June 9, 2004

Falun Gong brings plight to world stage

Savannah-- Because of all the publicity surrounding the G8 Summit, protestors and activists have converged on coastal Georgia to draw attention to their various causes.

An American National Guardsman barely notices people meditating and exercising in Reynolds Square in Savannah. But if they do this in China, they will be tortured and killed.

It is an Asian meditation system called Falun Gong. "It has two parts. One is the exercise. It has five sets of meditation system. And also, practice spiritual principle, which is truthfulness, compassion and tolerance," said Falun Gong Practitioner Dana Cheng. (1)

But the Chinese government has neither compassion nor tolerance for practitioners. "Because of its popularity, the dictator of China became very jealous," said Chen. "He was not elected, he was not popular and he cannot tolerate any ideology outside communist ideology and he's used to controlling people's minds. So he said he wanted to wipe it out. So he ordered the persecution."

Since 1999, more than 1,500 people have been tortured and/or murdered for practicing Falun Gong. Sam Lu's bride of three months spent three torturous years in a labor camp for handing out Falun Gong literature. "She was deprived of sleep for three days and nights. Police used electronic baton to shock her just to force her to give up her belief in truthfulness, compassion and forbearance."

Sam Lu and these others are in Savannah, to tell the world about the persecution and to demonstrate the beatings and torture the practitioners endure. "And what we can demonstrate here, comparing with the real torture in China is really nothing. The real torture in China is much worse."

They chose this site near the G8 summit because "We feel all governments and all the international community has responsibility to speak up and help stop the persecution," said Sam Lu.

The persecution of people in a country where peaceful meditation and exercise can kill you. "History is repeating. Torture like in WWII, many Jews was killed. Falun Gong practitioners are being killed in China and we need people's help to stop it," said Lu.

Sam Lu's wife is out of the work camp now, but they've not yet been reunited. This exhibition, Persecution Meets Principle, continues Thursday at Reynolds Square in Savannah.

(1) This quotation is not exactly clear. It should read: It has two parts--the five sets of exercises, which includes a meditation, and following the spiritual principles of truthfulness, compassion and tolerance.