U.S. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: We will not sit idly by as [suppressors] infringe upon the rights of our citizens and residents who practice Falun Gong
October 4, 2004
I would like to commend my colleagues, the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Woolsey) and the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Lee), for their dedication and support of this resolution. I would also like to thank the gentleman from Illinois (Chairman Hyde), as well as the gentleman from California (Mr. Lantos), our ranking member, and our entire leadership for bringing this resolution to the floor today.
I rise today to call attention to the horrific specter of the repression imposed upon a peaceful spiritual movement, the Falun Gong, by the largest authoritarian regime in the world today, the Communist regime in China.
On July 22, 1999, a date which will live in the annals of human rights violations as a day of infamy, the Beijing authorities declared the Falun Gong illegal, branding it a so-called ''evil cult.'' This immediately prompted mass arrests, torture and reported deaths of Falun Gong practitioners in official custody, which continues unabated to this present day.
These Falun Gong practitioners still in Chinese custody include at least one American citizen, Dr. Charles Lee. Members of Congress have repeatedly called for his immediate release, and we renew that call here today.
This chamber has repeatedly condemned the Chinese regime's abhorrent violations of human rights and the violations of freedom of belief and conscience of the Falun Gong. We have done so by rendering our overwhelming support to bipartisan resolutions that I have introduced with my colleague, the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Woolsey), and numerous others.
However, H. Con. Res. 304 is different. This resolution before us today is addressing something even more ominous. With over 70 cosponsors, this resolution focuses on reports and investigations on the use of fear, intimidation and oppression, often connected with violence, right here within the borders of our own country, within the United States.
Falun Gong practitioners, while peacefully and nonviolently exercising their constitutional rights to free speech and assembly, have been intimidated from California to New York by agents of the Chinese regime. They have, as we have outlined in this resolution, been physically harassed on the streets of San Francisco, assaulted on the streets of Chicago outside of the Chinese consulate and attacked on the streets of New York by individuals with reported ties to the Chinese regime.
Let those listening to this debate, including representatives of any foreign governments having strategies for suppressing free speech in this country, remember one thing: This is the United States of America, the cradle of freedom and democracy. We will not sit idly by as you infringe upon the rights of our citizens and residents who practice Falun Gong. Any interference in the exercise of free speech inside our land will result in the expulsion of those who engage in such actions.
In the land of the free, all voices will be heard. In the home of the brave, a hundred or more flowers will bloom, including the Falun Gong's spiritual movement.
I ask my colleagues to send a clear message to the Chinese regime and to immediately and unconditionally stop its deplorable treatment of the Falun Gong spiritual movement, both inside China and specifically here in the United States.
I ask for a ''yes'' vote on H. Con. Res. 304.