1. History Remembered
2. What is Falun Dafa
3. China Persecutes Falun Dafa Practitioners
4. Peaceful Response of Practitioners
5. Hope for a Peaceful Resolution
6. Excerpts from Media Reports
1. History Remembered
Throughout history, people have longed for peace and harmony and great leaders of high moral and spiritual quality have risen up to offer a way. Jesus Christ was crucified during the time of the most powerful empire of the ancient world. Although his followers were viciously persecuted, Christianity outlived the Roman Empire by 2000 years. Nelson Mandela brought peace and stability to South Africa by suffering imprisonment in a South African jail for almost 30 years. Not by physical might but by forbearance and compassion, he defeated apartheid and became the President of his country. Following Mahatma Ghandi's path of nonviolence, Martin Luther King gave his life to the Civil Rights Movement and made the world a better place for all Americans of goodwill.
Thus, history has taught us the power of forbearance. While the seemingly strong and invincible quickly fade from memory, the virtuous and oppressed are long remembered by future generations. We remember their sufferings and treasure the lessons they taught us about compassion and forbearance. History teaches us that peace and harmony are ultimately accomplished by the benevolent actions of brave and compassionate people who are willing to suffer for the sake of goodness.
As we enter the new millennium, once again the world cries out for peace and people of compassion and forbearance are answering the call. Just as the early Christians were persecuted for their beliefs, the world watches in horror as powerful evil forces persecute Falun Dafa practitioners who take the same path as spiritual and moral leaders of the past.
2. What is Falun Dafa
What is Falun Dafa that it inspires people of good will to suffer for their beliefs? Also known as Falun Gong, Falun Dafa is most accurately described as a "cultivation practice". Practitioners cultivate their mind, body and spirit by acting in accordance with the principle of "Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance".
Practitioners also do five sets of gentle exercises. Falun Dafa is neither religious nor political. It does not have any political agenda or religious rituals. There is no membership or regular organization. All classes are provided by volunteers and are free of charge. All materials are available on the Internet for free. People are welcome to participate or leave anytime they choose. Practitioners believe in the time-honored principle that the good side of human nature is the key to spiritual enlightenment and a truly powerful cultivation practice is "formless".
Falun Dafa teaches practitioners to always look within themselves for improvement in human nature and to take responsibility for their own decisions and actions. Practitioners lead normal family lives, work hard for honest pay and behave as a good person in all situations and circumstances. Many people have turned away from drugs, alcohol, violence and other bad habits since learning Falun Dafa. Some families have become harmonious again after the members take Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance to their hearts. All practitioners feel peaceful, energized and refreshed after practicing and almost every practitioner has a personal story about health improvement.
Almost entirely by word of mouth, Falun Dafa has spread to over 40 countries in the past eight years. Practitioners of all ages come from all walks of life and all social and cultural backgrounds. As practitioners, they enjoy a healthy, peaceful and harmonious way of living.
3. China Persecutes Falun Dafa Practitioners
Unfortunately, the growing popularity of Falun Dafa has upset authorities in China. In early 1999, an official report showed that over 70 million Chinese citizens, including members of the Communist Party, government officials, scholars, and members of the military and police, practiced Falun Dafa. Falun Dafa became a thorn in the flesh of the Chinese Communist Party. The Party could not tolerate the fact that Falun Dafa practitioners exceeded even the party's membership. There were also self-seeking politicians and scientists who sought to advance their careers by turning the government against Falun Dafa.
On April 23, 1999 in the city of Tianjin, the persecution began as police arrested dozens of practitioners as they sought to discuss and clarify an article that viciously slandered Falun Dafa. Police beat hundreds of others who supported the action. Animosity against Falun Dafa was growing. Two days later, 10,000 practitioners peacefully gathered outside the central government's compound in Beijing. A small group of practitioners were allowed to meet with high-level government officials. They requested that practitioners be allowed to practice their beliefs in a non-hostile and tolerant environment. The gathering was peaceful, orderly and lawful and after the meeting, everyone quietly went home.
Although the government publicly defended its citizens' right to practice Falun Dafa, this proved to be a sham and trick by the Communist regime. The government's announcement coincided with the tenth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre and the government was determined not to have a repeat of history. However, this was really the beginning of the suppression of the Falun Dafa spiritual movement on a scale with few contemporary parallels.
On July 22, 1999 Falun Dafa was officially outlawed. Just as the Great Cultural Revolution wrought havoc throughout China in the 1960s, the crackdown on Falun Dafa was turning the country upside down. In the dead of night all over China, authorities arrested hundreds of Falun Dafa contact persons and ransacked their homes. Millions of legally published Falun Dafa books and tapes were confiscated, shredded and burned. Tens of thousands of Falun Dafa practitioners were arrested and beaten. A massive smear campaign was launched to demonize Falun Dafa using made-up stories and fabricated facts. The government blocked all communication with the outside world. Falun Dafa web sites were sealed. Telephones were tapped. Email was monitored and foreign reporters were not allowed to contact Falun Dafa practitioners.
University Lecturer's Spine Broken by Police
Ms. Zhao Xin, 32, a lecturer of Beijing Industry and Commerce University, was arrested by the police when she was practicing Falun Gong in a park in the evening of June 19, 2000. Ms. Zhao believed that her arrest was illegal. She would not tell the police her name and started to fast. Several days later, Ms. Zhao's parents received a "critically ill notice" about their daughter. The vertebra at the fourth, fifth and sixth joints were fractured. The doctors said, "She is still in critical condition and is fighting for survival. If she survives, there may be irreparable damage necessitating amputations or leaving her paralyzed."
To cover up the police brutality, the Haidian Police Station stated that Ms. Zhao refused to take food and she banged her head against a wall, which led to the fracture. However, this is a typical way the Chinese authorities hide the truth from the public.
Please think about it. If a person bangs her head against a wall, how can she seriously injure the vertebrae on the back of her neck? How could a person bang her head backward against a wall with her head bent down? If she really had banged against a wall, she probably would have fractured her skull. However, Ms. Zhao's head was only slightly bruised. Actually her wound was a localized blunt fracture, which can only be caused by a strong external force. Even a person who jumped out of a building with their head facing down would not necessarily have been wounded to such a serious extent. Furthermore, when Ms. Zhao was admitted to the hospital, many doctors and patients saw that she was still wearing handcuffs and shackles. Isn't it very easy to stop a shackled woman from bumping into a wall? There were also many witnesses when Ms. Zhao was force-fed with handcuffs and shackles on her.
Another strange thing is that after the police took Ms. Zhao to Haidian Hospital, they decided on Ms. Zhao's operation without notifying her family or work place. At that time Ms. Zhao was conscious and she told them to contact her work place and family. Her work place and family were only notified later to pay the medical expenses. However, for many days, Zhao's family was not allowed to visit her and they were not even allowed to see her through a window, not to mention to look at her medical records. Everything related to Zhao's case was under surveillance all the time. Why is an officially claimed self-inflicted event worth such close attention and watch?
Practicing Falun Gong Was A Right, Ms. Chen Said, up to Her Last Day
Excerpt from The Wall Street Journal, (April 20, 2000)
By Ian Johnson (Staff Reporter)
WEIFANG, China -- The day before Chen Zixiu died, her captors again demanded that she renounce her faith in Falun Dafa. Barely conscious after repeated jolts from a cattle prod, the 58-year-old stubbornly shook her head.
Enraged, the local officials ordered Ms. Chen to run barefoot in the snow. Two days of torture had left her legs bruised and her short black hair matted with pus and blood, said cellmates and other prisoners who witnessed the incident. She crawled outside, vomited and collapsed. She never regained consciousness, and died on Feb. 21.
Ms. Chen's tale is one of extremes. On one end is the Communist Party, which is so determined to break Falun Gong that it has resorted to public-security measures on a scale not seen since 1989, when an antigovernment movement led by students was crushed in Tiananmen Square. The government's victory in this fight, should it come, may well be Pyrrhic; its heavy-handed approach has disillusioned millions of ordinary people, such as Ms. Chen's daughter, who were apolitical until last year's events. It has also damaged China's international standing just as it needs foreign help on an array of pressing economic issues.
On the other end are people such as Ms. Chen, who in their simple, and perhaps naive, way are at the forefront of a slow trend to demand the freedoms guaranteed by China's laws and constitution.
While many Falun Gong practitioners have compromised - by practicing secretly at home, for example - thousands have insisted openly on their right to freedom of belief and assembly. "We're good people," Ms. Chen's friends recall her telling officials from the Weifang city government who interrogated her in her barren concrete cell two days before she died. "Why shouldn't we practice what we want?"
Although barely literate and never before interested in politics, Ms. Chen resisted the ban. She joinned thousands of fellow practitioners by traveling to Beijing. Since the ban in July, many had gone to Tiananmen Square and sat cross-legged with their arms stretched in an arc over their heads - the classic starting pose for Falun Gong exercises.
Taken Into Custody
... Ms. Zhang came home to find half a dozen officials in her living room. They said her mother had been spotted outside by a special squad of informants who roamed the neighborhood looking for Falun Gong participants who dared to leave home...
Ms. Chen's ordeal began that night. Wrote an adherent who was in the next room of the squat building: "We heard her screaming. Our hearts were tortured and our spirits almost collapsed." Officials from the Chengguan Street Committee used plastic truncheons on her calves, feet and lower back, as well as a cattle prod on her head and neck, according to witnesses. They shouted at her repeatedly to give up Falun Gong and to curse Mr. Li, according to her cellmates. Each time, Ms. Chen refused.
Allegations of mistreatment also are backed by more than two dozen separate interviews with Falun Gong adherents in other cities, who independently said they too were beaten with clubs and electric batons, chained to bars and made to disavow their faith.
... Ms. Chen was taken back into the room. After again refusing to give up Falun Gong, she was beaten and jolted with the stun stick, according to two prisoners who heard the incident and one who caught glimpses of it through a door. Her cellmates heard her curse the officials, saying the central government would punish them once they were exposed. But in an answer that Falun Gong adherents say they heard repeatedly in different parts of the country, the Weifang officials told Ms. Chen that they had been told by the central government that "no measures are too excessive" to wipe out Falun Gong. The beatings continued and would stop only when Ms. Chen changed her thinking, according to two prisoners who say they overheard the incident.
Asia Wall Street Journal (4/23/00) : Zhang Xueling was arrested by police last Monday. Ms. Zhang had recounted the details of her mother's death to The Wall Street Journal. She had explained how her mother, Chen Zixiu, was beaten by local officials, shocked with cattle prods and forced to run barefoot through the snow after she refused to renounce Falun Dafa. Ms. Chen died in custody on Feb. 21.
Before being detained, Ms. Zhang said that she was aware of the risks of talking to a foreign reporter, but that she wanted to tell her mother's story. "I don't know what else to do," she said.
4. Peaceful Response of Practitioners
In the face of extreme mistreatment and unbearable pressure to renounce their beliefs, Falun Dafa practitioners traveled to Beijing to appeal to the government. Though peaceful and non-violent, practitioners were detained then sent to labor camps for "re-education". Over 35,000 practitioners have received such treatment. There have been twenty-two deaths while in custody. Under these oppressive circumstances, tens of thousands of practitioners still choose to continue practicing their beliefs.
The Chinese government has used every means to wipe out Falun Dafa. Senior citizens who had worked as Falun Dafa coordinators were punished without evidence. Among them was a retired Air Force general in his 70's who was court-marshalled. The Wall Street Journal reported the case of Chen Zixue, a 58-year-old woman who died in detention. (See excerpt on page 9.) Guards at the detention center received orders that "no measures are too excessive" in forcing a practitioner to give up their beliefs. They forced Ms. Chen to run barefoot in the snow along with other terrible tortures. While still clinging to her belief in Falun Dafa, Ms. Chen died one week after detention with broken teeth and badly bruised body.
Chinese officials claim to govern by rule of law. However, the deaths of Falun Dafa practitioners fly in the face of such statements. Some practitioners were sent against their will to mental hospitals and given forced injections. Among many others, Su Gang, a 32-year-old computer engineer, died of injections intended to damage his nerve system. This policy triggered a huge outcry in the West. The Washington Post comments on the incident that "the old Soviet Union pioneered the misuse of psychiatry against political dissidents; China has followed suit. ..."
Falun Dafa practitioners have exhibited the highest level of benevolence and forbearance in the face of such extreme brutality. No single case has been reported of fighting back or retaliating in any way while there is ample evidence that practitioners have displayed a willingness to sacrifice for their beliefs. Although the outside world has been denied any access to this crackdown, a clandestine press conference was held on October 28, 1999 in Beijing to let the world know the truth about Falun Dafa. Several Western journalists attended the meeting and reported the event. Its organizer was later arrested and sentenced to two years in prison. Numerous practitioners have risked careers and safety to appeal for an end to the crackdown. Unfortunately, their pleas have fallen on deaf ears.
Since July 20, 1999, practitioners outside of China have used every opportunity to let the world know about the plight of Chinese practitioners. These good people have traveled to Chinese embassies and consulates in the hope of peaceful dialogue. They have called on international organizations, including the United Nations, to end the persecution. Their voice is small yet peaceful and powerful. Human rights groups, such as Amnesty International and Freedom House, have expressed grave concern over the situation and have urged the Chinese government to stop the crackdown immediately. Led by the United States and Canada, democracies have expressed similar wishes. (Please see US Congress resolution on page 26.)
Live Up Falun Dafa in Jail
Strive to be a good person in all circumstances
By Gu Linna, a TV program anchor
Report about the author: BEIJING, Feb 6 (Agence France Presse) - Falungong member, Gu Linna, who took an active role in organizing a clandestine press conference (see picture on page 11), was arrested along with 15 other people as they were preparing a group meeting in southern Guangzhou. (See picture below.) The press conference was an open challenge to the authorities and provoked anger from police who interrogated several journalists who covered the event, temporarily confiscating their work permits. Gu, 37, was being held in northern Shijiazhuang, where she worked as a television presenter until April. She was fired after managing to broadcast a report favorable to Falun Gong.
In the detention center, what I faced everyday were policemen and prisoners. When the policeman got angry he would yell at me and forbid me to sleep. He once said if I were not a woman, he would have given me a slap to make me roll over to the ground. The prisoners called me "new-comer". They forced me to sleep on the wet floor. They even let me sleep at a place where the dirty water was dropping from the ceiling for two days.
I always remembered Master Li's teaching, "Others could treat us unfairly, but we should not do the same in return" and "A good person always keeps the heart of compassion. With no complaint or hatred, he takes hardship as pleasure." In detention center, I defended Master Li and Falun Dafa as well as the dignity of a practitioner. At the same time, I always tried my best to be a good person. I had been telling the group of policemen who interrogated me, "You can treat me as an enemy, interrogate me and yell at me because it is your job from your point of view. But I will never treat you as an enemy. I practice cultivation with dignity and always strive to be a good person. I have never violated the Chinese Constitution, so I do not consider myself as a criminal. I can tell you about my cultivation experience. We are equal when we talk." After 20 days of interrogation and communication, sometimes I overheard they talking about me behind my back, "She is really good. If the higher authority wants to punish her, we will not agree."
When they commented on Master Li and Falun Dafa, I felt very sorry for Master and Falun Dafa as well as for them. I would tell them kindly, "You have been telling me what I should do. I would also like to give you a piece of sincere advice. Falun Dafa is about the principles of the universe. You do not really understand its profound principles. Regardless of the possible impact on your life of eternity from your improper comments, even as a human being, you should not be so mean." After one month of detention I was changed to a local detention center. Whenever a kindhearted policeman was on duty, I would be able to walk out of my cell. I would then clean the yard, water the trees, or wash the cars. Sometimes, I helped the elder chef in the kitchen. Someone made fun of me, "She does not look like what TV said about Falun Gong practitioners, that they do not work, do not take care of family, do not take care of their farms..." I wrote a "letter of guarantee" that was required of everyone in the detention center during the 'Greeting-National- Day Month', "Every year before the National Day, I would greet it with achievements. I strongly believe that one can be a good person under any conditions. Even in detention center, I will treat everybody kindly."
I helped the prisoner on duty to clean the floor and toilets. I helped sick prisoners on their night duties. During the leisure time, I would tell them my cultivation experience and the principle of being a good person. There was a woman from countryside who could not read. She was required to be able to recite the rules in the prison in three days. The one who was assigned to teach her refused to teach her any longer after only one day, "Supervisor, I cannot stand it any longer, let 'Zhen-Shan-Ren'(Truth-Compassion-Forbearance) teach her." Because I would be interrogated during the day, I taught her word by word after lunch or after evening roll call. She could not remember one sentence even after I had taught her one hundred times. One day, I also became impatient. But I felt very bad about that because I am a practitioner and other prisoners even called me 'Zhen-Shan-Ren'. However, in this trivial matter, I had neither been Shan nor Ren. After 20 days, she was finally able to recite the rules. She often rewarded me with good food. I told her, "I am a practitioner, so it is not important for us regarding what to eat. But the food is very important for you. Please keep it for yourself." She said, "I could not imagine that there is such a good person in jail. Falun Gong is so good, how come I have not heard about it before, I will study it after I get out."
Most prisoners had not known much about Falun Gong before they met me. They had learned something from the media. After they found I was a real good person, and after I kept telling them the facts of Falun Gong, they started to know Falun Gong and found out that all the propaganda on TV was fabricated. More than half of them said that they would practice Falun Gong in the future. Many of them learned from me how to meditate. I also felt very amazed that most of them could sit cross-legged pretty well while I could only sit for a few seconds after several month of practice. Master Li said, "Falun Dafa saves those with predestined affinity, no matter what they have done before."
What a rare opportunity it is for them to encounter Falun Dafa. I sincerely hope that my inmates could practice Falun Dafa. Only Falun Dafa can truly save one's life. 5 practitioners came after me, but they were not bullied. 6 to 7 persons will help when one is on duty. The prisoners stopped swearing at people or using dirty words. When I was leaving, a prisoner told others, "She does not swear at people. I do not dare to swear at people in front of her. I will blush with shame upon thinking of swearing at people." In the cell, a girl sitting besides me had a chat with me everyday, "People say good people will become bad after they go to jail. However I have learned how to become a good person in jail."
5. Hope for a Peaceful Resolution
The struggle of Mahatma Ghandi proved how difficult it was to oppose colonialism through non-violence. Although the world denounces racial discrimination and apartheid, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela endured great sufferings before overcoming immoral injustices. Although the world values democratic values, events in China declare the work is not yet done. Falun Dafa practitioners have followed in the path of courageous spiritual leaders of the past, and strive to make the world a better place for all of us.
Americans, and kindhearted people worldwide, value freedom of religion perhaps even more than political freedom. Falun Dafa is bringing the world to an era of great peace and harmony through the suffering, compassion and forbearance of brave practitioners in China and around the world.
We call on all people of goodwill worldwide to extend support and assistence to Falun Dafa practitioners to stop the persecution and resolve the current crisis.
6. Excerpts from Media Reports
APPEAL TO THE MEDIA - We appeal to the media to avoid pejorative terms in its coverage including "sect," "cult," "adherent," "follower," "mishmash" as well as the term "mystical." Falun Dafa (Falun Gong) is an advanced, traditional Chinese cultivation practice designed to improve the mind and body through exercise and meditation, to improve the moral character by following the universal principle of "Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance" in everyday life, and to bring people toward wisdom and spiritual enlightenment. There is no special breathing method employed in this practice.
China Falun Gong Man Dies After Abuse
HONG KONG, June 18, 2000 (Reuters) - A follower of the Falun Gong spiritual movement died after being repeatedly injected with drugs at a mental hospital in China, a Hong Kong human rights group said on Sunday.
The incident brought to at least 22 the number of Falun Gong adherents who have died as a result of abuse by Chinese authorities since a crackdown began last July, the Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said.
Su Gang, a 32-year-old computer engineer in Zibo city in eastern Shandong province, was arrested after petitioning in Beijing this year on behalf of the movement. Police took Su to the hospital on May 23 though he showed no signs of mental disorder and he was given daily shots of a drug that attacks the central nervous system, the Information Centre said in a statement.
Su was released on May 31 after his family staged a protest hunger strike, the statement said.
Su was healthy when he was taken away, but on his return was stiff, slow, weak and refused to eat, the group quoted his father Su De'an as saying. He died on June 10.
1,200 More Falun Gong Members Held
A University Lecturer Paralysed
More than 1,200 members of the banned Falun Gong group are said to have been detained last week after security officials were mobilised to arrest defiant Falun Gong followers across eight provinces.
A human rights group alleges many of those detained were tortured, with a university lecturer hospitalised. ... ...
"A week-long massive arrest of Falun Gong practitioners took place from June 18 to 25 in provinces including Hebei, Heilongjiang, Liaoning, Jilin, Guangdong, Shandong, Sichuan and Hunan. Over 1,200 followers were detained," the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said.
Zhao Xin, 30, a lecturer at Beijing's Business Management University, was detained on June 19 while taking part in a group practice in a Beijing park, the information centre quoted Falun Gong sources as saying. She was locked up at a detention centre near the Haidian district in the capital. Several vertebrae in her back had been smashed.
The centre said more than 100 people were detained in Beijing's Tiananmen Square on Sunday, while Falun Gong sources said another 100 were detained in Harbin on Saturday after practising Falun Gong in a park. More than 300 had been picked up in a park in Guangzhou on June 18.
Tens of thousands of practitioners have been detained since last July and leaders jailed for up to 18 years. Human rights groups say at least 22 practitioners have been tortured to death.
Falun Dafa And Freedom Of Speech
The application of the term "cult" usually implies broad public disapproval of a group's behavior and there are indeed cases where cults pose a threat to others, as the experience of Japan with Aum Shinrikyo shows. Cult leaders often take advantage of their members, using mind control techniques or physical and mental abuse. Even free societies often see some need to bring anti-social groups of this type under some control, although, as the Waco case in the U.S. demonstrated some years ago, such attempts are subject to grievous error.
But Falun Dafa does not fit five criteria of a dangerous cult drawn up by experienced anti-cult groups: an authoritarian power structure, messianic leadership, deception in recruiting, isolation from society and use of mind control techniques. There is as yet no convincing evidence that Falun Dafa poses a threat to anybody, including its own members. So the preservation of religious freedom demands that it get the benefit of the doubt.
As for the stream of unconvincing propaganda coming out of China about the Falun Dafa, Beijing's real motive is easy to understand: social control. Any group that demands strong allegiance, whether it is an unauthorized Christian church or the Falun Dafa, threatens the leadership of the Communist Party and so must be quickly brought under the control of the Party. If it refuses to submit, it is crushed.
Falun Dafa Heroes
More than 100 followers of the Falun Dafa school of meditation gathered yesterday in Beijing's Tiananmen Square to peacefully protest the brutal suppression of their faith. As they sat cross-legged or unfurled banners, they were beaten by police and dragged away to waiting vans. They may receive long sentences of hard labor for the "crime" of asking for the freedom to follow their religious beliefs, a freedom that is guaranteed in the Chinese constitution but has never been honored.
Yesterday's gathering came exactly one year after 10,000 followers surprised China's leaders by gathering in the capital. Frightened by the group's power to mobilize support, the Communist Party branded the movement an "evil cult" and banned it. The anniversary may have special resonance for the practitioners and China's leaders, but the protests were not an extraordinary event. Police arrest Falun Dafa adherents on a daily basis -- in Tiananmen Square, and also in towns throughout China where fewer tourists and journalists can observe.
The persecution is not limited to Falun Dafa, either. Followers of religious groups are routinely silenced, jailed, beaten and sometimes never heard from again. The pastors of small underground "house churches" are often taken into custody in order to intimidate them into disbanding their small flocks. ... ...
But it is the powerful belief and persistence of the Falun Dafa followers which is now capturing the world's attention. Journal reporter Ian Johnson recently detailed the consistent accounts of the family and fellow prisoners of Chen Zixiu, a 58-year-old Falun Dafa believer who died in police custody two months ago. When she refused to renounce her faith, jailers beat and shocked Chen with cattle prods until they killed her. Her daughter Zhang Xueling -- who does not practice Falun Dafa -- was arrested last week for telling her mother's story to the Journal. In their efforts to suppress Falun Dafa "no measures are too excessive," officials have told the religion's followers.
So why is the Communist Party so intent on stamping out spirituality? Perhaps because the Party is reluctant to acknowledge that it is unable to serve all the needs of the people and fears further erosion of its ability to control all aspects of Chinese life. If even one group manages to assert its right to organize a cohesive community not under the Party's yoke, it will be impossible to stop others from demanding the same. The fact that the Falun Dafa was able to grow so big before last year without attracting the attention of the Party suggested that pluralism had advanced quietly despite the Party's best efforts to keep track of social and political trends.
Falun Dafa practitioners, house church Christians and Buddhists and all manner of other believers in China are today forced to suffer to remain true to their faiths. But even the best efforts of the Beijing regime cannot stamp out spirituality. Chinese society is changing quickly, and odds are that more and more people will follow the example of the Falun Dafa practitioners and demand their rights.
That deeply disturbs a party that was never able to build a strong ideological basis for its claims to legitimacy. But the best way for the Party leaders to deal with their fears is to liberalize and accept ideological pluralism and the reality that totalitarianism and modernization are antithetical. The direction the Party is taking now will only compound the difficulty it already is experiencing in maintaining sufficient popular support to carry out crucial reforms, such as those of the Chinese economy. The suppression we are describing here must of its nature occur on a vast scale in a vast country. It simply won't work.
President Clinton Denounces China's Crackdown on Falun Gong
WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 (AP) -- President Clinton criticized China's crackdown on the Falun Gong spiritual movement today.
Mr. Clinton's comments were his first about China's detention and jailing of Falun Gong members. He called it a troubling example of the government's acting against those "who test the limits of freedom."
"Its targets are not political dissidents, and their practices and beliefs are unfamiliar to us," he said. "But the principle still surely must be the same, freedom of conscience and freedom of association."
Excerpt from US Congress Website (thomas.loc.gov)
H. CON. RES. 218
Expressing the sense of the Congress that the Government of the People's Republic of China should stop its persecution of Falun Gong practitioners.
Whereas Falun Gong is a peaceful and nonviolent form of personal belief and practice with millions of adherents in China and elsewhere;
Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That it is the sense of the Congress that--
(1) the Government of the People's Republic of China should stop persecuting Falun Gong practitioners; and
(2) the Government of the United States should use every appropriate public and private forum, including but not limited to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, to urge the Government of the People's Republic of China--
(A) to release from detention all Falun Gong practitioners and put an immediate end to the practices of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment against them and other prisoners of conscience;
(B) to allow Falun Gong practitioners to pursue their personal beliefs in accordance with article 36 of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China; and
(C) to abide by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Passed the House of Representatives on Nov. 18, 1999.
(The above resolution was passed in the US Congress unanimously. The US Senate also passed a related resolution on Nov. 19, 1999. )
U.S. State Department Human Rights Report Highly Critical of China
[WASHINGTON, Feb. 25] -- Using its toughest language since the pro-Democracy movement was crushed by Beijing more than a decade ago, the United States sharply criticized China today for what it called a marked deterioration in human rights.
On virtually every count, from crackdowns against organized dissent, to conditions in prisons, the report on China was quite harsh.
"The government's poor human rights record deteriorated markedly throughout the year, as the Government intensified efforts to suppress dissent, particularly organized dissent," the report said.
After noting Beijing's actions against the Falun Gong and the China Democracy Party last year, the report said: "The government continued to commit widespread and well documented human rights abuses in violation of internationally accepted norms. These abuses stemmed from the authorities' extremely limited tolerance of public dissent aimed at the government, fear of unrest, and the limited scope or inadequate implementation of laws protecting basic freedoms."