Foreign Embassies in China Should Reach Out to Prisoners of Conscience: Rights Group

The organization asked the UNHRC to ‘publicly condemn’ China’s persecution of Falun Gong practitioners.
Foreign Embassies in China Should Reach Out to Prisoners of Conscience: Rights Group
Falun Gong adherents take part in a candlelight vigil in memory of Falun Gong practitioners who passed away due to the Chinese Communist Party’s 24 years of persecution, at the National Mall in Washington on July 20, 2023. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)
Frank Fang
Eva Fu

Diplomats stationed at the embassies of U.N. member states in China should visit the communist regime’s prisoners of conscience, particularly Falun Gong adherents, a Germany-based rights organization says.

The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) submitted a written statement to the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) late last month, ahead of the start of the U.N. body’s 55th regular session, which began on Feb. 26 and is scheduled to end on April 5. The statement focused on the Chinese regime’s ongoing persecution of Falun Gong practitioners and concerns already expressed by governments and the European Parliament.

The organization asked the UNHRC to publicly condemn the persecution of Falun Gong and to urge the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to end its persecution of all prisoners of conscience, including Tibetans, Uyghurs, and human rights activists.

It also called on the embassies to assist in the investigation of the Chinese regime’s practice of forced organ harvesting against prisoners of conscience.

The organization pointed out that ever since the CCP came to power in 1949, the Party “has sought to control the thoughts of the Chinese people, carrying out campaign after campaign to stamp out ideological diversity.”

Given its desire for ideological control, the CCP began targeting Falun Gong adherents for eradication in July 1999, STP wrote, despite that the spiritual practice focuses on “improving the character of the individual rather than advocating for societal changes.”

STP explained the need for the UNHRC to take immediate action, given that the human rights atrocities Falun Gong practitioners face “have continued unabated” to this day.

“In 2023, the number of Falun Gong practitioner deaths documented by Falun Gong sources surpassed 5,000, yet this number is believed to be only the tip of the iceberg,” STP wrote. “A coordinated, global response to China’s campaign against Falun Gong practitioners is long overdue.”

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual discipline that encourages its adherents to live by the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. By 1999, the practice had become enormously popular in China, with 70 million to 100 million people having taken up the practice, according to official estimates.

Then-CCP leader Jiang Zemin launched the persecution in July of that year, issuing an order that CCP officials have followed since: “Ruin their reputations, bankrupt them financially, and destroy them physically.”

Widespread Persecution

Since then, the CCP has forcibly sent hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners to detention centers, prisons, psychiatric wards, and other facilities, subjecting them to forced labor, torture, brainwashing, and other inhuman treatment. Many have become victims of forced organ harvesting, treated as a living “organ bank” that allows Chinese hospitals to offer short waiting times for matching organs to patients.

STP identified one Falun Gong practitioner currently incarcerated in China—Ding Yuande—and said the UNHRC should call for his “immediate and unconditional release.”

Mr. Ding, a tea farmer, was arrested with his wife and at least 70 other Falun Gong adherents in China’s Shandong Province in May 2023. He was sentenced to three years in December for his faith.
In January, the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling for the release of Mr. Ding and all Falun Gong practitioners in China. The resolution also urged the European Union and its member states to impose sanctions against perpetrators of organ transplant abuses in China.
“This resolution is vitally important because it not only clearly articulates the horrors of the Chinese Communist Party’s brutal campaign against Falun Gong, but it also calls for decisive measures to investigate these atrocities and punish the perpetrators,” Falun Dafa Information Center spokesperson Zhang Erping said in a statement on Jan. 19.

“And it does all of this in defiance of the CCP’s political coercion and attempts to spread disinformation about Falun Gong.”

Mr. Ding’s son, Ding Lebin, who currently lives in Berlin, told The Epoch Times on March 1 that he hopes U.N. Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk and the UNHRC will speak out against the CCP’s crimes, following the European Parliament’s lead.

“The CCP has been trying to cover up and whitewash its crimes against humanity—large-scale forced organ harvesting against Falun Gong practitioners—via the U.N. Human Rights Council,” the younger Mr. Ding said.

“Western democratic countries now clearly see that the very existence of the CCP is a great threat to humanity, freedom, and the rule of law.”

Earlier this year, several UNHRC members, including China, underwent a peer review process called the universal periodic review. According to STP, the Chinese regime “did not mention its persecution of Falun Gong and continued to whitewash its abuses against Uyghurs and Tibetans as legitimate means for countering terrorism or maintaining political stability” in the report it submitted for review.

STP also recommends in its statement that the UNHRC “publicly condemn organ transplant abuses in China, appoint a Special Rapporteur on forced organ harvesting of living prisoners of conscience in China, and establish an international criminal tribunal for forced organ harvesting in China.”