Falun gong refugee flies to NZ from detention in Bangkok

Auckland, New Zealand - A member of China's banned Falun Gong spiritual movement who was arrested in Thailand capital Bangkok for protests outside the Chinese embassy there, has flown to Auckland with his four year-old daughter.

Huang Guohua and his daughter Huang Ying plan to settle in New Zealand after Mr Huang spent a month behind bars at the Bangkok Immigration Detention Center.

Mr Huang – who told journalists at the airport that he was pleased to finally find a home again in New Zealand – said he had not expected the Thai government to support the Chinese Communist Party regime.

"Cozying up to an evil regime is a pity and a shame. . .I hope that the Thai government can stand on the side of righteousness and bravely release the four Falun Gong practitioners still detained," he said.

The Epoch Times, a Hong Kong newspaper and website linked to the Falun Gong movement said his release followed negotiations by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the New Zealand government.

About 40 supporters farewelled them at Bangkok's Don Muang International Airport.

Mr Huang, a Chinese citizen, was arrested, along with his daughter, while they were demonstrating outside the Chinese embassy on December 15.

Six other protesters were also taken into custody that day, including two other children. The three children were later released, but four adults remain behind bars.

The detainees said they were all refugees recognised by the UNHCR as fleeing Chinese persecution for their beliefs.

They said the demonstration at the embassy was to protest the forceful abduction and violent rape of two female practitioners by a Chinese police officer in Hebei province, China, and that the arrests in Bangkok had been requested by the Chinese embassy.

Thai officials should not have had police escort Mr Huang to the airport directly from detention, said Teresa Vilaidaraga, 29, a Thai Falun Gong follower.

The Epoch Times said Mr Huang's claims of severe persecution and torture by Chinese authorities – including losing his wife, who was three-months pregnant at the time of her death – had been documented by several international human rights bodies, including the UN Human Rights Commission.

It said that the other four detainees had been given no hope UNHCR could secure their release in Thailand, and the organisation was seeking a home for them in a third country.