Michael J. Horowitz of Hudson Institute: Falun Gong Practitioners' Bravery Creates Hope for the 21st Century
July 19, 2007, Washington, D.C.
On July 19, 2007, Falun Gong practitioners from around the world held a rally in front of the Capitol in Washington D.C., calling for an end to the persecution. Several U.S. Congress members, leaders of non-governmental organizations, human rights lawyers and victims of the persecution were among the speakers. Michael J. Horowitz, the director of Project for Civil Justice Reform and Project for International Religious Liberty, Hudson Institute gave the speech below.
In many ways I am here today for selfish reasons. I have six grandchildren. And there is no obligation greater that I feel than to help my grandchildren live in a twenty-first century that is freer and less bloody than the awful twentieth century has been. And that is why it is such a great honor for me to be here with you today, and such a great source of pride for me to be so allied and linked with your community.
In fact, it is the bravery of your fellow practitioners in China and the activities of the Falun Gong community around the word that, in my judgment, have more to do with hope for the twenty-first century than anything I know. More than the politicians, more than the activists. What you are doing is helping write a positive history for the rest of the twenty-first century. Because the great issue for the twenty-first century--far more important than even Muslim terrorism--is the question of whether China will become a democratic country. And it is you, it is your fellow practitioners, who stand on the cutting edge, who are the spearhead of the effort to make China free and democratic. If that happens, the twenty-first century will be a century of competition and peace, and not a bloody century of war and confrontation.
And what do you do? Here, a handful of Falun Gong practitioners has created NTDTV, the only free and uncensored television reaching two-thirds of the Chinese people. And perhaps even more, a handful of Falun Gong practitioners has created, through their brilliance, firewall-buster programs that have defeated China's multi-billion dollar effort, its forty-to-fifty-thousand-person bureaucracy, that's in business to monitor and censor the Internet. And you, a handful of your fellow practitioners, have created systems that beat the firewall, that shatter the firewall.
The other day, Hu Jintao made a major speech. He said, "The stability of the socialist state is at stake unless we purify the Internet." What was he talking about? He was talking about a Falun Gong community program that now receives 150 million hits per day, where free communication, interactive communication, between the people of the free world and the people of China is possible, not just for Falun Gong practitioners but for everyone. In fact, your program now receives ten million hits a day in Iran, where the persecuted people of Iran have a lifeline to the rest of the world.
You have done that. And that is why China persecutes you so - not because they're dumb, but because they're smart. They understand that in your gentle practices, with your bravery and freedom, with your unwillingness to submit to terror and torture, you are undermining their dictatorship. They fear you every bit as much as they fear the weapons of Pentagons and the efforts of everyone.
So I'm grateful to be here with you, because for my grandchildren and the children and grandchildren of us all, there will be democracy in China. And when the books are written, you will be Chapter One in the book. And God bless you, and thank you, and thank your fellow practitioners so very much for doing that.
It is the obligation of all of us, when we deal with brave people like your fellow practitioners in China who are tortured and murdered, to work with everything within us so that it may be said of them, "They did not suffer in vain. They did not die in vain." And it is our obligation by our efforts to make sure that though they have been murdered, they still live. And indeed, to the extent that there is power within me, and I know to the extent that there is power within you, those of your practitioners who have been persecuted and murdered will live. Their acts live on, and we are the beneficiaries.
It is a privilege and an honor for me to say as I look at you, I too am a member of the Falun Gong in every sense of spirit. And I shall, for the sake of us all and for the sake of those brave people, give everything I've got to end the persecution and to bring freedom to you. And as we do that, I believe we bring freedom and hope to the world of the twenty-first century.
Thank you very, very much.