Media Advisory For immediate release: August 20, 2001

TORONTO, August 20, 2001 -- Four Falun Gong practitioners started a 48-hour hunger strike in front of the Toronto Chinese Consulate to appeal for the immediate release of 130 practitioners who are suffering at the notorious Masanjia Labor Camp in China.

This appeal is to support the courage and peaceful perseverance for "Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance" that practitioners in China continue to show amidst severe persecution, and to awaken people's compassion around the world.

Falun Gong practitioners in Washington, D.C., New York, London, Berlin and elsewhere are conducting hunger strikes and holding candlelight vigils outside local Chinese embassies and consulates to demand that China's communist authorities immediately and unconditionally release the 130 practitioners.

The Masanjia Labor Camp is widely regarded as the most brutal of the detention centers where many Falun Gong practitioners have been imprisoned and tortured to give up their beliefs. Last October, 18 female practitioners were reportedly beaten, stripped naked and thrown into the cells of male convicts to be gang raped. They haven't been heard from since.

The wish to hold the practitioners longer than their original terms reflects the Chinese government's greatest fear: that the "unreformed" practitioners might reveal to the outside world the horrific, inhuman conditions of the Masanjia camp. Such disclosure would further rupture the image of the camp Chinese authorities have tried to create through a staged media show tour.


Media Interview Available:

Chinese Consulate, 240 St. George St. (Bloor), downtown Toronto

Contact: 416-939-6789 or 416-995-0919 Julie Zhu, Tia Zhang and Menghua Zhang

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a self-improvement practice for the mind and body. It was introduced to the public in 1992 by Mr. Li Hongzhi. Since then, millions of individuals around the world have taken up the peaceful, meditative practice. Due to its popularity, the Chinese government banned the practice in 1999.