Citation: 2020 RLLR 128
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: January 16, 2020
Panel: A. Casimiro
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Stacey Margaret Duong
RPD Number: TB8-33095
Associated RPD Number(s):
ATIP Number: A-2021-01106
ATIP Pages: 000077-000083
REASONS FOR DECISION
 [XXX] (“the Claimant’) makes a claim for refugee protection pursuant to s. 96 and s. 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (“IRPA”).
 The Claimant’s allegations are fully set out in his Basis of Claim form and in his testimony. He alleges that he is a citizen of the People’s Republic of China and that he fears persecution by the Chinese government because he is a Falun Gong practitioner.
 One of the Claimant’s co-workers died as a result of a workplace accident. The Claimant became very sad and started to develop sleeping problems. He had nightmares and dreamed about his co-worker. As a result, the Claimant woke up feeling very exhausted and depressed. He was suffering from right arm pain and was diagnosed with a shoulder muscle spasm. A friend learned about his health situation and introduced him to Falun Gong.
 His friend told him that Falun Gong could help him. He explained to him the basic principles of Falun Gong, and he urged him to give it a try.
 His friend agreed to teach him privately and he began to learn from him on [XXX] 2017. He experienced improvements for his condition after about two months of practicing Falun Gong with his friend.
 The Claimant then decided to join the group practice with his friend on [XXX] 2017. He went to practice with the group once a week. However, the group experienced a problem on [XXX] 2018.
 They found out that two members from another group of practitioners in their town were arrested by the police (“PSB”). As a result, the group suspended their practice. All the members were advised to go into hiding.
 The Claimant went to hide at his wife’s cousin’s place. While in hiding, the Claimant discussed the situation with his family. The family decided that the Claimant should leave China for safety. The Claimant then used the services of a smuggler to help him get out of China.
 The smuggler flew with the Claimant from Beijing to Toronto on [XXX] 2018.
 After arriving in Canada, the Claimant hoped to return back to China, if the situation improved. However, he learned from his wife that the PSB came to his home to look for him. They asked his wife for his whereabouts.
 His wife also learned that the group’s leader was arrested. The PSB returned to their home and left a summons for the Claimant. The PSB also went to the homes of his close relatives to look for him.
 As a result, the Claimant made a claim for refugee protection. Since arriving in Canada, he also joined a Falun Gong group.
 The PSB continues to look for the Claimant in China. He fears arrest, detention and abuse if he is to return to China on account of his Falun Gong practice. The Claimant also wishes to continue practicing Falun Gong freely, which is something he could not do in China.
 The panel finds that the Claimant is a Convention refugee, as he has a well-founded fear of persecution on the basis of his membership in a particular social group as a Falun Gong practitioner.
 The Claimant explained that the smuggler took his passport upon arriving in Canada as he still owed money at that time. The Claimant to this date, had failed to pay the remaining balance owing to the smuggler. He did attempt to recover his passport by trying to contact the smuggler through a relative, however they had lost contact with the smuggler. To date, he had not secured the return of his passport. However, based on his original Resident Identity card and Hukou, which were presented at the hearing and which are contained in Exhibit 6, the panel finds that the Claimant is a citizen of China and he is who he says he is on a balance of probabilities.
 The Claimant’s testimony regarding his introduction to Falun Gong, his Falun Gong practice in China, as well as his Falun Gong practice in Canada were consistent with his other evidence.
 He testified that his initial hope was to return to China but after he found out from his wife that the PSB came to his home to look for him, he knew that he can no longer return to China. He testified that the PSB left a summons for him as per Exhibit 6. He also testified about the continued interest of the authorities in him back in China.
 The panel notes that the Claimant claims to be a Falun Gong practitioner since [XXX] 2017. The Claimant testified that Falun Gong is a dual cultivation system. He testified about how Karma in our body creates illness and how Falun Gong could help transform Karma into Virtue (black substance transformed into white substance).
 He testified about the concept of attachments and getting rid of personal attachments. He described how his friend showed him the Falun Gong exercises. He testified about some of the challenges he faced when learning the exercises. He testified that there is a total of five exercises. In the course of his testimony, he identified the first and second exercises.
 He elaborated on how Karma is accumulated and how to get rid of its effects. He testified about the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance and how he applies these to his daily life. He talked about increasing one’s mind/nature.
 He talked about Master Li Hongzhi and the Zhuan Falun. He testified about how his group in China had no access to the Zhuan Falun but instead utilized photocopies as part of their study. He also identified other books that are important to Falun Gong practitioners.
 The Claimant also testified about his Falun Gong practice here in Canada. He testified about how he was introduced to a group of practitioners in Canada. The Claimant continues to practice the exercises at the park, he also attends a group to study the Zhuan Falun and he also distributes Falun Gong materials.
 The Claimant’s profile as a Falun Gong practitioner was also supported by a number of photos depicting his practice in Canada and two letters from fellow practitioners. The panel notes that the photographs appear to have been taken at numerous locations and times.
 Similarly, the panel asked him why he continues to practice Falun Gong despite recovering from his health issues. He testified that practicing Falun Gong is a lifelong commitment and that one doesn’t stop practicing just because one gets/feels better.
 The panel finds on a balance of probabilities that the Claimant is a genuine Falun Gong practitioner. He has a genuine desire and plans to continue his practice of Falun Gong into the future.
Well-Founded Fear of Persecution
 The documentary evidence is clear that Falun Gong practitioners face persecution in China. Falun Gong is banned as an illegal group in China and the country conditions evidence is consistent in its reports that Falun Gong practitioners face arrest and even torture, according to several credible sources.
 Exhibit 3, Item 1.7 which is the United Kingdom’s Operational Guidance Note, discusses that Falun Gong practitioners over the years have been tortured, harassed, arbitrarily detained, imprisoned, and have faced other serious restrictions on their right to freedom of expression.
 It explains that the Falun Gong movement has been outlawed in China, and the State regards it as an evil cult. Falun Gong practitioners have reportedly been subjected to detention, ill treatment, and it states that the risk of ill-treatment escalates significantly when a practitioner engages in activities that are reasonably likely to bring them to the notice of authorities. This includes the public practice of Falun Gong exercises, recruitment of new members, and dissemination of Falun Gong information. The risk of ill-treatment also increases when a person ignores a warning against continuing Falun Gong activity.
 Exhibit 3, Item 2.1 the United States Department of State Report indicates that practitioners of Falun Gong reported systematic torture.
 Exhibit 3, Item 12.2, indicates that the Chinese government has banned Falun Gong and labelled it an “evil cult”. Authorities regularly target Falun Gong practitioners and force them into labour camps. In detention, they suffer sexual assault, torture, violence and organ harvesting.
 Therefore, the Panel finds that the Claimant’s fear is a well-founded one supported by personal and objective evidence.
 The panel finds that the Claimant is a genuine Falun Gong practitioner on a balance of probabilities, and so he would face a serious possibility of persecution if he were to return to China.
 As the state is the agent of persecution, adequate state protection would not be available to the Claimant.
Internal Flight Alternative
 Given that the Claimant is a genuine and ongoing Falun Gong practitioner, even if he were to relocate, his risk remains the same as the State’s control exists all over China. Since the agent of persecution is the state, there is no internal flight alternative for the Claimant, as there is a serious possibility of persecution throughout the country.
 For the above reasons, the panel finds that the Claimant is a Convention refugee, as he holds a well-founded fear of persecution on the basis of his membership in a particular social group, as a practitioner of Falun Gong. His claim is therefore accepted.
 Exhibit 2.
 Exhibit 6.
 Exhibit 3, National Documentation Package for China (20 December 2019) Items 2.1, 12.22 and 12.23.