Falun Gong Press Statement, 09/06/2001
We come together today, seven individuals made strong by our conviction, to embark on a journey both long and difficult, an "SOS! Earth Walk: Urgent Rescue the Falun Gong Practitioners Persecuted in China" across America. We come together, several of us having just been part of the 20 days of hunger striking before the Chinese Embassy, to take our appeal to all the world's people. We are joining David, who will speak in a moment, for the first several hundred miles of his journey across this vast country, en route to Los Angeles, by foot. Dozens of others around the world, in Ireland, Portugal, Canada, Estonia, and Turkey, are setting off on foot out of the very same conviction, travelling across their lands.
We come together, because we must -- there is terrible injustice in the world; evil, to be precise. In Mainland China today, tens of millions of good people are suffering a brutal persecution at the hands of the communist regime. They are suffering, because they practice Falun Gong. For their beliefs and the strength in their numbers, they are subjected to jailings, slave labor, beatings, torture, rape, sexual abuse, and even, most chillingly, murder -- 277 have already been killed in custody. The campaign of terror in China, which now seeks to "eradicate" Falun Gong, has gone on for two years. This can only be described as urgent. This is a crisis.
We walk these many miles, as others do abroad, to call upon this earth's billions of kindhearted people. We call to them, "Open your hearts, reach out a helping hand, rescue the Falun Gong practitioners in China!" We walk to raise humanitarian support and to raise awareness. And in particular, we in the States appeal to President Bush as his visit to China quickly approaches; we hope deeply that his trip may win the release of the imprisoned Dr. Teng Chunyan, and others.
We've seen many persecutions in the world. But this is different. Very different.
For Falun Gong is the practice of Truth, Compassion, Forbearance. It is the practice of becoming a more good, more kind, more true human being. It is the practice of putting others first, of giving more to the world, of cultivating virtue in oneself and inspiring it in others.
When good people are persecuted for these beliefs, it is not only our concern, but your concern, humanity's concern. And when these good people stand up to resist the evil that attacks them, as the Falun Gong practitioners in China have so courageously done, it is our job -- our moral call -- to help them. And when this persecution has even harmed the families and lives of people here in the United States, as we'll hear from Ms. Chen in a few minutes, we cannot just stand by.
So we, as persons who cherish goodness, and take it to be the highest virtue, have decided to walk. We have taken up an altruistic and peaceful way to appeal, just as our kin in China have taken up many peaceful, righteous ways to appeal -- they have risked their lives to protest on Tiananmen Square, to hunger strike, to post informational flyers, and so much more. We too here in America cannot, and will not, sink to violence; to do that would be to violate Falun Gong. With Truth, Compassion, and Forbearance behind each step, this journey will succeed.