Sun, Sep 25, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Falun Gong group gives update on lawsuit against HK

BY JEAN LIN  /  STAFF REPORTER

Four representatives of the Taiwan Falun Dafa Institute, who are suing the Hong Kong government for the forced repatriation of 80 Taiwanese Falun Gong practitioners two years ago, gave a progress report on their case yesterday, one day after their return to Taiwan.

The four were among the 80 practitioners repatriated in February 2003 after going to Hong Kong to attend a Falun Gong activity.

The 80 practitioners were taken into custody at the Hong Kong airport and some were victims of police violence, according to Chang Chin-hua (張錦華), representative of the Taiwan Falun Dafa Institute.

One of the plaintiffs, lawyer Theresa Chu (朱婉琪), said that there was no legitimate reason for the repatriation.

"Repatriating us because we are Falun Gong practitioners is a violation of religious freedom and human rights," Chu said. "We all had the correct visas and none had criminal records. The repatriation was illegal."

The four plaintiffs were again detained at Hong Kong's airport as they arrived for their court appearance and were forbidden to leave, because of what the the Hong Kong Immigration Department called "security reasons."

"The Hong Kong government's action, in repatriating Falun Gong practitioners with no criminal records under mere assertions of security, is purely irrational," Chu said.

The group's Hong Kong lawyer, Paul Harris pointed out the illegal action of the Immigration Department and demanded the reasons for the listing of the four plaintiffs on the territory's "Immigration Watchlist."

"The Chinese government is suppressing human rights in both Taiwan and Hong Kong by not allowing Falun Gong practitioners to enter the country," Chu said. "The Hong Kong government should respect the judiciary and not give in to suppression."

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