Washington, DC: Falun Gong Practitioners Hold Large-scale Rally on July 20, People from All Walks of Life Show Support (Photos)
(Clearwisdom.net) Clearwisdom correspondent reports from Washington DC: In order to expose and condemn the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP's) brutal persecution of Falun Gong, and to call for an end to the persecution, at noon on July 21, 2005, on the western lawn of Capitol Hill, three groups - Freedom House, Friends of Falun Gong and the Falun Dafa Association - jointly held a "July 20" anti-persecution rally. More than a thousand Falun Gong practitioners from around the world participated, and several US Congressmen and renowned human rights organization leaders also came to support Falun Gong.
On July 20, 1999, former Chinese president Jiang Zemin's communist regime launched a persecution campaign against Falun Gong in China. It has now been six years. Under the pressure from the international community, the malevolent party's persecution of Falun Gong has also changed its tactics, from a large-scale public persecution, to one that appears relaxed on the surface, but that has actually intensified. In fact, the brutality of the persecution has not changed a bit. As in previous years, Falun Gong practitioners gathered in front of Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on the anniversary of the persecution, calling for the international community to continue paying attention to the malevolent CCP's inhuman persecution against Falun Gong practitioners' basic human rights.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary, Vice Chairman of the Board of Freedom House, Mark Palmer hosted the rally. He pointed out that China is approaching modernization, but the Chinese people still do not have even basic human rights, and they are deprived of their freedom of belief. He praised Falun Gong practitioners for their persistent pursuit of freedom of belief, and for abiding by the principle of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. He also expressed that the U.S. government and citizens would stand together with Falun Gong practitioners to help bring about the end of the persecution. Mr. Palmer also believed that China's political system is actually not a true system, but that it consists of only one or two dictators. He said that it is necessary to bring those guilty ringleaders to justice.
Every year, at this rally held by Falun Gong practitioners in front of Capitol Hill, a certain congresswoman comes to make a speech. She is Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen first thanked everyone for coming to the rally under the scorching sun. She expressed that she was glad to be together with everyone, to appeal for those who are suffering the CCP's brutal persecution for their belief. Ms. Ros-Lehtinen denounced the CCP's persecution of harmless, innocent people, calling it an act of cowardice.
Joining Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen was Congressman Rush Holt. He said that he was honored to be present with Falun Gong practitioners from around the world, to appeal for an end to the persecution. He believed that Falun Gong is a peaceful exercise practice, not at all as what the CCP falsely claims it to be. The CCP should not restrict and persecute such a peaceful group. He said that the U.S. has the responsibility to say "No" to the CCP's persecution.
Executive Director of the International Coalition for Religious Freedom, Mr. Dan Fefferman stated that China is a great country, and that it has a splendid civilization. Now, China is becoming a big economic entity, having the largest population of the world. He said that if China wants to become a member of the great countries of the world, it must abide by the basic principles of the international community and respect freedom of belief.
Representative of the human rights group, Jubilee Campaign, Bob Turner penetratingly pointed out that the fact that the CCP persecutes Falun Gong practitioners who believe in Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, indicates that the CCP itself does have these good qualities at all. Mr. Turner encouraged everyone to loudly say "No!" to the CCP's persecution, and help all people who have lost their freedom to regain their freedom.
Executive Director of Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington (IFC), Rev. Clark Lobestine's grandfather was a missionary in China between 1898 and 1935. He had a good impression of the Chinese people's kindness and simplicity. He expressed that the persecution against Falun Gong's beliefs is the persecution against every one of us.
Senior Scholar of Hudson Institute, Michael Horowitz believed that the resistance of Falun Gong practitioners in the face of persecution, is a sacrifice made for the future of China. He said that all people will thank Falun Gong practitioners for all that they have done.
Congressman Chris Smith also attended the rally for the second time. He stated that July 20 this year marks the sixth year of the CCP's persecution of Falun Gong. In the 2004 U.S. State Department Human Rights Report, a large proportion of the content was about the CCP's persecution of Falun Gong. Thousands of people have died as a result of the persecution, many more people have been tortured, incarcerated in mental hospitals and imprisoned in forced labor camps. The Beijing authorities must immediately stop the persecution of Falun Gong, and respect Falun Gong practitioners' right to belief.
Chairman of Religious Freedom Coalition, William J. Murray pointed out that the CCP is an evil religion that uses violence to solve all of its perceived problems.
Rev. Keith Roderick, Washington representative of Christian Solidarity International praised the Falun Gong practitioners' courage and said that it demonstrates the glory of human nature. Falun Gong practitioners' resistance will win more support from the international community.
Hans Hogrefe, Director of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, representative of Senior Congressman Tom Lantos, stated that the Congressional Human Rights Caucus is the earliest organization that paid attention to the persecution of Falun Gong in China. Besides torture and rape, the CCP also used its entire propaganda machinery to slander Falun Gong. But the Congressional Human Rights Caucus clearly knows the tricks of the CCP, and will not be deceived by the CCP. Congressman Tom Lantos and other members of the caucus will continue paying attention to the CCP's persecution of Falun Gong.
A Representative from World Organization for Human Rights USA also came and made a speech. He stated that the World Organization for Human Rights USA is standing together with Falun Gong practitioners to launch legal actions in the U.S. and other countries to bring to justice those CCP officials who have seriously violated Falun Gong practitioners' human rights over the past six years. The World Organization for Human Rights USA will continue making efforts to stop the persecution of Falun Gong.
After the rally concluded, Falun Gong practitioners held a grand parade.