August 18, 2001

( Eight Falun Gong practitioners from Georgia, Alabama and Washington D.C. started a hunger strike in front of the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C. the afternoon of August 17, 2001. They are supporting the 130 practitioners who have been on hunger strike in China's Masanjia Labor Camp for nearly 20 days. They are strongly protesting the shameless actions of the Chinese government in completely disregarding human life and illegally detaining practitioners beyond their terms.

Zhang Yu from Georgia is the mother of an 11-month old baby. She told reporters that when she heard that an 8-month old baby was persecuted to death along with her mother, she felt extremely sad and didn't know how to express her grief. She didn't know what kind of people could be so inhumane. She said that the Chinese police have used all the implements of torture they can imagine to persecute Falun Gong practitioners. These include the "tiger bench" (a torture device designed to break a person's legs), inserting bamboo strips under the fingernails, shocking with electric batons and electric needles, and administering dangerous drugs in mental hospitals. Their purpose is to force Falun Gong practitioners to give up their belief of "Zhen-Shan-Ren" (Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance) and to give up their practice of Falun Gong. She said that she adopted this most ancient action of a hunger strike in order to use her life to tell the Chinese government to stop the persecution and release all detained Falun Gong practitioners.

Lu Zhaohui, a Falun Gong practitioner who recently arrived in the United States from Mainland China, has a deep understanding of this issue that comes from personal experience. He said that the practitioners who are on hunger strike in the Masanjia Labor Camp must be in a very difficult situation. When he was detained in the Nanshan Labor Camp in Shenzhen City, he knew that one week after starting a hunger strike, the practitioners would be brutally force-fed and then lashed with iron whips. If such brutality could take place in a relatively civilized institution such as Shenzhen, in a city close to Hong Kong, it is not hard to imagine how cruel the treatment of practitioners must be in the notorious Masanjia Labor Camp.

He also knew a female practitioner who went on a hunger strike in a detention center. To induce other prisoners to beat her, the labor camp didn't allow those in the same cell to eat because of her hunger strike. Now, Lu Zhaohui appeals to all Eastern and Western kind-hearted people to take urgent action to help rescue the innocent Falun Gong practitioners, whose lives are in great danger.

Shean Lin from Alabama said that the persecution of Falun Gong has lasted for 2 years, and it is escalating. Many Falun Gong practitioners have been on a hunger strike for nearly 20 days, and their lives are at risk. However, the Chinese government has turned a deaf ear. He mentioned that in 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King wrote these lines from a Birmingham jail: "We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people." Shean said that the Chinese government's persecution of Falun Gong is trying to stamp out the best in human nature. He hoped all kind-hearted people would not be indifferent to the persecution of Falun Gong, and he appealed to them to help secure the release of all Falun Gong practitioners. He would like everyone to remember one famous sentence of Dr. Martin Luther King, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."