New York: Falun Gong Practitioners Rally In Front Of UN Headquarters, Call On UN to Urge China to Stop the Persecution (Photos)
(Clearwisdom.net) While the 60th annual session of UN Human Rights Commission is now taking place in Geneva, the deterioration of human rights in China has attracted wide attention and the persecution and human rights violations against Falun Gong practitioners is particularly severe. At noon on March 24, Falun Gong practitioners from New York and Washington DC rallied in front of the United Nations to call on the UN to urge China to stop the persecution of Falun Gong.
|Falun Gong practitioners rally in front of UN||Calling on UN to urge China to stop the persecution of Falun Gong||A Practitioner Reads a Letter to UN Secretary Kofi A. Annan|
Practitioners Request China to Stop Persecution of Falun Gong
During the rally, a western Falun Gong practitioner read a letter in English to UN Secretary Kofi A. Annan urging him to pay closer attention to the persecution of Falun Gong in China.
A Falun Gong practitioner also read a Chinese statement, which said: "The purpose of our rally today is to call on the international community to pay closer attention to the human rights atrocities against Falun Gong practitioners in China and urge governments of all nations to support a resolution requesting China to improve its human rights during the Geneva UN human rights convention. ...We call on the international community: 1. Support the resolution requesting China to improve its human rights; 2. Through all public and private channels, request China to stop the persecution of Falun Gong; 3. Request China to allow third party international organizations to investigate the persecution of Falun Gong and publicize their investigation report(s)."
Macao practitioner Ms. Huan Hongjian who now lives in New York was invited to give a speech. With her family's first hand experience, she exposed how the Jiang group's persecution of Falun Gong had torn apart millions of Falun Gong practitioners' families.
Afterwards, practitioners quietly practiced Falun Gong exercises to show the world the peacefulness, rationality and serenity of Falun Gong.
New York Policeman: "I know you are very peaceful."
In the past several years, practitioners' peaceful and rational appeals to end the persecution have deeply impressed people from all circles and also obtained the respect and trust of policemen on duty. When this rally started, a practitioner gave a Falun Gong true-clarifying flier to a policeman on duty, and the policeman said: "I don't worry about security here, as I know you are very peaceful."
Jiang Group's Brutal Persecution of Falun Gong Practitioners Is Obvious to All
A gentleman named Li was watching the Falun Gong practitioners' rally. When asked for his opinion about China's human rights situation, Mr. Li said that the Chinese government purposefully mixes up the concept of human rights to cover up the deterioration of its human rights situation. Human rights, as recognized by the international community includes freedom of speech, association, religious belief, etc. China's violation of Falun Gong practitioners human rights is obvious to all.
It was reported that the U.S. Department of State announced on March 22 that, because the human rights situation in China has deteriorated in the past year and China failed in its promise to improve human rights, the U.S. would sponsor a resolution regarding China's human rights and requesting it to improve.
Attachment: Open Letter to Secretary General Kofi Annan
March 24, 2004
Secretary General Kofi Annan,
New York, NY 10017
Dear Secretary Annan:
The 60th Human Rights Commission of the United Nations is now being held in Geneva. Falun Gong practitioners from around the world held a parade and other peaceful appeal activities in Geneva last week, hoping that governments around the world would come to know about the Jiang regime's persecution of Falun Gong in China, and appealed to bring Jiang and his major accomplices, Luo Gan, Li Lanqing, Liu Jing and Zhou Yongkan, to justice. Falun Gong practitioners in several countries have filed lawsuits against Jiang, including those in the U.S.A., Belgium, Spain, Germany, Taiwan, Korea and other nations, charging him with genocide, torture, crimes against humanity and other atrocities. The lawsuits have won support from people and political leaders in various countries, who acted in support of humanitarianism and justice. The Global Coalition to Bring Jiang to Justice has held activities to try Jiang in over twenty major cities around the world.
By now you have probably heard that the United States will once again attempt to introduce a resolution calling upon the People's Republic of China (PRC) to end its human rights violations in China and meet internationally recognized standards for human rights. At last year's session, the U.S. chose not to offer a resolution of censure in exchange for promises by the Peoples Republic of China to improve its record in selected human rights areas. Outside human rights organizations widely believe the PRC has failed to live up to its commitment. We know our adversary is adroit in accomplishing its goals to deceive the world and continue its repressive policies. China will try again to win over foreign governments, officials, and politicians through diplomatic channels or with trade deals to silence the voices of justice in the world. Unfortunately, Jiang's cohorts disregard the reality that the Bank of China is operating under bankruptcy and seduces foreign enterprises with overly favorable commercial investment projects, in order to impact other government's choices.
What is China's human rights record in the year 2004, almost 5 years since the Practice was made illegal? More than 914 practitioners have been tortured to death in over 30 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities as of March 2004. However, according to the Chinese government's internal statistics, the actual number of practitioners who died after being arrested had reached 1,600 by the end of 2001. In addition, there are at least 6,000 Falun Gong practitioners who have been illegally sentenced to prison. Many more practitioners have been severely beaten and had large sums of money extorted. Over 100,000 practitioners have been sentenced to forced labor camps. Thousands of practitioners have been forcibly sent to psychiatric hospitals to be tortured with injections that are damaging to the central nervous system and by electric shock treatment. The World Psychiatric Association voted in August 2002 to investigate, but China has repeatedly denied them access to any mental facilities. This body has condemned China's policy of using psychiatric hospitals in this immoral way.
Large groups of Falun Gong practitioners have been forcibly sent to local brainwashing centers, where they have been subjected to both physical and mental torture. The objective is to compel the practitioner to renounce his faith. Typically, the believer is deprived of sleep for several days while being subjected to a bombardment of anti-Falun Gong propaganda to wear him or her down. Police and labor camp authorities are often given quotas for the number of practitioners they must, using their terminology, "transform." Those who make quotas get bonuses or promotions. The founder and teacher of Falun Gong is slandered in these classes and cursed. Can you imagine what it is like to have your beloved teacher to be cursed like this and told that you must do the same if you want to be free and your torture to cease? Family members of practitioners, attempting to visit their loved ones, in at least one well known prison are compelled to step on a picture of the face of the teacher of Falun Gong before being allowed to enter. All this is part of a comprehensive campaign to make practitioners renounce their beliefs and defame Falun Gong and its founder in the eyes of everyone living in China.
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the UN Commission on Human Rights and numerous others have thoroughly documented the persecution. Our federal government has also expressed support for Falun Gong and condemned the persecution in China. In July 2003, House Concurrent Resolution 188 was passed unanimously and now House Concurrent Resolution 304---condemning the persecution overseas and attempts to interfere with American government officials---is before Congress. Several state elected officials have also previously expressed concern in letters to Ambassador Yang Jiechi. We must unequivocally say that the harming of innocent people for their beliefs is morally wrong and cannot be tolerated by a civilized society.
What most people don't know and even veteran human rights observers find it difficult to fathom is that the whole persecution against Falun Gong is based on lies. The foundation of this house of horrors is nonexistent. The entire basis for the ban of the peaceful practice of Falun Dafa is founded on falsehoods, fabrications, and smears that the government knows are false, but will use whenever and wherever it can gain support. For example, in January 2001, CCTV showed persons who were alleged to be Falun Gong practitioners set themselves on fire on Tiananmen Square in the so-called self-immolation incident. The Washington Post very soon afterward determined that at least two of the individuals were not practitioners. Later analysis of the tape when viewed in slow motion proved that the incident was a staged affair to deceive the Chinese people, and discredit Falun Gong. The fact that the teaching of Falun Gong explicitly forbids suicide was never mentioned in the CCTV broadcasts. The Chinese Government was quite successful in its deceit not only in China where the fabricated incident was repeatedly re-broadcasted, but also abroad where the story was picked up by the news wires. Another example of their outright lying was when CCTV broadcasted a luxurious house in Changchun and claimed that it belonged to Mr. Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Dafa, while in fact the owner was a person whose name merely sounded the same as Mr. Li. The police borrowed his house and re-arranged it before the TV crew went to film the house to deceive the public.
CCTV is also notorious for taking Mr. Li Hongzhi's words out of context or deleting words and reversing the meaning of what he says. They have no hesitation to lie if they can gain by it, and this is very troubling to people who assume a news sources shouldn't be making up facts.
Another aspect of this persecution that is not as well known as the torture and killing by the Jiang regime is the news media blockade in China. The Chinese people cannot learn the truth about the persecution and very few really know what is happening in their jails, concentration camps, and mental hospitals. The TV broadcasts are state run and carefully monitored. The same is true of the newspapers and radio. Even the Internet, which was the hope of many that would break down the news monopoly of the government, is largely under the control of a gigantic, insidious surveillance system said to be the largest Internet police force in the world. One cannot type "Falun Gong" or "Democracy" using Google in China. Information from international media has also been blocked from entering the People's Republic. Radio signals broadcasting Voice of America, Radio Free Asia, and BBC continue to be jammed by the Chinese Government. If someone tries to make known evidence of the torture to foreign persons or human rights groups, this is regarded by the Chinese authorities as a crime (called "leaking state secrets") and can result in execution. A number of individuals have disappeared after exposing such torture to foreign media, with many being feared dead. For a policeman or official aware of the torture, to disclose it would be almost to ensure the loss of his job, financial punishment, and imprisonment, if not death. What information we do have, then, has come to us at the greatest of personal risk.
One brave person who tried to break through the news blockade was an American citizen who is now incarcerated and is being brutally detained and tortured. Dr. Charles Lee from Menlo Park, California was arrested upon landing in China at Guangzhou Airport in January 2003 and has been in detention for over one year, after a mock trial under the false charge of "sabotaging of radio and television equipment." A Falun Gong practitioner and member of Amnesty International, Lee had intended to assist in broadcasting evidence of the persecution on Falun Gong by overriding the signal of state-controlled TV broadcast. Lee must have known the risks involved in his efforts. At least 5 Chinese Falun Gong practitioners who successfully broadcasted evidence of the persecution in China have been tortured to death, while others have been sentenced to long periods in jail and have been subject to life-threatening torture. Lee writes in a letter he managed to give to the American consular official in Shanghai that from March 27 and April 2 in 2002, he was handcuffed consecutively for 130 hours. In February, he was tied to an iron, so-called, "death bed," for nine hours, with his four limbs painfully stretched out. He has been subjected to daily brainwashing sessions, but his worse torment of all was the forced feeding treatments when he was on a hunger strike as a protest to the inhuman conditions and treatment. Many practitioners have died from forced feedings. Those who have suffered it say it is excruciatingly painful. On one occasion the feeding tube inserted into Charles nose was left for 39 straight hours, simply to increase the suffering.
We, therefore, can take some comfort today by the statement of the U.S. State Department Spokesman, Richard Boucher, who on last Monday, March 22, made the following announcement: "The United States will introduce a resolution on China's human rights practices at the 2004 UN Commission on Human Rights meeting in Geneva." He went on to say, "Our goal in sponsoring this resolution is to encourage China to take positive, concrete steps to meet its international obligations to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of the Chinese people...The United States has been disappointed by China's failure to meet its commitments made at the U.S. - China Human Rights Dialogue in December 2002 as well as the failure to follow through on its stated intention to expand cooperation on human rights in 2003. We're concerned about backsliding on key human rights issues. That has occurred in a variety of areas since that time. We call on other members of the international community, especially members of the Commission on Human Rights, to join us in supporting a resolution. We also call on members of the Commission to vote against the procedural no-action motions that seek to prevent debate on resolutions... Such no-action motions prevent the only global body charged specifically with human rights from fulfilling its mandate."
The State Department's words of "backsliding" exactly conveys the lack of progress that has been made in improving the situation in China. While many people including journalists and China watchers have been assuming progress has been made, the U.S. State Department got it right: China has been getting worse, not better. For Charles Lee's sake and the millions of others suffering from this irrational persecution, we hope our government's efforts are more successful than in the past. Thousands of Falun Gong practitioners are good, hardworking citizens of the United States of America and throughout the world. We sincerely hope that one day soon, the Falun Gong practitioners who are living now in the holocaust of China, will be free to practice the exercises of Falun Gong and to be free citizens following the principles of "Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance."
Thank you for reading this long letter. Mr. Secretary, we hope you can help a situation that only seems to get worse by the day.
Falun Gong Practitioners in the U.S.