Monday, August 01, 2005

Tibetans Among Those Watched Closely by PRC

Dharamshala, Saturday, July 23, 2005 (Phayul) - A former Chinese diplomat revealed that Tibetan 'separatists' counted amongst what the government of the People's Republic of China described as the "five poisonous group."

Chen Yonglin, a first secretary at the Chinese consulate-general in Sydney who defected last May, was testifying before American lawmakers Thursday on ways Beijing uses its missions abroad to wage what he called a "war" against target groups, primarily members of the Falun Gong meditation movement.

The Falun Gong practitioners, Taiwan pro-independence force, Uighur separatists, and pro-democracy activists were the other factions of the group. Chen produced a document dated 1999 complaining about protests and agitations staged by the "five poisonous group" during then-President Jiang Zemin's Australia visit.

"According to records made available, staff at the consulate allegedly were tasked to produce anti-Falun Gong propaganda and disseminate it to government departments, non-governmental organizations, libraries and schools", a CNS News report quoted Chen as saying.

Meanwhile, sources say that there are substantial number of PRC spies in Nepal and India. Dhondup, (name changed on request) a Tibetan college graduate who had been to Tibet last year told Phayul that there were several PRC informants at Dram, a tiny border town between Nepal and Tibet. "They knew a lot about the exile Tibetan community", a surprised Dhondup describes his experience at the office where he was required to register his arrival in Lhasa.

Chen told the lawmakers that the People's Republic of China maintains a network of more than a thousand "secret agents and informants" in Australia and even a higher number in the United States.

Chen added that at least one official was placed in charge of Falun Gong affairs in each Chinese mission abroad, with the head and deputy head of mission held responsible. At his mission, regular meetings were held to discuss tasks and strategies against Falun Gong which is viewed as "cult" by the PRC government, he noted.

A human rights report cited by subcommittee chairman Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) referred to hundreds, perhaps thousands dead as a result of torture, tens of thousands jailed without trial, held in labor camps, prisons and mental hospitals in China.

Principal deputy assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor Gretchen Birkle who participed in Thursday's hearing reported that "cult" members convicted of disrupting public order or distribution publications could be jailed for three to seven years, while leaders and recruiters could face sentences of more than seven years.