(Minghui.org) On September 23, as the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly was holding a series of summits in New York, Falun Gong practitioners held a rally on Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza to call for an end to the 20-year-long persecution in China.
On Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza and along 2nd Avenue between 44th and 52th Streets, practitioners displayed banners that read “Falun Dafa Is Good” and “Bring Jiang Zemin to Justice.” Their peaceful protest lasted from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Some practitioners meditated, some held banners, while others spoke to passersby and offered flyers.
Xiao Yanbing, a retired engineer from Shenyang Ligong University, said her husband Yu Chunsheng was arrested on a train on June 19. Yu, an associate professor and department chair at the university, has been arrested numerous times for his belief.
“He [Yu] was taken to the Shenyang Railway Police Department Detention Center over three months ago, but our family has not heard anything about him,” his wife Xiao said. She said that all requests for family visits were denied. She recently learned that officials planned to take her husband to the procuratorate. “I don’t know what has happened to him and I am very worried,” she said.
Dai Min, a former medical examiner from Zhengzhou City, Henan Province, was fired and detained after he talked with someone about Falun Gong in 2004. “Over the past 15 years, other practitioners and I have been arrested and detained many times. One of them died one day after he was detained as a result of being tortured,” he said.
Yuan Xiaoli, a practitioner who recently moved to New York, said that her younger sister was recently detained. “On September 11, I received a phone call from Harbin Railway officials, saying they were holding her in custody. I was very surprised because the police had notified her earlier to come in just for a physical exam.” Ms. Yuan hopes the international community can help rescue her younger sister.
Alan Adler, Executive Director of Friends of Falun Gong, noting that it’s been 20 years since the suppression of Falun Gong started in China in July 1999, said, “And it still continues today. From the number of practitioners impacted to the severity of torture, it is one of the biggest human rights violations in the history of mankind.”
Mr. Adler hopes that many of the world leaders attending the U.N. General Assembly and its summits will help end these atrocities. On September 23, President Donald Trump spoke at the U.N. General Assembly’s annual session with a “Global Call to Protect Religious Freedom,” making him the first U.S. president to convene a meeting at the U.N. on religious freedom.
Earlier this year, President Trump met with 27 survivors of religious persecution from 17 countries. Among them was Zhang Yuhua, a Falun Gong practitioner from China. This was the first time a U.S. president had met with a persecuted practitioner at the White House. In addition, Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have made several speeches decrying human rights violations by the Chinese Communist Party.
Mr. Adler also mentioned the Magnitsky Act, a bill passed by the U.S. government in 2012. In 2016, Congress enacted the Global Magnitsky Act that allows the U.S. government to sanction any foreign government officials for human rights abuses. This includes prohibition of entry as well as freezing both assets and financial transactions.
“The law already exists. If it is broadly enforced against those human rights violators in China, the impact will be huge,” Mr. Adler explained.