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Woman Abducted by Chinese Police Returns to Japan
TOKYO - Chinese born Luo Rong, whose Japanese name is Yoko Kaneko, was released from a Chinese labor camp late last month after more than 18 months of imprisonment. She arrived in Tokyo at Narita airport on November 27th, to her waiting Japanese husband and friends.
“I want to give thanks for the cooperation of the Japanese government, the Japanese embassy (in Beijing) and the politicians,” Kaneko said at a news conference through an interpreter to a reporter from the Japan Times.
Kaneko was being held in a female labor re-education camp in Daxing County, Beijing. She was abducted by police while distributing flyers about Falun Gong, a meditation practice rooted in Chinese tradition that has been persecuted in Mainland China since mid-1999.
On May 24th, 2002, Kaneko, a Japanese citizen, was arrested with two friends by Beijing police while distributing flyers in Beijing about Falun Gong.
Kaneko’s friends, both Japanese born, were deported to Japan within two days of being arrested while Kaneko was held and sentenced to 18 months in Chinese labor camp. While in the custody of Chinese authorities, she was apparently both physically and mentally tortured.
Despite already chilly diplomatic and economic relations between China and Japan, Japanese government and citizens were extremely vocal in calling for Kaneko’s early release. The support included a coalition of more than 270 Japanese diet members advocating for the woman’s case, and a national petition that was signed by more than 134,000 concerned citizens.
As reports of Kaneko being abused by Chinese authorities surfaced periodically during her detainment, members of the human rights community added their voice to the call for her release. Amnesty International, out of high concern for Kaneko’s situation and condition, listed her as a “prisoner of conscience.”
Kaneko, 39, has now returned to her home in Sato, Japan, a small island in the North of Japan with her husband, Atsushi Kaneko.
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