Zhen Li Lao v. Gonzales

400 F.3d 530 (7th Cir. 2005)


P arrived in the United States in 2000. P practiced Falun Gong in China. The Chinese government outlawed Falun Gong in 1999. P became a person of interest and police decided to investigate. Village officials made repeated visits to the house in which she lived with her parents to tell her to abandon Falun Gong, but she eluded them by residing mainly in her aunt's house. Police visited the parents' home and delivered a summons commanding P to come to the police station for an interview. She did not comply with the summons. P eventually fled the country. When she arrived in this country, she knew the name of the founder of Falun Gong (Li Hongzhi, now in exile in the United States) and had done the physical exercises that are the primary manifestation of adherence to Falun Gong, but she was vague about its doctrines and unfamiliar with its symbol. She has since become more familiar with the movement's doctrines and symbol. At the hearing before the immigration judge she presented letters from her mother in China, and the Chinese man who had introduced her to Falun Gong there, corroborating her testimony. Case law clearly shows that China persecutes adherents to Falun Gong and an applicant for asylum need not have experienced persecution (P has not) in order to have a well-founded fear of future persecution. If P attempted to practice it upon returning to China, she would face a substantial likelihood of persecution. The fact that a person might avoid persecution through concealment of the activity that places her at risk of being persecuted is in no wise inconsistent with her having a well-founded fear of persecution. The immigration judge denied P's application for asylum. This appeal resulted.