(Clearwisdom.net) All businessmen who make investments in Mainland China know that they should learn about its laws, regulations, and business and cultural environment to ensure the smooth operation of their businesses. Since government work, company profits and even students' tests and education are forcibly linked with Falun Gong, the truth about Falun Gong is something every investor must learn. We relate below what Mary Kay Inc. went through in China.

Mary Kay, Inc., based in Dallas, Texas, is a retail cosmetics firm with over 120,000 employees and sales consultants in China. Some of them are Falun Gong practitioners. Since September 2003, a Chinese Mary Kay, Inc. subsidiary in Shenzhen City, Guangdong Province has been the subject of scrutiny by the "610 Office."* This surveillance stems from an incident in which a Falun Gong practitioner related the goodness of Falun Dafa cultivation in a speech to personnel at the new Mary Kay subsidiary in Shenzhen City.

A reporter related the incident to the police, which precipitated the arrest of three Falun Gong practitioners. After they were illegally arrested, the "610 Office" put pressure on Mary Kay by forcing the company to comply with government-dictated demands regarding Falun Gong, with the threat of having normal business operations in China interrupted or discontinued.

Under pressure from the "610 Office," Mary Kay, Inc. initiated a requirement that all current and future employees sign a "behavioral standard statement," which explicitly states that they will neither practice nor advocate Falun Gong, under penalty of employment termination. According to information from within China, several Mary Kay employees have already lost their jobs for refusing to sign such a statement.

A very successful private entrepreneur in Mainland China once said that for Western businessmen who invest in China, "the key to success is not to betray yourself." He said many business people who made investments in China are successful investors. Please think about it: Why is the Western economy more prosperous than the Chinese economy; what are the key reasons why westerners are successful? If you betray those key factors when you make investments in China, then how can you believe you are still going to be successful? Isn't that the same as betraying yourself?"

Mary Kay Inc. imposed this disgraceful requirement on its employees because it received pressure from the "610 Office." The company's action, though, attracted much attention from the international community. On November 17, 2003, three influential U.S. Congressional members, Chris Smith (Vice Chairman of Committee on International Relations), Tom Lantos (Ranking Democratic Member) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Chair of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and Central Asia) wrote to Mr. Richard R. Rogers, Chairman and CEO of Mary Kay Inc. to request an immediate revocation of the requirement imposed by Mary Kay China on its sales associates to sign a "behavioral standard statement," which specifically mention Falun Gong or any other religious, spiritual or political movement.

This would require Mary Kay Inc. to have a clear understanding of the Falun Gong incident. The company not only has to learn about the Chinese government's suppressive policies against Falun Gong, all illegal laws and regulations that the "610 Office" or the National Security Bureau may impose, but also has to learn that these laws and regulations not only violate the constitution of China, they also violate international human rights pacts. The company's administrators not only must learn about what kind of persecution is being executed against Falun Gong practitioners by the "610 Office," but also what kind of lawsuits and punishment await the current persons in charge of the persecution. They not only need to know what kind of consequences will be brought about by agreeing with or rejecting the "610 Office" requests, but also whether agreeing with or rejecting these requests meets the company's bottom-line moral standards and whether it will make the company violate the constitution of China and international laws.

Persecutors are being investigated and sued

Some of the leading persons in charge of this persecution include former president Jiang Zemin; Luo Gan, the former Secretary of the Politics and Law Committee; Liu Qi, former Beijing Mayor; Wu Guanzheng, a current member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and former Party secretary of Shandong Provincial Party Committee; Zhao Zhifei, former deputy head of Hubei Province's Public Security Department; Zhao Yongkang, former Party secretary of Sichuan Provincial Party Committee; Xia Deren, deputy head of Liaoning Province. All these individuals were charged with crimes of torture, genocide, crimes against humanity, deprivation of the right to live, deprivation of freedom and personal safety, deprivation of protection from illegal arrest and detention, deprivation of freedom of thought, freedom of conscience and freedom of belief. These cases were filed in the U.S., Spain, Finland, Iceland, Belgium, Moldova and Armenia, among others.

The World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong ("WOIPFG") Source: http://www.upholdjustice.org was founded on January 20, 2003, "This organization openly invites and seeks support from individuals and institutions of global social conscience, and plays a coordinating role in the effort to investigate - broadly, thoroughly, and systematically - all instances of criminal conduct on the part of individuals, institutions, and organizations involved in the persecution of Falun Gong. This includes Jiang Zemin himself, all levels of the "610 Office" directly responsible for the persecution of Falun Gong at Jiang's orders, the National Security Bureau, the Public Security Bureau, the court justice system, forced-labor camps, mental institutions involved in the persecution,
the state-controlled media and its mouthpieces that spread false accusations, fabricate lies, and frame Falun Gong, and those individuals who directly or indirectly participate in the mental, physical, and financial persecution of Falun Gong practitioners and their family members."

Stop state terrorism - the investor's choice

As mentioned above, after the three Falun Gong practitioners were illegally arrested, the "610 Office" applied further pressure on Mary Kay by forcing the company to comply with demands regarding Falun Gong, under the threat of having normal business operations in China interrupted or discontinued.

Under pressure from the "610 Office," Mary Kay, Inc. required that all current and future employees sign a "behavioral standards statement," which explicitly stated that they will neither practice nor advocate Falun Gong, under penalty of employment termination. According to information from within China, several Mary Kay employees and/or sales consultants lost their jobs for refusing to sign such a statement. (Note: Mary Kay has since revised the pledge. Please see the following link for an update on the situation. Mary Kay Inc. Discontinues Use of Pledge in China that Cites Falun Gong as 'Illegal')

Another Mary Kay employee spoke during a company meeting in favor of Falun Gong. That person was detained by Chinese authorities, and this person's whereabouts remain unknown.

Mary Kay Inc. said in its regulation that the employees who do not sign the "behavioral standard statement" would be fired, but stopped short of saying that the employees would be fired because of their belief. The difference is only a matter of words and the actual damage is the same: Falun Gong practitioners would lose their job because of their spiritual beliefs. In this incident, the administrators at China Mary Kay Inc. were directly involved and caused this damage. On one hand, the company forced Falun Gong practitioners who refuse to give up their belief to lose their job; on the other hand, some people were forced to sign it against their will because they didn't want to lose their job, and therefore they didn't dare to speak out the truth that they know about Falun Gong. This is in fact a form of psychological persecution.

In China, many people know the truth about Falun Gong, and they know the savagery and illegality of the persecution, while the persecutors are highly afraid of being exposed. In this situation, if the public can freely express their opinions, and the international media can freely report and verify the facts of this insidious persecution, the pressure from the media and the public can do much to reduce the persecution to a large extent. Whoever said, "Falun Gong is good" would lose their job, and so people avoid this topic. This in itself is psychological blackmail of the whole Chinese population. That is the main reason why people don't dare to talk about things in public that are related to the Falun Gong issue that goes against the government's propaganda. They even don't dare to learn the facts, because they are afraid of being reported and monitored by the police. This fear is created by the long-standing state terrorism. Because of general silence and evading of the topic, the pressure resulting from this psychological control is increased. Therefore, if a company cooperates with the "610 Office" and urges its employees to sign a so-called guarantee, the company itself is then an accomplice to the persecution. At the same time, this company is at fault for increasing people's fear factor, thereby becoming an accomplice to the state terrorism.

Even in a company where no employee practices Falun Gong, if the company gives up its moral principle to obey "610 Office" demands, it is actually participating in the persecution and therefore becomes an accomplice to the state terrorism. Since the "610 Office's" psychological control involves every person in China, the fact that people avoid talking about Falun Gong in any company makes it more difficult to break through the atmosphere of terror.

When the persecutors coerce a company to cooperate with illegal, terrorist actions, every company in China faces an inevitable choice whether to stop the spread of state terrorism or to help spread it? This is a moral choice, but it could possibly have legal consequences as well.

US companies can be held responsible for overseas violations of human rights

The California-based petroleum company Unocal and Netherlands petroleum company Shell faced lawsuits for violating human rights in its overseas business operation.

A recent case in point is Doe. v. Unocal. Plaintiffs in this case sought redress for the human rights abuses associated with the Unocal pipeline project in Burma.
The plaintiffs are Burmese peasants who suffered a variety of egregious violations at the hands of Burmese army units that were securing the pipeline route. The violations included forced labor and forced relocation, rape, torture and other human rights violations.

An U.S. Federal District Court in Los Angeles agreed to hear Doe v. Unocal in 1997. The Court concluded that corporations and their executive officers can be held legally responsible under the Alien Tort Claims Act for violations of international human rights norms in foreign countries, and that U.S. courts have the authority to adjudicate such claims.

Another similar case is Wiwa v. Royal Dutch Petroleum (Shell).

Plaintiffs brought this lawsuit under the Alien Tort Claims Act for human rights abuses in Nigeria and also alleged violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

On February 28, 2002, the court found that the plaintiffs' allegations met the requirements for claims under the Alien Tort Claims Act, in that the actions Royal Dutch/Shell vs. Anderson constituted participation in crimes against humanity, torture, summary execution, arbitrary detention, cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, and other violations of international law.

The plaintiffs' RICO claims could proceed because Royal Dutch/Shell's actions in concert with the Nigerian military satisfied the racketeering requirements of the act, and because they engaged in these acts in part to facilitate the export of cheap oil to the United States.

U.S. companies doing business in foreign countries are subject to U.S. law and local laws as well. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, as amended, FCPA is a good illustration of the responsibility of a U.S. company doing business overseas to be in compliance with U.S. law.

In 1997, the United States and thirty-three other countries signed the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. The United States ratified this Convention and enacted implementing legislation in 1998.

For details, please go to "Precedents for U.S. Companies Being Held Accountable For Human Rights Violations Committed Abroad" http://www.clearwisdom.net/emh/articles/2003/11/11/42166.html

Learning the truth about Falun Gong is necessary to guarantee a company's long-term interest

Successful companies have certain behavioral regulations for their employees, to ensure its business operations are legal and moral. Because of the current depth and scope of the persecution against Falun Gong carried out by the Chinese government as well as the illegitimacy of current laws and policies, letting every employee thoroughly learn the truth about Falun Gong is vital to protect long-term interests and to ensure legal investment and business operations in China for every company that has business relations with China or has Chinese employees.

If normal business operations must be sustained by unjust means, how long can a company last? What will the future of such a society be?

If everyone starts with himself by rationally persisting with reason and principle, then terror and lies will lose their place.

In fact, when people who uphold justice and persist in their belief ignore a persecutor's threats, the persecutors are the one who are afraid, because they are the ones who have violated the law. They display irrationality when maintaining the evildoing dictator's regime, and they show ruthless cruelty when treating kind Falun Gong practitioners. These are just hysterical reactions, like a flickering candle just before it goes out. Those who persecute and hate Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance are most afraid of the truth and afraid of being exposed. They are the weakest, from inside out.

As noted in the letter from the three influential congressional members, to request an immediate revocation of the requirements imposed by Mary Kay China on its sales associates to sign "behavioral standards statements:" "The Chinese Government will undoubtedly be displeased with Mary Kay's decision, but the fact that Mary Kay employs tens of thousands of Chinese citizens in a nation with rising unemployment will give the Chinese Government little choice but to acquiesce to a principled decision by Mary Kay."

People may think a single company is not powerful enough to fight against the whole government machinery under the dictator's control. However, the voice of justice is not alone; the attention of the international media and calls from U.S. government officials are all supporting justice. An ancient Chinese proverb says, "a just cause enjoys abundant support while an unjust cause finds little support." If we all conscientiously join forces to respect human rights and justice, then more people will step forward to resist any persecution of human rights and belief, and the result will necessarily be that the power of righteousness will be constantly strengthened until it eventually defeats the evildoers.

In terms of both self-interest and moral integrity, foreign investors in China should learn more about Falun Gong. During the past 11 years, especially after July 1999 and also in the future, the "Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance" principle of Falun Gong has produced inestimable influence in Chinese society. Only by respecting morality and the principle of Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance can Chinese society look forward to stable development and find a bright path amidst her current crisis.

* Note about the "610 Office": On June 10, 1999, bypassing procedures required by the Chinese constitution and other laws, and under direct orders from the then leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Jiang Zemin, the CCP Central Committee formed the "610 Office," an organization with the sole mission to persecute Falun Gong. It is further described as an agency specifically established to persecute Falun Gong, with absolute power over each level of administration in the Party and all other political and judiciary systems.

Besides its central office in Beijing, the "610 Office" has branches in all Chinese cities, villages, governmental agencies, institutions and schools.

In terms of its establishment, structure, reporting mechanism, operations and founding mechanism, it is an organization that is allowed to exist outside of the established framework of the CCP and the Chinese government.

The power it has far exceeds that which is officially authorized under the Chinese constitution and other laws; furthermore, it is free from budgetary constraints. The "610 Office" has full control over any issue that has to do with Falun Gong, and has become an organization that Jiang Zemin uses personally and privately to persecute Falun Gong.

This organization does not have any legal basis. It is an organization that is very similar to Nazi Germany's Gestapo and the "Central Committee of the Cultural Revolution" during the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

Because of its special status and function, the "610 Office" should take major responsibility for the barbarous treatment that numerous Falun Gong practitioners have suffered. This debased treatment includes being tortured, even being tortured to death or to the point of permanent disability, being unlawfully detained, being sent to labor camps, mental institutions and being forced to pay large sums of money as fines. These are completely against the constitution of China, which explicitly protects people's freedom of belief and freedom of speech, and it also violates the International Human Rights Pact, which the Chinese government signed.