On the evening of September 10, fifteen practitioners of the Falun Gong meditation practice were kidnapped from their homes in Jiamusi City, Heilongjiang Province. Amnesty International has released an urgent action appeal calling for their release.
The arrests happened at two different homes. Twelve of the people kidnapped were women in their 40s to their 70s. An eight-year-old girl was also arrested.
Neighbors told NTD that police were banging on their doors for three hours before they got a master key to break in. Neighbors witnessed the Falun Gong practitioners downstairs being tied with ropes or carried on stretchers.
The homes were searched and personal property, including computers and printers, were confiscated.
The operation was carried out by a variety of security and police divisions: the Jiamusi Municipal Public Security Bureau, the Public Security Bureau, the National Security Team, and Xiangyang Public Security Sub-Bureau. Qiaonan and Jianshe police stations and Xilin Police Station were also involved.
Amnesty International’s Corinna-Barbara Francis is handling the cases.
[Corinna-Barbara Francis, Amnesty International China Researcher]:
"So far as we know, there are still 10 persons being held in Jiamusi Detention Center. It is not reasonable that they were detained just because of their beliefs, rather than for committing crimes. We call on the Chinese authorities to immediately release them.”
Locals are also speaking up against the round of suppressions. Some believe it’s intensifying ahead of the Communist Party’s 18th Party Congress.
"Now lots of people know Falun Gong practitioners are good people. It is said that the reason is related to the 18th Party Congress. A long time ago, the local authorities had arranged to do such things.”
Falun Gong has been persecuted by the Chinese regime since July 1999. Launched by former President Jiang Zemin, at least 3,599 practitioners have lost their lives to torture and abuse.
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