Hundreds of Beijing Residents Held in Detention Centers, Dozens Sentenced to Labor Camps
NEW YORK – With one month to go before the Olympic Games’
opening ceremony, Chinese security agencies continue to arrest Falun
Gong adherents throughout China in large numbers. In Beijing alone,
hundreds have been arrested and dozens sentenced to labor camps without
In recent months, the Falun Dafa Information Center
(FDI) has received regular reports from adherents and their families
inside China of door-to-door searches and arrests. According to
statistics compiled from these reports, there have been at
least 8,037 arrests of Falun Gong adherents across 29 provinces, major
cities and autonomous regions since December 2007.The largest monthly total of 1,819 known arrests occurred in June, followed by 1,799 known arrests in May.
Beijing alone, there have been at least 208 arrests across all 18 of
the municipality’s districts and counties since December 2007.
The majority of those arrested in Beijing are currently being held in
detention centers in the city’s various districts. However, 30 are known to have already been sentenced without trial to “re-education through labor” camps for up to 2.5 years.
long terms show that these arrests are not about ensuring a ‘harmonious
Olympics’ as Party officials claim,” says FDI spokesperson Erping
Zhang. “Falun Gong adherents pose no threat whatsoever to the games.
The Olympics are being taken as an excuse to put them behind bars for
The Center released today a list of names and details
of 141 newly reported cases of individuals detained in Beijing since
January 1, 2008 (list).
Those detained include lawyers, accountants, retired workers, and
parents of young children. There are dozens of others not listed here
because the Center was unable to obtain sufficient details to allow for
The Center also released an update on the
status of 67 individuals who were detained between December 2007 and
March 2008 and whose arrest the Center had previously reported. (news) Since their detention, 16 individuals—almost one quarter of this group—have been sentenced to labor camps without trial. (list)
In addition to the large percentage sentenced to labor camps, other features of the campaign include:
- Door-to-door arrests:
More than half of the 208 individuals in Beijing were arrested either
from their homes, the homes of acquaintances, or from their workplaces.
Local police or security agents typically detained the person
unannounced and then, without a warrant, conducted a search of their
home for any Falun Gong-related materials. The systematic nature of the
arrests suggests the authorities are using a previously compiled list
of local adherents. Many of those arrested had been detained previously
for practicing Falun Gong.
- “Olympic” geography of arrests:
36 adherents were arrested from Chaoyang District, home to the Bird’s
Nest and Water Cube, set to host the soccer and swimming events among
others; 28 were detained in Haidian District, location of the
headquarters of the Beijing Olympic Committee as well as events such as
basketball and volleyball. These two districts alone accounted for more
than half of those sentenced to labor camps (16 out of 30).
- Short timeline:
While the exact date at which a person was sentenced to a labor camp is
not always known due to the lack of formal procedure, it is evident
that the authorities are following a short timeline in doing so. In one
case, a woman was arrested in mid April and sentenced to a labor camp
for 2.5 years by mid-May; however, her family was only informed of the
decision in June.
“A large percentage of people have
already been sent to labor camps. The dozens currently filling
Beijng’s detention centers are at grave risk of wrongful sentencing and
torture,” says Zhang. “It is now imperative that the international
community leverage real pressure and stop these deplorable actions. The
legacy of the 2008 Olympics must not be thousands of Chinese citizens
languishing in labor camps.”
The Center is demanding the
immediate release of all Falun Gong adherents, and calling upon foreign
media stationed in China, particularly Beijing, to investigate these