The Chinese state-owned oil company looking to close a record-setting takeover of Calgary-based Nexen is one of China’s most abusive employers, directing its security forces to arrest and imprison Falun Gong adherents.
Falun Gong, a traditional Chinese self-cultivation, or self-improvement practice was banned in China in 1999 after its popularity surpassed that of the Chinese Communist Party. Since then, the Party has carried out a bloody crackdown on the group.
The Epoch Times has learned of several cases of Falun Gong adherents being arrested by the security forces of the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) and its subsidiary, the Bohai Oil Corporation.
In total, the company has persecuted over 100 employees for practicing Falun Dafa, says a spokesperson for the group.
CNOOC’s sprawling operations in Tianjin on the northeast coast of China encompass daily life. The company’s Bohai operations include everything from transit to housing. There, among the thousands of workers, were many Falun Gong adherents.
In several cases, security forces for Bohai directly detained adherents, sometimes ransacking their homes or detaining them for weeks at a time. In some instances, adherents who refused to renounce Falun Dafa were fired, but more often, they were taken by company security officers to detention centres and brainwashing facilities.
In January 2001, dozens of employees were sent to brainwashing centres; those who did not renounce the practice were subsequently sent to labour camps.
In 2000, the company issued a directive that Falun Gong adherents would be paid minimum living expenses only, with some employees losing up to 100,000 yuan (C$15,000) in wages.
CNOOC’s operations elsewhere also included a crackdown on Falun Gong.
In Beijing, Feng Zhiming, a general manager of CNOOC subsidiary Sea industrial Corporation Property Management Ltd., was sent to a brainwashing facility after his supervisors tricked him by saying he was being sent on a business trip on April 9, 2010. When he arrived at Haikou City, Hainan Province, he was kidnapped to the brainwashing class.
Zhang Wensheng from CNOOC’s Tianjin subsidiary The Mining Technical Service Production Engineering Research Institute was also kidnapped to the same class, along with six others.
Party secretaries at CNOOC and its subsidiaries worked with an internal “610 Office”—a gestapo-like organization charged with eradicating Falun Gong—to trick and kidnap staff to the brainwashing centre.
CNOOC’s subsidiary CNOOC Ltd is looking to expand its presence in Canada through the purchase of Nexen. According to a former senior manager at CNOOC, CNOOC Ltd, is little more than a vehicle to attract investors.
Jeff Yang, a petroleum geologist now based in Calgary, worked for CNOOC until 1999. He said the publicly traded branch now making a play for Nexen is indistinguishable from its parent company.
Both companies share the same top leadership and CNOOC owns 64.4 percent of CNOOC Ltd. More importantly, Yang said that during his time at CNOOC, they shared the same internal workings and were inseparable.
“They are one company,” he said.
Close Links to Chinese Communist Party
Both companies are also closely linked to the Chinese Communist Party now in control of China.
Senior positions in the companies are held by senior Party secretaries and top positions are determined by the Party’s secretive Organization Department, a fact raised by NDP natural resources critic Peter Julian. CNOOC’s top official, Chairman Wang Yilin is equivalent to a vice minister within the government. He is also Party Leadership Group Secretary, the top-ranking Chinese Communist Party official at CNOOC.
The federal government is currently reviewing Nexen’s proposed takeover by CNOOC Ltd. Lucy Zhou, a spokesperson for the Falun Dafa Association of Canada, says approval should be contingent on a guarantee from the company that it will no longer fire, detain, or participate in the ongoing torture and imprisonment of Falun Gong adherents.
“The government must demand CNOOC and all its subsidiaries to stop persecuting Falun Gong before approving any takeover,” said Zhou.
CNOOC’s Tianjin branch even established an office specifically to persecute Falun Gong, said Zhou, and the Bohai Oil Corporation set up a”Falun Gong Treatment Group” or “Special Case Group” to pressure employees who practice Falun Gong to renounce the practice.
Zhou said that since 1999, the group has tracked cases of CNOOC working in tandem with the CCP to detain, brainwash, torture, and imprison adherents in forced labour camps.
“The company also hands out huge fines and fires practitioners, sometimes ransacking their homes.”
The Epoch Times has verified over a dozen cases of CNOOC employees being fired, detained, fined, having wages withheld, or being sent to prison or brainwashing centres by CNOOC’s security personnel.
NDP Raises Concerns
The NDP have opposed the Nexen takeover, largely because of the opaque nature of the federal government’s review of the takeover. The party has also raised concerns about CNOOC’s human rights and environmental record.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper said during a press conference last week that the deal is still being reviewed.
“This particular transaction raises a range of difficult policy questions, difficult and forward-looking issues, and those will all be taken into account under the act in assessing the net benefit of this investment to this country before we take a decision,” he said.
The deal is also facing scrutiny in the U.S. where Nexen holds offshore leases in the Gulf of Mexico. President Barack Obama is under pressure from some congressmen to block transfer of the leases to CNOOC for national security reasons.
The mandatory 45-day review of the $15.1 billion takeover was set to finish Oct 12 but the government extended it by a further 30 days on Thursday.
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