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Artist Couple’s Happy Life Shattered by Imprisonment and Torture

He Wenting (R) and Huang Guangyu on their wedding day in 2012. (Minghui.org)

CHINA HUMAN RIGHTS

BY JOAN DELANEY, EPOCH TIMES

July 5, 2019 Updated: July 5, 2019

All Huang Guangyu and He Wenting wanted to do after they got married was hone their craft as artists and practise their faith in peace.

Huang and He married in 2012 and set up home in a village near Guangzhou College Town in southern China. He was already an accomplished painter, having graduated from the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts with a major in oil painting and going on to have his works exhibited several times.

Wenting (L) and Huang Guangyu. (Minghui.org)
Wenting (L) and Huang Guangyu. (Minghui.org)

His wife was a writer and poet, and although she hadn’t been formally trained in art, she had been painting from a young age and had studied for a time under famous painter Li Zhengtian.

They loved traditional Chinese culture and started to express it using Western oil painting techniques, all the while refining their talents.

Painting by Huang Guangyu. (Minghui.org)
Painting by Huang Guangyu. (Minghui.org)

But just two years after they married, they were sent to prison for raising awareness about the persecution campaign against Falun Gong—in particular,distributing information on how to bypass the Chinese regime’s internet blockade.

Falun Gong, also called Falun Dafa, is a Chinese spiritual discipline handed down from ancient times based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. On July 20, 1999, the Chinese Communist Party launched a brutal persecution campaign against adherents of the practice that continues today and has resulted untold suffering and death.

Painting by He Wenting. (Minghui.org)
Painting by He Wenting. (Minghui.org)

‘Everything Changed Overnight’

In December 2013, Huang and He were illegally arrested and their peaceful home ransacked. They were held in detention until the following August, when they were sentenced to a three-year prison term, shattering the young couple’s hopes and dreams.

Horrified by the situation in prison, He wanted to let the world know and began to secretly document on sheets of tissue paper the torture and humiliation she went through.

Depiction of force-feeding of a Falun Gong practitioner. (Minghui.org)
Depiction of force-feeding of a Falun Gong practitioner. (Minghui.org)

“A bright light hit the wall in front of me. Counting the days since I have been here, I felt as if I have shed many layers of skin already. Before I came here, I was in my warm, comfortable bed and had everything everyone envies: a happy marriage, an ideal job, a bright future, and I was expressing myself with my paintbrush. Everything changed overnight,” she wrote, according to Minghui.org.“How I wanted to paint again, everything I have gone through: the feeding tube, the handcuffs, the iron window, the logo on the uniform! I saw clearly the bruises on my hands, the dried blood on my lips, my bare feet, the filth in my hair… tears run down my cheeks again.”

She described how she was put in a dark cell and handcuffed and shackled, and how it was so cold she couldn’t sleep at night.

The idea for this painting by Huang Guangyu came to him in a dream. (Minghui.org)
The idea for this painting by Huang Guangyu came to him in a dream. (Minghui.org)

“The bedding was very thin. I trembled due to the cold and could not sleep. A male guard was shouting outside: ‘No quilts for the Falun Gong [practitioner] who did not reveal her name!’”

She went on a hunger strike to protest her mistreatment and was brutally force-fed. Force-feeding of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience who undertake a hunger strike is common and becomes yet another form of torture. Some practitioners have died from force-feeding, according to Minghui.

“Every morning I was tied down for force-feeding. Five to six male guards and male inmates pinned me down on the bed and pushed the feeding tube through my nose. I almost passed out because of the excruciating pain, and constantly threw up. I heard my own agonizing screams. In the past, I only read about the force-feeding torture online, now I am experiencing it myself,” she wrote.

Nothing is known about Huang’s time in prison, but it’s very likely he experienced torture and abuse as well. According to the Falun Dafa Info Center, possibly the most prominent feature of the campaign against Falun Gong has been the prevalent use ofextreme torture. Minghui notes that of the more than 3,400 confirmed deaths of Falun Gong adherents in China between 1999 and 2016, the vast majority came from torture.

When He was released in November 2016, she managed to smuggle out the sheets of tissue paper she had used as a diary. Huang was also released at that time. Little is known about their lives since then.

Rights Group Urges US to Sanction China Over Xinjiang Camps

Chinese soldiers participate in an anti-terror drill in Hami, Xinjiang region, China on July 8, 2017. (Reuters)

CHINA HUMAN RIGHTS

BY REUTERS

May 29, 2019 Updated: May 29, 2019

GENEVA—The United States, embroiled in a trade war with China, should also impose sanctions on China for detaining an estimated one million Uyghurs in its Xinjiang region, where repression has not abated, Human Rights Watch said on May 29.

The Trump administration has been weighing sanctions against Chinese officials, including Xinjiang Communist Party chief Chen Quanguo, since late last year, and though it has ramped up criticism, it has held back from imposing the measures.

China has faced growing global condemnation for setting up complexes in the remote western region that U.N. experts describe as mass detention centers holding more than one million ethnic Uyghurs and other Muslims.

“Here we have got a U.S. administration that is clearly fine with the idea of imposing serious economic sanctions, but then seems to be lagging behind on imposing them for serious human rights violations,” Sophie Richardson, China director of Human Rights Watch, told a briefing in Geneva.

A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers last month faulted the Trump administration for failing so far to impose sanctions over China’s alleged rights abuses against its Muslim minority and called for punitive measures against a senior Communist Party official and Chinese companies.

The lawmakers called on the administration to apply sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Act. This federal law allows the U.S. government to target human rights violators around the world with freezes on any U.S. assets, U.S. travel bans and prohibitions on Americans doing business with them.

“We believe that senior Xinjiang officials and national officials who are implicated in the crisis in Xinjiang should be subject to global Magnitsky sanctions,” Richardson said.

“The situation in Xinjiang is far from improving. If anything, (there is) the failure to release large numbers of people, and the desire to spin this as some sort of essential national security strategy that really is about vocational training rather than arbitrary detention,” she said.

The U.S. Senate and House are considering draft bills, variations of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, both of which enjoy “very broad bipartisan support,” she added.

Human Rights Watch published a report this month entitled “China’s Algorithms of Repression,” on a mass surveillance app used by Xinjiang police to track citizens that has led to arrests.

“One of our concerns coming out of this project really is about these oceanic data sets that the Chinese government has now gathered and how exactly they are being used,” Richardson said.

The U.S.-based activist group is lobbying the 47 member states of the U.N. Human Rights Council to hold China to account for abuses at the three-week session opening on June 24.

By Stephanie Nebehay

Anastasia Lin: a Falun Gong practitioner seeking the Miss World crown – in China

Despite claims that her father is being harassed in China over her association with the spiritual faith, Miss World Canada 2015 refuses to renounce it and her humanitarian work: ‘I feel my presence in that country would give people hope’

Under different circumstances, Anastasia Lin would be a shoo-in for Miss World. A vocal human rights activist with prominent cheekbones, the Canadian candidate for the crown is also an accomplished piano player, a Chinese calligrapher, and an actress with more than 20 credits in film and television.

But this year’s contest takes place in Lin’s native China, which poses a threat for the finalist and her family as Lin practises the spiritual faith of Falun Gong.
Tens of millions in China practice Falun Gong, which combines moral philosophy, meditation and qigong exercises, and emerged out of ideas prevalent in alternative Chinese medicine.

Falun Gong believers have been detained and killed in Chinese labour camps in their thousands, according to activists. The religion was branded an “evil cult” and outlawed in 1999, following a silent demonstration by thousands of Falun Gong practitioners outside Communist party headquarters, who were protesting attacks on its members. Since then, nearly 4,000 practitioners of Falun Gong have reportedly died as a result of detention in camps, though human rights researchers believe the number to be much higher.

lin4
Anastasia Lin

Lin, an outspoken advocate on human rights and religious persecution, had refrained from publicly disclosing her faith. But having gained a wider platform thanks to winning the Canadian crown, Lin revealed her faith practice to the Guardian, hoping it would help stop the demonization of the Falun Gong faith and give voice to other Chinese people who are persecuted for their beliefs.
“If I don’t, the oppression will never stop,” Lin said.
Though she has kept her faith out of the public eye, she has been anoutspoken advocate for other minority religious groups persecuted in China, such as Muslim Uighurs, Tibetan Buddhists and Christians.
But it is for her outspoken advocacy work that she says the Chinese ministry of state security is trying to silence her by intimidating her father.
Lin has set foot in China only once since moving to Canada in 2003, but she says her father, who still lives in Hunan province, has been visited by security agents at least once. According to Lin, he is not affiliated with Falun Gong or any religious group.
Just a few days after winning the Miss World Canada crown on 16 May, Lin began receiving text messages from her father asking her to stop her advocacy work. She had highlighted her human rights work in a video and speech at the pageant.

“Do you know the security forces actually came to see me,” Lin said, recounting a text from her father. She said he warned her that if she continued to do her human rights work, she would risked turning her family against each other. “When I asked him more details, he just pleaded that I allow him to live peacefully by not bringing up rights abuses in China again.”

Since then, his business has suffered. “Now people are too scared to be associated with him,” said Lin, who has featured in Canadian films critical of the Chinese regime since the age of 18.
She doesn’t know if agents have visited him again as she said he refuses to talk about it during their brief phone calls. “Nowadays, he always mentions how great the Chinese president is,” she adds. “I think he believes that his phone is being tapped.”

Lin’s case is a classic example of how Xi Jinping’s regime tries to bring Chinese expatriates to heel through the harassment of loved ones left behind, explains Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch. “Chinese activists’ parents and siblings are sometimes prosecuted on false allegations while others simply disappear. It amounts to psychological torture,” Richardson said.
But Lin continued her activist work, by writing a Washington Post op-ed in June and by testifying to the US Congress in July about religious persecution in China.

By coming out now as a practitioner of Falun Gong, Lin has become its highest-profile follower in the western hemisphere.
“It’s not an organised religion,” she said. “The teachings – established by qigong master Li Hongzi in 1992 – are about finding our authentic self. And this is what I’m trying to do by speaking up. If I don’t, the oppression will never stop.”

Lin’s experience comes amid harsher treatments of religious minorities and human rights lawyers, explains Sophie Richardson. “The Chinese state has become increasingly paranoid and authoritarian since Xi Jinping took power in 2013,” she says. Chinese Christians have been a notable target of late. Authorities have removed crosses from more than 1,200 churches since early 2014 and the country’s security forces this week launched a roundup of church activists who oppose the crosses’ removals.
Lin has also felt ostracised by segments of the Canadian Chinese community, despite her Miss World Canada win and the backing of the Canadian government for her activism. She said she stopped being invited to events by community leaders tied to the Chinese embassy and consulate since her crowning. And to those community events that she is invited to, she is “monitored” by the Chinese consulate.
“They send officials to all social events,” says the actress, who also believes that her phone is tapped.

Whether China will allow her to compete in the Miss World final in Sanya, on Hainan Island, is uncertain, as many Falun Gong practitioners have been denied entry to the country in recent years.
“My aim is not to put an anti-China slogan on the stage,” she insists. “After all, it’s a beauty pageant. But I feel that my presence in that country alone would give people hope. The regime would show itself worthy of hosting the [2022 winter Olympic] Games by allowing me to enter China freely.”