Congress of the United States

House of Representatives

Washington, DC 200515-2211

April 2, 2002

Dear __________:

Thank you for contacting my office expressing your concern with the persecution of Falun Gong by the Chinese government. It was good to hear from you and you will be p1eased to learn I have signed a letter to President George W. Bush urging him to discuss this issue with Chinese President Jiang Zemin.

As you know, Falun Gong is a mind and body practice that combines meditation, gentle exercise, and moral teachings. It was introduced to the general public in 1992 in northeastern China and quickly grew. A 1999 Chinese government survey estimated that between 70-100 million Chinese people were practicing. Today, Falun Gong is found in 40 countries around the world.

On July 22, 1999, the Chinese government banned Falun Gong and began arresting thousands of practitioners. I am concerned about the reports of abuse of those individuals. It is believed that over 100,000 Falun Gong practitioners have been arrested; tens of thousands have been thrown into labor camps without trial; at least 1,000 healthy practitioners have been put into mental hospita1 and have suffered illegal psychiatric abuse. Falun Gong representatives state that 361 are confirmed as having died in police custody as of January 30, 2002. Inside government sources, according to the Falun Gong, in October 2001 put the death toll at well over 1,600. On February 15, 2002, 25 members of Falun Gong arrived at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, directly from China, displaying bruises and cuts from what they said were police beatings by Chinese authorities.

Persecution of this kind is unfortunate and unacceptable. Every single person in every nation around the world must have the basic human right to worship freely and without fear of persecution. I have signed a Congressional letter to President Bush to reiterate that the persecution of the Falun Gong in China must cease. As the letter states, "the persecution of Falun Gong in China is unworthy of all that China has been, unworthy of all that China should become, and it should be brought to a stop."

Once again, thank you for sharing your views with me. In the future, please do not hesitate to contact me on this or any other federal matter.


Joe Knollenberg