October 9, 2001

To the Members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors:

As a fellow elected official, I urge you in the strongest terms to take a stand for the people of China by condemning the treatment of practitioners of Falun Gong by the government of China. There is credible evidence that Falun Gong practitioners have been unlawfully imprisoned and tortured by Chinese officials since the official crackdown on Falun Gong in 1999. Whether you subscribe to the principles of Falun Gong is not the issue: there is a systematic abuse of human rights taking place in China, not unlike those that took place in Germany in the years leading up to the second world war.

Unfortunately, the Chinese government has chosen to carry this campaign beyond the borders of China. Over the past year, there has been a concerted effort to discourage American elected officials from recognizing Falun Gong or calling attention to the human rights abuses. Last year when I was mayor of Saratoga, I was approached by an official from the Chinese Consulate with a request from the Chinese Consul to rescind a proclamation I had issued which recognized the contributions of Falun Gong practitioners in our community. I unequivocally refused that request. Unfortunately, the consulate has approached other city officials with subtle hints of intimidation, and some cities have rescinded their proclamations and resolutions.

At a minimum, as elected officials we owe our constituencies an obligation to take a stand for the basic principles of the democratic process. This means that we declare that attempts by foreign governments to subvert the democratic process is completely unacceptable. Beyond that, we need to stand up and be counted as Americans who condemn the violations of human rights of Chinese citizens by their government.

At this very moment, American service men and women are placing their lives on the line overseas to defend the rights of all people to live peacefully, without fear of imprisonment and torture by their governments. Now more than ever, let's stand with the people of China to give meaning to the sacrifices our armed forces. History has shown that waiting on the sidelines has proven disastrous in the long run.

Please join with me in sending a clear message to the government of China: Release the practitioners of Falun Gong and allow them to return to their families. And as Americans, we will welcome you into the democratic process.

Thank you.

Stan Bogosian

Council Member, City of Saratoga

Mayor of Saratoga, 2000