|United States Senate |
Washington, DC 20510
August 6, 1999
President of the People~s Republic of China
Dear Mr. President:
As members of the United States Senate, we are deeply concerned about the official banning of Falun Gongand the arbitrary detention of some of its organizers and followers. Whilewe do not necessarilly endorse this group or its beliefs, we firmly supportthe fundamental human rights enumerated by the Chinese constitution andthe international norms of freedom of belief, expression, and assembly.
We therefore urge the immediate releaseof those detained and trust that none of them will be charged and triedfor the peaceful expression of their beliefs.
There have also been disturbing reportsof beatings and other mistreatment of Falun Gong practitioners who wererecently detained in cities across China, many of whom have since beenreleased. We urge the Chinese government to thoroughly investigate thesereports.
We are also concerned about the decreethat the Ministry of Public Security issued on July 22, declaring a widerange of activities illegal and subject to prosecution, including distributionof Falun
Gong materials, gatherings or silent sit-ins, marches or demonstrations,or other activities to promote Falun Gong. This decree seems to contradictthe promises China made to protect basic human rights when it signed theInternational Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in October 1998.
China took positive steps by inviting the U.N.Special Rapporteur on Religious Intolerance to visit China in 1994, anda high-Ievel U .S. religious delegation to visit China and Tibet last March.However, these recent actions call into question China~s willingness toaccede to international norms by protecting rights of religious belief,freely and peacefully expressed.
A reversal of this ban and the release of thosedetained will help to improve the American public~s view of China, as wellas U.S.- China relations, and it will certainly help to enhance China~simage in the international community. We hope that the Chinese governmentcan take these affirmative steps.
We appreciate your attention to this matter.
17 senator~s signatures.