Ten years ago, on July 20, 1999, former Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Jiang Zemin launched a far-reaching and violent campaign attempting to completely eradicate the Falun Gong spiritual discipline, practised at the time by tens of millions of ordinary Chinese citizens.
Since then, the party has used coercion, imprisonment, torture, and systematic vilification in an effort to force anyone known to practise Falun Gong to recant the basic tenets of their faith.
July 20 marks a decade of persecution—“one of the most unjust and cruel persecutions of our times”
In a bi-partisan letter sent to U.S. President Barack Obama on July 8, 2009, 61 members of the U.S. Congress noted that the campaign against Falun Gong in China represents “one of the most unjust and cruel persecutions of our times.” The letter urged President Obama to “speak very clearly and specifically” in support of Falun Gong practitioners in China.
In 2008 the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture stated: “[We] are concerned that reports of arrest, torture, sexual violence, deaths, and unfair trial of Falun Gong practitioners may reflect a deliberate and institutionalized policy to target Falun Gong.”
A previous UN report affirmed that Falun Gong practitioners accounted for 66 percent of victims of alleged torture while in government custody.
It was uncovered in 2006 that the Chinese regime was killing Falun Gong practitioners for their organs to be sold for profit. In 2008, reports detail that over 150 Falun Gong practitioners were killed between January 2008 and September 2008 alone, and over 10,000 were arrested under the pretext of “cleaning up for the Olympics.”
Over 3,290 deaths, 87,000 accounts of torture, and 100 different torture methods have been documented to date. However, the actual death toll is estimated to be in the tens of thousands. It is unknown exactly how many have died as the regime imposes an information blockade and reporting these cases to outside authorities constitutes the severe crime of “leaking state secrets.”
Today, 12 Canadians’ family members are still incarcerated, serving jail terms of up to 12 years. They are among the estimated 200,000 to 2 million Falun Gong practitioners languishing in detention centres and labour camps where detainees are forced to work upwards of 20 hours a day. Those who refuse are beaten, tortured, or starved.
Falun Gong’s peaceful and unwavering anti-persecution efforts and worldwide support bring hope
Over the past ten years, Falun Gong practitioners in China have continued to risk their lives to inform people of the atrocities happening in their own backyard. Meanwhile, outside China, practitioners around the world hold vigils and take whatever non-violent avenues they can to raise awareness of what is happening to their fellow practitioners in China.
In China, approximately 200,000 underground “print shops” produce a steady flow of fliers and VCDs that practitioners distribute across the country. These materials contain information about the persecution and the practice.
Practitioners outside China have developed anti-censorship tools that facilitate an estimated 95 percent of Internet traffic in closed societies worldwide, mainly in China. Mass emailing detailing the persecution is also done on a regular basis to hundreds of millions of people in China.
In addition, tens of thousands of phone calls are made to China every day using a combination of automated and manual dialling.
These are all critical efforts to allow the Chinese people access to accurate information so that they may make a free and conscious choice—to recognize the innocence of Falun Gong and not to support the persecution. We believe this will eventually bring about peace and justice for Falun Gong practitioners and all Chinese people.
While Jiang Zemin’s order back in 1999 was to “eradicate” the practice in three months, Falun Gong remains strong. Our path is guided by our belief in the universal principles of Truth, Compassion, and Forbearance.
Hu Ping, a famous Chinese scholar, has stated: “Falun Gong cannot be defeated. The Chinese Communist government is one of the most powerful and dictatorial political regimes in the world. It has mobilized the entire nation as one machine to destroy Falun Gong but it hasn’t succeeded. Falun Gong has sustained its integrity during this unprecedented and horrendous trial.”
We are grateful to the many Canadians who have extended their support in the past. It made a big difference. Without this outside voice and support, the situation in China could be considerably worse. Together we bring hope to China and beyond.
Only when the CCP is dissolved can the persecution of Falun Gong end
We believe that the Chinese Communist Party itself is the root of the disaster and destruction that has plagued China since it gained power. The only way to end the persecution and protect other Chinese from Falun Gong’s fate is to peacefully disintegrate the party.
The publication of the Nine Commentaries on the Chinese Communist Party by The Epoch Times has resulted in over 57 million Chinese people renouncing their membership in the CCP and its affiliated organizations. The withdrawals are continuing at a rate of about 50,000 to 70,000 per day. The CCP’s collapse is imminent.
Our Appeal – To Side with Justice
Nobel Peace Prize nominee Gao Zhisheng, a human rights lawyer who was repeatedly abducted and tortured for defending Falun Gong practitioners, stated before he disappeared again in February 2009:
“I want to remind those so-called global ‘good friends’ and ‘good partners’ of the Chinese regime that the increasing degree of brutality and cruelty against the Chinese people by the regime is the direct result of appeasement by both you and us [the Chinese people].”
The persecution is threatening morality, conscience, and rule of law. The regime is forcing western politicians to side with them by remaining silent in the face of these human rights atrocities or lose trade. The persecution thus undermines all other countries in their efforts to implement human rights principles in their actions and to build businesses and societies based on integrity, morality, and human dignity.
At this critical historical time, we urge all of the world’s people to continue upright actions on human rights. In particular, we ask our government to use every appropriate means to express its opposition to the persecution of Falun Gong.
These crimes against humanity must end. Together, we can stop the persecution.