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St. Louis, Missouri: Practitioners Hold Press Conference Concerning a Missouri Practitioner's Trip to South Africa and Announce Lawsuit against Chen Zhili (Photos)

August 01, 2004 |   By a practitioner in St. Louis

(Clearwisdom.net) On July 30, 2004, a Missouri resident, practitioner Sara Effner returned from a trip to South Africa. At noon, local practitioners held a press conference in St. Louis City Hall. Besides introducing the South Africa trip, Sara also talked about the lawsuit in Tanzania against Chen Zhili, former Chinese Minister of Education and current Member of the State Affairs Committee, for her crime in conducting torture and killing of Falun Gong practitioners within the Chinese education system.

High Resolution Picture
Press conference
High Resolution Picture
Sara reading a statement

Chen Zhili is Sued

Chen Zhili had a four-day official visit to Tanzania beginning on July 17. On July 19, a group of international human rights attorneys filed a lawsuit charging Chen with conducting torture and killing of Falun Gong practitioners within the Chinese education system. Chen was accused of political brainwashing of students and teachers by manipulating the Chinese educational system. She showed up in person in court on July 19, upon being subpoenaed in Tanzania. This was the first time that a defendant actually showed up in court in the series of lawsuits against Chinese officials for their crimes in the persecution of Falun Gong.

According to the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG), Chen Zhili organized many anti-Falun Gong conferences and ordered the persecution against Falun Gong within the educational system. For example, while in charge of the Education Ministry, she forced teachers and students to watch films slandering and attacking Falun Gong, conducted the anti-Falun Gong "Million Signatures" movement, and included anti-Falun Gong contents in textbooks and written exams in primary schools and high schools. During her administration in the Education Ministry, at least 61 practitioners in the education system were tortured to death. Administrators in the Chinese education system applied systemic persecution by depriving teachers who practiced Falun Gong of their jobs, and students who practiced Falun Gong of the right to study. Since 1999, over 300 professors, instructors, and university students in Qinghua University were unlawfully detained, dismissed, or sent to labor camps. Based on estimates, in 2003, at least 435 practitioners in 210 universities and colleges in China were forced to attend brainwashing sessions, or were sent to be persecuted in labor camps and mental hospitals.

In addition, under the order of Jiang Zemin and Chen Zhili, Chinese embassies and consulates spread the persecution among Chinese communities overseas.

Chen's showing up upon subpoena in the Tanzanian court shocked many Chinese officials and diplomats. International human rights attorneys involved in this lawsuit said that the lawsuit against Chen Zhili marked a big step forward in gaining the attention of the international community with respect to the persecution of Falun Gong.

Sara's Trip to South Africa

Sara Effner started practicing Falun Gong in April 2000. She and 70 Western practitioners went to Beijing to appeal peacefully on Tiananmen Square in February 2002. The shooting incident in South Africa on June 28 made Sara decide to make the trip to South Africa. She wanted to introduce the facts of Falun Gong to the people of South Africa.

In the press conference, Sara narrated the details of her South Africa trip. She said she paid attention to the shooting incident in South Africa because it signaled the escalation of the persecution overseas by Jiang's group. After the incident, many South African people became interested in Falun Gong because of the extensive media coverage. Thus, more practitioners were needed there to introduce Falun Gong, in order to have the local people not be deceived by the propaganda of Jiang's faction. The South African people were very interested in Falun Gong and many wanted to learn to practice. They paid attention to the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China. Practitioners were encouraged upon hearing of the lawsuit in Tanzania against Chen Zhili.