Citation: 2019 RLLR 29
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: November 18, 2019
Panel: Mary Lipton
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Doy Maierovitz
RPD Number: TB9-04529
Associated RPD Number(s): TB9-04596
ATIP Number: A-2021-01124
ATIP Pages: 000170-000174
 MEMBER: This is the decision for 45-year-old claimant, [XXX], file number TB9-04529, and her 19-year-old daughter, claimant [XXX], file number TB9-04596. I have carefully considered the evidence in this case and have decided to render my decision today orally. You will receive your notice of decision in the mail and your council will also received a copy.
 The claimants, [XXX] and [XXX], claim to be citizens of China and are claiming refugee protection pursuant to Sections 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. I find that you are Convention refugees for the reason that you have established that you face a serious possibility of persecution in China base on your Falun Gong practice and spiritual beliefs.
 The allegations are fully set out in your Basis of Claim Form, sign on January 16, 2019. To summarize, you a mother and daughter from China, alleged that your fear persecution in China because of your Falun Gong beliefs and involvement in the practice of Falun Gong. Your mother introduced you to Master Lee’s book Zhuan Falun in [XXX], 1997, while you were a senior at the [XXX], and before the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners started in July 1999. At that time, people were already talking about the book and you were curious, so you began to read it during your winter holidays. You were profoundly impacted by the theory and principals described in the book as they reverberated with your own thinking about the universe, time, space and the human body. You have been studying and practicing Falun Gong since then.
 After the persecution in 1999, you and your family were constantly harassed by the PSB. You were arrested and detained eight times from October 1999 to September 2008. The last being for four years during which you suffered abuse and torture and went on hunger strikes. Upon release since September 2008, you continued practicing Falun Gong in secret and your health improved quickly. Although the psychological scar of your experiences in prison remained.
 You introduced your daughter to Falun Gong and by 2016, she was reading the Zhuan Falun on her own. Although you were busy with your career, you continued to be monitored by the PSB who would harass your husband. Fearing persecution for your daughter and yourself by Chinese authorities who have banned Falun Gong everywhere in China, you decided that you and your daughter would leave the country. You planned to leave China after your daughter had arrived safely in Canada in [XXX] 2018 and after the [XXX] 2018 was over. You applied for a passport in [XXX] 2018 and for a visa to Canada in [XXX] 2018.
 After repeating attempts by the PSB to locate you, you went into hiding until the end of the summit and waited until [XXX] 2018 to move forward with your plan to come to Canada to rejoin your daughter. You left China for Canada on [XXX], 2018, from the [XXX] city airport and you wanted to avoid the [XXX] and [XXX] airports for fear of detection. Once in Canada, you immediately got involved with the Falun Gong community along with your daughter who had already been in contact with the community. You both filed for refugee protection on January 16, 2019.
 I find that you have established your identities as nationals of China, on a balance of probabilities, through your testimony and the supporting documentation you presented including your Chinese resident identity cards in Hukou and copies of your passports issued by the People’s Republic of China which you provided to authorities at the time you formalized your claim.
 You have also presented today at the hearing, your original resident identity cards, your Hukou and your marriage certificate. You testified in a straightforward, spontaneous and unhesitating manner and you answers to the questions, the Panel posed about the central aspects of your claim were detailed and unrehearsed. There were no material inconsistencies in your testimony or contradictions between your testimony and the other evidence before the Panel.
 Your testimony was consistent in content and chronology with this and the other documents you provided. In particular, your testimony about your practice of Falun Gong and in China and Canada, and your knowledge of Falun Gong was detailed, natural and clearly based on your personal experience as a practitioner. Although, I initially had concerns with the delay in claiming refugee protection in Canada, you explained that you approached the Falun Dafa Association for support in [XXX] 2018 who investigated you for two months and who referred you to council who spent the rest of time with you and your daughter gathering data and documents.
 Your claim was extensively corroborated with supporting documentation which includes photographs of your participation in various Falun Gong activities in Canada, supporting letters from five Falun Gong practitioners in Canada including two supporting letters from your-, for your daughter, a supporting letter from your mother, who introduced you to Master Lee’s Book, the Zhuan Falun, in [XXX] 1997, supporting letters from your brother, sister and husband, supporting letter from the Falun Dafa waist drum band in Toronto of which you are a member, a news report from [XXX] a website that reports on the worldwide Falun Gong community about your [XXX] at the [XXX] provincial women’s prison where you were imprisoned from 2004 to 2008, dated June 3rd, 2005. You have also provided a decision on re-education through labour documents, a detention notice, an arrest notice, an expert opinion, conclusion from the prison in [XXX] where you were detained, the indictment, the criminal judgments, the criminal ruling and a release certificate.
 More significantly, there is also the letter of support from the Falun Dafa Association [XXX] dated [XXX], 2019. The Panel has taken particular note of the letter written on your behalf from the Falun Dafa Association which verifies your Falun Gong practice here in Canada. The Panel places great weight on that letter which is supported by an Immigration and Refugee Board response to information request on the Falun Dafa Association [XXX]. In that response to information request, it states that the asso-, association set out that credibility is very important because it can save the lives of genuine practitioners who risk persecution if returned to China. They therefore only support those practitioners who are known to them and take serious steps to determine the validity of each individual claim before agreeing to support them. The document goes on to provide the list of those people that are responsible for signing these support letters and I note that in the [XXX] region it is [XXX]. The letter that you had provided is from [XXX] and he confirms that you are both Falun Gong practitioners. I find that this letter corroborates your identity as a Falun Gong practitioner with respect to you and your daughter.
 In the letter, Mr. [XXX], who [XXX] president of the Falun Dafa Association [XXX], went over the rigorous procedures for the Falun Dafa Association supporting a Falun Gong practitioner in his letter. While a letter of support from the Falun Dafa Association is not determinative of any refugee claim in the Panel’s experience, such a letter is a relatively rare occurrence and is certainly one piece of evidence that the Panel takes seriously. In this case, we have a letter from the Falun Dafa Association [XXX].
 For these reasons, the Panel finds that you have established, on a balance of probabilities, your Falun Gong practitioner identities and the Panel believes that your commitment to your spiritual practice is genuine. On the basis of your credible and consistent testimony and because of his consistency with the documentary evidence you have presented which I accept, the Panel believes what you have alleged, namely that you were both Falun Gong practitioners, that you were arrested and detain, that you were abused and tortured by the Chinese authorities and harassed for being a Falun Gong practitioner. And I find that you have established that you have a subjective fear of persecution in China based on your Falun Gong practice and identity as a Falun Gong practitioner with respect to you and your daughter.
 The objective evidence is also consistent with your account of fearing persecution as Falun Gong practitioners in China and Canada. Specifically, I have considered the objective documentary evidence in Exhibit 3, namely the National Documentation Package, known as the NDP for China, version 31 October 2019. At Item 2.1 of the NDP, the U.S. Department of State confirm of the People’s Republic of China is an authoritarian state in which the Chinese Communist Party commonly known as the CCP is the paramount authority. Repression and cohesion persist including as against members of banned religions and or sp, spiritual practices such as Falun Gong. In Item 12.23, an Immigration Refugee Board response to information request on the treatment of Falun Gong practitioners contains information that further confirms that there is a serious possibility that the practice of Falun Gong will be met with persecution.
 In Item 12.22, a 2008 report by the Falun Dafa Information Center states that family members of those who practice Falun Gong have suffered various degrees of persecution ranging from lost of employment to detention and torture. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom 2019, annual report in Item 12.2 indicates that the Chinese government has classified Falun Gong as an evil cult. Under article 300 of the Chinese criminal code, belonging to a banned group such as the Falun Gong is punishable with three to seven years of imprisonment or more. Throughout 2018, authorities harassed, detained, intimated Falun Gong practitioners simply for practising their beliefs. There were reports that many of the detainees suffered physical violence, psychiatric abuse, sexual assault, forced drug administration, organ harvesting and sleep deprivation. Items 2.1 and 12.23 also reference the State’s use of harassment, intimidation, imprisonment and torture against Falun Gong practitioners.
 Base on the credible evidence provided by you, with respect to your Falun Gong activities both in China and in Canada, as well as the documentary evidence before the Panel, the Panel finds that your fear of persecution in China at the hands of Chinese government has an objective basis and therefore, you have a well-founded fear of persecution.
 Having found that, you face a well-founded fear of persecution, on the basis of being Falun Gong practitioners, the Panel must consider whether state protection is aval-, available to you or whether you could safely live elsewhere in China without facing such risks. In this case, the Panel finds that the State is the agent of persecution. It is the state authorities who have outlawed the practice of Falun Gong whom you fear. The Panel, therefore, finds, on a balance of probabilities, that it is objectively unreasonable for you to seek the protection of the State.
 The Panel has also considered whether a viable internal flight alternative exists for you. On the evidence before this Panel, I find, on a balance of probabilities, that there is a serious possibility of persecution for you throughout China given that the State is the agent of persecution and is in control of the whole country. The Panel, therefore, finds that there is no viable internal flight alternative for you in China. Based on the forgoing analysis and considering the totality of the evidence before the Panel, I therefore find that you are a Convention refugees and I accept your claims.
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