Chan Mi Gong: Chinese Meditation for Health

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Upon arrival at the station, the policeman told Zhang he was headed for Jinan's labor camp. However, he was refused admission to that camp's first division because he lacked the requisite medical approval from a facility outside the camp. The following day, Zhang was sent instead to the camp's second division where a prison doctor checked his physical condition. When, in reply to the doctor's query, Zhang admitted he still practiced Falungong, the doctor, not unkindly, advised him that if he did not stop "you will probably leave your body here.

Some thirty practitioners were housed at the camp; Zhang was assigned to a cell with three others and four monitors.


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Practicing, reading, and teaching Falungong were strictly prohibited. In spite of the book of rules given to each new prisoner, an old-timer let the new arrivals know that the "camp did not work without violence. As Zhang described it to Human Rights Watch, the routine the first few days was simple: wake-up at ; minute run in the yard; clean cell, hall, washroom; eat breakfast; sit on low stools in one position, no moving or talking except for bathroom and meal breaks.

Several days later, an officer announced that since they had not practiced Falungong while at the camp, and if they would promise not to in the future, they could move to the other end of the building where they would have a little more freedom. Their new quarters housed ten inmates; the prison monitors sometimes left them alone; they could talk.

It was here that Zhang heard about prison discipline. The day before, he was told, a prisoner had been badly beaten for doing Falungong exercises. Sympathetic practitioners who began a hunger strike were also beaten. Zhang saw the scars. Prisoners did no work because the facility had no production contract at the time. Every Friday each practitioner had to write a review of what he had learned. Zhang and four others wrote how good Falungong was and included appeals for review of their cases. All five were returned to the less desirable end of the building.

Zhang said he hadn't thought about the consequences. He "had to say the truthto get the Chinese government to realize they were wrong to treat Falungong people this way. Not just for himself, but for the whole movement. Within two weeks, Zhang was moved to Wangcun Labor Camp. The camp had a bad reputation and Zhang said "he was afraid he would die there. He received a very friendly and kind welcome from the director and other staff.

The food was good. Only after his release did Zhang realize the move and his treatment at Wangcun were in response to Canadian government efforts on his behalf. At Wangcun, Zhang was subjected to hour monitoring and prevented from speaking with any other inmates, though staff insisted he watch others play chess. Instead of the staff trying to convince him to give up Falungong, the director sent individuals purporting to be former Falungong practitioners to try to persuade him.

Zhang said they talked very systematically, but they "confused" him and, he acknowledged, he became agitated. He said they told him that the good people have learned what there is to learn, the rest don't deserve Falungong, therefore Falungong must be destroyed. He began to believe they were right and he had misunderstood Falungong teachings.

Prison staff encouraged Zhang to write down his new perceptions and to continue to write more and more "in the correct direction. Zhang said that sometimes, one police officer, sometimes a few officers together, sometimes the director, would ask, "aren't we treating you nicely. Zhang complied, he said, because he thought they wanted the praise on record to bolster their end-of-year bonuses. Two days before Zhang's release, the vice-Party secretary talked with him and asked-in fact, insisted-he do a painting. The following day, Zhang was escorted to the city hospital for a thorough health check.

But he was not aware of his imminent release until just before he was let go. Personnel from both labor camps with gifts in hand were there for the occasion. Zhang's painting was displayed as his reciprocal gift. A car and driver from his university took him home.


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The only conditions for his release were that he "stay home," study communist works, do his job, and be law-abiding. In less than a week, Zhang was back in Canada. Only after his release did Zhang realize what had been happening to him. Once back in Canada, he rescinded his confession and wrote to both camps to renounce what he had put in writing while in custody. Appendix I. A month after Zhang's return to Canada, Zhang Shumei, still in China, eluded surveillance, avoided detention, and escaped back to Canada.

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The family wasreunited on February Zhang Kunlun's case is an example of the abuses suffered by Falungong practitioners assigned to the middle category of the three into which the government divides followers: ordinary practitioners, so-called leading members, and "backbone elements. Zhang's successive arrests and releases demonstrate how local authorities responded to the increasingly severe instructions from Beijing and reveal something of the tensions created by differing local and central concerns. Zhang's situation also exemplifies the complications for China in dealing with an active practitioner with international connections.

His first-hand account adds to our knowledge of the inherently arbitrary sentencing practices and the coercive psychological practices associated with the non-judicial reeducation through labor system. Chinese authorities decreed that Falungong followers would receive punishment dependent on the category of offender to which they were assigned, the severity of the government's response increasing with the offender's importance to the organization.

The system is much the same as the one used against religious offenders who refuse to practice within the limits set by the state. The objective, in addition to punishment, has been to separate those identified as core leaders from their followers so as to make it easier to reintegrate rank-and-file practitioners and, where possible, "leading members" into Chinese society as conceived by the state.

To accomplish that end, the government ordered that ordinary practitioners willing to give up their Falungong beliefs were to be treated as victims. Leading members who repented and provided intelligence would also be treated leniently. The criteria for determining who fit in which category appear to have been flexible.

Dangerous Meditation: China's Campaign Against Falungong

Zhang fits the leading member category for several reasons. He was a recidivist, i. In fact, his dedication seems to have hardened with time and persecution. In addition, authorities seem to have perceivedhim as a person of some stature and influence in his scholastic community, one who could effectively rally others to the Falungong cause through his personal commitment and whose defection, if it could be arranged, might bring others in its wake.

But it does not appear as if he were a core organizer. Chinese officials made it clear that although Zhang was a Canadian citizen, because he held dual citizenship and had traveled to China on a Chinese passport, he had no rights to Canadian consular access as requested. The Canadian government, nevertheless, continued to press hard, perhaps concluding that the Chinese leadership would not want to jeopardize Canada's trade mission and would have to do more than grant consular access to Zhang.

Zhang's recantation, thus, gave Chinese officials an opportunity to showcase China's "concern" for ordinary Falungong practitioners misled by their own leadersand to illustrate the effectiveness of reeducation through labor, a non-judicial sentencing procedure, which the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and interested human rights organizations have pressed the Chinese government to abolish.

The foreign media attention to Zhang's case offered an opportunity for worldwide attention to what at least appeared to be a genuine recantation. Once home, Zhang told the rest of his story: how harshly he and others were treated in detention centers and reeducation camps; and how private Falungong practice ostensibly allowed by the authorities and limited dissemination of Falungong literature could lead to very serious trouble, particularly for someone relatively well-known, such as Zhang, who Chinese authorities might view as influential within his community.

This chapter examines the available information about Falungong practitioners detained in prisons, reeducation through labor camps, psychiatric institutions, and other incarceration facilities. It looks at the demographic characteristics of those being held; the charges, if any, against them; and the kinds of rights violations they have suffered in custody.

The analysis is necessarily provisional and far from complete. China does not allow independent monitors into prisons and reeducation camps and has made it too dangerous for family members, friends, or workmates to speak with journalists or other outsiders except under strictly controlled conditions. Almost all the information available to Human Rights Watch comes from either official Chinese government or Falungong sources, both of which obviously have a stake in releasing data that supports their respective claims. Chinese government information is designed to show the numbers of people whose lives have been destroyed by Falungong practice; Falungong seeks to demonstrate the extent of government repression.

There is no sure way of checking the information from either source, making it impossible to fully assess competing claims about the numbers of judicial sentences, reeducation through labor terms, deaths in custody, and so on. Despite this fundamental limitation and the need for extreme caution, certain tentative conclusions can be drawn. Examination of the available data yields details about who gets detained, in what kinds of facilities, what kinds of charges are brought against them, how they are treated in custody, and who the Chinese government chooses to punish most harshly.

The number of practitioners sentenced judicially is small and appears to be limited to Falungong's core leaders and large-scale publishers and distributors; the overwhelming majority have been sentenced to reeducation through labor terms, a form of administrative punishment that allows for no judicial input. A marked discrepancy exists between Falungong and Chinese explanations for deaths in custody and accounts of treatment of inmates in prisons, labor camps, and other facilities, but there is substantial evidence that torture and other abuses are common in at least some of the facilities.

As indicated above, only a small proportion of Falungong members in custody are prosecuted through the judicial system.


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Although Chinese government public relations materials have repeatedly alleged that Falungong leaders won converts through fraud, disturbed social order through public protest and rumor mongering, and compromised the health of the nation by campaigning against medical treatment, there is little evidence that more than a handful of Falungong adherentswere tried on the basis of such charges. Instead, until mid, the focus of formal judicial prosecutions appears to have been concentrated on two groups, key Falungong organizers tried for organizing and using a cult organization to disrupt the law, organizing illegal assemblies, disseminating superstitious fallacies, and leaking state secrets; and followers involved in large-scale printing, publication, and distribution of Falungong materials for use within China and in publicizing abuses to an overseas audience.

As such, the prosecutions, resulting in sentences ranging between three to eighteen years, directly violated Falungong members' basic rights to freedom of expression, belief, and association. By August , after Falungong had moved away from such activities under intense government pressure, heavy prison sentences, in the worst case up to thirteen years, were imposed on those charged with organizing the printing of leaflets and banners, using the Internet to circulate Falungong materials, or arranging meetings of practitioners.

One alleged practitioner received a life sentence for his alleged part in organizing the self-immolation incident in January As of August 20, , the Chinese government officially reported over judicial prosecutions.

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As of April 27, , Falungong sources listed named prisoners and reported that another sixty-six were serving sentences but did not identify them. A few examples follow to illustrate the kinds of cases that end up being prosecuted. August 19, ; a court in Beijing sentenced Zhang Xiongwei to thirteen years in prison in part for banding with others to print 98, leaflets and make 2, banners.

March 1, the Beijing No. December 5, Beijing No. June 14, a court in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, secretly tried Gu Linna, one of the principal organizers of a clandestine press conference held with foreign journalists in October She was sentenced to a four-year prison term presumably the same day as she was tried.

reisasipi.tk Until April 23, , when Gu aired a program favorable to Falungong, she was a reporter as well as director of a program on the economy for the Shijiazhuang People's Radio Station. January 26, Dongcheng District Court in Beijing sentenced two sisters, Li Xiaobing and Li Xiaomei, to six- and seven-year terms respectively for running an illegal business, the major location in Beijing for buying Falungong books, tapes, and related materials. Authorities claimed 1.

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