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 Whistleblowers Need Protection


Statement of Mr. Lizhi He
Former Prisoner of Conscience

By Lizhi He
August 01, 2008

This week the world media broke the news that the Chinese regime blocks the websites including the Falun Gong websites during the 2008 Olympics. As a matter of fact the blocking of all Falun Gong websites, all information relating Falun Gong has been effective for the past 9 years since the persecution stated in July 1999. People may ask why?

It was simply because the regime is afraid of truth, truth about the persecution of innocent people and truth about the benefits of the practice, being revealed. As documented by Amnesty International in 2000, the persecution has been feud by high pressure propaganda, brainwashing, and torture, out of which the hate propaganda and defamation is the key to turn people's opinion against Falun Gong.

I myself had been imprisoned in China for 3.5 years simply for downloading information from a Falun Gong website and send the information to my friends and colleagues. At the time I was a senior engineer with the Ministry of Construction of China. I practice Falun Gong because of its principle of Truth-Compassion-Forbearance, and its 5 sets of gentle exercises.

In the July of 2000, I was abducted by the State Security Agents, and then put to prison for 3.5 years after a show trial. What's my crime then? It was simply because I downloaded 5 articles from the officially blocked Falun Gong website via proxy server, got printed and mailed to my friends and colleagues. What were those articles about? I still remember some of the subject titles: The facts about Falun Gong; Falun Gong is spreading worldwide; Persecution of Falun Gong is a gross violation to the human rights of Falun Gong practitioners.

By those articles, my intention was to let my friends know the truth so that they would not be misled by the hate propaganda of state media. My deed was taken as an act of threatening the state security and I was arrested. After 2 months in detention, the Communist Party Propaganda head in the Ministry of Construction came to the detention and said, if I can write a statement that there is no occurrence of torture to the detained Falun Gong practitioners in this detention center then I would be released right away. I denied because it was not true.

Following the denial I was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison after a half hour show trial. It's a long story to describe how the inhuman treatment almost devastated my health and put me on the verge of death. I had been struggling to survive the 1280 days in prison. Due to the damage to my lung, I still cannot make normal deep breaths.

When I was in prison, there were about 120 Falun Gong practitioners jailed on the same building floor. Everyone was convicted because of clarifying facts about Falun Gong and exposing the persecution. A large part of them were charged with a term of 7 to 18 years.

I am thankful for Amnesty International, Member of Parliament Mr. Scott Reid and other Canadians who campaigned for my release and coming to Canada when I was in jail in China.

With the upcoming Olympics, there has been a new round of mass arrest of Falun Gong practitioners, and other dissidents. It is time, with the attention on the regime now, for the world to help free all practitioners jailed and help stop the persecution of Falun Gong.

Thank you.

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