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Falun Gong in China
The United States is deeply disturbed by reports that China has further intensified its harsh repression of the Falun Gong. The June 20 deaths of over a dozen Falun Gong practitioners in Wanjia Labor Camp in Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province, China is particularly troublesome. Our sympathies go out to the families of the victims.
There are conflicting accounts of what actually occurred at Wanjia Labor Camp, but the reports of violence and torture against these Falun Gong practitioners at the hand of Chinese authorities are chilling.
In the past, we have conveyed our strong concern to the Chinese government on their crackdown on the Falun Gong and we will continue to do so. We call on China to respect freedom of thought, conscience and religion, to allow all persons to practice their religious faiths freely, and to end the cycle of repression on the Falun Gong.
In particular, we call on China to release from the so-called "re-education through labor camps" practitioners of Falun Gong and others held for exercising their fundamental human rights. The Chinese Government has claimed a mass suicide among Falun Gong practitioners in some of the camps. Others insist the deaths were caused by torture and mistreatment. The point is that these people should never have been incarcerated in such camps in the first place.
We also call on China, on an urgent basis, to allow unrestricted visits to these camps by the International Red Cross and other impartial international bodies to look into the treatment prisoners receive.
Released on July 5, 2001