Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

14 November 2011

China: Local residents petition for Falun Gong releases

China: Local residents petition for Falun Gong releases
Zhou Xiangyang has reportedly been repeatedly tortured in prison.

Zhou Xiangyang has reportedly been repeatedly tortured in prison.

© Private


Li Shanshan is being held in a detention centre set up to force Falun Gong practitioners to renounce their beliefs.

© Private


The Chinese authorities must immediately release two Falun Gong practitioners jailed for their beliefs in Hebei province, Amnesty International said today, as petitions by local residents calling for an end to their imprisonment reportedly reached almost 3,000 signatures.

Zhou Xiangyang, 38, was released in 2009 after serving six years of a nine year prison sentence. He was detained again in March this year and is currently being held in Gangbei Prison in the northern city of Tianjin where he has reportedly been repeatedly tortured. After his wife issued an open letter detailing the couple’s hardships, she was detained on 29 October.

"In a gesture that’s rarely seen in China, thousands of ordinary people have dared to publicly show their support for individuals unfairly imprisoned and tortured in detention. This shows that the Chinese public is aware of and condemns persecution of people for their spiritual beliefs. It’s high time that the Chinese authorities heed this call and end their brutal suppression of the Falun Gong group," said Catherine Baber, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Asia.

"Zhou Xiangyang and his wife Li Shanshan must be released immediately. Given the pattern of retribution that is almost always seen against people who show any kind support for Falun Gong practitioners, we are urging the authorities not to target people who have peacefully petitioned for the release of Zhou Xiangyang," she added.

The Chinese authorities have refused to inform Li Shanshan’s family or lawyer of her whereabouts. However, the Tangshan City Public Security Bureau told Li Shanshan’s mother and lawyer on 9 November that she had been sentenced to two years re-education through labour, and had been sent away.

She was last seen on 4 November by her family at the Tangshan Legal Education Center, a type of detention center set up especially to force Falun Gong practitioners to renounce their beliefs,.

Zhou Xiangyang has been on a hunger strike since his detention in March. His family were repeatedly interrogated and intimidated by local police over the petition earlier this month.

Gangbei Prison is notorious for its ill-treatment of Falun Gong practitioners. In July this year, one practitioner, Li Xiwang, is reported to have died in the prison after being subjected to torture.

Falun Gong is a spiritual movement which gained large numbers of supporters in China during the 1990s. After it staged a peaceful gathering in Tiananmen Square in July 1999, the government outlawed  the group as a "threat to social and political stability" .

Tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have been arbitrarily detained as part of a campaign of intimidation and persection targeting the group.

Practitioners have been held in psychiatric hospitals, re-education through Labour (RTL) facilities - a form of administrative detention imposed without charge, trial or judicial review - or sentenced to long prison terms.

Issue

Activists 
Detention 
Freedom Of Expression 
Torture And Ill-treatment 

Country

China 

Region

Asia And The Pacific 

@amnestyonline on twitter

News

24 November 2014

A Belgian mining company, Groupe Forrest International, has consistently lied about the bulldozing of hundreds of homes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and... Read more »

27 November 2014

Threats and killings coupled with the weak implementation of flawed legislation are scuppering the Colombian government’s promise to return millions of hectares of land... Read more »

26 November 2014

The prison sentence for blasphemy handed down today by a court in Pakistan against four people including the owner of a major private TV channel and one of its star... Read more »

24 November 2014

Allegations that the UK government sanctioned the use of torture and ill-treatment in Northern Ireland in the 1970s should be re-examined by the European Court of Human... Read more »

25 November 2014

The UAE authorities have again shown their intolerance for dissent by handing down a three-year prison sentence and hefty fine today to a 25-year-old man whose only “offence”... Read more »