Friday, August 18, 2006

PAP govt hands Falungong member to China on a silver platter

Here’s a disturbing report by TODAY…..

Case closed, Falungong member to be deported

Friday August 18, 2006

Loh Chee Kong

The prosecution has dropped its charge against a 73-year-old Falungong member yesterday, 11 days before she was due to stand trial with two others.

Instead, Mdm Chen Pei Yu, a female Chinese national, will be repatriated on Monday.

Mdm Chen and two Singaporeans, Ng Chye Huay, 41, and Erh Boon Tiong, 49, were arrested and charged after the trio unfurled a “Stop persecution of Falun Gong in China” red banner and meditated in front of the Chinese Embassy last month.

They were charged with “harassment by displaying insulting writings - with common intention” and the trial was set for Aug 28 to Sept 1.

Ng and eight other Falungong members are also facing trial for illegal assembly in a separate case.

Yesterday, when Mdm Chen heard in court that her charge would be dropped, she demanded to know if she had “flouted any law”. However, Magistrate May Mesenas stressed repeatedly that “the case is closed” and she was free to go.

Speaking to Today afterwards, Mdm Chen, who has lived in Singapore for more than two years and has been a Falungong practitioner for the past nine years, said her life “would be greatly endangered” if she is deported back to China.

Charged on July 21, Mdm Chen said she was brought back to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority on Aug 10. She said her passport and personal documents were confiscated and she was told to return to China within four days.

Mdm Chen, who has a daughter living here, said her friends found her a lawyer, Mr M Ravi, and he wrote in to extend the deadline by a week.

“I want to know why I was arrested and why my charge was dropped,” she said.

When asked, the deputy public prosecutor for the case told Today the court does not discuss such reasons.

Mr Ravi, who is representing the trio, said that Mdm Chen is a material witness for Ng and Erh, and he would ask the Courts to allow her to stay in Singapore until after the trial.

Falungong is a religious sect that has been banned in China since 1999, after it was accused of fanning unrest. It is not illegal in Singapore but several followers here have been arrested for holding illegal assemblies in which they handed out their publication, The Epoch Times.
According to a 2002 Human Rights Watch report Dangerous Meditation: China’s Campaign Against Falungong
Since 1999, Falungong practitioners have been the target of an aggressive and often violent crackdown by the Chinese government, one aspect of much broader tightening of controls on individuals and organizations whose activities China’s leaders perceive as threatening to Chinese Communist Party control. The past two years have witnessed a deterioration in civil liberties nationwide, with disparate groups-political dissidents, foreign scholars, labor organizers, religious believers worshiping outside official aegis, activists in Tibet and Xinjiang, Internet users, academics, and editors whose messages challenge the Party line, among others-facing new restrictions and abuses. The crackdown on Falungong is both symptomatic of the larger trend and significant in its own right for the vehemence with which the authorities have moved to eradicate the organization and “reeducate” its members.
And for quite sometime now, there has been news of allegations of organ harvesting of Falungong members in China. You may want to read the REPORT INTO ALLEGATIONS OF ORGAN HARVESTING OF FALUN GONG PRACTITIONERS IN CHINA by David Matas & David Kilgour.

According to the news report by TODAY, when the DPP was asked why Mdm Chen was arrested and the charges dropped later, the reply was “..the court does not discuss such reasons”. Its quite obvious the decision is not so much as judicial but political. Its a known fact that the PAP government is very close with the Chinese government. The number of trips former PM, and currently Minister Mentor, Lee Kuan Yew has made to China will give one the impression that Singapore is a part of China!! The many favourable local media reports on China add to this impression. In fact, I’ve been asked a few times whether Singapore’s in China while I was abroad for a few weeks!!

What is disturbing to me is this: Given China’s many human rights abuses, the PAP government is handing Mdm Chen over to them on a silver platter when she’s deported on Mon, Aug 21. Once over there, she could either get harassed by the authorities; or imprisoned; or even tortured and god knows what else.

Of course, the decision should not come as a surprise since Singaporeans themselves are denied their civil and political rights and pretty much live in a gilded cage within a climate of fear.

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