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WPA puts China mission on hold
Nathea Lee

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The World Psychiatric Association (WPA) announced it has postponed until further notice its fact-finding mission to China. The group originally planned an April 4 investigation into allegations of psychiatric abuse of healthy Falun Gong practitioners. They say Chinese authorities have not honored conditions they agreed to in January.

As The Epoch Times reported on March 31st, WPA President Dr. Ahmed Okasha canceled the April 4 tour after receiving a letter from the President of the Chinese Psychiatric Association (CSP). Dr. Okasha did not reveal the contents of the letter, except to say that he had no choice but to cancel the delegation’s visit until such time as the CSP and Chinese authorities agree to abide by the conditions set by the WPA for this mission.

Friends of Falun Gong USA (FoFG), a human rights group that has been working with the WPA to bring the allegations to light, is recommending that this mission be resumed at the earliest possible date or that the CSP be expelled from the world body.

“We further suggest that a Chinese-speaking American be included in the delegation rather than relying on Chinese-government translators who might misrepresent prospective Falun Gong witnesses,” FoFG Executive Director Alan Adler said in a statement.

Former Chinese president Jiang Zemin outlawed the Falun Gong meditation movement in July 1999. The group's supporters say he then launched “a massive propaganda campaign used to discredit Falun Gong, turn public opinion against practitioners, and justify the severity of the government's punitive actions.”

“Part of the propaganda claims that Falun Gong practitioners are psychotic, homicidal, and suicidal. The state-owned media publish actual cases of homicides and suicides and attribute them to Falun Gong,” Adler said.

“There are first-person testimonies of non-mentally ill Falun Gong practitioners being illegally placed in psychiatric facilities (including psychiatric hospitals) where they are administered electric shocks, and high doses of psychotropic drugs that cause slurred speech, paralysis, and even death,” he continued.

The WPA will be holding meetings this weekend in New York. They are expected to take up the issue of China’s treatment of Falun Gong.

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