Falun Gong is freely practiced in more than 50 countries around the world, but relentlessly persecuted in China. The peaceful courage of practitioners there has shocked their oppressors and moved the people of the world. While China continues to block all information, FGMtv brings you the stories you may not hear anywhere else.
Hello, and welcome to the weekly FGMtv news review
on August 20th, 2002
I¨m Susan Mitchell
and I¨m David Tompkins
In this week's update from China´
， The number of Falun Gong practitioners verified to have died while in detention is 452, with details of 3 deaths received this week. Reliable sources inside China put the actual death count in the thousands.
， In the last 7 days, reports of persecution have come in from 16 provinces and from Shanghai and Beijing cities, and
， 247 people solemnly declared their statements extracted under torture are null and void. They intend to continue to practice Falun Gong.
Our top story this week:
obstruction in what government and media around the world see as the end of the "one country, two systems" approach to government.
And some of our other stories:
， A Falun Dafa practitioner successfully defends herself in court and walks free
， The Canadian Broadcasting Standards Council finds CCTV propaganda unfit for Canadian TV
， Five Falun Dafa practitioners carry hope across western Russia
， In China mudslides claim the lives of 67 people
， Exposing the persecution in New York's Chinatown
， A Chinese Festival in Toronto, and
， the Bosnian Falun Dafa Web site is up and running
First, our top story:
， On August 15, Hong Kong Magistrate Symon Wong convicted 16 Falun Gong practitioners of public obstruction. Nine were convicted of the more serious charge of obstructing police, and three were convicted of assaulting police.
， They were ordered to pay fines ranging from $1,300 to $3,800 Hong Kong Dollars (or approximately $170 to $500 US dollars). Legal counsel for the practitioners are appealing the decision. The 16 include 4 Swiss and 1 New Zealand citizen.
， This is the first time that Falun Gong practitioners have been charged outside China and many believe the controversial trial and convictions signal an end to the "one country, two systems" arrangement for Hong Kong.
， What actually happened?
， In March of this year when Jiang Zemin issued an order to "shoot on sight" any Falun Gong practitioners caught hanging posters or handing out flyers in China, four Swiss practitioners decided to fly to China through Hong Kong to appeal. They were denied entry to China and so decided to remain briefly in Hong Kong to conduct a quiet hunger strike in front of the China Liaison Office. They were joined by 12 local practitioners to occupy less than 10 feet of the 30 foot sidewalk by the building, which is in a rather out-of-the way part of the city. From the photograph, you can see that there are few people around, except police.
， Staff from the China Liaison Office made several phone calls to police, asking that the appeal be stopped. Police caved in to the pressure and told the practitioners to move further away from the building.
， This police order to move a few feet away represents the heart of the problem for those who practice Falun Gong around the world: Should those who were doing the sit-in have abided by Hong Kong law, which says that what they were doing is perfectly legal? Or should they have obeyed the enforcers of Hong Kong law, who were breaking their own laws by doing what the China Liaison Office staff were asking? Opinion is split throughout the world.
， The sixteen decided to uphold Hong Kong law and remained seated. Police repeated their order and when no one moved, they surrounded and violently arrested the practitioners, injuring nine of them by using excessive force on painful acupuncture points at the base of the skull.
， Hong Kong's Ming Pao Daily newspaper reported that Hong Kong citizens should be very concerned about the outcome of this trial, because practitioners were charged with a law originally intended to prevent street hawkers and prostitutes from blocking Hong Kong's sidewalks. That law was not intended to curtail peoples' right to hold sit ins or express their views.
， Video and eyewitness evidence contradict the charges of obstruction and assault. Further, during the trial, the prosecutor did not produce a single third-party witness to any obstruction.
， Associated Press reported on August 19th that Hong Kong police and the magistrate who tried the case said the defendants' Falun Gong activities were not at issue, but local Hong Kong human rights activists and opposition politicians called the case a blatantly political prosecution to appease Beijing.
， The Falun Gong practitioners filed court papers early on August 19, asking to avoid paying the fines while they are appealing their convictions. "We did not break any laws," defendant Wang Yiu-hing told reporters. "Even if we go to jail, we're not going to pay the fines."
， Justice Department spokeswoman Winnie Wong declined comment on the defendants' request to put off paying their fines.
， In Sweden, there were activities in Stockholm, where practitioners gathered in front of the Chinese embassy, and
， In Gothemburg
， In London, England as well as gathering in front ot the embassy, a new SOS walk was started
， There were news conferences in Paris, France
， and Ottawa, Canada
， Candlelight vigils in Vienna, Austria
， and in Montreal Canada
， More gatherings at Chinese embassies in Tokyo, Japan
， and Washington DC
， while in other parts of the USA, there were more news conferences: in San Francisco
， and in Sacramento, California
， and also, A hunger strike in Bern, Switzerland
， In China today, any person found putting up banners or posters with information about Falun Dafa will be arrested. Some have been shot and murdered by police.
， Ms. Yunxiang Hao, who had been arrested for hanging Dafa banners, was brought to trial on August 6th at 2:00 p.m. in the first courtroom of Liaoning Province Jinzhou City's Linghe District Court.
， Police would not allow any Dafa practitioners to enter the courtroom, even though some held visitor's passes.
， According to a college student who was in the courtroom during the trial, Ms. Hao was very assertive, telling the court that the purpose of hanging Dafa banners was to let people know the truth, and not to be fooled by the lies. Falun Dafa is good.
， The judge accepted that her defense was logical and rational and she was released unconditionally.
On August 16 the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council decided in favor of Falun Gong regarding a complaint against TalentVision. The station had broadcast a CCTV (Chinese state television) news report defaming the spiritual practice.
， The report, aired on December 16, 2001, featured a news story on Fu Yibin, who was accused of having killed his wife and his father with a butcher knife.
， When viewing the report the Council said, "It is nothing more or less than a biased attack on Falun Gong by the producer of that news item." They went on to say that, "There are no fewer than four separate video clips of the blood-soaked apartment.￣
， The additional airings were excessive and constituted inappropriate repetition of violent footage in a news report.
， This was a typical news report that Chinese media has aired constantly to defame Falun Gong. Practitioners in China accuse the state controlled CCTV of systematically fabricating news to attack the practice, and its founder, Teacher Li Hongzhi. They say it is designed to turn public opinion against the practice.
， Canadian practitioners congratulated the Council for its foresight in preventing the CCTV from extending its persecution of Falun Gong to Canadians.
， Five Falun Dafa practitioners spread the practice over thousands of miles from the Western to the central region of Russia, through small towns and the capital city of one Russian Republic.
， They were warmly supported by TV stations, city governments, police and local Chinese. After visiting local governments and media, they went to markets where they handed out information materials and demonstrated the exercises.
， Many people were deeply touched, and some said, "This is exactly what I have searched for my entire life." The practitioners said they would return to teach the exercises.
， CNN reported that on August 14 a large landslide crashed through 10 villages about 120 miles south of the capital of Yunnan Province in China.
， The mudslide happened in the middle of the night killing 67 people.
， A county official told reporters by telephone, "We have never seen such a mudslide. One like this is very rare, it is record-making," and "There is little hope of finding any survivors," he said.
， The killer landslides are the latest blow to China, which has been battling floods that have killed more than 900 people so far this year.
Moving now to Holland:
， A Dutch-based psychiatry watchdog issued a report recently comparing China's abuse of mental health facilities to that of the former Soviet Union. Evidence of the abuse of psychiatry first emerged in China with the persecution of Falun Gong.
， In an interview GIP general secretary Robert van Voren describes the situation as a gross violation of human rights and medical ethics, he said, "It's fairly similar to what happened in the Soviet Union, people are being injected with a neuroleptics, with psychotropic drugs, they're beaten up, they're raped, they are wrapped up in wet linen and when it dries they are squeezed like an orange. That creates excruciating pain. It's punishment, it's maltreatment, it's torture."
， He went on to say, "The issue of political abuse of psychiatry came to the forefront because of the situation with the Falun Gong. When the Chinese cracked down on Falun Gong in the late 1990s, large groups of them were incarcerated in psychiatric hospitals, and that's how we found out there was actually something going on. It turns out there are much larger groups of people who wind up in psychiatric hospitals. They are labour activists, they are dissidents. There is a large group of people who have been complaining to authorities for example, for local authorities being corrupt, or roofs leaking, all kinds of minor things. And they've been sending complaint letters to the authorities, and they are perceived as being bothersome, so they just lock them up in a psychiatric hospital. It's a very commonly used way of getting rid of bothersome people."
， Finally he said, "The psychiatrists in the other two systems either believe that these people are mentally ill - like many of the Soviet scientists believed that the dissidents were ill -or know very well what they're doing and know they are using psychiatry for non-medical purposes.
， Either way, what they are doing with people in psychiatric hospitals is a form of torture and therefore it is a breach of their medical ethics and of their whole professional competence, and they should be punished for this, they should be prosecuted."
， From the tenth of August to the twelfth, Falun Dafa practitioners in New York City gathered in Confucius Plaza in the heart of Chinatown to play videos of the staged immolation incident and Falun Dafa spreading around the world on a large screen projector, and hundreds of passers-by stopped to watch.
， Local practitioners report that many people took material about Falun Dafa as they watched the videos, and many also stopped to discuss Jiang Zemin's crimes in greater depth.
， A Chinese Celebration was held on August 11th in Toronto's central Chinatown.
， Many people participated in the events, including Falun Gong practitioners, who were there to offer free calligraphy and hand-made lotus flowers.
New Bosnian Falun Dafa Web site is now online at the address on your screen.
， FGMtv is happy to announce that a Bosnian Falun Dafa Web site is now up and running.
， The language of the Web site can be understood by almost all 20 million people in the countries of the former Yugoslavia (Slovenia, Croat, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Yugoslavia and Macedonia).
， Practitioners in Europe advise that more and more people in these countries are interested in Falun Dafa, so the web page should offer them an easier way to find information about the practice itself, as well as news about the persecution, world wide peaceful appeals and other Dafa activities.
Thanks for watching FGMtv, dedicated to breaking through China's information blockade, revealing propaganda, and bringing you the truth of Falun Gong.