Tuesday, November 20, 2001

Dear Family and Friends,

As most of you know Falun Gong is a type of Qigong (a spiritual practise from China).

Falun Gong consists of 5 soft, gentle exercises, including meditation, and also emphasises the improvement of one''s Xinxing (heart and mind nature) according to the fundamental characteristic of the universe, Zhen-Shan-Ren (Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance).

Since I started to practice Falun Gong I found much greater harmony in my life. I am now healthier and happier, and I feel that I have benefited both physically and mentally from this practice.

After I had practised this harmonious practice for 2.5 years, the Chinese Government banned Falun Gong. I couldn''t believe it was true. Why would they want to ban something so peaceful and innocent, something that is nothing but positive and beneficial? At first I could not believe it, but gradually through TV, Newspapers and Internet I slowly realised not only that Falun Gong was banned, but also learned about the reckless brutality and inhumane treatment Falun Gong practitioners was now subject to. But to this day I still don''t understand "why".

Of course I have heard the explanations that the "China Experts" give such as:

  • Chinese Government feel threatened because the number of people practising Falun Gong (Falun Gong practitioners) grew to over 70 million, exceeding even the number of members of the Communist Party.
  • The other reason is that Falun Gong can not be controlled or corrupted, nor can it be made a source of profit since all Falun Gong activities are free of charge and donations not accepted for the classes. Everything is done on a individual and voluntary basis.

What the China Experts say sounds reasonable, and is most probably correct. But I still don''t understand:

  • How can they arrest and beat people for no other reason than that they practise Falun Gong?
  • How can they imprison Falun Gong practitioners for three years in a labour camp without trial?
  • How can they give 18 year sentences to persons who haven''t done anything other than voluntary teaching the Falun Gong exercises and meditation?
  • How can they think that the fact that a lady is a Falun Gong practitioner justifies raping her? Or to torture her through electric shocks with a electric baton inside her vagina? (this is a popular way to torture female practitioners).
  • How can they kill babies, only because their parents practise Falun Gong?
  • How can they torture and kill people only because they practise 5 harmonious exercises and live by Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance?
  • How could the International Community possibly stay quiet on this issue?

In it''s persecution of Falun Gong, the Chinese Government is not only breaking its own constitutional laws, but also severely violating the International Human Rights treaties that they themselves have signed.

Since the persecution started, more than 50,000 practitioners have been arbitrarily detained and more than 10,000 have been sent to labour camps without trial. In the labour camps rape and torture is rampantly used to try to force the practitioners to stop practising Falun Gong. As a result a lot of Falun Gong practitioners already died.

I cannot silently watch this gross injustice. I cannot remain silent when I read about the reckless brutality that innocent Falun Gong practitioners in China receive. If I would have been born in China, I might have been tortured, raped and even killed by now. If I were living there, wouldn''t I have hoped for the International Community to help me from these indecent abuses?

I feel a great compassion and concern for my fellow Falun Gong practitioners in China. They may have lost their every human right, including their right to speak, but I will speak for them. Only through raising the awareness of the atrocities can we stop them. As long as Falun Gong practitioners are being arbitrarily detained, tortured, and killed in China, I will raise this issue wherever I go, and this even includes China.

When I was in China last year, I saw how the police catch and severely beat many Falun Gong practitioners in Tiananmen Square. Most of the other tourists didn''t dare to watch, but I was frozen still. My eyes wide open, like two open water taps. Time stopped, my body was a big calm ocean. I watched those beasts beat the defenseless practitioners, while two wide rivers of tears quietly soaked my clothes. It was so unreal. I could not believe how cruel they were. None of the Falun Gong practitioners retaliated. On that day a female Falun Gong practitioner was beaten to death on the square.

Having witnessed such incredibly vicious scenes at one of Beijing's main tourists attractions, I cannot even imagine the cruelties the Falun Gong practitioners receive when they get to the police station, or even worse, the [forced] labour camps where they have even more refined torture. Zhao Ming, a Chinese PhD student from Trinity Collage in Dublin, was detained during his Christmas holiday. Last time I saw him was in Hyde Park in August 1999; only months later he went to see his parents in China. He never made it back. He was arrested and sent to labour camp, and to this day, he is still in the labour camp and under torture. I hope that we will get Zhao Ming back to his studies in Ireland as soon as possible.

There are many reports of gang rapes and torture in the jails and labour camps in China. This summer there were at least 2 mass murders in labour camps in China, in one of them 15 ladies were [reportedly]killed. In northern China, they tied two Falun Gong practitioners to motorbikes on a public square. They then rode the motorbikes circulating on the square with the bodies dragging behind until they died.

We cannot quietly watch these gross Human Rights violations. I hope that after you read this, you tell others about the Human Rights abuses against Falun Gong practitioners in China, trying to help spread the word and to raise the awareness so as to enable a quick end to this urgent human rights crises. If you want more info please go to: www.faluninfo.net.

Meanwhile, in the memory of all those innocent people who died due to the persecution for practising Falun Gong, I will go to China to, from the bottom of my heart, appeal for:

  • the end of the persecution
  • the release of all innocent Falun Gong practitioners
  • the right to practise Falun Gong in peace.

No one should have to pay with their lives for practising meditation and Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance. Even practitioners living in Europe and the US are being threatened through email and telephone and even through physical attacks. Innumerable times we have tried to get our message of appeal across, but the Chinese Embassies always refuse our letters. We should not have to feel threatened whether we live in China or abroad. The right to belief, speech, and assembly is a human being''s most fundamental right, and all we want to do is practise Falun Gong in peace. If I have to go to China to get the message across, then that is what I will do.

I hope you can all understand.

Lilian Staf