China releases Taiwanese Falun Gong follower

Taipei, 28 October: A Taiwanese Falun Gong follower who was detained by mainland Chinese authorities during a recent visit to Shanghai had been released and has returned home, the Taiwan Falun Dafa Association (TFDA) said Tuesday [28 October].

“Lin Hsiao-kai returned to his home in the central county of Changhua Monday evening,” TFDA President Chang Ching-hsi told local reporters. Chang said Lin was haggard due to gruelling questioning by mainland law enforcement officers during his detention in Shanghai. “Lin will brief the press on his ordeal after he has recovered from his nightmare,” Chang said.

Lin left for Shanghai 30 September to do some sightseeing and visit friends. His family in Taiwan lost contact with him 7 October and his wife called a news conference at the Legislative Yuan 21 October, pleading for help in rescuing her husband and urging the mainland authorities to release Lin immediately. Her appeal drew concern from lawmakers and local human rights activists.

According to Chang, Lin was not tortured but was subjected to long hours of repeated questioning in an incident that Chang said epitomizes mainland China’s attitude towards human rights. Falun Gong is outlawed by the mainland authorities, who consider it to be a dangerous cult, but it is a legal social or quasi-religious organization in Taiwan, where its adherents number more than 300,000.

Chang said the mainland’s inhumane treatment of Lin and many other Falun Gong followers only serves to further alienate the people of Taiwan. Noting that freedoms of assembly and association are basic human rights, Chang said the mainland’s brutal suppression of Falun Gong followers has tarnished its international image.

Meanwhile, Chang and 19 other TFDA members launched an islandwide bicycle journey Tuesday to enlist public support for a campaign to push the mainland authorities to release some 20 mainland-born TFDA members who have been detained during visits to their mainland hometowns. “It seems to me that the mainland authorities especially like to arrest female mainland-born Falun Gong followers who have married Taiwan men,” Chang said.

At least one of them has obtained Taiwan citizenship, but she is still in jail on the mainland because she is a Falun Gong member, Chang said. In another case, a mainland wife of a Taiwanese Falun Gong follower was arrested in September 1998 when she returned to her parents’ home in Jinlin in northeastern China. After serving a two-year prison term, she was released on parole, but the mainland authorities still will not allow her to be reunited with her husband in Taiwan. The 20 TFDA members will cycle around the island to seek the signatures of local people in support of their campaign.

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