Press Statement: Washington, D.C. Hunger Strike for Justice, Hunger Strike to Call for Peaceful Dialogue
8:00 am, August 20, 2001
Beginning at 3:00 PM, August 17, 2001, six Falun Gong practitioners have launched a hunger strike in front of the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC. The number of practitioners on this hunger strike has risen to 10 practitioners as of now. They are from five different states in the U.S.
This hunger strike is our urgent call to the world: "SOS! Urgent: Rescue the Falun Gong practitioners persecuted in China!" In particular, we strongly call on Jiang Zemin's regime to release the 130 Falun Gong practitioners detained in Masanjia Labor Camp in Liaoning Province, Mainland China. They have been on a hunger strike for 3 weeks now, for protesting the illegal and prolonged detention.
The lives of these 130 practitioners are in great danger, not only because of the extended hunger strike, but also because they have witnessed relentless tortures, abuses and coercion in the notorious Masanjia Labor Camp. We cannot imagine what they have gone through and are still going through in a labor camp where the authorities have stripped 18 female practitioners' clothes off and thrown them into male's cells. In addition, the Chinese authorities have put forth the directive that "we would rather violate the law [than set the practitioners free]. We absolutely will not release these persons." The situation is very urgent.
Jiang Zemin has secretly ordered a vicious policy to "defame Falun Gong practitioners' reputations, break them financially, and destroy them physically." In the past two years, Jiang's regime has systematically carried out a national-wide terrorism against Falun Gong practitioners. Millions of Falun Gong practitioners in China have suffered loss of job, family, financial support. They have been tortured in mental hospitals, labor camps and prisons, and forced to attend brainwashing classes. Some have even lost their precious lives. As of today, at least 265 Falun Gong practitioners have died of police brutality. We asked our conscience: can we watch silently to add 130 more lives on the death list?
These 130 practitioners should not have been put into the labor camp in the first place. And now, they have chosen to call for justice with their lives, as they carry out hunger strike for their fundamental right to live with dignity. However, their voices can hardly be heard because the Chinese authorities have sealed off all information to the outside world.
Therefore, we decided to launch the hunger strike in front of the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC. We want to be the voice of these 130 practitioners in the free world. We hope that through our endeavor the world can see a small reflection of what Falun Gong practitioners are going through in China. Let their cry for justice be heard through us, so they can have a chance to live with dignity.
Practitioners in the United States have peacefully appealed in front of the Chinese Embassy for nearly two years, yet the authorities have repeatedly rejected our appeal letters. Calling for justice with our lives, we specifically call on the Chinese embassy to open its doors to its own citizens for a peaceful dialogue, if we have the common ground that we should at least have the fundamental sympathy and respect for people's lives.
During the past two years, numerous Falun Gong practitioners in China have consistently and peacefully appealed to the Chinese government and no report has ever indicated that Falun Gong practitioners resorted to violence in the face of police brutality. They could have comfortable lives if they signed the renunciation letters, yet they have courageously chosen to hold on to principles of "Truth, Compassion, and Tolerance." Jiang's regime has systematically used "lies, viciousness, and violence" to suppress and kill the people who practice the universal principles of "Truth, Compassion, and Tolerance." The persecution on Falun Gong is the most vicious crime to humanity in the history, cause it aims at destroying people's kind hearts. The Falun Gong movement in China is the largest, peaceful civil disobedience movement in the world since the historical non-violence movements led by Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
We call on all governments, institutions and people of goodwill to lend their support to rescue the Falun Gong practitioners who are being viciously persecuted in China. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said: "An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
We will carry out our hunger strike as long as we can, to strongly call on Ambassador Yang Jiechi to meet us for a peaceful dialogue, to strongly call on the Chinese authorities to unconditionally release 130 innocent practitioners in Masanjia labor camp.
Falun Gong practitioners in the United States
April Zhang, Sam Lu, Eugene Cui (Atlanta, Georgia)
Shean Lin, Mike Chen (Birmingham, Alabama)
Jinwei Wang, Huijuan Jing, Xiong Shouyong (Virginia)
Pin Li (Connecticut), Wei He (Rhode Island)
Hotline: (202)-550-0562, (202) 246-6975, (205) 422-4330, and (678) 984-1861
Category: Rallies & Protests