Wednesday, October 01, 2003


Letters to the Editor 9/29

September 29, 2003

There is a deadly but covert campaign of terror that has been going on for four years. This is a terror committed by a state against its own people. It is the persecution of Falun Gong, implemented by China's former dictator Jiang Zemin.

Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa) is a practice for improving body, mind and spirit. Practitioners do five simple exercises that look somewhat like Tai Chi and include meditation. We try to improve ourselves by living according to the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.

This is called "cultivation" and is deeply rooted in traditional Chinese culture.

The U.S. State Department and Amnesty International confirm that China's regime has ordered the arrest, detention and torture of Falun Gong practitioners. Friends and family members have confirmed the deaths of 780 people, killed while in detention. Untold thousands have been subjected to brainwashing, forced labor, torture and abuse in mental institutions.

China's persecution of Falun Gong practitioners has extended to U.S. residents and citizens. Palm Coast resident Li Meizi has been detained in China since last November, when she returned to China to visit her parents. The Chinese regime is even detaining a U.S. citizen who practices Falun Gong. At the beginning of this year, Dr. Charles Li was arrested when he went back to China. He was sentenced to three years in prison for intending to expose the regime's illegal persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. He has been subjected to torture, brainwashing and force-feeding.

Falun Gong practitioners in the United States are staging a coast-to-coast rescue drive to raise awareness of the injustice against Dr. Li and other illegally detained Falun Gong practitioners. As part of this effort, Florida Falun Gong practitioners are driving to major cities in the state to inform the public of Dr. Li's plight. The car tour began in Tampa, Sept. 12.

We believe that it is our responsibility to speak out on behalf of those who cannot be heard, to bear witness on behalf of those who cannot testify. We encourage American citizens and residents to help us urge the U. S. Department of State to send a clear message to China: We want Li Meizi, Charles Li, and all the other illegally detained Falun Gong practitioners released immediately.

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Ying Zhang is a graduate student in chemical engineering.