After her release Zhang, a Beijingaccountant who was imprisoned for her religious beliefs, sent the MEP a list of 50 escalating torture steps used to persuade her to recant. Zhang Lianying and her husband Niu Jinping, another ex-prisoner whom Edward met in Beijing during his last visit in May 2006, now live in theUSA. Another former prisoner of conscience whom McMillan-Scott met, Cao Dong, was then imprisoned and tortured until his release in November 2011. However, on June 8 2012 he was re-arrested and McMillan-Scott fears that he is again being tortured somewhere.
These people are among hundreds of thousands of practitioners of Falun Gong, a Buddha-school Qigong practice which has been persecuted by theBeijingregime because of its popularity since 1999. The former UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Austrian jurist Dr Manfred Nowak, believed that some two-thirds of the estimated 7-8 million undergoing Re-education Through Labour inChinaare Falun Gong practitioners.
McMillan-Scott said from Brussels today:
“China continues to be the worst perpetrator of torture of its own people. Most of the victims are entirely innocent and are punished for their religious or political beliefs.”
In her video statement, released on YouTube, Zhang Lianying praises McMillan-Scott for his commitment to Human Rights and reform in China.