Clearwisdom Digest (Issue 21, Oct 13, 2004)
News and Events from Around the World
- True Clarification about Falun Gong at UN World Leaders Forum
- The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed House Concurrent Resolution 304 Monday condemning the Chinese government's oppression of Falun Gong
- Inquiry about the Persecution of Falun Gong at the New York "World Leadership Forum"
- 2004 U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China Annual Report Cites Intensified Repression of Freedom of Belief
- India Falun Dafa Association Founded
- During the UN Summit: Former Prime Minister of Canada Cordially Greets Toronto Practitioners on the Streets of New York
Voices of Justice
Facts of the Persecution
Media Reports and Opinions
Falun Gong Practitioners' Personal Experience
The People Awaken to the Truth
News and Events from Around the World
True Clarification about Falun Gong at UN World Leaders Forum
On September 23, 2004, the second annual World Leaders Forum held a special panel discussion at Columbia University on the topic of how to eliminate violence and discrimination against women. The panel was composed of female world leaders, including former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Minister of Foreign Affairs Kristina Ojuland from the Estonian Republic, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ilinka Mitreva from the Republic of Macedonia, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Dodo Aichatou Mindaoudou from the Republic of Niger.
After each of the foreign ministers presented her opinions on how to protect the rights of women, Ms. Albright moderated the discussion and answered questions from the audience. One Falun Gong practitioner asked, "When it comes to abusing women, we cannot ignore China. Ever since former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin started the persecution of Falun Gong in 1999, there have been over a thousand confirmed deaths due to the persecution. Among them, over 50 percent have been women. Many female Falun Gong practitioners have been sent to forced labor camps, some are being tortured at prisons and mental hospitals, and many of them have been raped by police. My question is; how should the world leaders take actions to help these Chinese women and stop the persecution?"
Ms. Albright asked Foreign Minister Ms. Ojuland from Estonia to answer the question. Ms. Ojuland said that China needed to reform its system in order to correct the current situation. She went on to say that what the leaders of democratic countries around the world are able to do has only a limited effect, but they must continue to apply pressure.
After the panel discussion, a woman walked up to the practitioner and said, "Your question was excellent. I saw a Falun Gong parade in Boston, it was so touching ..." She hugged the practitioner with tears in her eyes, and kept wishing her good luck, "I'll always stand by you."
The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed House Concurrent Resolution 304 Monday condemning the Chinese government's oppression of Falun Gong
"This resolution," said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen who introduced it, "focuses on reports and investigations on the use of fear, intimidation and oppression, often connected with violence, right here within the borders of our own country."
Citing cases in which Chinese-government agents targeted U.S. officials, residents, and citizens from New York to San Francisco, the resolution calls upon the regime to immediately stop interfering with basic freedoms in America. It states that the P.R.C. government should "cease using the diplomatic missions in United States to spread falsehoods about the nature of Falun Gong."
The resolution also calls for the release of prisoners of conscience and an end to the persecution of Falun Gong in China. It challenges the Chinese government to "demonstrate its willingness to abide by international standards of freedom of belief, expression, and association."
75 members of Congress co-sponsored the resolution and six representatives stood up to speak on the House floor Monday night.
"We will not sit idly by as you infringe upon the rights of our citizens and residents who practice Falun Gong," Ros-Lehtinen said. "Any interference in the exercise of free speech inside our land will result in the expulsion of those who engage in such actions."
Resolution co-author, California Rep. Lynn Woolsey, added, "China's diplomats...have been actively involved in harassing and persecuting Falun Gong practitioners here in the United States." She also referred to U.S. citizen Charles Lee, saying, "he has been jailed and tortured in a Chinese prison since his abduction" in China on January 22, 2003.
The last comments before the vote came from New Jersey Representative Frank Pallone. "Falun Gong is an inherently peaceful, apolitical movement that stresses nonviolence and meditation," he said. "I remain committed to the task of making Falun Gong safe to practice in any country in the world."
Resolution 304 concludes that U.S. Attorney General should investigate reports of Chinese consular officials in U.S. committing illegal acts against Falun Gong or local elected officials and decide on appropriate measures. It further resolves that local officials should report incidents of harassment or pressure by P.R.C. agents to Congress, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of State.
Inquiry about the Persecution of Falun Gong at the New York "World Leadership Forum"
United Nations representatives assembled in New York City for meetings in late September. The "2004 World Leadership Forum" conducted by the "Foreign Policy Association" launched a three-day conference, attended by several hundred strategy experts. Also in attendance were foreign ministers and diplomats from several countries. Falun Gong practitioners participated with inquiries and received support and applause from the audience.
This year, among the many meeting topics, the one that received the most attention was "The Rise of China," held on the morning of September 22. There were no empty seats in the session. The introduction was given by moderator and speaker, Ambassador Julia Zhang Bloch, former US ambassador to Nepal and President of the U.S. China Education Trust. Other speakers were: Ambassador James Sasser, former US ambassador to the People's Republic of China; Dr. Yasheng Huang, Associate Professor of International Management, MIT Sloan School of Management; Adam Segal, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations, and the Honorable Mark Steven Kirk, U.S. House of Representatives.
After all the speakers finished, the panel was open for questions. Attorney Theresa Chu, a Falun Gong practitioner from Taiwan and lead attorney for the legal team for the "Global Public Trial of Jiang Zemin" effort, posed the question, "In 2004, the US State Department's International Religious Freedom Annual Report stated that China is still considered a problem country. On the street corners of New York, we can see many people protesting Jiang Zemin's persecution of seventy million Falun Gong practitioners during the past five years. At present, Jiang is named in lawsuits in nine countries. I sincerely ask the highly educated Chinese representatives who spoke today and all the China experts to talk to us about how to improve the human rights situation in China and give constructive suggestions."
The inquiry received supportive applause from the audience. After a period of silence, the former ambassador to China repeated his statement that we must exert constant pressure on China. Afterwards, Dr. Yasheng Huang said that he'd like to express his opinion about the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. He said that the decision was made by the government leader who was in power at that time; he personally thinks that the decision was a very stupid one, and that it has been very unproductive. He went a step further to say that he knows some human rights workers are helping Falun Gong to initiate more lawsuits and he felt that this was very encouraging.
During the two-day long discussions, Falun Gong practitioner and attorney Theresa Chu had the opportunity to brief Spain's Foreign Minister, H.E. Miguel Angel Moratinos Cuyaube, about the global lawsuit against Jiang, as well as the pending lawsuit against Jiang in Spain. The Foreign Minister indicated that he would pay attention to this matter. Furthermore, Attorney Chu discussed the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners with the United Nations European Committee Representatives. The lead European representative stated that he had seen the Falun Gong practitioners' anti-torture exhibits on New York's street corners and had already learned about the lawsuits against Jiang. He accepted a special edition of the report on the Global Lawsuits against Jiang from Attorney Chu .
Many conference attendees asked Attorney Chu about the persecution of Falun Gong after the meeting was over. After learning about the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners, the conference participants were very angry and saddened, and expressed their respect for the human rights work done by Falun Gong practitioners outside of mainland China. They also expressed their wishes that the persecution will come to an end quickly. When asked about whether the new leader would end the persecution, there was a feeling of uncertainty. Attorney Chu said, "Regardless of how the new leader looks at the issue, the legal team is certain that the trials to bring Jiang to justice will continue. He and those government officials who supported him in committing such a monstrous crime must be held responsible for their acts of genocide."
2004 U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China Annual Report Cites Intensified Repression of Freedom of Belief
On October 5, 2004, Chairman Jim Leach (R-IA) and Co-Chairman Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and other members of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) presented the CECC Annual Report for 2004 in the Rayburn House Office Building, Washington DC. The CECC was created by Congress in October 2000 with the legislative mandate to monitor human rights and the development of the rule of law in China, and to submit an annual report to the President and the Congress. It consists of nine Senators, nine members of the House of Representatives, and five senior Administration officials appointed by the President.
The report stated that the Commission finds severe and continuing problems on many of the issues critical to ensuring that its citizens enjoy internationally recognized human rights.
During the press conference coinciding with the report's launch, commission chairman Jim Leach expressed particular concern over Beijing's "crackdown" on the free practice of religion in the mainland. According to the bi-partisan CECC, the Chinese government's repression of free religious belief and practice has grown more severe over the past year.
The report notes that the Chinese government continues to detain and imprison Chinese citizens for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association, and belief. Coerced confessions, lack of access to defense counsel, law enforcement manipulation of procedural protections, pervasive presumption of guilt by law enforcement officials, judges, and the public, and extra-judicial pressures on courts continue to undermine the fairness of the criminal process in China.
According to the report, the Party intensified its crackdown against free religious belief and practice during 2003 and expanded the campaign during 2004. The Commission has welcomed China's progress toward developing a system based on the rule of law, but in the case of religion, the Chinese government uses law as a weapon against believers. Hundreds of unregistered believers, and members of spiritual groups such as Falun Gong, have endured severe government repression in the past year.
The report states, "The freedom to believe and to practice one's religious faith is a universal and essential right. The Chinese leadership must open itself to dialogue on establishing true freedom of religion for all its citizens." The CECC also urges the President and the Congress to foster and support such a dialogue by urging Chinese leaders at all levels to meet with religious figures from around the world to discuss the positive impact on national development of free religious belief and religious tolerance, and to urge the release of religious prisoners.
The Commission also suggests that the President and the Congress continue to urge China's leaders to eliminate all laws and regulations that allow the arbitrary labeling of unregistered religious and spiritual groups as cults, and to eliminate all restrictions and controls on the freedom to produce, read, and distribute the religious or spiritual texts of one's choosing.
India Falun Dafa Association Founded
India Falun Dafa Association registered as an non-profit organization in Bombay in September 2004, and the association then became a legal group recognized by the Indian Government.
The founding of India Falun Dafa Association formally tells the world that the ancient nation with the second largest population in the world has formally embraced Falun Dafa.
The Indian version of Falun Gong was published in February 2003, and Falun Gong practice sites have been established in many large Indian cities, including Bombay, New Bombay, and New Deli. Some international conferences held in India had invited Falun Gong practitioners to introduce Falun Gong and demonstrate the exercises.
Besides offering free exercises teaching, in the past several years, Indian practitioners have also been clarifying the truth of Falun Gong and the brutal persecution to all circles of India's Society, including the Indian media. Practitioners helped to introduce "Sandstorm"--a movie that exposes the facts of the Jiang regime's brutal persecution of Falun Gong to the Indian Movie Festival. Practitioners voluntarily established the Indian Falun Dafa website and have been publishing a monthly journal about the spread of Falun Dafa in India. Moreover, the Indian version of Zhuan Falun is being translated.
Unlike many other nations and regions, cultivation is not a foreign term to Indians. Many Indians have some super normal abilities, and Falun Dafa is well-respected.
Indian practitioners welcome all practitioners from other countries and thank those who visit for their encouragement and support. Due to all kinds of limitations, many of us haven't ever seen Master Li in person. We miss our Master and often express our gratefulness to our revered Master.
During the UN Summit: Former Prime Minister of Canada Cordially Greets Toronto Practitioners on the Streets of New York
On September 20-24, 2004, the 59th Session of the UN General Assembly was held in New York, and heads of governments and senior officials from countries around the world converged in New York to attend the summit. Practitioners from Toronto, along with Falun Gong practitioners from around the world, also gathered in New York to display the beauty and peace of Falun Gong to the public, in the hopes that government officials and the media could learn about the brutal persecution of Falun Gong initiated and directed by former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin, who also extended the persecution and hate propaganda to other countries.
On September 21, the first day of the Toronto practitioners' visit to New York, they came across former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien on the street. When he was Canadian prime minister, Mr. Chretien had expressed his concern many times over the Jiang regime's persecution of Falun Gong. In October 2001, when he attended the APEC Summit in Shanghai, Mr. Chretien expressed his concern to the Chinese leader over China's human rights situation, especially the suppression of Falun Gong. With the help of the Canadian Government, more than 15 Canadian Falun Gong practitioners and their family members were rescued and released from detention in China. Prior to this time, Canadian practitioners have clarified the truth to MPs of all levels in the Canadian government, and delivered many Falun Dafa truth clarification materials to them.
As recalled by two practitioners who ran into Mr. Chretien, during the UN summit, he and two MPs saw Falun Gong practitioners in yellow T-shirts once again on the street. He smiled in a friendly way to the practitioners and nodded and passed by. One of the practitioners pointed at them from the behind, and said, "I'm from Toronto." Mr. Chretien and the two MPs immediately turned their heads and walked back to the practitioners, happily shaking hands with them.
When a practitioner told Mr. Chretien that they were Canadian Falun Gong practitioners, he showed the two practitioners a copy of folded Falun Gong truth clarification material in his pocket. A practitioner recognized that the material was the one Canadian practitioners made and delivered to these MPs previously. It is wonderful that Mr. Chretien still carefully kept the truth clarification material for such a long period of time.
Voices of Justice
U.S. Congressman Smith: I call on the administration to step up its efforts to speak up for the Falun Gong and out against the actions of the Chinese government immediately
October 4, 2004
Mr. Speaker, I rise to urge passage of H. Con. Res. 304, expressing the sense of Congress that the Government of the People's Republic of China should cease its persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in the United States and in China. Ms. Ros-Lehtinen, I commend you for introducing this legislation and for speaking out against human rights abuses throughout the world.
Members of Congress need to be aware of the brutal suppression of human rights and religious freedoms being carried out by the People's Republic of China. From forced abortion and labor camps, to the imprisonment and sometimes even execution of brave Chinese who dare to stand up for their faith or political beliefs, Hu Jintao's regime, like that of Jiang Zemin before, is one of the worst violators of human rights in the world.
While Christians, Tibetan Buddhists, and Muslim Uighurs are all being persecuted for the faith, the suffering of peaceful Falun Gong practitioners has been especially intense. In 1999, China's dictators launched a brutal campaign to completely eradicate Falun Gong from their country through whatever means necessary, claiming that Falun Gong was a threat to "social order" in China. The reason behind this campaign of brutality is clear: by the mid to late 1990s, the number of Falun Gong practitioners began to exceed the number of members of the Communist Party. Like all dictators and totalitarian terror systems, the PRC fears and hates what it cannot control. So it sought to destroy and intimidate those who practice Falun Gong. I would also note that the regime has labeled as "cults" and is now oppressing other groups with followings comparable to that of the Falun Gong, such as the Xiang Gong, Guo Gong, and Zhong Gong qigong groups.
Falun Gong is not a religion, per se, but rather more like a philosophy. Based on the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance, Falun Gong uses a series of five physical and mental exercises to assist its members to purify themselves spiritually and peacefully resolve conflicts. Whatever one may say about the merits of their beliefs, the evidence is very clear that Falun Gong practitioners are peaceful individuals who want to be left alone to practice their beliefs as they see fit.
To carry out the task of smashing those who practice Falun Gong, the Beijing dictatorship created "610 Offices" throughout China to oversee and direct the persecution of Falun Gong through brainwashing, torture, and murder.
The State Department Human Rights Report for 2003 has several pages documenting the plight of the Falun Gong. We know at least 250 Falun Gong members have died as a result of torture thus far. For instance, in only a three-month period from June to August last year, more than 50 Falun Gong died in custody, many from torture in detention camps. Other estimates place the total body count higher. Bodies of the tortured victims are often cremated immediately to conceal evidence of torture. The report indicated that Falun Gong adherents sent to mental health institutions have been administered psychiatric drugs and electric shock treatments by Chinese authorities.
Several thousand Falun Gong practitioners--estimated at 125,000 or higher--are held in labor camps, prisons, and mental hospitals, where they are forced to endure torture brainwashing sessions. For example, in December 2003, Liu Chengjun, sentenced to 19 years in prison in March 2002 for involvement in illegal Falun Gong television broadcasts, was reportedly beaten to death by police in Jilin City Prison.
The government continues to find new ways to crack down on Falun Gong. Over the past year, the Government initiated a comprehensive effort to round up practitioners not already in custody and sanctioned the use of high-pressure tactics and mandatory anti-Falun Gong study sessions to force practitioners to renounce Falun Gong. Even practitioners who had not protested or made other public demonstrations of belief reportedly were forced to attend anti-Falun Gong classes or were sent directly to reeducation-through-labor camps, where in some cases, beatings and torture reportedly were used to force them to recant. These tactics reportedly resulted in large number of practitioners signing pledges to renounce the movement.
At the National People's Congress session in March, Premier Wen Jiabao's Government Work Report emphasized that the Government would "expand and deepen its battle against cults," including Falun Gong. Thousands of individuals were still undergoing criminal, administrative, and extrajudicial punishment for engaging in Falun Gong practices, admitting that they adhered to the teachings of Falun Gong, or refusing to criticize the organization or its founder.
During April to June 2003, the Government launched fresh accusations that Falun Gong practitioners were disrupting SARS-prevention efforts. State-run media claimed that, beginning in April, Falun Gong followers "incited public panic" and otherwise "sabotaged" anti-SARS efforts in many provinces by preaching that belief in Falun Gong will prevent persons from contracting SARS. Authorities detained hundreds of Falun Gong adherents on such charges, including 69 in Jiangsu Province during May and 180 in Hebei Province during June.
But Beijing is not confining its disgusting torture and brainwashing campaign to its own people. Chinese-American citizens and permanent residents are also victims. One American citizen, Dr. Charles Li, was arrested January 22, 2003 in China upon his arrival at an airport. A Falun Gong practitioner, the Chinese government alleges he attempted to sabotage television and radio equipment, even though he had just arrived in the country. Dr. Li has gone on continual hunger strikes to protest his arrest but been subject to forced feedings. There are reports that he is being subjected to brainwashing and anti-Falun Gong propaganda. At least 37 other Falun Gong practitioners who have family members that are residing in the U.S. are also in prison in China. Authorities also detained foreign Falun Gong practitioners from other countries. For example, in January 2003, two Australian citizens were deported for engaging in Falun Gong activities in Sichuan Province.
As my colleagues know, a sizeable number of Falun Gong practitioners reside here in the United States. They attempt to raise awareness about the horrors their fellow believers are subject to through meeting with government officials and through holding peaceful protests. Just this past August, Falun Gong members gathered on the Mall to pass out literature and inform Americans of the great suffering those in their faith are enduring. When Hu Jintao and other state leaders responsible for this purge are visiting foreign countries, Falun Gong members travel overseas to protest and raise awareness of the brutal persecution.
In response, China's persecution against the Falun Gong has moved outside of China's own borders. Large numbers of Falun Gong in the United States have reported to have been harassed. The FBI is currently investigating beatings of Falun Gong practitioners in Atlanta and Chicago. On June 23, 2003, Falun Gong practitioners in New York were harassed and physically violated by Chinese nationals associated with the consulate. Charges have been filed with the authorities. Li Li and some of her friends were involved with this incident.
Persecution of Falun Gong in China is horrific enough itself. The fact that China is now exporting its repression to weaker foreign nations under the guise of ''safety'' and ''public order'' is even worse. The cancer of China's repression is spreading all over the world. The PRC is not content to beat and torture and silence those inside its own borders. Now it is seeking to bully other nations into doing its bidding. When will this country wake up and stand up to this kind of nonsense?
I call upon all members of this body to support H. Con. Res. 304. I call on the administration to step up its efforts to speak up for the Falun Gong and out against the actions of the Chinese government immediately.
U.S. Congressman Hoyer: Foreign observers estimate that half of the 250,000 officially recorded inmates in the country's reeducation-through-labor camps are Falun Gong adherents
October 4, 2004
Mr. Speaker, the U.S. State Department's 2004 International Religious Freedom report for China begins as follows: "During the period covered by this report, the Government's respect for freedom of religion and freedom of conscience remained poor, especially for many unregistered religious groups and spiritual movements such as the Falun Gong."
According to the report, the arrest, detention, and imprisonment of Falun Gong practitioners continued, and practitioners who refuse to recant their beliefs are sometimes subjected to harsh treatment in prisons and reeducation-through-labor camps and there have been credible reports of deaths due to torture and abuse.
Foreign observers estimate that half of the 250,000 officially recorded inmates in the country's reeducation-through-labor camps are Falun Gong adherents.
Falun Gong blends aspects of Taoism, Buddhism, and the meditation techniques and physical exercises of qigong (a traditional Chinese exercise discipline) with the teachings of Falun Gong leader Li Hongzhi. Despite its spiritual content, Falun Gong does not consider itself a religion and has no clergy or places of worship.
Mr. Speaker, this resolution calls upon the government of China to immediately end the harassment, detention, physical abuse, and imprisonment of individuals who are exercising their legitimate rights to freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and freedom of association as stated in the Constitution of the People's Republic of China.
The importance of this cannot be overstated--the protection of religious freedom is intimately connected to the protection of other fundamental human and civil rights, as well as to the growth of democracy.
A government that acknowledges and protects freedom of religion and conscience is one that understands the inherent and inviolable dignity of the human person, and is more likely to protect, the other rights fundamental to human dignity, such as freedom from arbitrary arrest or seizure, or freedom from torture and murder.
Mr. Speaker, this resolution sends an important message to the government of China that we will not look the other way when they violate the basic rights of their people, and that we demand of our partners in the international community the protection of the most basic human rights--freedom to worship freely.
U.S. Congressman Pallone: Sadly, the unwarranted and unprovoked aggression against Falun Gong has not ceased, nor is it limited to China. There have been unprovoked attacks in the United States and Falun Gong members have been subjected to a humiliating and denigrating blacklist
October 4, 2004
Mr. Speaker, I would like to express my support for H. Con. Res. 304, a resolution honoring the tradition and practice of Falun Gong. As a cosponsor of this resolution, I urge my colleagues to vote yes on this important piece of legislation.
H. Con. Res. 304 calls on the Chinese Government to stop interfering with the religious and political rights of individuals in the United States to practice Falun Gong. The Chinese Government has gone so far as to spread falsehoods about Falun Gong and to harass, detain, abuse and imprison Falun Gong practitioners. The practitioners are simply exercising their legitimate right to freedom of religion and expression, and the actions of the Chinese Government conflict with international standards of freedom and human rights and must end immediately.
I have an admiration for the practitioners and adherents of Falun Gong and I am invested in the movement both in the United States and abroad. I remain committed to the task of making Falun Gong safe to practice in any country in the world. The members of Falun Gong are opposed by a Chinese government that unjustly views them as dissenters. This view is entirely without merit. In reality, Falun Gong is an inherently peaceful, apolitical movement that stresses nonviolence and meditation. Since Falun Gong was outlawed in 1999, hundreds of nonviolent practitioners have been arrested, tortured, libeled, and detained without charge or proof of any wrongdoing.
Sadly, the unwarranted and unprovoked aggression against Falun Gong has not ceased, nor is it limited to China. There have been unprovoked attacks in the United States and Falun Gong members have been subjected to a humiliating and denigrating blacklist.
One incident that I found particularly offensive took place in June 2003. Falun Gong members were attacked and beaten while holding a nonviolent protest in New York City. In an effort to end the discrimination that confronts Falun Gong practitioners, I wrote a letter to the Manhattan District Attorney, Robert Morgenthau, requesting an investigation of this case. I hope that justice prevails in this case.
With passage of H. Con. Res. 304, we can send a strong signal condemning China's human rights abuses and we can take one step closer to ensuring Falun Gong members the freedom of religion and assembly guaranteed to them by law.
U.S. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: We will not sit idly by as [suppressors] infringe upon the rights of our citizens and residents who practice Falun Gong
October 4, 2004
I would like to commend my colleagues, the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Woolsey) and the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Lee), for their dedication and support of this resolution. I would also like to thank the gentleman from Illinois (Chairman Hyde), as well as the gentleman from California (Mr. Lantos), our ranking member, and our entire leadership for bringing this resolution to the floor today.
I rise today to call attention to the horrific specter of the repression imposed upon a peaceful spiritual movement, the Falun Gong, by the largest authoritarian regime in the world today, the Communist regime in China.
On July 22, 1999, a date which will live in the annals of human rights violations as a day of infamy, the Beijing authorities declared the Falun Gong illegal, branding it a so-called ''evil cult.'' This immediately prompted mass arrests, torture and reported deaths of Falun Gong practitioners in official custody, which continues unabated to this present day.
These Falun Gong practitioners still in Chinese custody include at least one American citizen, Dr. Charles Lee. Members of Congress have repeatedly called for his immediate release, and we renew that call here today.
This chamber has repeatedly condemned the Chinese regime's abhorrent violations of human rights and the violations of freedom of belief and conscience of the Falun Gong. We have done so by rendering our overwhelming support to bipartisan resolutions that I have introduced with my colleague, the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Woolsey), and numerous others.
However, H. Con. Res. 304 is different. This resolution before us today is addressing something even more ominous. With over 70 cosponsors, this resolution focuses on reports and investigations on the use of fear, intimidation and oppression, often connected with violence, right here within the borders of our own country, within the United States.
Falun Gong practitioners, while peacefully and nonviolently exercising their constitutional rights to free speech and assembly, have been intimidated from California to New York by agents of the Chinese regime. They have, as we have outlined in this resolution, been physically harassed on the streets of San Francisco, assaulted on the streets of Chicago outside of the Chinese consulate and attacked on the streets of New York by individuals with reported ties to the Chinese regime.
Let those listening to this debate, including representatives of any foreign governments having strategies for suppressing free speech in this country, remember one thing: This is the United States of America, the cradle of freedom and democracy. We will not sit idly by as you infringe upon the rights of our citizens and residents who practice Falun Gong. Any interference in the exercise of free speech inside our land will result in the expulsion of those who engage in such actions.
In the land of the free, all voices will be heard. In the home of the brave, a hundred or more flowers will bloom, including the Falun Gong's spiritual movement.
I ask my colleagues to send a clear message to the Chinese regime and to immediately and unconditionally stop its deplorable treatment of the Falun Gong spiritual movement, both inside China and specifically here in the United States.
I ask for a ''yes'' vote on H. Con. Res. 304.
U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee: The ongoing Chinese suppression of the Falun Gong is one of the greatest human rights abuses of our time
October 4, 2004
I strongly support this resolution. It is a very important resolution, and I urge my colleagues to do so as well.
Mr. Speaker, 5 years ago, the Chinese government launched a very brutal crackdown of the Falun Gong spiritual movement throughout China. Tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners were brutally beaten, thrown in jail and tortured.
Over 800 Falun Gong practitioners have been killed and tens of thousands remain locked up in Chinese prisons, in psychiatric institutions, and reformed through labor camps. The ongoing Chinese suppression of the Falun Gong is one of the greatest human rights abuses of our time and will, undoubtedly, be marked as one of the darkest periods in modern Chinese history.
Congress has repeatedly spoken out against the repression of Falun Gong practitioners in China. The resolution before us today, however, focuses the spotlight on a new element of the Chinese Government's anti-Falun Gong campaign, the attempt to quash any support for Falun Gong in the United States.
Over the past 5 years, Chinese diplomats in the United States have engaged in a campaign of intimidation and pressure against Falun Gong practitioners here in the United States and those who advocate on their behalf. Apparently not satisfied with the brutal suppression of Falun Gong adherence in China, China has decided to export these repressive policies to the United States.
As the resolution notes, local officials in the United States have been pressured to vote against resolutions condemning the persecution of Falun Gong. Practitioners of Falun Gong in the United States have also been harassed and physically assaulted by individuals associated with Chinese diplomatic missions. Media organizations attempting to fairly cover the treatment of Falun Gong have been pressured by Chinese officials, particularly if their papers ran editorials critical of the Chinese Government.
Mr. Speaker, the Chinese Government's heavy-handed tactics against Falun Gong in the United States will backfire. As Americans see firsthand the extremes to which the Chinese Government will go to stop Falun Gong, sympathy for the plight of Falun Gong practitioners everywhere is sure to grow. Mr. Speaker, this resolution puts the Congress firmly on record against such pressure tactics, and I strongly support its passage.
U.S. Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey: The right to practice the religion or spiritual movement of one's choice is ingrained in the very fabric of the United States Constitution
October 4, 2004
Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H. Con. Res. 304, a resolution that condemns the harassment of Falun Gong practitioners in China and here in the United States. I first want to thank the gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Ros-Lehtinen), with whom I coauthored and introduced this important resolution in October of last year. I also want to thank the House leadership for allowing this important legislation to come to the House floor, and the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Lee) for yielding me this time.
Finally, I want to thank the loyal and dedicated Falun Gong practitioners who have diligently stopped by my offices over the last 2 years. It has been my pleasure to work with them on this issue.
Mr. Speaker, in April of 1999, 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners staged a peaceful demonstration in front of the Communist Party headquarters near Tiananmen Square. They protested China's oppressive regime. Of course, we are all familiar with the events that took place in Tiananmen Square in 1989, when thousands of individuals protesting the Chinese regime were brutally beaten and many killed, but China's abuses of Falun Gong practitioners both in China and here in the United States have not received the same attention.
China's rulers have condemned Falun Gong since the 1999 protest, calling this peaceful spiritual movement an evil cult, and embarking on an official campaign to eradicate the movement. China has imprisoned, tortured, and even murdered hundreds of people simply because they peacefully practice Falun Gong. Included among those who have been jailed and tortured are American citizens of Chinese descent.
Charles Lee, a California native, is one such victim. In the year 2003, he traveled to China to visit his extended family. Immediately upon stepping off the airplane, Charles Lee was arrested by Chinese officials. Despite the United States State Department appeals for his release, he has been jailed and tortured in a Chinese prison since his abduction.
Other American Falun Gong practitioners have been assaulted, robbed, and harassed right here in America. Miss Gail Rachlin, the Falun Gong spokeswoman in the United States, has had her New York apartment broken into not once, not twice, but five times over in the last 5 years; and it appears the break-ins have been by Chinese agents.
China's diplomats to the United States too have been actively involved in harassing and persecuting Falun Gong practitioners here in the United States. When San Francisco City Supervisor Chris Daly heard some of his constituents had been harassed by Chinese officials, he authored a resolution for the San Francisco Board condemning the persecution of Falun Gong members by the Chinese Government. In response, the Chinese Consul General in San Francisco sent Mr. Daly a harshly worded letter, claiming that Falun Gong undermines the normal social order in China and should be condemned.
The same experience has been repeated time and time again in dozens of cities across the country. A local official introduces a resolution in support of Falun Gong, and in response the Chinese consulate in the U.S. condemns that resolution as well as the local official who sponsored it.
Mr. Speaker, that is why H. Con. Res. 304 expresses the sense of Congress that the Government of the People's Republic of China immediately stop interfering in the exercise of religious and political freedoms within the United States, including the right to practice Falun Gong. This resolution also states that China immediately cease its harassment, detention, and torture of any individual exercising his or her legitimate rights to freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and freedom of association, as affirmed by the Constitution of the People's Republic of China.
The right to practice the religion or spiritual movement of one's choice is ingrained in the very fabric of the United States Constitution. That is why it is counter to what we stand for in our country that Chinese officials have persecuted Falun Gong practitioners and harassed local American officials right here in our country.
I urge all of my colleagues to support this important resolution. Send a strong message to China that we demand the proper treatment of both Americans and Chinese individuals who practice the Falun Gong spiritual movement.
US Senator Barbara Mikulski: The Issue of Human Rights Is a Basic One and Cannot Be Compromised
September 30, 2004
Dear Dr. Lu:
Thank you for getting in touch with me to express your concerns about the treatment of Falun Gong practitioners in China. I appreciate hearing from you.
As you know, I have been a long time advocate of human rights, and as a United States Senator, I will continue this advocacy. The issue of human rights is a basic one and cannot be compromised. We must not tolerate the intimidation, detention, and prosecution of individuals because of their religious, political, or philosophical beliefs.
I have been particularly concerned about the record of China on human rights issues. I believe that China's record is intolerable, and much needs to be accomplished there before we can claim progress. We must continue our dialogue with China and urge them to treat people in their country with fairness and dignity.
Knowing of your concerns will be helpful to me as the Senate seeks ways to influence China to improve its human rights record, and to be a better world citizen.
The House of Representatives has passed a measure, H. Con. Res. 218, which expresses the view of Congress that the Chinese government should stop its persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. The Senate has not yet taken up this resolution. Should the Senate debate and vote upon this legislation during next year's session, it would certainly have my support.
Again, thanks for getting in touch with me. You can be sure that I will continue to fight for basic human rights all over the world. If there's anything I can do for you in the future, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Barbara A. Mikulski
United States Senator
Facts of the Persecution
Witness the Chinese Police's Violence in Tiananmen Square on China's "National Day"
At noon on October 1, 2004 (China's "National Day"), many civilians witnessed policemen violently beat and drag off a Falun Gong practitioner. People at the Square were all talking about the incident and many said: "We personally saw the brutality of police against Falun Gong today."
In the morning of October 1, we left home very early with our baby, heading for Tiananmen Square. It was raining heavily the day before, and it was still very windy, though the rain stopped. Nevertheless, there were many people at the Square, and of course public security police, armed police and plainclothes police were everywhere. There were 5 or 6 police officers at each intersection, checking passersby and searching the bags of those tourists whom police thought were "questionable" (meaning, who they suspected may be Falun Gong practitioners).
I hurried to the site and saw that a practitioner was already beaten to the ground by police. A policeman still had the practitioner's banner wrapped around his left hand. Other armed police drove onlookers far away from the site. However, a vast number of civilians witnessed how police brutally attacked the practitioner. Many people in the crowd started to take photos, but several of them had their film confiscated by police. Police even confiscated some people's unused cameras packed in their bags, and a few tourists who photographed the scene were taken away. Policemen near to the site also searched for people that carried a camera.
Many people at Tiananmen Square were talking about the incident. They said: "We personally saw the brutality of police against Falun Gong today." Since Jiang regime launched the brutal persecution against Falun Dafa 5 years ago, practitioners have been tirelessly clarifying the truth about Falun Gong, exposing the lies spread by mainland media and telling people about the brutal persecution. Though many people have learned the truth, the brutality of police on Tiananmen Square on this, China's "National Day" still shocked them, as they saw that the practitioner didn't do anything wrong but only tried to say "Falun Dafa is Good."
China: Eyewitness Account of the Torture Death of Peng Min and the Lies Fabricated by CCTV
By a Falun Gong practitioner in China
I went to see Peng Min before he was tortured to death. Even now I can recall what I saw, as everything happened before my eyes.
Peng Min was a practitioner from our group exercise site and all his family members practiced Falun Gong. Before the persecution began on July 20, 1999, he was a great practitioner and a very spiritual and strong young man.
After July 20, 1999, Jiang's regime enforced the brutal persecution on his family. His house was searched many times. The police had been monitoring his family activities from the roof of a single-story house opposite to his home using a telescope. Peng Min's father, mother, elder brother and younger sister were detained illegally after Falun Gong was banned and his mother died as a result of the persecution.
Peng Min went to Beijing. He actively organized group discussions and sharing so that everyone would improve together. He kindly provided accommodation to practitioners from other locations. He offered everything selflessly to others and he himself lived on instant noodles everyday. He was recognized as a "key target" by the Beijing police.
He was later arrested and sent back to Wuhan City. As he never gave up his faith even in the brainwashing center, he was tortured until he suffered a cervical vertebrate fracture, which caused the paralysis of his whole body. Not long after he was sent back home, the police station had many policemen go to his home and forcefully take him to the Seventh Hospital of Wuhan City for monitoring. All the news was strictly controlled and covered up.
I overcame much difficulties and went to the hospital to see him twice.
His family members were detained in the same small cell and his mother and his younger brother took care of him. The police were in the next room for 24-hour monitoring. When I saw him, his lower back and buttocks were entangled with gauze. After being bedridden for so long without treatment, there was a large bedsore on his buttocks and the tissue had begun to deteriorate to the point that the bone could be seen. At that time, he had a low fever, but his mind was clear. His condition was very prone to developing blood poisoning, and his condition was critical. However, the police did not provide any medical treatment or nursing care and let the condition worsen. A policeman even said, "I hope it will be over soon so that we do not need to stay here and monitor everyday." They truly have no regard for human life!
When I went there for the second time in two months, Peng Min's situation had worsened. Surprisingly, this time the nurses were busy taking care of him. I wondered why they so suddenly had changed their attitude. Later I learned that it was because someone from the TV station was planning to shoot a program there. They fabricated the scene in which the authorities showed great concern for Falun Gong practitioners and lied to the viewers, saying, "The government truly cares about Falun Gong. His practice of Falun Gong caused him to become ill, and he did not want to come to the hospital. After the government tried many times, he was brought to the hospital for active treatment and nursing. However, due to his serious condition, it was impossible to cure him." From this, one can see how the media lies and slanders Falun Gong.
Several days later, I heard the news that Peng Min died.
China: Masanjia Forced Labor Camp Subjects Practitioners to Slave Labor
By a witness in Liaoning Province
Falun Gong practitioners were driven like slaves at the Masanjia Forced Labor Camp in Shenyang City, Liaoning Province, to make handcrafts such as "butterfly fairies," vines, hats, boutonnieres, hairpins and other items for export.
From Monday through Friday, at 7:30 a.m. each day, practitioners were forced to read information and books slandering Falun Gong. A short break happened around noon and the handiwork started at 1:00 p.m. and lasted until 8:30 p.m., sometimes extended until 10:00 p.m. There were new assignments every day and practitioners' hands were swollen from this intensive labor. Handcrafts from Masanjia's No. 2 Women's Section were manufactured under such conditions.
From April 8 to 11, 2004, an inspection group arrived to visit, but the officials at Masanjia ordered the detainees to cover up the real situation and perform singing and dancing instead. After the inspection group left, the handiwork resumed.
Every morning, 10-20 practitioners in one room were only given five minutes for washing their face and brushing their teeth. It was an extremely tight schedule.
Most of the time, practitioners were given a corn flour pancake covered with mildew and dirt, and a red soup was made from a potato slice with unhealthy-looking skin left on. In the summer, the flour and rice were covered with mildew.
In March 2003, the No. 2 Women's Section in the Masanjia Forced Labor Camp tormented and further abused the Falun Gong practitioners. Eight standard-size double beds were crammed into a single room. Because of the small space, they put four beds on top of four others, assigning four people to each bed. Practitioners were required to get up at 5:00 a.m. daily and were forced to do physical exercises after washing their faces. At 7:00 p.m. they were required to watch the evening news on TV. Except for three meals, they were forced to do physical labor every day, both morning and afternoon, for at least 12-14 hours. Sometimes they worked on crafts for export to unknown countries; other times they hand-knit sweaters for the South Korean market, and the other times they were required to work on clothing for export, such as sewing on buttons and other tasks.
During work hours, the time for using the toilet was fixed. Thirty-two people from one room took turns; they were not allowed to make contact with practitioners from the other rooms. Occasionally, when there was an urgent need for the products being made, practitioners were forced to work late, until at least 10:00 p.m. When the workload was light, practitioners were not allowed to take a rest either. Instead, they were forced to undergo brainwashing sessions, such as reading articles slandering Falun Gong.
With regard to practitioners not yet "Reformed" (i.e. who had not renounced their belief), collaborators were used to brainwash them with misleading theories the whole night. Practitioners who resisted their efforts were physically punished, such as being slapped in the face, dragged by the hair and having their head slammed against a wall and their legs pinched. Practitioners' flesh was pinched until it became lacerated; pus oozed and stuck to the clothes, and they were unable to walk due to the pain.
As to those 16 determined practitioners who refused to renounce Falun Gong, the guards in the labor camp shocked them with electric batons until the flesh on their jaws was burned.
Another Cruel Forced-Feeding Method Used by Detention Center in Hubei Province, China
The public security personnel in the Shiyan First Detention Center in Hubei Province are very sinister in dealing with Falun Gong practitioners who go on hunger strike. The perpetrators will usually force-feed practitioners every other day with highly salted flour gruel after the fourth day of their hunger strike.
They tie the practitioner to a ladder, with their head, back, and legs tied to the cross-bars. This position alone is excruciating. Then, seven or eight prisoners or police will push the practitioner's shoulders, elbows, and knees down firmly to prevent the practitioner from moving. One of them will push the practitioner's chin up to force the head to tilt upwards. Another person then inserts a handcuff over the back teeth to reach the throat. The corners of the victims' mouths often tear and bleed. They then pour the prepared salt-flour gruel into the practitioner's mouth, pinch their nose, and use a towel to cover the mouth in order to force the practitioner to swallow the gruel. It is unimaginably painful.
Family members are forced to watch this barbarous act. For example, when they force-fed Wang Anxia, her daughter Cheng Li was forced to watch. Then, Wang Anxia was also forced to watch while they force-fed her daughter. When they finish with the force-feeding, the victim, with a bleeding mouth, is covered with coughed up gruel. The practitioner's chin and limbs are also often injured and covered with bruises. They also often suffer internal hemorrhaging. Their clothing is soaked with perspiration and they often have difficulty breathing. It takes a long time for them to recover.
The Security Guards there claimed, "You're lucky we don't feed you with hot pepper water."
Media Reports and Opinions
Los Angeles Independent Media Center: Chinese Embassy Ploy
Fails, Falun Gong Film "Sandstorm" Wins Highest Prize
On Friday, September 24, a Chinese consulate official in Houston made a surprise phone call to the founder/chairman of the Houston Multicultural International Film Festival Stephen Allen, and asked him to cancel the screening of one of the festival's scheduled films.
The film, Sandstorm, is a Canadian-made independent film that depicts the torture and abuse of a Falun Gong student in China. This film has won several awards recently at film festivals in U.S.
The Houston festival's chairman responded saying, "This is America. We have freedom of press and freedom of belief here." The consulate official apparently proceeded to call the Houston Film Commission and pressure them to block the screening. This attempt also failed.
On Saturday, Sandstorm won the Houston festival's highest prize, "Best Feature Film." Sandstorm Writer/Director Michael Mahonen was in Houston for the event.
Mr. Mahonen, an accomplished Canadian actor but 1st time director, will be at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival in Los Angeles from Sept 30-Oct 7. Sandstorm is screening in LA at the Fairfax Laemmle on Oct 5 at 10:30 pm.
On Monday, Sandstorm played at the Greenwich Film Festival as part of the festival's Chinese Theme Night. The Greenwich festival reportedly received a phone call from an official at the Chinese consulate in New York saying that they would be at the screening there, but no one from the consulate was reported to attend.
Sandstorm will make its New York City premiere in November at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival. Before then, it will be playing at 6 other film festivals across U.S.
Ironically, all this transpired just ahead of a vote in the U.S. Congress scheduled this week on a Resolution (House Congress Resolution 304 -- see H. CON. RES. 304, http://www.thomas.loc.gov) that directly criticizes the Chinese government and its agents in America for pressuring, harassing, and even assaulting Falun Gong students in the U.S. The Resolution names New Yorker Gail Rachlin, "...the Falun Gong spokeswoman in the United States, [whose apartment] has been broken into 5 times by agents of the Chinese regime since the regime banned Falun Gong in 1999 in China." The Resolution also cites several examples of Chinese consular interference like what transpired in Houston on Friday.
F18News, Norway: CHINA: How the Public Security system controls religious affairs [Excerpt]
The Chinese police, or Public Security Bureau, is responsible for persecuting religious communities, arresting and detaining in the first half of 2004 hundreds of religious believers. It is also responsible for such normal police activities as apprehending drug traffickers and other criminals, directing traffic and patrolling the streets. But despite its very prominent role in state control of religious affairs, little is understood outside China about the massive monitoring and control system maintained by the Public Security Bureau, its very significant impact on religious affairs in China, and the nature of the discussions on religion and "cults" by members of the public security system. Forum 18 News Service here explains the system and its importance, as well as outlining ongoing discussions of reform amongst Chinese officials and scholars. But despite these discussions, the public security system is highly likely to remain an instrument of state repression.
Among the most shocking television images in recent years are those of Chinese police -- more commonly known as "public security officers" -- beating Falun Gong protestors in Beijing's Tiananmen Square before dragging them into waiting vans to be taken to detention centres. Several years after the height of the state repression of the Falun Gong movement and its practitioners, religious believers in China continue to suffer at the hands of public security officers.
In the first half of 2004 alone, hundreds of believers have been arrested and detained. In recent incidents, more than 100 house church leaders were arrested by public security officers and military police on 6 August in Tongxu County, Kaifeng City, Henan Province. The same day, police arrested eight Roman Catholic priests and seminarians in Quyang County, Shijiazhuang Village, Hebei Province.
Meanwhile, public security agents throughout China maintain active surveillance over Falun Gong practitioners, punctuated by periodic crackdowns. According to the Falun Gong, over 100,000 practitioners have been sent to reeducation-through-labour (laojiao) camps operated by the public security system. [...]
Despite the public security system's prominent role in the state's "management" of religious affairs, little is understood outside China about this massive system of state control, its significant impact on how religious affairs in China are managed, and the nature of the discussions on religion and "cults" by members of this community.
As its name implies, the public security system -- the police -- is directly responsible for maintaining public order and internal security. Public security officers are involved in apprehending drug traffickers, corrupt officials and petty criminals. They also guard government and commercial office buildings, direct traffic and patrol the streets.
Yet these visible functions only scratch the surface of the public security system's immense powers and jurisdictional responsibilities. In effect, the men and women of the public security system are the Communist regime's eyes and ears to ensure the state's control over all aspects of China's political life, society and economy. Public security agencies hold extraordinarily detailed information about their objects of interest. For example, they maintain data on the size of each "cultic" group and its membership, the extent of its geographical influence and its foreign connections.
Public security agents oversee internal as well as external security. To maintain external security, public security agents oversee the foreign travel of Chinese citizens and foreigners' entry into the country. The People's Armed Police -- made up of former People's Liberation Army officers and soldiers and managed jointly by the Ministry of Public Security and the Central Military Commission -- maintain border security. Public security agents also have counter-intelligence responsibilities.
Internally, in addition to preventing and cracking down on major and petty crimes, public security officers provide protection for senior Communist and government officials. They also manage the household registration system (hukou), which maintains an individual file on every citizen. Moreover, they regularly police the Internet for undesirable materials. The public security system also operates the appeals office (xingfang), which is where citizens can file grievances against state officials. Furthermore, the public security bureaucracy operates the notorious reeducation-through-labour system that imprisons many dissidents, including religious believers, without due process.
The public security system is a massive bureaucracy that extends from the Ministry of Public Security -- led by a member of the powerful Communist Party Politburo -- in the central government in Beijing down to police stations in the townships and villages of the hinterland. Like other government agencies, a public security organ functions at each level of government.
At the level of province or "autonomous region" -- such as Tibet and Xinjiang -- the public security department oversees the entire province, most of which have populations numbering in the tens of millions. Henan, for example, home to most of China's underground Protestant house churches, has over 90 million people, making it the country's most populated province. According to the 2000 "Chinese Public Security Encyclopaedia", among the chief responsibilities of these provincial public security departments are researching and analysing social conditions in their provinces or regions; drawing up policies and countermeasures to maintain public security; and guiding and coordinating sub-provincial public security authorities.
Each provincial public security department contains numerous offices, each of which has clearly delineated responsibilities. These range from directing traffic and firefighting to maintaining political and economic security. In some cases, religion offices are established within the provincial departments to meet the needs of local conditions. Major municipalities such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Chongqing -- which are equivalent to provinces in their status within the administrative system -- possess public security bureaus that possess similar functional offices as their provincial counterparts. For example, a list of the major responsibilities for Beijing's Public Security Bureau is given on its website http://www.ebeijing.gov.cn/Government/Organizations/t20030924_1528.htm.
Subordinate to the provincial public security departments are a myriad of public security branches and police stations at the levels of prefecture, county, township and village. At each level, the public security offices are accountable to the public security offices of the level immediately above them, creating a firm chain of command. At the same time, public security offices at each administrative level are also subordinated to the Communist Party headquarters and the government at that level of administration.
One major effect of this "vertical and horizontal accountability" is that public security offices at every level of the administrative hierarchy are held liable by their superiors -- those within the public security system and non-public security officials at their corresponding levels of administration -- should they fail to maintain effective control over their respective areas of responsibilities. This system thereby puts great pressure on public security offices at each level to "perform". This system can be seen in action simply by examining the state's repression of the Falun Gong movement.
When the central government in Beijing became annoyed with the regular influx of Falun Gong protestors from areas outside the capital, it threatened provincial governments with punishment if they were unable to control their respective populations from making their way to Beijing. This threat was then relayed from the provincial governments to their respective subordinates at the prefecture, county, township and even village levels. These government leaders naturally turned to public security officials at corresponding administrative levels for the execution of these directives. At the same time, it is clear that public security officials also received similar orders from their superiors within the public security system. In addition to directives issued within the public security system, public security officials were also pressured by government leaders at corresponding administrative levels to ensure the effectiveness of enforcement. This "systemic" factor partly explains some of the most egregious abuses against Falun Gong practitioners as well as adherents of other religions and beliefs.
Aberdeen Press and Journal: Falun Gong followers hold demo
An exhibition demonstrating the torture methods used by the Chinese authorities against followers of an outlawed spiritual movement was held in Aberdeen yesterday. Practitioners of Falun Gong held the Persecution Meets Principle exhibition in the city's Castlegate and attracted more than 200 signatures to a petition [calling for an end of the persecution].
Hundreds of thousands of people in China are estimated to have been sent to labour camps, and hundreds handed jail sentences.
The exhibition, which had already visited London, Cambridge, Edinburgh and Oxford, uses photos, props and actors to demonstrate the suffering of Falun Gong followers in the practice's homeland.
It was also a chance for people to find out more about the practice based on a philosophy of compassion and tolerance. Eddy Aitken, one of the exhibition organisers, said: "I think there has been quite a positive reaction.
"The exhibition has raised a few eyebrows, and we have had a number of people ask us about why there is not a school in Aberdeen. So we have managed to raise awareness of Falun Gong, which is what we were trying to do."
Nyunews.com(Washington Square News): Protesters could learn from Falun Gong movement
In stark contrast to the normal obnoxious groups of protesters that roam campus, a new type of activist can now be found around the NYU area. Promoting the cause of the Falun Gong, a [group] being persecuted by the Chinese government, these protesters, made up largely of older folks of Asian descent, are trying to raise awareness in America of the ultra-repressive Chinese government.
These protesters mostly sit quietly in meditation, unlike the normal - and the term "normal" is used very loosely here - campus protesters we are subjected to. Their message is spread mainly through signs or pamphlets distributed by a polite activist.
They do not scream; they do not go out of their way to rudely accost passers-by. Members of the Falun Gong movement are nice, courteous activists.
Granted, activists for other, more widely recognized issues - like the Iraq war or terrorism - get plenty of dismissals as well, but it seems like the courteous Falun Gong are getting more than their fair share.
Part of it is because the Falun Gong do not resort to the outlandish and oftentimes illegal manners of protest that other activist groups turn to. Most likely, there will never be a news story about a member of the Falun Gong assaulting an NYPD detective just trying to do his job.
The Falun Gong members will never be arrested for crashing private events. While these types of criminal antics may attract attention for other activist groups, it is not the style of the Falun Gong, and for that, citizens of the city should be grateful.
Unlike other protesters, the active members of the Falun Gong make sure that their activities are actually related to their goals. When they meditate quietly on campus, they are demonstrating what they want the right to do in their own country. When anti-Bush protesters ride dozens of bikes through busy city streets, they are saying nothing about their agenda.
The members of the Falun Gong are not part of the screaming left or the screaming right. They have no equivalent of a Rush Limbaugh or a Michael Moore. These protesters are the nice guys that get ignored.
As students in what is supposed to be an institution of higher learning, as part of what is deemed a "global university," and as citizens of a country that, like it or not, is the only superpower left in the world, it is our duty to pay attention to protesters like the members of the Falun Gong. We cannot allow ourselves to become so jaded by the flood of obnoxious activists that we ignore the ones that actually have something important to say and are willing to say it in a civilized manner.
These members of the Falun Gong movement serve as role models for activists everywhere. They are providing a service to the world and to us, not only by raising our awareness about an important issue, but also by showing us that protests do not have to be obnoxious.
We at least owe it to them to do our part to see that, for once, the nice guys do not have to finish last.
AFP: US House Demands End To Falun Gong Persecution In China [Excerpt]
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US House of Representatives approved a measure urging the Chinese government to immediately stop hostile actions against the Falun Gong spiritual group both in China and the United States.
The measure urges Beijing to "immediately stop interfering in the exercise of religious and political freedoms within the United States, such as the right to practice Falun Gong."
It also wants the Chinese government to "cease using the diplomatic missions in the United States to spread falsehoods about the nature of Falun Gong," and to "release from detention all prisoners of conscience, including practitioners of Falun Gong," incarcerated in China.
China should "immediately end the harassment, detention, physical abuse, and imprisonment of individuals who are exercising their legitimate rights to freedom of religion, including the practices of Falun Gong, freedom of expression, and freedom of association, as stated in the Constitution of the People's Republic of China," according to the measure.
It also wants Beijing to "demonstrate its willingness to abide by international standards of freedom of belief, expression, and association by ceasing to restrict those freedoms" in China.
The House also wants President George W. Bush to issue "a formal protest" to the Chinese Foreign Ministry "in response to the repeated violations by the Chinese Government of basic human rights" in China.
And the legislators want US Attorney General John Ashcroft to "investigate reports that Chinese consular officials in the United States have committed illegal acts while attempting to intimidate or inappropriately influence Falun Gong practitioners or local elected officials."
The Jewish Week: The Israeli Falun Gong
On a recent Monday afternoon, the corner of 42nd Street and Third Avenue is its usual deafening pandemonium of cabs, cars, trucks, pedestrians, peddlers and police officers. Yet, in the middle of the din, on the sidewalk, Lori Har-El, 40, sits in silent contemplation. She is meditating, barefoot, eyes shut, expression blank. She was born in Israel and lived on a kibbutz, but now she is one of the leading practitioners in New York of Falun Gong, the Chinese practice of meditation.
In recent years, the Falun Gong have been persecuted by the Chinese government, its members arrested and tortured. Sitting on the sidewalk, Har-El and a slew of other practitioners -- some of them Israelis who have traveled here recently to raise awareness of the Falun Gong's persecution -- are surrounded by a macabre display of faux torture scenes.
Such scenes have recently become a fixture on Manhattan streets; they include practitioners locking themselves in cages, painting their faces and their clothes with fake blood, and displaying graphic images of torture victims. The bluntness, Har-El noted, is meant to shock people into recognition of the persecution.
"The persecution is five years old," she says, "and we have tried through the years to let the world know what's going on, very gently -- I guess too gently. We realized that it's time to really bring it out, be here more strongly."
Har-El discovered Falun Gong by accident. After completing her army service in Israel, she came to New York, looking for adventure. She took on a string of jobs, including one working with the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. Then, one day, as she was taking the ferry from her Staten Island home to Manhattan, she was greeted at the dock by a smiling Falun Gong practitioner who handed her a pamphlet. The method's credo, stressing truthfulness, compassion and forbearance, appealed to her. Still, her inner-Israeli raised some doubt.
"I didn't want to be a fryier," she says, using the quintessentially Israeli word meaning sucker. "I wanted to see where the money goes in this movement. Then I found out it goes nowhere. There is no money. There's no movement, no registry involved. Everything is voluntarily. It's very hard for people to grasp that."
Thus convinced, Har-El began to practice the Falun Gong's five exercises of meditation. Within a short time, she says, she began to feel much better. "I was even able to quit smoking," she says. As she became more involved with the practice, however, she also became increasingly aware of the fate suffered by its adherents in China. This, she says, appealed directly to her Jewish consciousness.
"I think Jews should understand better than anyone else that we must stop this persecution," she says. "We can't let this continue." The comparison with the Holocaust is one Har-El meticulously avoids, yet one whose shadow nonetheless looms over her rhetoric. "Having worked at the Claims Conference," she says, "I became acutely aware, for example, of the issue of slave labor. I look at China, and the same thing is happening there to Falun Gong members arrested and sent to camps. It's a persecution not of six million, but of a hundred million people."
Sitting next to her, Har-El's Israeli friends nod in agreement. They belong to a group of a hundred or so Israeli Falun Gong practitioners. Some of them, like Millie Koretsky and David Bershadsky, immigrated to Israel from Russia. The persecution in Communist China, they said, evokes in them not only the Holocaust but also Stalin's purges.
With dewy eyes and a faltering voice, Koretsky tells of her grandfather, a wealthy and observant Jew sent to prison for most of his life. "When he came back we didn't even recognize him," she said. "He was a broken man."
For Koretsky, she says, protesting the persecution in China is as much a personal matter as it is one of universal justice. "I understand the Chinese practitioners," she says. "The way the government takes them away in the middle of the night is just like how the Soviets took my grandfather."
Listening to Koretsky's account, Har-El nodded her head, her radiant, lunar features crinkling in pain. "We must stop this," she mutters, more to herself than to anyone in particular. "We must stop this now."
Falun Gong Practitioners' Personal Experience
The After Effects of My Concussion Went Away
I was weak and had many diseases since I was young. Because of the serious after effects of a concussion, I had to take early retirement. It was Falun Gong that helped me to become healthy.
When I was 27, I suffered illnesses one after another. I had to take western and Chinese traditional medicines all year long. I once had kidney inflammation, hepatitis, uterine cancer and breast cancer. Other diseases that bothered me constantly included anemia and serious gastritis (stomach ache, bloating, poor appetite), serious neurosis (loss of sleep, dizziness and headaches), lack of blood flow to the brain, and rheumatism. I endured long term suffering from these diseases, work stress, heavy housework and extremely unpleasant family issues. I felt so helpless and desperate.
I often felt dizzy and sometimes lost consciousness. In 1994, on my way to work, I had one of my episodes and tumbled from a set of stone steps. My head hit heavily on the corner of the last stone step. I passed out right away. I was sent to a hospital emergency room. I had suffered a fractured skull and a concussion. I stayed in intensive care for over 40 days. After I left the hospital, my head did not heal well and had still a small crack, so I couldn't wash my face like a normal person. I could only lightly wipe my face, or my entire face would be very uncomfortable. The after effects from the concussion made me dizzy all day long. I could only work for half an hour, and then take a break afterwards. Otherwise, I would make serious and obvious mistakes in my work. Later on, I had no choice but to take early retirement.
One day in mid-March of 1997, I had the most unforgettable day of my life. I met a friend on the street, and she asked me to go to practice Falun Gong. I didn't think much of it and went with her. At that time I knew nothing about the practice, I just followed the movements. Then, after a few days I suddenly had a big appetite. I ate three bowls of rice in one meal, whereas before I could only eat a small clump of rice due to the gastritis for the past decades. Without noticing, all the uncomfortable symptoms I had in the past disappeared completely. I haven't had to take a single pill for 7 years now.
A Senior Citizen: It's Wonderful to be Free of Pain
My name is Zheng Shijie. I am 74 years old, and reside in Taiwan. Due to my age, I suffered from numerous diseases all over my body before I practiced Falun Gong. I developed gout after leaving the military in 1977 and had to undergo surgery in 1998 at Taichung Veterans General Hospital after suffering a heart attack . In 1999, due to arthritis, both of my knees swelled up, and it was painful to walk. I was then admitted twice to the Taoyuan General Hospital Department of Health and stayed there for a total of 25 days. As a result of taking various medications for the illnesses mentioned above, my kidney function began to deteriorate rapidly. I also developed constipation and insomnia. These ailments caused a great deal of discomfort, and my life was miserable beyond words.
One day, I found a pamphlet in my mailbox about Falun Gong. After reading it carefully, I was so glad to have come across this wonderful practice. I immediately contacted a local assistant, and began doing the exercises and studying the teachings on November 15, 2000.
After participating in the nine-day seminar, my body went through an obvious transformation. Right now, I am able to walk confidently, and get up and down stairs with ease. After practicing for half a year, the gout, which had bothered me for years, vanished without a trace. I was on a strict diet in the past, but I am now able to eat anything I wish.
I had heart surgery before I practiced Falun Gong, and my physician specifically warned me never to stop my heart medication. Following his directions, I continued to take medication. On May 25, 2004, I forgot to take the medicine after lunch and dinner, and woke up to find myself more clear headed and bright eyed the next day. I tried not taking the medicine for one more day, and found my heart to be more comfortable than before. I then decided to stop the medication. It has been nearly five months, and my body is much healthier and more comfortable.
On the way back home from a morning group exercise about three months ago, I was knocked down from my bike by a speeding vehicle. My right knee hit the ground hard, yet it was miraculously not injured. My skin was scraped and bled only a little bit, about ten centimeters below my knee.
The illnesses I once had completely vanished, and I finally experienced how wonderful it is to be free of pain and sickness. Not only has my health improved, my spirit has also lifted. I am now happier and more optimistic than ever before, and I owe this all to Teacher.
I tried my best to put my experiences down on paper. I truly hope more people can join the path of cultivation and experience for themselves the greatness of Falun Gong.
The People Awaken to the Truth
A Letter to a Practitioner from a Person in China Who Learned the Truth about Falun Gong
How are you?
I don't know who you are, but I really appreciate what you have told me! As I was reading your letter, my whole body felt as if I had just experienced a kind of cleansing, as if a whole basin of clear water had been poured on top of my head, and as if a dirty shell had been broken. I also want to do something [to help you] but I can never do it, as I cannot send [e-mail] out. I hope you can teach me. I'm not afraid -- this is not my usual mailbox, and not my real address. I also won't open your e-mails on my usual Internet connection, in order to be safe.
I would like to do some good, especially since there are still people who don't know the truth [about Falun Gong] and who have been deceived. I would really like to help them. Please reply soon! In addition I would really like to access some Falun Gong websites that interest me but are blocked and monitored by the Internet police. I wonder how to deal with this? Don't worry, I'm not a bad guy. If one more good person comes to understand the truth of Falun Gong, there will be that much more hope for all of us. Even if my contribution helps the persecution end only one minute earlier, I have no regret as I have tried my best.
I'm not afraid of anything. Of course I'll be as careful as possible. I know that my life belongs not only to myself, but that I also need to help those innocent people [who have been deceived]. Right now I feel like crying for them, although I'm also proud of the Falun Gong practitioners who have been tortured to death. I feel insignificant compared to them. In addition, I do not believe that humans only have one life, but I think that there will be future lives. I also believe that good is repaid with good, and evil with evil. Isn't my flesh body just a shell? I want to make others pay attention [to Falun Gong] and I feel that doing so is making a good use of this "shell!" All right, I've taken up enough of your time, please let me hear from you!
With sincerest respects
"If More People Are Involved in Falun Gong Practice, Fewer People Will Listen to Jiang's Corrupt Faction"
By a Falun Gong practitioner in China
One day I ran into a middle school teacher that I had clarified the truth about Falun Gong to before. He asked me if I still practiced Falun Gong. I told him that practicing Falun Gong had made me healthy, both physically and mentally, so how could I stop practicing?
The teacher replied that it was because Falun Gong was so good that Jiang Zemin's regime banned it, because it interfered with his regime. I was confused by this and asked him to explain further.
The teacher said, "Your Teacher has taught you to become a person that follows Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance. Do not strike back if someone beats you! Do not swear back if someone curses at you! Think of others first and look inside yourself when conflicts arise. Quietly, you have become better people. You are on the right track. Look at today's society. People look out only for their own benefit and do not care much about others. Things such as corruption, drugs, and many bad things have led society to deeper levels of degradation. Now, so many people, like you, want to practice Falun Gong. If more people are involved in Falun Gong practice, fewer people will listen to them (Jiang's faction)."
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