NEW YORK – Amnesty International issued an Urgent Action for Falun Gong practitioners at risk of torture as an entire village is threatened and coerced to retract a petition calling for their release.
"Falun Gong practitioners [Mr] Wang Xiaodong and his sister [Ms] Wang Junling have been detained, and are at risk of torture and other ill-treatment," the Urgent Action says. "They are prisoners of conscience, detained solely for the peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and association."(read Amnesty pressrelease / PDF)
In early May, Ms Wang had circulated a petition in Zhouguantun Village, Botou City, Hebei Province calling for the immediate release of her brother who had been abducted by Chinese authorities on February 25th, 2012. Mr Wang was detained and held because of his practice of Falun Gong. Nearly every household in the village, 300 in all, signed their real names to the petition, and it was stamped as authentic by members of the village committee – an unprecedented act of defiance of the Chinese Communist Party's 13-year campaign to stamp out Falun Gong.
A well placed source told Epoch Times newspaper that officials at the highest level, including members of the Politburo Standing Committee, had seen the petition and were debating its significance, with some officials urging that the Falun Gong persecution be peacefully resolved. (news)
"We urge all members of the international community to join Amnesty's call, and demand China free these Falun Gong practitioners," says Falun Dafa Information Centre executive director, Levi Browde. "This is a pivotal event in which the deeply held beliefs of so many Chinese throughout the country are revealed in the peaceful and principled appeal of these villagers. They will not stand by anymore and watch the regime brutally suppress innocent Falun Gong practitioners, and nor should we."