One month before the Olympic Games, on July 9, Jin Pang said more than a dozen police officers and officials from China's extra-judicial '610 Office' broke into her parent's home and confiscated three laptops, two desktop computers, various Falun Gong materials, a digital camera, and bank deposits valued at an estimated $US7000.
On July 29, while visiting a friend, they were arrested and, according to sources, are now being held in Weifang City Detention Centre. Fifty other Falun Gong practitioners were kidnapped in Weifang City around the same time.
The arrests are part of a large-scale campaign that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) initiated against Falun Gong practitioners in the lead up to the Olympic Games, according to the Falun Dafa Information Centre (FDI). The FDI have collected information revealing more than 8000 arrests of Falun Gong practitioners in seven months across 29 provinces, 500 of which are from Beijing.
“The Olympic Games should not be an excuse for persecution. Persecuting innocent people severely violates the Olympic spirit and tarnishes the Games,” said Ms Jin, an MBA student at the University of Missouri.
“My parents are kind-hearted people. They treat others well and are respected by colleagues and friends. When friends learned about the news, they were shocked and angry. They cannot believe good people like my father and mother are a target of the CCP's persecution.” she said in a press release.
This is not the first time her parents have been targeted, Ms Jin said. In 2001, Jin’s mother, Cao Junping, was arrested along with eight other Falun Gong practitioners. They were detained in a cold cement cell that was less than nine square meters and beaten by mobs they say were led by the town’s Party leader. The goal was to force them to renounce their practice.
When the beatings did not have the desired outcome for the the Party leader he ordered that the practitioners be tortured with electric batons and spiked clubs. After 11 days of torture, Cao lost her front teeth, the skin all over her body was burned; her legs were covered in bruises and blood. Cao was finally able to return home, but not before the police blackmailed her husband for 2000 RMB (approx. $US300, a monthly wage in that city).
Ms Jin said that although the Chinese regime promised to improve its human rights record when bidding for the Games, the situation has worsened, especially for Falun Gong practitioners. Reports from Amnesty International and other human rights groups agree.
“It is the state machine that is really producing the terror and committing the crimes,” Jin said.
In 2006, United Nations Special Rapporteur for Torture, Manfred Nowak, reported that Falun Gong practitioners account for 66 percent of victims of torture in custody. The US State Department estimates that practitioners make up at least half of the 250,000 officially recorded inmates in China’s “re-education-through labour” camps.
Ms Jin said that while the Games continue, people should not forget the suffering that millions of Falun Gong practitioners are enduring in China.