Washington D.C.: Rally Calls for End of Persecution (Photos)
(Clearwisdom.net) On July 20, 1999, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched a brutal persecution of Falun Gong. Prior to the 10th anniversary of the start of the persecution, more than 1,000 Falun Gong practitioners, nine U.S. Congressmen, and representatives from more than 10 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) held a rally on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., calling upon people to recognize the evil nature of the CCP and for an end to the persecution.
The rally started at 9:30 in the morning. Falun Gong practitioners demonstrated the peaceful exercises. At noon, practitioners held up dozen of banners with the messages, "Stop the Persecution of Falun Gong," and, "Bring Jiang Zemin, Luo Gan, Zhou Yongkang and Liu Jing to Justice." U.S. Congressmen, representatives from NGOs and other supporters attended the rally. They expressed their respect to Falun Gong practitioners for their spirit and continuous efforts to clarifying the truth.
Ten years ago, when the persecution had just started, Falun Gong practitioners gathered on Capitol Hill, telling people the facts about Falun Gong and exposing the persecution in China. Since then, practitioners have come here every year, clarifying the truth to the U.S. Congress and calling for an end to the persecution.
Congressmen thank practitioners for their efforts to protect Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance
Dana Rohrabacher, Congressman from California, and a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, giving a speech.
Dana Rohrabacher, Congressman from California, and a member of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, gave a speech. He said that as officials elected by the people, they represent people's moral principles. Falun Gong practitioners' right of belief is given by God. He said that we stand together with Falun Gong practitioners, and the American people and U.S. Congress stand together with them. He thanked practitioners for their efforts to protect the truth. The congressman noted that during the 10-year persecution, practitioners still have courage. He said that their efforts have drawn the attention of concerned people all over the world; it is a power which can change the world.
Christopher Smith, Congressman from New Jersey, speaking at the rally.
Christopher Smith, Congressman from New Jersey, addressed the rally. He thanked practitioners for coming to Washington, letting the whole world witness their suffering.
Congressman Smith said that when the persecution started in 1999, few people knew what Falun Gong was. The CCP's persecution has caused more than 3,000 deaths. Many practitioners are imprisoned. Mr. Smith believes that the U.S. Government and the free world should take more action to stop the suffering of Falun Gong practitioners in China.
We stand with justice no matter which party we belong to
Sheila Jackson Lee, Congresswoman from Texas, addressing the rally
Sheila Jackson Lee, Congresswoman from Texas, expressed her respect for Falun Gong for all they have done. She said that the message she hoped to pass on today is that she and her colleagues stand here together with justice, no matter which party they belong to.
The congresswoman stated that she does not want to see practitioners jailed and tortured; she does not want children to have to know about violence; she does not want the world to think that people cannot have peaceful beliefs. Therefore, she was happy that every year elected representatives show their support, and more and more people are quitting the Communist Party. Sheila Jackson Lee is happy that more and more CCP members long for peace and freedom and are trying to stop the persecution.
Roscoe Bartlett, Congressman from Maryland
Roscoe Bartlett, Congressman from Maryland came to know about Falun Gong practitioners from their peaceful and positive mindset. He said that practitioners have visited his office many times and they have made a deep impression on him. He said they are positive and full of energy. Mr. Bartlett wondered at what keeps them so positive and energetic all the time, because he himself values and strives for those qualities.
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Congresswoman from Florida and a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Congresswoman from Florida and a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, said that in 2007 alone, more than 100 Falun Gong practitioners died in prison or right after being released. According to the 2008 U.S. Congress report on the human right situation in China, it was estimated that more than 250 thousand Falun Gong practitioners are jailed in labor camps, only because they practice Falun Gong. Some of those imprisoned are family members of U.S. citizens and permanent residents.
Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen noted that the persecution has been extended to America. She urges the American government to deport those who have been involved in perpetrating the persecution in this country.
The congresswoman expressed that we need to stand with Falun Gong practitioners, prisoners of conscience in China. She clearly said to the CCP: Stop persecuting Falun Gong practitioners; give the Chinese people freedom.
Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Congressman from Miami, Florida
Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Congressman from Miami, Florida, has been paying close attention to the persecution of Falun Gong. He thinks that the persecution is a shame for human beings.
Congressman Diaz-Balart said that unfortunately, China, a great and wonderful country with an extraordinary culture, has been suppressed by a tyrannical power. In the brutal persecution of peaceful Falun Gong practitioners, we can see the violence of this power. He said it is a shame for human beings.
Mr. Diaz-Balart expressed that it was an honor that he could attend this rally. He thanked the practitioners for coming to Washington and reminding U.S. officials of the persecution.
William Lacy Clay, Congressman from Missouri
William Lacy Clay, Congressman from Missouri, expressed that the U.S. Congress's attitude on Falun Gong issue is very clear--the illegal jailing and torture must be stopped and the persecution of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance should not exist in this great country.
He stated that he came to this anti-persecution rally to show the CCP the support for Falun Gong from the U.S. Congress. He said that representatives from the U.S. Government must say to the CCP: Stop the persecution.
Gus Bilirakis, Congressman from Florida and a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs
Gus Bilirakis, Congressman from Florida and a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, said that Falun Gong practitioners have proven, through their behavior and actions, that they are a peaceful group and what they ask for is their basic right. He said that practitioners do not give in to violence; they use their hearts to stop the persecution. Through the printed media, TV and the Internet, practitioners clarify the truth to people in China. Congressman Bilirakis said that he will continue his effort to fight for freedom and stop the persecution. He said he will stand with practitioners and share the principle of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
Representative from NGO: Falun Gong practitioners make the world more beautiful
Representatives from more than 10 non-governmental organizations and supporters of Falun Gong gave speeches at the rally. Michael Horowitz, a senior fellow from the Hudson Institute, said that history is not written by the famous people; it is written by those who bravely devote themselves to truth. He said that Falun Gong practitioners make the world more beautiful.
Passersby: The persecution will be ended
Many citizens and visitors attended the rally. At noon, a lot of people joined the rally and listened to the speeches. Jane, who works at a library, said she has seen the practitioners' rally every year at this time. She said, "We all know about Falun Gong and the persecution. I believe that the persecution will be ended."
Hugh and Ann are tourists from Australia. They too attended the rally. Hugh said that he knew about Falun Gong. "You have done a good job. Keep it up and the persecution will be ended," he said.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline for mind and body. The practice involves slow, gentle movements and meditation. It is easy to learn, enjoyable to practice, and free of charge. Its principles are based on Truth, Compassion, and Tolerance. The practice began in China in 1992 and quickly spread by word of mouth throughout China and then beyond. Today, Falun Gong is practiced by over 100 million people in 60 countries. The main works of Falun Gong are available in over 30 languages.
On July 20, 1999, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched a brutal persecution of Falun Gong. The persecution is not only towards Falun Gong, but also aims to destroy the moral standards and human principles of all people. Since the start of the persecution, Falun Gong practitioners throughout the world have been constantly speaking out about the truth of Falun Gong and exposing the CCP's crimes in a tireless effort to end the persecution.