China is in “a league of its own when it comes to human rights violations,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said when he presented the State Department’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices on March 13, 2019.
The report documents violations in nearly 200 countries and territories; 120 pages were about China. The persecution of Falun Gong was mentioned six times.
The report identified the issue of forced organ harvesting in China, about which the House of Representatives unanimously passed Resolution 343 in June 2016, “Expressing concern regarding persistent and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from non-consenting prisoners of conscience in the People’s Republic of China, including from large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners and members of other religious and ethnic minority groups.”
According to the report, “Some activists and organizations continue to accuse the government of involuntarily harvesting organs from prisoners of conscience, especially members of Falun Gong.”
Two Falun Gong practitioners, Bian Lichao and Ma Zhenyu who are currently imprisoned in China, were mentioned in the report.
Bian Lichao is an award-winning teacher at the 10th High School in Kailuan, Tangshan City, Hebei Province. She was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment in 2012. Ma Zhenyu was an engineer at the 14th Research Institute of the China Electronics Technology Group. He was sentenced to three years of imprisonment by the Nanjing Intermediate Court in 2018.
The report lists several serious human rights abuses in China, including those carried out by the government: “arbitrary or unlawful killings by the government; forced disappearances by the government; torture by the government; arbitrary detention by the government; harsh and life-threatening prison and detention conditions; political prisoners,” and many others.
The report also detailed how practitioners of Falun Gong have been victims of “systematic torture in custody” by the Chinese Communist Party.
The report points out that political activists and religious believers, including Falun Gong practitioners, have been detained at addiction treatment centers; the longest detention was two years.
It was also reported that some lawyers who help political activists and spiritual followers were deprived of their professional licenses. Some of them were detained, harassed, threatened, or banned from meeting with their clients. A few lawyers who have helped Falun Gong practitioners have even disappeared. It is believed that they have been secretly imprisoned. One example is Gao Zhisheng, who hasn’t been seen since August 2017.
The State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor publishes the human rights report every year. This year is the 43rd.