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Beijing Pressures Thai Police to Arrest Falun Gong UN Refugees

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BANGKOK (FDI)—Three men, two women, and three of their children aged 5, 6 and 14—all Chinese refugees with United Nations refugee protection documents—were detained today while meditating across from the Chinese embassy in Bangkok. The adults were formally charged. Apart from a 14-year-old girl who was released, they are currently being held at the Bangkok immigration detention center.

Wikorn Jarupruch, a Thai immigration investigator who interviewed the practitioners in detention, told practitioners that it was the Chinese embassy that directed the police to stop the protests.

The eight were among more than a dozen Falun Gong practitioners who had returned this morning to the sidewalk opposite the Chinese embassy. They have been protesting there daily since December 6, highlighting a Chinese policeman’s double rape of female Falun Gong practitioners, and the six-year persecution of Falun Gong in general.

Over the last few days, Thai police have been searching practitioners and removing their banners (news). In one incident, Thai policemen were seen going in and out of the Chinese embassy before crossing the street to stop the practitioners’ quiet protest.

On December 14 practitioners met with Thai police. For three hours they discussed why exposing the persecution of Falun Gong in China and the other abhorrent crimes of the Chinese Communist Party was so important to them. The officials appeared to understand and sympathized with the victims of such injustice.

However, shortly after 11 in the morning Thursday, approximately 20 Thai policemen approached the practitioners. Some were picked up with their legs still in the crossed-legged meditating position.

The official reason for arresting the five adults, given by officer Pithipan Krisdakorn, was that they failed to show proper evidence of legal entry into Thailand. But like many refugees, the arrested practitioners do not have passports and instead have official letters of protection status from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office.

Among those forcibly arrested were Huang Guohua and his daughter Kaixin, 5. Kaixin’s mother, Luo Zhixiang, had been killed in Chinese custody while three months pregnant in 2002. Kaixin had been living with her grandparents in China until last December when she was reunited with her father in Bangkok. He had fled to Thailand earlier after having been arrested and tortured in China himself.

Some of the detained practitioners are hunger striking in protest of their detention.

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