Falun Gong case

Concerning Ms. J.D vs Denmark for violation of articles 2,6,7,14,18,26 and 27 of CCPR.

The author is subject to religious persecution as a member of Falun Gong (a religion which is illegal in China), and subject to detention in China because she practices this religion. She had a happy life in China but that changed when she began to practice Falun Gong in order to strengthen her body and health. She was detained the first time in 1999, and again from 2000 to 2002 because she delivered books for Falun. She was detained again from 2003 to 2005 in a prison for women, and then at a mental hospital until 2007. During the detention she was abused in several ways including beating in the head by a hammer and rape. She was also subject to forced medication. Thus she fled China illegally and entered Denmark. She had heard many good things about Denmark which is why she chose to travel here.

The immigration service rejected the application for asylum and the Refugee Board upheld that decision on 15 August 2012. The Refugee Board argues that since the last detention in 2007 and until she left China, she did not suffer from further persecution and thus she is not in risk of persecution on return. Since the author did not practice her religion in public from 2007 until she left China, the Board rejects that she was searched by the authorities in that duration, and she is thus not a refugee in well founded fear of persecution on return. It follows from international human rights law that the right to freedom of religion includes the right to practice one’s religion either individually or in a community with others and in public or private.

In other words- the fact that after being detained several times because of her religious belief, the author  decided not to perform her religion in public- is used by the Board to conclude that she is no longer in risk of persecution in China. On the contrary however, if she started to manifest her religion again together with other members she would undoubtedly be persecuted again, which is the case with other Falun Gong members in China if they do not hide their religious conviction. The decision by the Board is thus- without expressing it directly- based on the precondition, that members of religious minorities must hide their religious belief, and not manifest that religion after returning home. Thus a complaint was sent to CCPR on 18 September 2012.

27. November 2016

CCPR 2204/2012
Comm: Human Rights