The Chinese government is using new laws and new interpretations of old laws to crack down on the Falungong, Human Rights Watch said in a new report. Falungong members have been classified with Tibetan and Uighur 'splittists' and unauthorized religious groups as a major threat to the Communist Party, Human Rights Watch said. The 117-page report, China's Campaign Against Falungong, analyzes why and how the Chinese government embarked on a plan to eradicate the group it terms an "evil cult." In recent documents, the Chinese government has suggested that Falungong is a terrorist organization. "China's efforts to equate the Falungong with terrorists are ludicrous," said Sidney Jones, executive director of the Asia division of Human Rights Watch. "Most Falungong members are peaceful, law-abiding citizens, and there is no excuse for the human rights violations they have endured." The Chinese government has used increasingly violent tactics as Falungong followers have mounted peaceful demonstrations against the crackdown. It has also used administrative detention procedures to hold followers in reeducation camps and psychiatric facilities.
The Chinese judiciary has reinterpreted existing law to facilitate arrests of Falungong supporters. Dangerous Meditation also documents Chinese success in limiting the growth of Falungong in other countries through warnings that tolerance of the organization could jeopardize bilateral relations. The Hong Kong government has responded uneasily to Falungong's presence there. Human Rights Watch notes that the "anti-cult" legislation developed to eliminate Falungong is being used against at least sixteen other religious organizations that refuse to tailor their beliefs and practice to the demands of the Chinese government. In recent months members of such groups, including Mentuhui, Nanfang Jiaohui, and the Holy Spirit Reconstruction Church, have been sentenced to long prison terms. Only international pressure has saved some from immediate execution.
Human Rights Watch urged multinational corporations to avoid complicity in human rights abuses by preventing the dismissal of workers whom local cadres have accused of Falungong membership and urged the international community to speak out against China's human rights record, including its treatment of Falungong practitioners, through a resolution at the meeting of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights beginning in Geneva March 16, 2002.
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Human Rights Watch
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