(Clearwisdom.net) Today, the number of confirmed deaths of Falun Dafa practitioners in China as a result of the persecution reached 1,000. This rapidly growing number has made people more concerned about the severity of this persecution in China, and at the same time, it deeply reflects the responsibility bestowed upon the international community.

These killings are different from shooting someone with a gun (although guns have been used against practitioners). Most of the deaths are as a result of torture behind closed doors. Although torture may be different than outright killing, its cruel murderous nature is the same. The hidden torture deaths are more brutal since they make the victims suffer longer and endure more pain.

Whether it is based on heavenly principles, human morality, or conscience, any innocent life being damaged is a human tragedy. Now, 1,000 innocent people are confirmed to have been killed without reason! Among them, the youngest were teenagers, and the oldest were in their 80s. Some of them were peasants, some were scientists, small business owners, government officials, and more than half of them were women. This tells us clearly that no matter whether it is men or women, old or young, no one can escape this genocide. Their average age is 44, a fruitful and productive period in one's life when great contributions to society are often made. Yet, so many people in the prime of their lives have been killed in the persecution.

If we further analyze the numbers, the overall picture is even more shocking. At the end of 2001, when the number of confirmed deaths was 400, CCP internal statistics at the end of October 2001 revealed that 1,600 practitioners had died in custody. This was four times the number of verified deaths. Hence, the actual number of deaths right now could be as high as 4,000.

That is still a low estimate. As the death toll rises, pressure from foreign governments, human rights organization, and other sources has made the persecutors try harder to block any information about their crimes.

Not long ago, we heard that Jiang and his regime spent a huge amount of money to purchase a Web censoring system to strictly control the flow of all information about the persecution of Falun Dafa. Meanwhile, they handed down heavy sentences to those practitioners who gave information to people overseas. They follow the internal policies of, "Death counts as nothing, death counts as suicide," and "Do not identify the name, directly send the body to be cremated." Thus, the bodies of practitioners were all cremated in order to destroy any evidence. Therefore, we think the number of unreported death is quite high. In fact, many times, news about deaths surfaces several months or even several years after the fact. Given such facts, the death toll could very well be over 4,000.

However, even the death toll cannot fully illustrate the extreme cruelty of the persecution. As opposed to ordinary killing, the persecutors force Falun Dafa practitioners to make a choice between two kinds of death: They can either keep their belief in Dafa and be tortured to death physically, or they can give up their faith, and suffer death of conscience…quot; a spiritual death even more painful than physical death. Those who survived the torture and kept their belief have crossed the line between life and death many times with extraordinary righteous thoughts. However, many survivors were greatly damaged both mentally and physically, so that afterwards they could no longer live normal lives. Their lives amidst torture were not too far from death. For instance, the "strait jacket torture" (1) used in the Shibalihe Women's Labor Camp in Henan Province, fractures people's spines, often causing them to die in extreme pain; and the PLA 215 Army Mental Hospital in Lushun City, Liaoning Province uses an unknown drug which either makes practitioners' flesh rot or kills them. How inhuman! How evil!

International concern over this persecution does not match the severity of the situation. In modern society, there should be condemnation of such genocide, and such condemnation should receive wide support from the world's people. And there should be strong pressure from each country's government, so that the genocide can be quickly put to an end. But as for Falun Dafa, currently, the voices of justice have been limited. Because of Jiang and his followers' financial power and diplomatic pressure, many famous people, organizations, and governments have not openly condemned this persecution. Some have even quietly gone along with the crimes and harassment against practitioners, and have even interfered with the victims' resistance.

If anyone thinks the resistance of Falun Gong is irrelevant and has nothing to do with them personally, and tries not to see this genocide--that is the biggest mistake. One day in the future, these courageous deaths and acts of sacrifice will be understood as being much like those of the early Christians, who paved the way for later believers, or like Martin Luther King's resistance, which brought benefits for minorities today. The suffering of Falun Dafa practitioners will bring good fortune to the future mankind. More importantly, not only are Dafa practitioners safeguarding basic human rights, but they are also safeguarding the principles of "Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance," which are the true foundation of every life's and every nation's existence. So their courageous steps forward are for every one of us. Their efforts are to make our lives fundamentally more stable, more resistant to cruel conditions, and to help break through the dark clouds and to welcome the dawn.

The dawn is getting closer as Falun Dafa practitioners' resistance advances wave after wave. Their paths through hardship, and their stories during the tribulations are splendid and mighty. Meanwhile, this persecution is still killing innocent people. What should be done in the face of all of this brutality? If we never take responsibility, in terms of justice and conscience and in terms of future generations, how can we look ourselves in the mirror? How will the history books of the future tell today's story? What memory will we create for our future? If we do our best, we will not have regrets and we can reach inner peace. Otherwise, our shame will never give us peace.

People's ignorance of Hitler's actions 60 years ago resulted in intensified tragedy for the Jews. People's slow reaction to the genocide in Rwanda 10 years ago resulted in nearly 1 million deaths. Today, if we cannot learn from history, we will lose even more, because this persecution involves a larger group of people, with tens of millions of practitioner in China alone. The direct goal of Jiang's murderous campaign is to eradicate people's belief in "Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance," the basic principles which are so important to our lives.

There are so many lessons in history. We all know that if we keep silent when innocent people are being killed, that tragedy will eventually affect us. We also know that we are not on an isolated island, so when kind people are being killed, and moral principles are being attacked, we are all being harmed and we will all suffer the consequences. Therefore, in facing the persecution, we must do more, and we much act now.

More than 3,000 people were killed or disappeared under former Chilean dictator Pinochet. He was charged with genocide. Today, Jiang has committed many more crimes than Pinochet. If the international community can give more support, it will bring Jiang to justice earlier and stop this persecution sooner. Let us work together even more. Helping kind people is also helping ourselves.

(1) "strait jacket torture"--the jacket is made of fine canvas, and it is put on the victim from the front and tightened from behind the back. The sleeves are about 10 inches (925 cm) longer than the victim's arms, with straps on them. They force determined Dafa practitioners to wear this jacket, and then cross and tie their arms behind their backs. Then they pull their arms up over their shoulders to the front of their chest, tie up the practitioners' legs and hang them up in the air from windows. At the same time, they gag practitioners' mouths with cloth, put earphones in their ears and continuously play messages that slander Dafa. According to an eyewitness account, both arms of the victim are immediately injured. The tendons and bones of the shoulders, elbows, and wrists are torn and fractured. When the torture is prolonged, the spinal cord is fractured and the result is an extremely painful death.