Sat, Jul 14, 2012 - Page 1 News List

Amnesty calls on members to plead for Chung’s release

FREEDOM OF RELIGION:A Falun Gong practitioner and human rights lawyer said the Ma government had ignored rights issues during cross-strait talks

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff Reporter

Chung Kuang-jen, center, the brother of Taiwanese Falun Gong practitioner Bruce Chung, talks during a press conference yesterday in which they urged the public to help them find Bruce Chung, who was arrested in China last month and whose condition and whereabouts remain unknown.

Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times

Amnesty International is calling for urgent action from its members worldwide to rescue a Taiwanese Falun Gong practitioner, Bruce Chung (鍾鼎邦), who was arrested in China last month and whose condition and whereabouts remain unknown.

“Amnesty International headquarters in London has officially issued a statement calling on its over 150 sections and more than 3 million members around the world to take action to urge China to release Chung,” Amnesty International Taiwan secretary-general Yang Tsung-li (楊宗澧) told a news conference at the Legislative Yuan yesterday. “This is not the first time that China has engaged in acts violating the human rights of Taiwanese. Human rights issues must be discussed in cross-strait talks.”

Amnesty International has asked its members to write letters in English, Chinese, or their native languages to Chinese officials, urging Chinese authorities to clarify the charges against Chung and “to release him unless he is charged with an internationally recognizable criminal offense,” the statement said.

The human rights organization also called on Chinese authorities to guarantee that Chung is not “tortured or otherwise ill-treated” in custody, and grant him “access to lawyers, his family and medical attention” as required.

Chung frequently travels to China to visit his relatives in Jiangxi Province.

However, during his last visit to China, he was arrested by authorities at Ganzhou Airport when he was about to return to Taiwan on June 18.

“This is not a legal case; it’s a political case. It’s repression of the freedoms of religion and of expression,” said Theresa Chu (朱婉琪), a Falun Gong practitioner and a rights attorney. “If we remain silent, then we’re encouraging evil.”

“If we don’t do something, any one of you could be the next Chung Ting-pang [Bruce Chung] when you travel to China,” she added.

Chu also accused the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of ignoring human rights issues in cross-strait negotiations.

“We’re now in the dark age of human rights, because the current government is not very concerned about democracy and human rights,” she said. “When the freedom of religion that Taiwan’s 23 million people enjoy in their own country is violated in China, our government is so weak that it does not dare say anything,” she said.

Chu said she and Chung’s family in Taiwan tried to seek help from the Ministry of Justice and the Mainland Affairs Council, “but they said that according to the cross-strait agreement on crime-fighting, they can only keep in touch with the police. Since Chung is in the hands of [China’s] National Security Bureau, they cannot do anything about it.”

Besides attempting rescue efforts in China, some of Chung’s family members are in the US, trying to seek help from members of the US Congress.

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