(Minghui.org) Bitter Winter, an online magazine that showcases freedom of religion and human rights, published an article on January 22 in response to a resolution recently passed by the European Parliament that denounces the persecution of Falun Gong by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Written by Marco Respinti, this article urged that all perpetrators and entities responsible for the suppression be held accountable.

“While the persecution against Falun Gong practitioners in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) didn’t decrease in 2023, and the most recent report released by the movement denounces 209 new verified cases of persecution to death in 2023, bringing the total documented number of killed victims to over 5,000 since 1999, a decisive step has been taken by the European Parliament (EP),” he wrote.

A resolution was adopted by the EP on January 18, 2024, “on the ongoing persecution of Falun Gong in China, notably the case of Mr. Ding Yuande.” It strongly urged communist China to immediately end the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners and other minorities, including Uyghurs and Tibetans. Furthermore, it called to end domestic and transnational surveillance and control and the suppression of religious freedom. More specifically, the EP requested the CCP authorities to abide by its obligations under international law and its own constitution to respect and protect human rights.

The article admitted that even authoritative public proclamations are not enough to push rogue regimes to adopt better behaviors, because internationally strong regimes are not intimidated by mere documents. “Yet, one should never underestimate documents such as this recent resolution by the PE. They in fact constitute formal acknowledgments by international authorities of a situation, in this case a painful situation, that exit the circles, as large as they could be, of victims and their defenders in NGOs and similar,” Marco Respinti wrote.

By doing so, this resolution connects world organizations and supernational bodies with certain legal powers. Although it may still be nonbinding, such a resolution serves as an insuppressible precedent, not only bringing all decent people and governments on a moral level but also resulting in serious effects on law and politics. “Yes, the success of these effects depends on the good wills of the juridical and political personnel, and of governing entities and agencies. However, after resolutions and documents are adopted, good people can always count on one more permanent masterful reference to advance good cases and defend innocent people,” Marco Respinti wrote.

The EP resolution urged the European Union (EU) Member States to suspend extradition treaties with China since respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law should be at the center of the EU’s relations with China. Furthermore, it requested the EU and its Member States to support and facilitate an international investigation into the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners while raising these issues during every political and human rights dialogue with the Chinese authorities. In addition, the EP resolution recommended Member States and the EU Delegation to monitor trials in China.

One type of horrible crime is forced organ harvesting and Falun Gong practitioners are the CCP’s historically designated victims. The resolution “[c]alls for the EU and its Member States to publicly condemn organ transplant abuses in China and to use the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime and national human rights sanctions regimes against all perpetrators and entities that have contributed to the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China and abroad.” More specifically, the resolution “stresses that EU measures should include refusing visas, freezing assets, expulsion from EU territories, criminal prosecution, including on the basis of extraterritorial jurisdiction, and bringing international criminal charges” against the perpetrators who participated in the atrocity.

Over 24 years ago, the CCP started a systematic persecution of Falun Gong attempting to eradicate the faith system. This led to deteriorating religious freedom in China and violated the legal rights of Chinese citizens defined in the Chinese Constitution. To make things worse, technology-based censorship and surveillance are a critical component in this suppression. The EP resolution found “it is documented that thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have died as a result of the CCP’s persecution since 1999,” adding “practitioners are frequently detained and reportedly subjected to torture, psychological abuse and organ harvesting so that they renounce their faith.”

One example cited in the EP resolution is the experience of Ding Yuande and his wife, Ma Ruimei. These two Falun Gong practitioners were arrested in China without a warrant on May 12, 2023. Ma was released later on and was “intimidated by police because of a rescue campaign launched by their son abroad.” But Ding was continually detained, and no family visits were allowed for eight months. He was later sentenced on December 15, 2023, to a three-year imprisonment term with a fine of 15,000 yuan (over $2,000 USD). Ding has appealed the judgment. Bitter Winter also covered the story of this couple in July 2023 and interviewed their son, Ding Lebin.

Due to the situation in China, the resolution demanded “the immediate and unconditional release of Mr. Ding and all Falun Gong practitioners in China.” In addition, the EP also “[i]instructs its President to forward this resolution to the EU institutions, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, and the Government and Parliament of the PRC.”