APPENDIX II: LAWS AND REGULATIONS USED TO CRACK DOWN ON FALUNGONG
This appendix provides a list of the laws and regulations most often used by the Chinese government in its effort to eradicate Falungong. Note that many of these laws were not developed to repress Falungong but are part of a broader system of social control in China.
Social Organizations Regulations
When the Ministry of Civil Affairs banned Falungong on July 22, 1999, it listed six reasons for doing so. Only one was narrowly framed, that Falungong was not registered "according to law" as stipulated in the "Regulations on the Registration and Management of Social Organizations" (hereafter Social Organizations Regulations).85 Once Falungong was declared illegal, the Ministry of Public Security was in a position to prohibit a whole series of activities that negated the rights of Falungong believers to freely associate, express their views, and manifest their beliefs.
Social organizations should abide by the Constitution, laws, regulations, and the state's policy. They are not allowed to oppose the basic principles defined by the Constitution; endanger the state's unification and safety and national unity; damage the state's interests, public interests of society, and legal rights and benefits of other organizations and citizens; [or] go against social ethics and habit.
The Regulations violate internationally recognized principles of free association by giving officials broad authority to determine what groups may and may not exist. They open the door to politically motivated crackdowns on unpopular groups or organizations disfavored by the Chinese leadership. China's use of the Regulations to ban Falungong illustrates the shortcomings. First, although there had been complaints about certain Falungong doctrines, there was no move to ban the group until after the mass rally in April 1999, when the organization suddenly acquired a political profile. Second, the claims made by the Chinese government in justifying the ban were not based on rigorous analysis of actual threats, but on unsupported allegations and innuendo.
The Assembly Law and Implementing Regulations
Chinese officials were quick to point out that the April 25 protest at Zhongnanhai, which took the city completely by surprise, was prima facie evidence of Falungong's failure to comply with Chinese law. Falungong practitioners did not attempt to obtain a permit for the April 25 protest nor did they attempt to do so for many other public actions. The fact that Falungong did not seek a permit is not difficult to explain: the law gives officials all but unbridled discretion to refuse to issue such permits and requests are routinely denied.
Chinese authorities have often cited the "PRC Regulations on Public Order Control and Punishment" (hereafter Public Order Regulations) against Falungong members. The regulations, although not part of the criminal law, provide for up to fifteen days detention and fines of up to 200 yuan (approximately U.S.$25).
C Article 19 (1) "where an act disturbs order in an organization, group, enterprise or non-profit institution to the extent that work, production, operation, medical treatment, education, or scientific research cannot operate as normal but serious losses have not been incurred";
C Article 19 (2) "where it disturbs order at a station, wharf, civil aviation center, market, bazaar, park, cinema, or opera theater, public entertainment center, sports center, exhibition hall, or other public places";
C Article 19 (5) "where it involves fabrication or distortion of facts, intentional spreading of rumors, or use of other methods to stir up or disturb public order framing and distorting facts, spreading rumors, or instigating to disrupt social order";
C Article 24 (4) "disturbing social order, endangering public interests and harming other people's physical health or swindling their money or belongings through secret sects or societies, or by means of feudalistic or superstitious customs; but the conduct does not warrant a punishment for criminal offense;
C Article 24 (6) "violating the regulations for social group registration..."
The regulations designate public security bureaus and sub-bureaus, that is the police, as both sentencing authority and collector of fines. Neither prosecutors nor courts play any role. The implications for corruption are obvious. Fines that are not paid "on the spot" or within five days incur late charges of one to five yuan a day. (The maximum comes to less than U.S.$1.) Refusal to pay a fine incurs additional punishment (Article 36). Some Falungong practitioners detained for failure to pay fines reportedly have been severely beaten and a few are said to have died.92 The regulations require that detainees pay for their own food.
The regulations provide for "appeal" (Article 39) and adjudication within five days from receipt of the petition, but, unless bail is provided, "the original sentence shall be enforced" pending the outcome.
Falungong members have been prosecuted under Criminal Law provisions relating to public order, health, fraud, assembly, organizing and utilizing cults, and "fabricating and disseminating superstitious fallacies to hoodwink people."93 Some of the same offenses may also be classified as non-criminal, thus falling within the purview of administrative procedures such as the above-mentioned Public Order Regulations or the 1992 "Detailed Regulations in the Administration of Reeducation Through Labor" (discussed in Appendix I) under which as many as 10,000 practitioners may have been sentenced to reeducation camps.
C besieging government organs and disrupting their work,
On June 11, 2001, guidance on how the Criminal Law should apply to "sects" was taken a step further with the promulgation of a document entitled "Interpretation `II' . . . on Applying Specific Laws to Handle Cases of Organizing and Utilizing Heretical Sects to Commit Crimes" (hereafter, Interpretation II). Authorities described the document as a necessary response to the self-immolation event in Tiananmen Square in January 2001 and to the Falungong tactical shift that followed.96 In essence, Interpretation II attempted to make certain, through thorough enumeration, that no Falungong activity, no matter how limited or seemingly innocuous, could escape punishment.97
State Secrets and State Security Laws
Characterizations of Falungong as organizationally cohesive and in league with hostile forces both inside and outside the country made it possible for the Chinese government to prosecute practitioners under the "PRC Law on Protecting State Secrets" and the "State Security Law of the People's Republic of China." Official reports suggest that authorities used such charges almost exclusively against Falungong practitioners with access to government documents who moved the "stolen" documents through a train of practitioners to recipients outside China. For example, in December 1999, in one of the first Falungong cases that went to trial, four top leaders, Li Chang, Wang Zhiwen, Ji Liewu, and Yao Jie, received sentences ranging between seven and eighteen years in part for possessing and leaking state secrets. According to official media, after Li discovered top secret, secret, and confidential documents related to the government's investigation of Falungong, he and the others openly disseminated the contents to practitioners as a means of inciting them to take part in a show of strength.98 In mid-June 1999, a month before the ban on Falungong, Xu Xinmu, a manager in Hebei province's Bureau of Affairs and Administration, allegedly leaked documents about the government's planned crackdown to followers in the provincial capital and published at least one of the documents on the Internet.99 Zhe Yuefan, who worked in the Leshan, Sichuan province, auditing bureau, "borrowed" a circular and twoappendices about printing and distribution of reference materials relating to Falungong. The document made its way to a Chinese-Australian who disseminated the content widely. According to a television report, "After appraisal, it was determined that the circular is a classified document."100 Many of the documents involved government plans for impending moves against Falungong.
Laws Governing Electronic and Print Media
From the beginning of the crackdown, the courts handed down harsh sentences to Falungong practitioners engaged in large-scale publishing, printing, duplicating, or distribution of the group's materials. Until June 2001, authorities relied heavily on the 1997 administrative "Regulations on Publishing Administration," which set forth draconian requirements for application, registration, submission of annual publishing plans, and which included reporting requirements for all would-be publishing industry units.104
Falungong followers have made effective use of e-mail and the Internet in sustaining their movement. The Chinese government has responded with an aggressive campaign. According to Falungong practitioners, the government closed down all its websites within China almost immediately after the April 1999 protest and installed filtering devices to block access to overseas Falungong sites. Practitioners outside China who maintained Falungong sites reported repeated cyber attacks.106 By August, 1999, the government had an anti-Falungong website up and running.107
85 "Social Organization Registration and Management Regulations," Xinhua, November 3, 1998, in "China: Regulations on Social Organizations," FBIS, November 6, 1998. The six reasons listed in the banning notice included: "not registered according to law and has engaged in illegal activities, propagated superstition and fallacies, deluded the people, incited and created disturbances, and disrupted social stability"; "Decision of the Ministry of Civil Affairs of the People's Republic of China Concerning the Banning of the Research Society of Falun Dafa," Chinese Law and Government, Volume 32, No.5 (issue titled "The Battle Between the Chinese Government and the Falun Gong," Ming Xia and Shiping Hua, eds.), September-October 1999, pp. 31-32
86 James Tong, "Behind the Falungong Facade: Organizational Structure and Finance," unpublished article, September 2000 (copy on file at Human Rights Watch).
87 "The Socialist Legal System is Sacred...," Legal Science Subgroup of the Chinese Academy of Social Science, in World News Connection, August 11, 1999.
88 "Chinese Ambassador to US: Falungong Trying to Cheat Western Public Opinion," FBIS, July 26, 2001, from Xinhua, July 26, 2001; Xinhua, "Renmin Ribao Commentator: `Falungong' Heretical Teaching Harmful...," FBIS, April 27, 2001.
89 "PRC Law on Assemblies, Parades and Demonstration," British Broadcasting Corporation Summary of World Broadcasts, November 2, 1989, from Xinhua, October 31, 1989; "Regulations for the Implementation of the Law of Assembly, Procession and Demonstration of the People's Republic of China," June 1992. Special regulations and stringent penalties are in force at some government sites.
90 "Regulations governing public offences," BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, May 18, 1999, from Xinhua, May 13, 1994; "Text of Criminal Law," FBIS, March 25, 1997, from Xinhua, March 17, 1997.
91 "China to regulate mass gatherings," BBC Worldwide Monitoring, November 24, 1999, from Xinhua, November 24, 1999.
92 Ian Johnson, "Death Trap: How One Chinese City...," Wall Street Journal, December 26, 2000.
93 "China: Four leading Falun Gong members tried and sentenced," BBC Worldwide Monitoring, December 28, 1999, from Xinhua, December 27, 1999.
94 Article 300. Whoever organizes and utilizes superstitious sects, secret societies, and evil religious organizations or sabotages the implementation of the state's laws and executive regulations by utilizing superstition is to be sentenced to not less than three years and not more than seven years of fixed-term imprisonment; when circumstances are particularly serious, to not less than seven years of fixed-term imprisonment.
Whoever organizes and utilizes superstitious sects, secret societies, and evil religious organizations or cheats others by utilizing superstition, thereby giving rise to the death of people is to be punished in accordance with the previous paragraph.
95 See Articles 300, 232, 234, 236, 266, 290, 293, 296, 103, and 105 of the Criminal Law.
96 "Responsible Persons of the Supreme People's Court and Supreme People's Procuratorate Answer Questions by a Xinhua Reporter: Correctly Apply Laws To Crack Down On the Criminal Activities of Cult Organizations," Xinhua, June 10, 2001, in "Responsible Persons of Supreme People's Court and Supreme People's Procuratorate Answer Xinhua Questions on Cracking Down On Cult Organizations," FBIS, June 13, 2001.
97 Xinhua, "Responsible Persons of the Supreme People's Court...," FBIS, June 13, 2001.
98 "Four Leading Falun Gong members tried and sentenced," BBC Worldwide Monitoring, December 28, 1999, from Xinhua, December 27, 1999; "China: Falun Gong sect accused of disclosing state secrets," BBC Worldwide Monitoring, October 27, 1999, from Xinhua, October 25, 1999.
99 "China: Radio roundup on arrest of Falun Gong members," BBC Worldwide Monitoring, November 7, 1999, from Central People's Broadcasting Station, November 7, 1999; "China Sentences Banned Sect Member to 4 Years in Prison," Dow Jones Newswires, January 4, 2000.
100 "China: Sichuan arrests Falun Gong follower for state secrets leak," BBC Worldwide Monitoring, November 4, 1999, from Sichuan Television, November 3, 1999.
101 State Security Law of the People's Republic of China, Adopted by the National People's Congress Standing Committee, February 22, 1993. See also Article 23; "Detailed Rules for Implementing the State Security Law of the PRC," Xinhua, July 12, 1994, FBIS, July 25, 1994.
102 PRC Law on Protecting State Secrets, in force as of May 1, 1989, http://www.chinaonline.com/refer/1...secure/2000/February/C00012671.asp.
103 "Implementation Measures for the PRC Law on Protecting State Secrets," promulgated by the Bureau for the Protection of State Secrets, April 25, 1990, http://www.chinaonline.com/refer/1...secure/2000/February/C00012672.asp.
104 "Regulations on Publishing Administration," Xinhua, January 14, 1997, in "China: State Issues Regulations on Publishing Industry," FBIS, January 17, 1997.
105 "PRC Supreme Court's Interpretation on Laws Concerning Cult-related Cases," FBIS, June 10, 2001, from Xinhua, June 10, 2001; Xinhua, "Responsible Persons of the Supreme People's Court...," FBIS, June 13, 2001.
106 Jonathan Dube, "China Ate My Web Site: Falun Gong Says Government Hacked Sites," ABC News.com, August 5, 1999; Oscar S. Cisneros, "ISPs Accuse China of Infowar," Wired News, http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,21030,00.html, July 30, 1999.
107 Michael Laris, "Beijing Turns the Internet On Its Enemies; Sect Members Abroad Claim State Harassment," Washington Post, August 4, 1999.
108 The October 2000 regulations can be found at "Measures for Managing Internet Information Services," Xinhua, October 1, 2000, in "China rules on Internet information services," BBC Monitoring, October 5, 2000. The December 2000 regulations, which provide in relevant part, "Article 15. IIS providers shall not produce, reproduce, release, or disseminate information with the following contents: ...(5) Information that undermines the state's policy for religions, or that preaches evil cults or feudalistic and superstitiousbeliefs..." can be found in "The Decisions of the National People's Congress Standing Committee on Safeguarding Internet Safety," Xinhua, December 28, 2000, in "China issues `Decisions' on Internet security," BBC Monitoring, January 1, 2001. The 1997 regulations, titled "Computer Information Network and Internet Security, Protection and Management Regulations," were issued by the Ministry of Public Security, December 30, 1997. See also "Telecommunications Regulations of the People's Republic of China," Article 57, effective September 25, 2000; "Freedom of Expression and the Internet in China: A Human Rights Watch Backgrounder," http://www.hrw.org/backgrounder/asia/china-bck-0701.htm, August 1, 2001.
109 Raymond Li, "Police release software to block Falun Gong Web sites," South China Morning Post, February 6, 2001.
110 Despite these efforts, Falungong has managed to maintain public websites in Asia, Europe, and North and South America, many of them linked. In Asia, for example, fifteen sites are promoted by Falungong's major electronic publication (www.falundafa.org) including sites in India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Saipan, Japan, and Korea. The U.S. list alone comes to almost seventy sites, although all may not be operable and some are mirror sites. Falungong leader, Li Hongzhi, who lives in the U.S., relies on the network to keep in close touch with his followers. Falungong also maintains internal websites which cannot be accessed by the casual surfer. Information about Falungong's e-mail network, other than the one maintained for publicity purposes, is not available. Control of e-mail traffic is no easy task and reports indicate that e-mail is still used by Falungong followers to maintain internal contact. Craig S. Smith, "Sect Clings to the Web in the Face of Beijing's Ban," New York Times, July 5, 2001; Matthew Forney, "The Breaking Point," Time Asia, June 26, 2001.
111 Human Rights Watch, "Freedom of Expression and the Internet...," August 1, 2001.
112 "Measures for Managing...," BBC Monitoring.
113 "Telecommunications Regulations of the People's Republic of China," Article 57, effective September 25, 2000.
114 Xinhua, "The Decisions of the National People's Congress...," BBC Monitoring.
115 "Computer Information Network and Internet Security...," Ministry of Public Security.
116 Lester J. Gesteland, "Internet Censored Further in China," ChinaOnline News, http://www.chinaonline/com/issues/...otected/2000/January/c00012651.asp, January 26, 2000; "State Secrets Administration for the Internet," in China Legal Change, 2000, Issue No.2, January 31, 2000, http://www.chinalegalchange.com/2000-02/02state.htm.
117 "Explanations on Certain Questions Concerning the Specific Application of Law in the Trial of Cases of Stealing, Making Secret Inquiries of or Buying State Secrets and Intelligence and Illegally Providing Gathered State Secrets and Intelligence for Units Outside the Country," in "China: Supreme People's Court on Stealing State Secrets," BBC Monitoring, January 23, 2001, from Xinhua, January 21, 2001.