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16 April 2006

U.S. Finds No Evidence of Alleged Concentration Camp in China

Repression of Falun Gong, reports of organ harvesting still worry officials

 

U.S. representatives have found no evidence to support allegations that a site in northeast China has been used as a concentration camp to jail Falun Gong practitioners and harvest their organs, according to the U.S. Department of State.

Officers and staff from the U.S. embassy in Beijing and the U.S. consulate in Shenyang have visited the area and the specific site on two separate occasions, the State Department said in a written response to a question taken at the April 14 daily press briefing.

"In these visits the officers were allowed to tour the entire facility and grounds and found no evidence that the site is being used for any function other than as a normal public hospital," the response said.

Independent of these specific allegations, the United States remains concerned over China’s repression of Falun Gong practitioners and by reports of organ harvesting, the State Department said.  The United States has raised both issues in its discussions with the Chinese government and in its annual report on human rights practices around the world. (See related article.)

According to the State Department's International Religious Freedom Report for 2005, Falun Gong blends aspects of Taoism, Buddhism and the meditation techniques and physical exercises of qigong -- a traditional Chinese exercise discipline -- with the teachings of Falun Gong leader Li Hongzhi. Despite the spiritual content of some of Li's teachings, Falun Gong does not consider itself a religion and has no clergy or places of worship.

For more information on U.S. policies, see The United States and China.

The China section of the State Department's 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices and the China section of the State Department's International Religious Freedom Report for 2005 are available on the State Department Web site.

Following is the State Department response to the taken question:

(begin text)

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
April 14, 2006

Taken Question from 04-14-06 Daily Press Briefing

China:  Reports of Concentration Camp in Northeast China

Question:  What information can you provide regarding a reported concentration camp in China where Falun Gong practitioners were jailed and their organs harvested?

Answer:  We are aware of the allegations and have taken these charges seriously. The Department and our Embassy in Beijing, as well as our Consulate General in Shenyang, have actively sought to determine the facts of the matter.  Officers and staff from our Embassy in Beijing and Consulate in Shenyang have visited the area and the specific site mentioned in these reports on two separate occasions.   In these visits the officers were allowed to tour the entire facility and grounds and found no evidence that the site is being used for any function other than as a normal public hospital.

We have raised these reports with the Chinese government and urged it to investigate these allegations.  China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson has publicly denied there is any basis for the allegations.

Independent of these specific allegations, we remain concerned over China’s repression of Falun Gong practitioners.  We are also concerned by reports of organ harvesting.  We have raised these concerns both in our annual Human Rights Report and in discussions with the Chinese government, both in Washington and in Beijing.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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