C h i n a N e w s D i g e s t
November 15, 1999
Hundreds of Falungong Members Sent to Trials or Labor Camps: Report
[CND, 11/14/99] The Information Center for Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China has released a detailed report on the government's actions against Falungong, according to AFP. The report emerges as four sect leaders received sentences of two to twelve years for allegedly conducting illegal Falungong exercise sessions in Haikou, and having "exchanged experiences" with members throughout China. The report claims that 300 or more Falungong followers will face formal trials, and that as many as 1,000 more may have been sent to "education through labor" camps without ever being tried in court.
On November 11th, seven persons in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, were charged with "using evil religion to violate the law," a violation similar to that used against the four convicted in Haikou. The Shijiazhuang prisoners had previously taken part in protests against the government's ban on the Falungong organization, and are reportedly conducting a hunger strike to protest their imprisonment.
The Haikou trial handed down sentences of 12 years to SONG Yuesheng, seven years to CHEN Yuan, three years to JIANG Shilong, and two years to LIANG Yulin. The four were charged with leading 183 people in Falungong exercises in a Haikou park, two weeks after organized public participation in the activities had been outlawed. Evidence was also presented allegedly suggesting that the four had traveled to other areas of China in order to meet with local Falungong participants. The trial marked the first public prosecution of Falungong organizers.
The State Council announced that 111 purported Falungong members had been arrested and formally charged as of November 4th. Reports indicate that large numbers of arrests have continued since those figures were made public. (Phil Stephens, WU Yiyi)