The U.S. Department of State recently tightened its visa vetting process. Those who have committed human rights violations may be denied visas, be it for immigration or non-immigration, and even individuals granted permanent residence (green card) may be denied entry.
While explaining the various laws regarding visa ineligibility, a U.S. State Department official mentioned that some of the vettings applied to the perpetrators’ spouses and children as well.
Minghui.org recently published a notice calling for Falun Gong practitioners to collect information of perpetrators, their family members, and their assets, so as to locate and verify their identities. In July 2019, Falun Gong practitioners in the U.S. submitted a list of perpetrators to the State Department and received the confirmation of the receipt.
After the news spread to mainland China, many government officials and police officers involved in the persecution of Falun Gong became worried about their future visa eligibility as well as that of their family members. Some have chosen to stop persecuting Falun Gong practitioners.
Heilongjiang Province: Practitioners Released
Practitioners in a city in Heilongjiang Province distributed flyers across the entire city with information about the visa tightening and the Minghui notice. Upon seeing the flyers, officers from the Municipal Police Department and the 610 Office released four female practitioners after detaining them for just fifteen days (in the past they would have detained practitioners for much longer). The police also returned all of the personal belongings confiscated from the four practitioners.
“I didn’t mistreat you, right?” an officer asked one of the practitioners, “Please do not put my name on the list; otherwise, my child won’t be able to go to the U.S. in the future.”
Shandong Province: Practitioners Released the Next Day
When two practitioners in Shouguang City, Shandong Province went to another city to talk to people about Falun Gong, they were arrested by the police there. Among the materials confiscated from one of the practitioners were more than 10 copies of Falun Gong books and fliers about the tightened visa vetting of human rights violators by the U.S. government.
The two practitioners explained to the police that persecuting innocent Falun Gong practitioners was illegal. Some officers said they understood while another specifically mentioned the fliers about the visa vetting.
Both practitioners were released and returned home the following day. Their motorcycle was also returned to them.
Police Chief Concerned
Many officials have participated in the persecution of Falun Gong for personal gain, and they plan to transfer their assets and emigrate overseas at a later time for safety. The recent actions by the U.S. State Department have got them worried and some are reconsidering what to do.
One police chief expressed his concern to a practitioner that he worries that his children might not be able to travel to the U.S. because of his involvement in the persecution of Falun Gong.
Practitioner Released Despite Pressure from 610 Office
After a practitioner was arrested in late June, he was interrogated at the local police station. He brought up the Minghui notice and asked the interrogating officer if he had heard about the U.S. government’s stance against human rights violators.
The practitioner urged the officer to stop blindly following the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to persecute Falun Gong. The officer said he had already heard about the visa vetting thing and eased his attitude towards the practitioner.
Another local practitioner called the police chief asking for the unconditional release of the detained practitioner. The chief acknowledged that he and his officers had already heard about the new initiatives by the U.S. State Department. He released the first practitioner the next day, in spite of pressure from the 610 Office to keep the practitioner in detention.
High-ranking Officials Feeling the Heat
One high-ranking official in Beijing said that many officials at various levels of the CCP system have heard about the Minghui notice and have become pessimistic about the Party’s future. Some government agencies have removed officials’ photographs and contact information from their websites or bulletin boards.