News Advisory:

The Chinese government's use of terrorist tactics against Falun Gong practitioners will be the focus of a panel discussion Wednesday, October 10, 12:30 p.m. in the Zenger Room of the National Press Club, 529 14th Street, N.W.

The event is being sponsored by Friends of Falun Gong, a U.S.-based non-profit organization of individuals who firmly support and advocate for freedom of belief and other human rights.

In its brutal repression of Falun Gong, Jiang Zemin's totalitarian regime presents a textbook case of state-run terrorism. Although Falun Gong is a peaceful, spiritual practice, President Jiang banned the practice July 20th, 1999. What has followed over the last two years is the violent persecution of millions of law abiding Chinese citizens. The government has used every means at its disposal including the media, its vast propaganda machine, security forces, and fellow citizens to persecute Falun Gong practitioners. Violent assault, kidnapping, imprisonment without trial, persecution, brutal torture, incarceration in labor camps, and deaths in detention are among the many manifestations of the regime's campaign of terror against Falun Gong practitioners.

Responsibility for the execution of President Jiang's terrorist campaign has been entrusted to the secretive and deadly "610 Office," which was established on June 10, 1999. Headed by Luo Gan, the 610 Office is directly responsible for tens of thousands of arrests, thousands of mental hospital abuses, and hundreds of killings of Falun Gong practitioners nationwide in the past two years. As of October 8, 2001, the total number of documented deaths is 295, with 29 new deaths reported in the past three weeks alone. Sources within China say that the actual death toll exceeds 1,000.

The panel discussion is being held to mark the resumption of the U.S.-China Human Rights Dialogue. Panelists include Georgetown University Professor Joseph A. Bosco; Dr. Leila F. Dane, President of the Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict and Violence; Senior State Department Policy Advisor George Lister; James Standish, Deputy Secretary General, International Religious Liberty Association; Harry Wu, Executive Director of the Laogai Research Foundation; Falun Gong Representative Dr. Shiyu Zhou; and James Carpenter, an attorney and former Ohio State University professor of law. The moderator will be Ambassador Mark Palmer, a member of the Friends of Falun Gong Board of Trustees.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a self-improvement practice of mind, body, and spirit, based on the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance. It was introduced to the public in 1992 by Mr. Li Hongzhi. Since then, millions of individuals around the world have taken up the peaceful, meditative practice. Due to its popularity, the Jiang Zemin regime banned the practice in 1999.