Violations of International Criminal Law in the Suppression of Falun Gong
Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 10, No. 7, July 2022
Falun Gong practitioners hold banners in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, circa 2000. Source: Falun Data Infocenter.
In July 1999, the Communist Party of China launched a nationwide campaign to eliminate Falun Gong, a spiritual practice believed to have as many as 70 million adherents. Since that time, hundreds of thousands—if not millions—of Falun Gong practitioners have been detained without due process in prisons, reeducation-through-labour camps, detention centers, and “black jails.” Torture and other high-pressure methods are used to force adherents to renounce their beliefs, sometimes resulting in deaths, while official sources and state-run media agencies depict the group as evil and openly call for its “complete eradication.”
In response to the suppression campaign, Falun Gong adherents outside China have sought to invoke the concept of universal jurisdiction to bring charges against senior Chinese leaders alleging torture, genocide, and crimes against humanity. This essay assesses the claims of genocide committed against the Falun Gong by making reference to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, and jurisprudence of international criminal tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. It argues that while some aspects of the Falun Gong case are unique—such as the potential ambiguity of the group’s religious identity—the suppression of Falun Gong would likely satisfy the convention definition of genocide. Continue reading →
Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 9, No. 9, September 2021
Destruction of Falun Gong books during the 1999 China crackdown. Wikimedia/ClearWisdom
Helen Hintjens, Ph.D.
International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague
“Genocide is a crime for which there has to be proof of a particular hostile state of mind in an individual or in a government body towards a group that qualifies under the Genocide Convention’s or the ICC Statute’s limited set of groups against whom genocide can be committed”.
Since at least 2000, at the behest of Jiang Zemin, President of the PRC from 1993 to 2003, Falun Gong have been labelled a ‘heretical (or deviated) religion’, and its members systematically persecuted through a covert ‘6-10 Office’ group of Chinese government security officers.
Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 7, No. 7, July 2019
Tianjin First Center Hospital, left, and the Oriental Organ Transplant Center, right, seen in Tianjin, 2018. Data from official records about the hospital, and admissions by medical staff, suggest it performs thousands of transplants annually. Source: Wikimedia commons.
Matthew Robertson Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation
On June 17 in London a “people’s tribunal” chaired by Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, prosecutor of Slobodan Milosevic at The Hague, issued a judgement stating that “forced organ harvesting” has taken place in China for over 20 years, and continues to this day. It concluded that practitioners of Falun Gong have been “probably the main” source of organ supply, adding that the violent persecution and medical testing of Uyghurs make it likely that they too are victims, or at least are highly vulnerable targets for organ harvesting now and in the future. The findings have been widely reported.
The tribunal has thus reaffirmed a long-standing allegation: that the Chinese security services and military, working with transplant surgeons in hospitals, use prisoners of conscience as a living organ bank — blood and tissue-typing them, entering their biometric data into databases, and killing them on demand (or removing their organs before they die, as someChinesemedical papers suggest, and as testified to by the Uyghur former surgeon Enver Tohti) for paying recipients. Transplant surgeries typically cost hundreds of thousands of yuan (or hundreds of thousands of dollars for tourists), and recipients then take immunosuppressants for the rest of their lives. Depending on the scale of the practice, this would make it a multi-billion dollar industry. Continue reading →