A vice-president and another member of the European Parliament each wrote letters to the South Korean government last week to stop the impending deportation of a married couple who practice Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party since 1999.
On Sept. 6, Seoul immigration staff and local police entered the homes of Mr. Jin, 26, and his wife, Mrs. Ma. The two were arrested for being illegal aliens and taken away by force. Mr. Jin was taken to a detention center. A Korean immigration official promised Mr. Jin that he would be released the next day, but instead Mr. Jin was transferred to the Hwaseong Foreigner’s Protection Center, where he is at risk of deportation.
Attempts to apply for asylum prior the arrest were refused by the Ministry of Justice and a South Korean court. Mr. Jin was also deprived of a seven-day appeal period, being sent directly to a detention center after his application was denied.
Edward McMillian-Scott, Vice-President of the European Parliament responsible for democracy and human rights, wrote in a Sept. 14 letter addressed to South Korean President Lee Myung-bak that he wanted to “ensure that they [Falun Gong practitioners] are not deported to China where they are most likely to face persecution, imprisonment and torture.”
McMillan-Scott states that practitioners have been “terribly persecuted, imprisoned and abused.” To provide an example of the abuse practitioners suffer, he quotes from “Bloody Harvest: The Killing of Falun Gong for Their Organs,” a book that describes the forced seizure in China of organs from living Falun Gong practitioners: “Since 1999, a large but unknown number of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience have been put to death. Their vital organs, including kidneys, livers, corneas and hearts, were seized involuntarily for sale at high prices.”
According to McMillian-Scott, despite the atrocities committed by the Chinese regime against practitioners, of the estimated 100 practitioners who applied for asylum to South Korea, most have been rejected.
Turning away these people is a violation of South Korea’s 2009 Drafted Bill on Refugee Status Determination and Treatment of Refugees and Others, said McMillian-Scott. The bill said that refugees should not be repatriated if he or she were in danger of torture or threatened for “reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.”
Roger Helmer, a member of the European Parliament who lived in Seoul for four years wrote in a Sept. 9 letter addressed to Mr. Choo Kyu-ho, the Korean ambassador to the United Kingdom, that South Korea’s actions could constitute a breach in international treaties. Helmer said he hoped South Korea would protect its asylum seekers.
According to a Jan 24 statement by the Korean Falun Dafa Association (KFDA), the Chinese regime lies behind South Korea’s decision to deport Falun Gong practitioners.
KDFA noted that after a 2009 visit by Li Changchun, the propaganda chief and a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, the government began speedily denying the applications of Falun Gong refugees for asylum and several deportations followed.
At least 23 U.S. Congressmen also point to the Chinese regime, saying it is influencing the deportations. A 2009 letter to President Lee said that according to media reports, the Chinese regime was applying pressure on South Korea to deport the practitioners.
Ten Falun Gong practitioners have been repatriated to China over the past two years.
Click the link to read the original letter from Edward McMillian-Scott, Vice-President of the European Parliament responsible for democracy and human rights.