August 1, 2001

H. Con. Res. 188, expressing the sense of Congress that the Government of the People's Republic of China should cease its persecution of Falun Gong practitioners.

I am pleased to offer my strong support for this resolution, which calls on the Government of the People's Republic of China to do no more than what it is already obliged to do by international law, by its own constitution, and by the rules of common decency and civility: to stop its persecution of people who have committed no crime except to hold personal beliefs and engage in nonviolent practices - in this case breathing exercises - to which the government for some reason objects. We keep hearing about how China is "opening up," but apparently the Beijing regime still feels it has the right to tell people not just how to think, but also how to breathe.

The facts about the current crackdown on Falun Gong practitioners are egregious, even by PRC standards. Tens of thousands of these people have been tortured in labor camps, prisons, and mental hospitals, and literally hundreds of thousands forced to attend brainwashing classes. The number of Falun Gong practitioners who are known to have died from torture in China has now risen to 253. Practitioners who are women have been singled out for rape and for forced abortion. The victims of these atrocities have included a number of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents, as well as hundreds of thousands of China's own citizens.

This resolution is the very least we can do to let the Government of China know that these brutal practices must end. I urge a unanimous favorable vote on this resolution.