News Release For Immediate Release: August 17, 2001

Toronto, August 17 -- For the past two weeks, sprinklers at the Chinese Consulate have drenched a group of approximately 20 Falun Gong practitioners performing meditation exercises in appeal against the government's persecution of the practice in China.

Police have requested the Consulate officials to reschedule the watering to avoid the one-hour daily group exercise. However, nothing has changed.

The sprinklers haven't dampened the resolve of 14-year-old Jin Ye. She is in week three of a month-long sit-in that she began on August 1. Ye asked her parents if she could take time out of her summer holidays to hold the sit-in. She is spending nine hours a day in front of the Consulate every day this month. After posing the idea, she was quickly joined by others.

"I want to tell people Falun Gong is good and the persecution is wrong. We need to stop it," said Ye, who attributes Falun Gong with having rescued both her and her mother from serious liver conditions.

Ye's relatives in China are among those persecuted. Her aunt lost her job after appealing for Falun Gong in Beijing. Her uncle was detained for 8 months.

"It's ruthless," said Jason Loftus, a U of T student and Falun Gong practitioner. "We are simply appealing peacefully against systematic and brutal arrest, torture, rape and murder of innocent people."

Today's soaking is just part of the Chinese government's increasing assault on Falun Gong outside China.

Last week, a Chinese appeal delegation held an "open house" in Toronto to hear the concerns of Canadian Chinese. Falun Gong practitioners and reporters were forced out.

One woman, Haiying Liu, was dragged to the ground by staff of the hosting venue after revealing she was a Falun Gong practitioner, as reported by the Sing Tao Daily Chinese newspaper.

In February 2001, an advertised hate rally against Falun Gong was held in Toronto in which the primary speaker was the Chinese Consular General.

Canadian government officials who support Falun Gong have also faced pressure from Chinese officials.

A group of Canadian Falun Gong practitioners have begun a month-long cross-Canada tour - "SOS! Urgent: Rescue the Falun Gong Practitioners Persecuted in China" -- reaching all 10 provinces and both territories www.faluncanada.net/sos). They hope to raise awareness and gather support from Canadians.

According to human rights group Amnesty International, well over 200 Falun Gong practitioners have died in the government-ordered crackdown. 130 practitioners are reportedly on the 15th day of a hunger strike in Masanjia labour camp due to abuses and the indefinite extension of their sentences.

Category: Rallies & Protests