(Clearwisdom.net) The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor under the US Department of State recently issued its 2008 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom. The report expresses concern about the lack of freedom of belief in China, as it has done in previous years. The report points out that the Chinese government continues to harshly repress religious groups, Falun Gong in particular. Falun Gong practitioners are being arrested, with some dying as a result of torture and maltreatment. The report has listed China as a "country of particular concern" since 1999.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has never accepted criticism of its human rights violations from the international community, saying that such criticism equates to interfering with China's internal affairs. It goes so far as to issue dire warnings, even thinly veiled threats of economic retaliation, to countries that dare to criticize it. Ironically, the CCP continues to boast that "China is in its best period of human rights in history."

Beijing Olympics Used as an Excuse to Step Up the Persecution of Falun Gong

China's human rights record had been scrutinized by the world community since the year 2000 when the CCP applied to hold the Olympic Games in Beijing. China has not only failed to improve its human rights practices but instead accelerated the persecution of Falun Gong in the name of "Olympic security." At least 8,037 practitioners were arrested in 29 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions in the 8 months leading up to the Olympics. More than 500 were arrested in Beijing and at least 30 were sentenced to forced labor without trial. There are reports that practitioners were tortured to the point of disability and even killed as a result of torture.

The CCP denies the stepped-up persecution, just like it covered up the seriousness of the SARS epidemic in 2003. Many people, both inside and outside China, have been deceived.

UN Human Rights Report Exposes CCP Lies

However, lies will eventually be exposed. Like the World Health Organization exposing the CCP's lies about SARS, the UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur laid bare the CCP's lies and fabrications in its persecution of Falun Gong.

The United Nations Human Rights Council is the world's most authoritative body on human rights, legislation and supervision. It consists of various mechanisms on human rights including special groups and special rapporteurs on "freedom of religious belief", "violence against women" and "torture". Every year, it presents an annual report to the 53 member countries and 146 countries that have an observer status, as well as non-governmental organizations. The persecution of Falun Gong has led to more and more condemnations by these human rights rapporteurs. In many reports, the persecution of Falun Gong accounted for the majority of all cases. Special Rapporteur on torture Mr. Manfred Nowak said in his report of March 2006, among all the cases of torture in China, the ones performed on practitioners accounted to 66 percent.

As the No. 1 human rights violator in the world, the Chinese Communist Party has tried to make the best use of this opportunity to export its lies and hatred by doing anything possible to spread false information to UN officials, employees, and representatives. In recent years, however, the Party's attempts have met with complete failure, as Chinese representatives' speeches invoke incredulous laughter for their obvious falsehoods. On the other hand, a peaceful and resilient force has gained increasing recognition and has been embraced on the world stage, that of the Falun Gong practitioners who have testified during the world human rights forum and peacefully gathered outside the Human Rights Conference in Geneva.

Special Rapporteur on torture Mr. Manfred Nowak wrote a widely quoted report after a two week fact-finding visit to China. In his opinion, the combination of deprivation of liberty as a sanction for the peaceful exercise of freedom of expression, assembly, and religion, with measures of "re-education" through coercion, humiliation, and punishment aimed at achieving an admission of culpability and altering the personality of the detainee up to the point of even breaking his will, strike at the very core of the human rights to personal integrity, dignity, and humanity. It constitutes a form of inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment leading to submissiveness and a "culture of fear," which is incompatible with the core values of any democratic society based upon a culture of human rights. In the 2008 report, the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief repeated, "We are highly attentive toward the continuous encroachment of the religious freedom of Falun Gong adherents in China."

US State Department Report: China's Human Rights Practices Continue to Deteriorate

The US State Department issues an annual report on human rights conditions in 196 countries around the world. China is one of the countries that has been repeatedly criticized. China's human rights violations include surveillance, harassment, detention and locking up religious activists, reporters and writers, and the lawyers who try to defend them. Their families are often harassed or detained. The report mentioned many times that as in previous years, the CCP's "abuses included instances of extra-judicial killings, torture and mistreatment of prisoners, forced confessions, arbitrary arrests and detention, lengthy incommunicado detention, and denial of due process."

In the 2006 Annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, the part about China was 85 pages long. The report held that China's human rights practices were deteriorating. The CCP intensified its persecution of Falun Gong and other organizations. Serious human rights violations were still a common practice. It continued to restrict the freedom of speech and the freedom of press and it also intensified the Internet blockade.

Opposition to the Persecution is Widespread Worldwide

Looking back over the last nine years, practitioners have spared no effort in clarifying the facts, exposing CCP lies and persecution. Many people have changed their wrong attitudes toward Falun Gong from the hatred and indifference inspired by CCP propaganda to the sympathy, understanding and support engendered by the truth. More and more government officials in Western society have stood up and pressed the CCP to end its persecution of Falun Gong.

The US State Department passed House Concurrent Resolution 304 in October 2004. The resolution condemns the Chinese government's oppression of Falun Gong in both the United States and China. It states that the Chinese government should "cease using the diplomatic missions in the United States to spread falsehoods about the nature of Falun Gong." The resolution also calls for the release of prisoners of conscience and an end to the persecution of Falun Gong in China.

In 2006, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a resolution that "condemns the persecution of Falun Gong."

During the second steering committee meeting of the Council of Europe in April 2006, eleven representatives of the Council raised a motion asking for a hearing on the case which was recently exposed to the public regarding the Chinese Communist Party's crimes of organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners, and demanded that the Chinese government open all labor camps to international delegations to conduct independent investigations.

ESPN, a well-known sports website, reported in July 2008 that Swiss citizen Erich Bachmann, a member of the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong in China (CIPFG) presented 1,215,793 petition signatures to the International Olympic Committee headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. In a six-month signature campaign that spanned the globe, over 1 million people sent a message to the Chinese regime to end its persecution of Falun Gong before the Olympic Games.

CIPFG also received more than 1,700 signatures from the elite of society, half of whom are politicians, including 70 members of parliament from 14 countries, 218 members of local parliaments and 50 government officials, 346 from the education and academic circles, and 324 from legal, medical as well as literature and art circles. The signatures will also be presented to the UN Human Rights Commission, the European Union, the European Parliament and noted international human rights organizations, in hopes that the governments and parliaments around the world will act in accordance with the popular will and help effectively end the persecution of Falun Gong in China.

In recent years, the international community has increasingly opposed the persecution of Falun Gong. This marks the beginning of the end of the persecution. With more in-depth analysis, the people of the world will denounce the persecution and bring it to a swift end.