Washington DC Rally: People from All Walks of Life Call for an End to the Persecution of Falun Gong in China (Photos)
(Clearwisdom.net) At 9:30 a.m. on July 21, 2010, Falun Gong practitioners held a large-scale exercise demonstration on the west lawn of Capitol Hill in Washington DC to kick off their rally against the persecution, which officially started at noon. A number of U.S. Congress members, as well as representatives from non-governmental organizations, religious groups and human rights organizations spoke to support Falun Gong practitioners and call for an end to the eleven-year persecution. More than 70 members of the Christian Democracy Party of China made a special trip from New York to Washington DC to attend the rally and support Falun Gong.
Practitioners hold a rally against persecution on the west lawn of Capitol Hill in Washington DC on July 21, 2010
In the burning sun, dozens of huge banners surrounded the rally venue. The messages conveyed included “Stop the Persecution of Falun Gong,” “Bring Jiang Zemin, Luo Gan, Zhou Yongkang and Liu Jing to Justice,” and “Only When the CCP is Gone, Will the Persecution End,” and “Falun Dafa is Good.” Practitioners from around the world have remained peaceful and resilient, as they have been over the past eleven years. Dignitaries speaking out of their powerful concern and support, stood with the practitioners to condemn the CCP's suppression and call for an immediate end to the persecution.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida addressed the rally, and said, “Yet one more year has passed as we gather again to protest and condemn Chinese officials' repression of Falun Gong.”
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen put forward in March H. Res. 605, “Recognizing the continued persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China on the 11th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party campaign to suppress the Falun Gong spiritual movement.” This resolution, which had 81 bipartisan cosponsors, passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 412 to 1.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen remarked, “I noted at the time that I consider the Chinese communist regime’s obsessive and relentless hunting down of practitioners of Falun Gong to be one of the most flagrant examples of systematic persecution in the 21st Century.”
“The persecution of Falun Gong is barbaric, bloody and brutal and it must come to an end at once!”
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said, “We stand with Falun Gong practitioners and their family members who have suffered persecution, intimidation, imprisonment, torture, and even death for the past eleven years, solely because of adherence to their personal beliefs.” She called upon President Obama and leaders of other free, democratic nations, “to meet with Falun Gong practitioners whenever and wherever possible to emphasize our unequivocal support for freedom of conscience as a fundamental principle of the United States Government and any democracy.”
“Hopefully, the day will soon come when we will no longer have to meet in this setting because all Falun Gong prisoners would have been released and because China would be free at last.” She said.
Rep. Christopher Smith of New Jersey said that the Chinese government (CCP) has committed genocidal crimes against Falun Gong.
“That is absolutely despicable,” shouted Rep. Smith. “[Those who] cherish freedom must speak out against the brutality and hate that everyday manifests by the dictatorship of Beijing.”
Congressman Smith cited the numbers of Falun Gong killed and asked why the United Nations and the United States remains silent on this “holocaust”? He said that the use of torture against Falun Gong practitioners is perhaps the worst anywhere in china.
“We call on the Obama administration to do more to raise its voice very clearly on behalf of Falun Gong.”
Rep. Gus Bilirakis of Florida remarked, “Tens of thousands of you have been persecuted and tortured by communist authorities, solely because of your religious beliefs. Religious persecution is the weapon of tyrants. But you have demonstrated time and again that you are a resilient and peaceful people seeking only to practice your faith in a way that all people should be allowed to – free from harassment and persecution.”
Congressman Bilirakis continued by saying, “You have not surrendered to the tyranny, but have fought against it with the power of your hearts and minds. Through your television broadcasts, newspapers, and internet websites you have spread the word and provided access to the truth for those who live under the communist party’s lies and oppression.”
“Please know that as a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I have worked hard to make sure your voice gets heard. I will continue to fight against all tyrannies including the communist regime in China. I will continue to fight for all persecuted peoples and their right to peaceful assembly and freedom of religion. Your numbers cannot be denied and your collective voice cannot be stopped, especially not here in the United States by Chinese communist thugs,” he said.
Congressman Bilirakis said in conclusion, “I stand with you and share your principles of truthfulness, compassion and forbearance.”
Rep.Doug Lamborn of Colorado stated that we should call upon China to respect freedom of thoughts and freedom of religion. “In America, the 1st amendment, talks about freedom of religion, that’s exactly what everyone in the world deserves. We fought in conscience, we will work on that together.”
Senator Mark Udall from Colorado sent a statement to the rally: “Over the last 11 years of the ban against practicing Falun Gong in China, we have seen persecution against Falun Gong intensify, including an increase in censorship of websites, television stations, and other forms of media sympathetic to Falun Gong.”
He pointed out that it has been reported that thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have been sent to China's labor camps, only because of their beliefs. Falun Gong practitioners have been subjected to physical torture and mental torment, and forced reformation to give up their beliefs. The investigations found that thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have been killed while in police custody.
He said that what the practitioners hope is to have an opportunity to peacefully practice their beliefs in an environment free from terror of torture and detention. He said that the practitioners in China and all other places around the world should not be prohibited from practicing Falun Gong.
Non-government organizations offer support for Falun Gong
More than a dozen NGO representatives spoke at the rally, including the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, Freedom House, Reporters Without Borders, Institute on Religion and Democracy, Religious Freedom Coalition, and Defense Forum Foundation.
Clothilde Le Coz, Washington Director of Reporters Without Reporters, said, “The Falun Gong's struggle has given a gift worldwide: circumvention software for internet users. Tired of being censored and harassed, the Falun Gong petitioners created a famous tool that is used all around the world. Thank you.”
William J. Murray, president of the Religious Freedom Coalition, said that we must fight for those who suffer, especially when their basic rights, freedom and their religious beliefs are being deprived.
Erin Weston, Government Relations & Special Projects Coordinator at Jubilee Campaign USA said that H Res 605 passed in March may have covered our requests today: immediately stop the persecution, intimidation, imprisonment, and torture of Falun Gong practitioners; immediately abolish the 610 Office, which is given the mandate to "eradicate" Falun Gong; immediately release all detained Falun Gong practitioners from prisons and labor camps, including relatives of the U.S. citizens and permanent residents.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline for mind and body. The practice involves slow, gentle movements and meditation. It is easy to learn, enjoyable to practice, and free of charge. Its principles are based on Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. The practice began in China in 1992 and quickly spread by word of mouth throughout China and then beyond. Its beneficial effects in uplifting an individual's physical, mental, and spiritual health, not to mention its positive influence in the community and society as a whole, have been undeniable. In fact, Falun Gong is practiced by over 100 million people in 60 countries. The main works of Falun Gong are available in over 30 languages.
On July 20, 1999, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched a brutal persecution of Falun Gong. Since the start of the persecution, Falun Gong practitioners throughout the world have been constantly speaking out about the truth of Falun Gong and exposing the CCP's crimes in a tireless effort to end the persecution.