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kubhlai | 16.02.2002 14:21 | Repression

An 18 yr old Leeds schoolboy was finally returned home last night after disappearing in China following a Falun Gong appeal to end the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China

Falun Gong Press Release 16/02/2002


Alex Rostron, a grammar schoolboy from Leeds, has finally reached home ending many hours of anxiety for family and friends after his disappearance in mainland China.

Early in the week, Alex a small group of Falun Gong human rights campaigners from Britain to participate in a peaceful appeal in Tiananmen Square Beijing asking the Chinese government to relent on its three year long campaign of torture and repression of Falun Gong practitioners in China.

In all, five British Falun Gong practitioners booked into a hostel in readiness for a reconnoitre with western practitioners from Germany, Switzerland and several other countries scheduled to be in the Square on Thursday to make their appeal. (Chinese practitioners are no longer able to make such appeals as they are rewarded with internment, torture and often death in custody)
However on Tuesday 50 Chinese police launched a pre-emptive raid upon the hostel where the British contingent was staying. Alex, who was staying in a room on his own, witnessed the brutal arrests of his four friends -- Rosemary, Lee, Robert and Earl -- but was overlooked himself. He quickly collected his belongings and, alone, made his way to another hostel.

Whilst friends in the UK made urgent enquiries regarding the four arrested Britons, no one was clear as to Alex's fate or whereabouts, but Alex was preparing for an adventure of his own.
On the day of the scheduled appeal, he made his own way to Tiananmen Square, carrying in a rucksack a small red banner with the three Falun Gong values emblazoned on it -- "Truth, Compassion, Forbearance".

Trying to gain access to Tiananmen Square entailed body searches every five yards of the way, yet miraculously the banner was not found.

Over one hundred uniformed police were stationed in the Square in anticipation of possible attempts by Falun Gong to make an appeal for the lifting of the Chinese persecutions. An unknown but substantial number of plain-clothes officers were also clearly mingling with tourists and vigilant for any activity embarrassing to the communist administration.

Alex was unable to catch sight of anyone he could identify as Falun Gong, he was not even sure that anyone had escaped the draconian police raids on western tourist hotels over the previous days. Alex set about taking pictures like any other tourist but soon found himself being tailed by plainclothes security personnel. At length Alex asked his pursuer who he was, a question which resulted in his being thrown off the square by several plain-clothes police.

Alex then resolved to proceed to the Forbidden City with the intention of single-handedly fulfilling his mission by unfurling his banner from a high place or roof. Attempting to climb some stairs his bag was searched yet again. This time, convinced the policeman would at last discover the banner, he decided to make a run for it; he unfurled the banner and ran through the square calling out "Falun Dafa Hao!", which is Chinese for "Falun Dafa is Good!" Six pursuing police managed to run him down and tried to cover his head with his jacket to prevent him calling out, but he slipped an arm out of his jacket pulling the red banner through his coat sleeve behind him. Once again he was able to make a short run with the Truth-Compassion-Forbearance banner calling "Falun Dafa is Good!".

At length he was tackled to the ground, beaten with fists, kicked in the stomach and his neck squeezed in order to choke-off his appeals to the Chinese citizens. He was then dragged to a detention room in the wall of the Forbidden City.
Incredibly, Chinese police failed to secure the door. A few minutes later he was able to flee from the cell back into the square and once again call out "Falun Dafa Hao!" to passers-by.
Again run down he was put back in the room with 4 officers in attendance -- a fact which did not prevent his calling out his appeal through the open doorway until in desperation the Chinese police parked a large van in front of it.

After a short period he was taken to Tiananmen Square police station -- a notorious building where Chinese practitioners have in the past been tortured and in once case, it is believed, murdered.
As police tried to take his photo, Alex offered passive resistance by remaining in a meditation posture, head bowed and arms locked together; even as his hair was repeatedly grabbed to yank his head up he continued to offer peaceful resistance to his manhandling. At length a large man was called who took him behind some lockers, manhandled him violently and forced his head up for a photo. His spectacles and shoes were also taken.

After sitting peacefully for some time, police kicked his legs apart and forced him to his feet. He was bundled into a coach containing six other European Falun Gong practitioners (believed Swiss) and taken to a hotel near Beijing airport where interrogations were taking place.

He was kept alone and forced to stand for a long period of time, whilst security agents repeatedly attempted to elicit from him the names of his friends and other Falun Gong practitioners in England. At this time he was aware of at least 20 other practitioners incarcerated in the hotel.

Alex was not allowed to contact anyone else throughout his ordeal. Finally he was informed he was to be taken to the airport and placed upon a plane for Paris.
On the same flight he met a Zimbabwean also being deported to Paris for simply speaking to a known Falun Gong practitioner in the airport lounge. The Zimbabwean had been refused access to his own money and despatched to Paris with just a tiny amount of non-negotiable Chinese currency: his fate is not known. As Chinese estimates of arrests were substantially more than estimates by Falun Gong it seems likely that many innocent tourists may have been the brunt of over-zealous police action over the last few days.
Alex flew into Manchester alone at 6pm on Friday night and was later met by an anxious brother at Leeds City train station, ending many hours of anxiety for friends and family, who with the help of his local MP Fabian Hamilton and other British government personnel had been scouring the world trying to find news of Alex's fate.

Alex's support for the persecuted practitioners in China is undiminished by his frightening experiences at the hands of the Chinese State.

Contact Details:
Mary Cann (Falun Gong UK) 07985 184539
Alex Rostron (home): 0113 2656578

- e-mail:


Hide the following 5 comments


16.02.2002 16:14

I see the Falun Gong propaganda machine is in high gear.

This so-called protest is a staged provocation timed specifically to gain media attention just before Fuhrer Bush's upcoming visit to Asia and China in particular. It has nothing to do with "human rights" or any other Western lie, and is more about providing another cynical political weapon/stick to poke at China.

Worst of all, these self-righteous English Falun followers most likely have delusions they are some champions of "Freedom" or "human rights" in China--as opposed to modern day Missionaries on their very own "Civilizing Mission."

Instead of being disguised under the old style Imperialist rhetoric of the White Man's Burden, these 21st century Humanitarian Imperialists invoke propaganda about human rights, democracy, and freedom as legitimizing ideologies.

Ulimately, however, there is very little difference between citizens of the 19th-century British Raj or citizens of its modern day faded shell.

In each case, these bastards have appointed themselves as "saviors" to teach the "colored heathens" how to live and what is best for them.

Ultimately, there is nothing more self-righteous or hypocritical than this kind of British Imperialist pig with Missionary delusions in his/her head.

Like modern Christian Chrusaders, this species of Western/British missionary believes that he has a moral and political right to go to a Third World country and convert them to "our" way of life--whether the pretext is Christanity or or some capitalist pseudo-Democracy.

Indeed, if these protestors were interested in human rights, they would protest the repression and persecution which their own English-style Imperialist "democracy" engages in domestically and around the world. For example...

WSWS : News & Analysis : Europe : Britain

Britain's "anti-terror" measures--a fundamental attack on democratic rights

Statement by the Socialist Equality Party (Britain)
14 November 2001

Britain’s Labour government is seeking to rush through the most sweeping attack on democratic rights since the Second World War, on the flimsy pretext of combating terrorism.

In an unprecedented move on Monday, Home Secretary David Blunkett formally declared a national state of emergency. His rationale for doing so was to enable the government to introduce the internment of foreign nationals deemed to be a terrorist threat.

This cannot be done without suspending Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits detention without trial. Under Article 15 of the Convention, however, signatory states “may take measures derogating from its obligations under this Convention”, during times of “war or other public emergency threatening the life of the nation”.

The state of emergency is a prelude to the introduction of a raft of measures presented to parliament on Tuesday in an 80-clause Bill. According to initial reports, as well as introducing the internment of foreign nationals, the Bill also includes measures to:

* Extend the law on inciting racial hatred to include inciting “religious hatred”, with the penalty raised from two to seven years.

* Give police the power to freeze the funds of anyone under investigation, monitor bank accounts and seize assets.

* Tighten laws on inciting terrorist acts overseas.

* Oblige Internet Service Providers and mobile phone companies to keep records of emails and phone calls.

* Oblige airlines and ferry services to keep and provide records of passengers and freight.

Ministers have also suggested that the passports of British Muslims may be withdrawn if they are suspected of travelling to Afghanistan to fight with the Taliban. The Bill is to be rushed through the Commons this week, with all its parliamentary stages completed by the Christmas recess.

The sweeping character of these proposals stands in stark contrast to the scale of the supposed threat it is meant to combat. The government has dismissed concerns over the Bill’s impact on civil liberties, claiming that it will affect around just 20 individuals, and that no one else has any reason to be alarmed. Yet Blunkett has passed the legislation on the basis that the “life of the nation” is in danger.

Even before the passage of the new Bill, Britain’s anti-terrorism legislation was already amongst the most stringent in the world. The most recent legislation, passed just two years ago, provides for the illegalisation of any organisation or group of individuals who advocate the overthrow of any government in the world. However, it only allows for suspects to be held without charge for a maximum of seven days. The new Bill will allow the indefinite detention of any foreign nationals falling in this category.

The threat of terrorism is being utilised to implement measures that curtail the democratic rights of every person in Britain. The claim that the new Bill will only target 20 foreign nationals is contradicted by the threat to withdraw the passports of British subjects.

More serious still is the imposition of a state of emergency, which a government spokesman attempted to dismiss as a “formal procedure”.

It is impossible to be specific about the scope of the powers that calling a state of emergency gives the government, but they will be far reaching. It is certainly the case that the right to strike, and even demonstrate, can be curtailed. To cite another example, even habeas corpus can be suspended, meaning that any individual, not only foreign nationals could be detained without trial.

Britain does not possess a written constitution. Britons are not citizens, endowed with inalienable rights defined in law, but subjects who are granted certain privileges by the Crown as the head of state. As such, basic freedoms exist only negatively: one may do that which is not expressly legally prohibited. Once a state of emergency is declared, the government can bypass many legal restraints.

It was only in February that Britain became the last European Union (EU) member to adopt the European Convention on Human Rights, which it was claimed would redress the absence of written constitutional provisions. Yet just months later, Britain has become the first EU state to opt out of the Convention.

Neither the state of emergency nor the new Bill should be seen as short-term measures, that will be rescinded following the Taliban’s defeat or the capture of bin Laden. Both will remain in force for at least a year before they are subject to renewal. Given that government representatives have described the so-called “war on terrorism” as possibly lasting for decades—and the open discussion within ruling circles about extending the war to Iraq and other supposed sponsors of terrorism—it would be foolish to assume that the measures will be withdrawn even then.

When Britain first introduced the Prevention of Terrorism Act (Temporary Measures) in 1971, and with it internment in Northern Ireland, it was renewed every year as a matter of course. Under the PTA, hundreds of innocent people were rounded up, detained and in some cases tortured. In the intervening period, Britain secured a reputation for having the worst human rights record of any Western European nation. Most of the PTA’s provisions were incorporated into permanent legislation since Labour came to office in 1997 and do not need to be renewed annually and apply far more broadly than the Irish conflict.

As it has done repeatedly, the Blair government has taken pole position in attacking civil liberties. But such an attack is being waged in every single country. From Germany to South Africa, governments have echoed Prime Minister Blair’s claim that the war against terrorism announced by the Bush administration in the aftermath of September 11 necessitates the suspension of basic democratic rights. The actual terrorist threat to many countries is never even specified; therefore one must assume something more fundamental is at stake.

The British ruling class supports the war against terrorism because it recognises the bombing of Afghanistan as the prelude to a re-division of the oil-rich regions of Central Asia and the Middle East between the imperialist powers. It wants to stake its own claim to a share of the spoils.

This is made all the more urgent by the profound economic difficulties being experienced by British capitalism, under conditions of a deepening world recession. With many major corporations facing bankruptcy, securing vast new sources of profit such as oil and gas supplies becomes a life and death question.

History has demonstrated time and again that democratic rights are among the first casualties of war. Social relations in Britain are already tense. For the past four years, the Blair government has been waging a systematic campaign to destroy the welfare state, slash public spending and lower wages. Over the same period, millions of pounds have been spent on successive military ventures aimed at asserting British imperialism’s interests overseas.

The scope of Labour’s attack on democratic rights is dictated by the government’s fear that opposition to the destruction of living standards will merge with the growing anti-war sentiment. To this end, Labour has rubbished the concerns of civil rights groups by insisting that national security take precedence over democratic rights. The prime minister’s spokesman said, “People will object to it, but we are absolutely determined to get the balance right between human rights, which are important, and society’s right to live free from terror.” Home Secretary Blunkett added, “We could live in a world which is airy fairy, libertarian, where everybody does precisely what they like and we believe the best of everybody and then they destroy us”.

Labour’s latest measures have underscored the absence of any commitment to democratic rights inside Britain’s ruling elite. The proposals created barely a ripple in parliament, while even those newspapers critical of the measures, such as the Guardian, limited themselves to a respectful appeal for government caution. As has become customary, the trade unions are maintaining a deafening silence.

The full political implications of the absence of any significant democratic sentiment within the British establishment must be understood by all those concerned with preserving civil liberties. The responsibility for the defence of democratic rights rests entirely with the working class, which must begin to act independently of its old parties and organisations. Working people must reject all appeals to sacrifice their hard-won liberties. They have no interest in the strivings of Britain’s rulers to further enrich themselves at the expense of the world’s workers and oppressed masses. Genuine democracy, peace and prosperity can only be realised through a unified struggle of the international working class for socialism.

Dead White Missionary

brave guy

16.02.2002 16:43

whatever the movation, he is one spirited brave young man, ignore the rantings of one of the tiniest marxist groups in the world.


i've seen this before

16.02.2002 17:52

I’ve seen this before.
I was young in the 80’s. I saw all those brave and honest men in Eastern Europe who wanted to lead their country to democracy and freedom: the Sacharovs, Walesas, Havels and many more… and they succeeded. The people broke down the wall with religious enthousiasm. And they thought they would be free now, liberated from the worse on earth: a socialist society. From now on the sun would shine in this part of the world too.

Now many people in Eastern Europe live in misery. They die from starvation, from the cold; they are unemployed, factorys are closed down; they can’t pay for their houses; can’ pay for the school; can’t pay the doctor; they survive on charity; they die from maffia and civil wars and so on.
Once the people in Eastern Europe were proud with what they achieved. Now they’ve lost almost everything and their dignity.

I will not make the mistake twice.
I will not support groups like Falung Gong pretending defending human rights. After what we have seen in Eastern Europe the last thing I want for the people in China is the collapse of the socialist society: to prevend this collapse will save many lives and many human rights.
I hope the government and people of China will deal with the problem in time. Before Bush takes over.

(Excuse me if my english is not correct as I'm not a native speaker of english.)


More like a typically hypocritical Brit.

16.02.2002 17:53

Sorry to disappoint you, but I'm not Marxist.

I only found the article elsewhere cited it to point out one fundamental fact: England (or for that matter, the West) is not the champion of democracy and human rights it claims to be, and indeed practices the same repression and torture that it sheds crocodile tears about--in China or elsewhere.

This 18 year old boy is "brave" like a religious fanatic or a fool guided by Missionary zeal is "brave." If he and his Falun Followers are concerned about human rights, I wonder why he and the Falun Gong don't protest the repression their own Western "democracies" mete out at domestically and around the world--such as with your Terror War in Afghanistan or better yet, with the genocidal sanctions that England and America have enforced on Iraq the past decade.

But these are issues most freedom-loving Westerners carefully try to dismiss.

Dead White Missionary

Well said Dead White Missionary !

17.02.2002 18:25

It is about time someone spoke out against these religious imperialists bunch.Dead White Missionary I agree with you all the way and don't forget the likes of Amnesty and Human Rights watch they are fucking supporting them assholes!
As for Falun Gong I help they all burn in hell like the Crusaders that ransacked Constantonople which is now Istanbullshit!
I'm so sick of these so-called do-gooders I salute you Dead White Missionary keep it up I'm glad I'm not alone here!


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