Gong practitioner

Kyodo News Service (Japan), Dec. 4, 2002
http://– BROKEN URL yellowbrix.com -/

TOKYO, Dec. 4 (Kyodo) — A Japanese man whose ailing Chinese-born wife remains detained in China for her activities in the Falun Gong joined practitioners and supporters of the banned spiritual movement Wednesday in appealing for international support amid Beijing’s continuing clampdown.

Atsushi Kaneko, a 46-year-old office worker from Sadogashima Island in Niigata Prefecture, appealed for help to secure access to his hospitalized wife Yoko and an end to persecution of other Falun Gong practitioners at a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan.

He was speaking alongside representatives of the Global Mission to Rescue Persecuted Falun Gong Practitioners, who said more than 100,000 of the movement’s practitioners have been sent to forced labor camps, typically without trial, since 1999 and that hundreds and possibly thousands of practitioners have died.

Kaneko’s wife Yoko, 38, on behalf of whom the human rights watchdog Amnesty International issued an appeal Friday last week, was arrested May 24 along with two Japanese while passing out fliers to passersby in Beijing appealing for an end to persecution of Falun Gong practitioners.

While the two Japanese were deported to Japan, Yoko, who has permanent residency here, was sentenced the following month to 18 months reeducation through labor.

Kaneko visited her at a labor camp in Beijing on Aug. 15, but she has since been hospitalized and her husband has been prevented by the Chinese government from seeing her again to assess her health condition.

He said that when he last visited his wife, whose Chinese name is Luo Rong, not only had she lost considerable weight and appeared weak, but she seemed to have changed mentally and had bruises, indicating she may have been tortured or ill-treated in the camp.

”I was only able to see about 15 centimeters of them, but the inner part of both of her wrists were black and blue,” he said, adding he could sense then that she would be unable to sustain her health much longer.

He said he was not allowed to speak to her directly in Japanese but only through a Chinese interpreter, while there were eight uniformed Chinese in the room, four sitting down facing him and four standing up facing her, whose expressions he could not see.

Chinese authorities restricted the topics they were able to discuss, and his wife told him she was ”comfortable” in the detention center and that life there was ”wonderful.”

”I was wondering why, if she had lost so much weight, things there were really so comfortable and wonderful,” he said.

Kaneko said he had been told he would be able to visit her again in late September, but when he submitted an application for a visa, the Chinese Embassy rejected it without giving any concrete reason, other than to say he ”should know why.”

On Oct. 17, he said, he heard from her family members that she was no longer in the camp, and it was not until Nov. 13 that he learned from Chinese authorities she had been hospitalized.

Despite having repeatedly implored the Japanese Foreign Ministry to ascertain his wife’s condition, Chinese authorities have only told Japanese Embassy officials in Beijing that she was ”fine.”

”I used to think the Chinese are a very kind and wonderful people, and that the Chinese government was likewise, but because of this incident I have been forced to change my way of thinking,” Kaneko said.

In October, Kaneko traveled to Los Cabos, Mexico to publicize his cause at a gathering there of the leaders of 21 Pacific Rim countries attending the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

Amnesty International said in its statement last week that Yoko is thought to be seriously ill, possibly suffering high blood pressure, and ”there are serious concerns that she may not receive adequate hospital care.”

Yoko’s elder sister Luo Zhen was reportedly detained Nov. 5 in Heilongjiang Province of northeastern China following her involvement in publicizing her sister’s case, and may have also been sent to a labor camp, it said.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday December 4, 2002.
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