January 31, 2005 Monday

Re: Former disciples renounce Falun Gong, Jan. 22.

Canadian practitioners of Falun Gong were deeply shocked and distressed to see this unfair and irresponsible article from The Associated Press reprinted in the Citizen.

The AP story gives credibility to Falun Gong denunciation interviews that were organized by the Chinese government. This is a typical technique of the regime's propaganda campaign to turn public opinion against Falun Gong. These interviews were staged by the Chinese government to discredit Falun Gong, as was the Tiananmen Square self-immolation tragedy on which they are based.

Instead of providing your readers with fair, well-informed, and trusted reporting, the Citizen has unwittingly been used to assist the Chinese government's persecution, causing even greater harm and injustice to those already being slandered and tortured.

There is third-party supporting documentation, freely accessible in the Western world, that provides convincing evidence that the self-immolation incident and the government-organized interviews reported in the AP article were staged.

The Falun Gong's teachings value life and prohibit suicide and killing, so it's clearly not accurate to claim that their teachings led to the act of self-immolation. At the same time, I realize that the people making this claim are sad victims of the persecution, too.

The news media have a responsibility to investigate and report on the real stories of these people. I can provide the testimony of Toronto resident Lizhi He, whose account of his three years of imprisonment in China reveals the horrors that many practitioners are continuing to suffer.

The truth about the suffering of the tens of thousands still imprisoned and their family members who yearn for their return must be revealed. These are the true stories behind the propaganda campaign and government-organized denunciations.

Grace Wollensak Ottawa