old mother, his five-year-old son and his imprisoned wife behind.
In early morning of May 2nd, 2002, Zhuangzhuang's grandmother was also arrested at home, and frightened Zhuangzhuang was left alone at home. To protest the unlawful detention, Zhuangzhuang's grandmother went on a hunger strike. As punishment, the 62-year-old lady was locked in an iron chair and violently force-fed with extremely salty corn gruel. Her shirt was soaked with blood from her mouth. Finally, after 15 days on hunger strike, she was released.
Seeing so many relatives being brutally taken away, little Zhuangzhuang was traumatised by these episodes. Since then, he's been in constant fear of the police taking his grandmother away again whenever he hears any loud voices.
In fact, over the past six years, millions of Falun Gong practitioners have been locked up in labour camps, brainwashing centres where they are forced to "transform," or renounce their belief in the principles of Falun Gong -- Truth, Compassion and Tolerance. They are made to choose between spiritual death and physical death: If they refuse to renounce their practise, the efforts to facilitate "transformation" are intensified and many die as a result of beatings, torture, and starvation, among other methods. Their children, unfortunately, have to witness these fatal struggles.
All Chinese people have, in actuality, been pushed into compromising their consciences in order show an attitude of support for this persecution. Through the state-controlled propaganda machine, even foreign governments and corporations doing business in China are forced to choose between conscience and personal interest when faced with the persecution of Falun Gong. The campaign to annihilate Falun Gong practitioners permeates all levels of society. Children are the most deeply affected, as their pure hearts are so easily damaged or warped by brainwashing and propaganda. The abuse and trauma they suffer is something that will affect them for the rest of their lives.
Due to censorship and the tight control on information related to Falun Gong in China, what is reported here represents perhaps only a tiny tip of the iceberg. I hope that this testimony will help you understand the severity and scope of the ruthless campaign of persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China. It is my hope that this Congress will continue and redouble its efforts to rescue and help these innocent people and their children, and help bring an end to this human rights atrocity in China.
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