Jan Jekielek & Gary Feuerberg
WASHINGTON—In a landslide vote, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 412–1 to call for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China on Tuesday.
House Resolution 605 calls upon the Chinese regime "to immediately cease and desist from its campaign to persecute, intimidate, imprison, and torture Falun Gong practitioners, to immediately abolish the 6-10 office, an extrajudicial security apparatus given the mandate to 'eradicate' Falun Gong."
U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, authored the legislation.
"The Falun Gong spiritual discipline is based on truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. Yet these innocents are brutally targeted by the Chinese regime, whose heinous tactics include harvesting the organs of Falun Gong practitioners and violently harassing even those practitioners living in the United States," she said in a statement.
Nobel Peace Prize nominees, lawyers, and human rights advocates David Kilgour and...continued here
The daughter of two held followers and a former detainee tell of continuing abuse 10 years after China launched its crackdown
The men from China's national security brigades came for Natalie Qiao's parents at 10pm on 8 June. Five young men in plain clothes bundled the elderly couple into an unmarked car.
The crime of Qiao Yongfang and his wife, Yan Dongfei, both aged 60 and residents of Huhot City, in Inner Mongolia, was to be practitioners of the banned Falun Gong religion, which has tens of millions of followers in China.
Ten years after the prohibition on Falun Gong was ordered by China's former leader Jiang Zemin, commencing a brutal crackdown on its adherents, believers such as Qiao's parents are still being pursued, despite international protests.
The only change is that the persecution is now more secretive.
Amid new protests in Britain, including a march today from the Chinese embassy to Chinatown to mark the anniversary of the Falun Gong crackdown, Natalie Qiao and a former detainee have described the continuing abuse, providing a detailed insight into how those deemed enemies of the Chinese state are dealt with.
Anyone practising religious observance outside officially sanctioned channels, including members of unofficial Catholic churches or Protestant house churches, risk detention. Other groups at risk include Muslims in the Xinjiang Uighur autonomous region, especially those branded as religious extremists by the authorities.
Falun Gong has been treated most harshly. Supporters outside China claim 2,000 have died in custody since 1999, and the UN alleges that the group's members feature disproportionately among those who have suffered torture and abuse. It is this that Qiao – who will hand in a petition to Downing Street on Monday – fears most.
"They took my parents after dark. They don't want people to know. The persecution is almost underground," said the 35-year old purchaser, who lives in Watford. "I got a call from one of the members of my family in China. They had tried to call my parents' phone and a strange man had answered and demanded to know who was calling. They do that to find other members of Falun Gong.
"My uncle then went to my parents' house. The building attendant didn't want to talk but finally he said what happened. But even then the local police would not admit they had been arrested. They said they didn't know. In the end we heard it through a friend in the police who told us they had been taken to detention centre number one.
"We are not allowed to talk to them. When we rang the National Security Brigades they said my parents were not co-operating. They have not written a letter denouncing Falun Gong or given names of other practitioners. My extended family at first refused to believe what was going on. They said the persecution of the Falun Gong was over. But it's happening every day."
Natalie is terrified about what is happening to her parents, amid well-attested reports of the serious maltreatment of Falun Gong detainees who refuse to renounce their beliefs, as well as darker, unproven allegations that some who have died in custody have had their organs harvested.
Annie Yang, an antiques dealer who fled to London after being released from a re-education through labour camp, knows at first hand what Qiao's parents are going through.
"I was arrested in March 2005," she said. "I was living in Beijing and was a practitioner of Falun Gong. They came for me in the evening. I'm a single mother and I was with my 16-year old son. Only one of the men was wearing a uniform. None of them showed ID.
"I told them I was a mother. But they took me and left my son on his own. They took me to a detention centre where they kept me for 40 days without access to a lawyer. At the end they said I had been sentenced to two years in a labour camp for being a member of Falun Gong."
According to Yang, it was commonplace until 2004 to use physical violence to make members recant and give up more names. She was subjected to a more insidious abuse.
"The camp made gloves. But I was not allowed to work or have enough food or water until I renounced my beliefs. I was made to sit on a stool for 21 to 22 hours a day. I had to keep my back straight and my knees and feet pressed together with my hands flat on my thighs. I was told I was not allowed to close my eyes. If I did, they would swear at me.
"If I wanted a drink I had to say: 'Please class leader...' and before I put down my cup: 'Please class leader...'. The only food I was allowed was half a 30g Chinese bun. It was hard and sour. No vegetables. I became so thin. It was so hot too. In the 40s. And they would not give me enough water.
"After three months I could not take it. I was nearly mad. I renounced. They force you to. They say if you don't we will extend your sentence. Against my conscience I gave them names too."
The persecution of Falun Gong is all the more peculiar for the innocuousness of the religion. Without any real formal leadership structure and no role of membership as such, adherents of the religion, founded by Li Hongzhi in 1992, follow so-called traditional qigong practices for both spiritual and physical development as detailed in Falun Gong's literature. Without formal rituals of worship, its central tenets are truthfulness, forbearance and compassion.
Falun Gong, which emerged in large part out of ideas prevalent in some aspects of alternative Chinese medicine, came to be regarded as a threat to the Chinese state after 10,000 of its practitioners staged a silent protest at the Communist party's headquarters in April 1999 to complain about attacks on its members, a move that led to its banning two months later. Accused of being an unregistered religion, spreading superstition and defrauding people, official organisations – crucially – attempted to suggest it was a politically motivated organisation, suggesting the real motive for the crackdown: the perceived threat it posed to the Communist party by its massive appeal.
Amnesty International's UK director, Kate Allen, who has been following Qiao's case, said: "This is a heartbreaking story – Natalie's parents were due to visit the UK to see their grandchildren at the end of the month. Now instead of preparing for a family visit, Natalie is worrying about their safety in a Chinese detention centre.
"Nobody should be locked up for their peaceful religious beliefs. Yan Dongfei and Qiao Yongfang should be released immediately and unconditionally, unless the Chinese authorities are going to charge them with an internationally recognised crime and give them a fair trial."
BBC exposing the nature of the CCP.
Chinese hackers have attacked the website of Australia’s biggest film festival over a documentary about Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer.
Kadeer denies Beijing’s charges of inciting deadly riots in Xinjiang
Content on the Melbourne International Film Festival site was briefly replaced with the Chinese flag and anti-Kadeer slogans on Saturday, reports said.
In an earlier protest on Friday, Beijing withdrew four Chinese films.
Melbourne’s The Age newspaper says private security guards have been hired to protect Kadeer and other film-goers.
She is due to attend the screening of Ten Conditions of Love, by Australian documentary-maker Jeff Daniels, on 8 August.
Chinese authorities blame Kadeer, leader of the World Uighur Congress, for inciting ethnic unrest in Xinjiang – charges she denies.
“ Hey, we’re an independent arts organisation and it’s our programme! ”
Richard Moore Head of the Melbourne International Film Festival
Earlier this month, around 200 people died and 1,600 were injured during fighting in the region between the mostly Muslim Uighurs and settlers from China’s Han majority.
Kadeer, 62, spent six years in a Chinese prison before she was released into exile in the US in 2005. In 2004, she won the Rafto Prize for human rights.
Richard Moore, head of the Melbourne International Film Festival, told the BBC that he had come under pressure from Chinese officials to withdraw the film about Kadeer and cancel her invitation to the festival.
He said the attacks on the festival’s website began about 10 days ago.
“We’ve been subjected to a number of these attacks and we can see behind the scenes on our website that there are hundreds, well, if not thousands, of people from outside of Australia trying to get into our website and trying to damage us,” Mr Moore told the BBC’s World Today programme.
“This has been going on… since obviously the call from a Chinese consular official who told me in no uncertain terms that I was urged to withdraw this particular documentary from the film festival and that I had to justify my actions in including the film in our programme,” he went on.
“Hey, we’re an independent arts organisation and it’s our programme!”
He said police were investigating the website attacks, which appear to come from a Chinese internet address.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Source: The Epoch Times
LONDON—On July 20 it will be ten years since the Chinese Communist Party officially started its crackdown on Falun Gong. To mark this anniversary, a panel meeting to discuss the continuing persecution of Falun Gong in China was held in the UK Houses of Parliament on Wednesday 15.
The MPs in attendance heard personal accounts of torture, estimates of tens of thousands stripped of their organs to be sold for profit, and how Falun Gong has achieved what no other group has ever achieved – the gradual disintegration of the Communist Party.
Chaired by David Howarth, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, the panel included Ethan Gutmann, an award-winning investigative reporter and expert on China issues, Peter Jahual, Chairman of the UK Falun Gong Association, Dr Yi Xu from the Federation of Saying “Good-bye” to CCP and Annie Yang, a Falun Gong practitioner who has suffered torture.
Award-winning investigative journalist Ethan Gutmann outlines his research on organ harvesting to MPs in parliament (Edward Stephen/The Epoch Times)
Peter Jahual explained how the persecution began with the then head of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Jiang Zemin. He went on to say “Jiang Zemin believed if the CCP could not defeat Falun Gong, the Party would become a laughing stock. He ordered it to be eradicated within three months.” Jahual stated that the official figure of Falun Gong practitioners who have been tortured to death in custody now stands at over 3,200.
“This figure is only the tip of the iceberg.”
The difficulties of estimating the extent of the persecution of Falun Gong were discussed in detail by Ethan Gutmann, an investigative reporter on China issues. He presented figures and the rationale from his own research. Mr Gutmann explained that based on the credible figures about the labour camp system provided by the Laogai Foundation in Washington DC that there were as many as 1.2 million Falun Gong practitioners in the Laogai system at any one time.
We pretend that we just don’t know
Mr Gutmann has been researching the phenomenon of organ harvesting where organs are stripped from the bodies of living Falun Gong practitioners to be sold for profit, killing them in the process.
Mr Gutmann suggests that up to 162,000 Falun Gong practitioners may have had their organs harvested with 13,500 being the low-end estimate, and 87,750 being the median. He made a comparison to the figures presented in David Kilgour and David Matas’s report on organ harvesting Bloody Harvest stating, “It’s remarkable that the two methodologies are completely different yet the discrepancy is quite minimal.”
Mr Gutmann suggested how Western governments could tackle this issue: “In Western political circles, it is argued – quietly of course – that we have no point of easy leverage on this problem, no ability to undo what has been done, no silver bullet that can change the Chinese regime.
“Perhaps not. But we could ban our citizens from getting organ transplants in China. We could boycott Chinese medical conferences. Sever medical ties. Embargo surgical equipment. And refuse to hold any diplomatic summits until the Chinese put in place an explicit, comprehensive database of every organ donor in China,” he said.
“The first step in that process is to drop the pretence that we just don’t know,” he emphasised.
Annie Yang described her first-hand experience of persecution in China.
She was taken away in March 2005. “Eight men burst in one night but only one of them was in police uniform,” she recalled. “The rest were in normal clothes. I guess they were from the National Security Department.
“They took away my computer and my Falun Gong books. They took me from my 16-year-old son and put me in the local district detention centre. I didn’t see a lawyer and there was no mention of court. Forty days later I was sentenced to two years in a labour camp in Beijing.
“I wasn’t allowed to see my son or any family or friends. No one knew where I had gone or what had happened to me.”
“In the camp, they removed all of our basic human rights,” she continued. “We were not given enough food or water, only 500 ml of water and 30 grams of bread a day. All my hair turned white because of the pressure. I was not allowed to sleep for more than a few hours a day, or to shower or change my clothes and all because I refused to renounce my beliefs.
“I was forced to sit on a stool with my knees and feet together, my hands underneath and my back straight, and I was not allowed to close my eyes. I had to sit there for 20 hours at a time and was not allowed to move without permission. It was to break us down.”
But Annie’s faith never wavered. “Every day I thought about suicide,” she says. “But my beliefs helped me through those difficult times.”
She was freed on September 1, 2006. She says: “My body was swollen because of lack of nutrition. I couldn’t walk because I’d been forced to sit for so long without moving. The police said if I continued to practise Falun Gong they’d arrest me again, sooner or later. So I came to England, leaving my son, my family and friends behind.”
Tuidang campaign is most successful civil rights movement in China
Dr Yi Xu, a prominent Chinese dissident and regular spokesperson on the promotion of democracy within China, opened his speech expressing gratitude to Falun Gong practitioners for their efforts towards creating a democratic China.
He said: “The Chinese Communist Party is not just the greatest evil in China but also the world.”
Dr Yi Xu went on to cite the United Nations definition of genocide, saying that by this definition alone the persecution of Falun Gong within China should be defined as genocide. “Communism is a terrible, destructive force. It is polluting the environment and constantly creating ethnic tension.
“Communism is incapable of fixing itself and the active pursuit of its downfall is the only way to achieve real human rights within China.”
Dr Xu explained how the Tuidang movement – a campaign to help Chinese citizens quit and renounce the CCP which was initiated by Falun Gong practitioners – was having a huge impact within China and on the CCP itself. “The Tuidang campaign is the single most successful civil rights movement in China today.”
He said, “In ten years I have not been able to persuade a single one of my friends to quit the party but Falun Gong’s movement has seen 40,000 to 50,000 a day quitting.”
In these terms the Chinese Communist Party is defined not only as the main political party but also includes the Young Pioneers and the Communist Youth League. Using official CCP figures, the combined membership is approximately 263 million. Currently the figure of those who have quit through the Tuidang movement stands at 57 million.
“The resistance led by Falun Gong is really hurting the CCP,” said Dr Xu, “but to my knowledge the Western media has not reported anything about it.
“It’s really important that the Western governments and media speak out because any explicit statement puts enormous pressure on the CCP and creates a positive cycle within China regarding democracy.”
The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture estimates that as many as 50 per cent of the people in China’s vast network of “re-education through labour” camps are Falun Gong practitioners.
Jul 20, 2009
By Zheng Yan
(Clearwisdom.net Special Commentary)July 20, 2009 is the ten-year anniversary of Falun Gong practitioners all over the world resisting the persecution and clarifying the facts about Falun Gong. It could be said that these ten years were unexpected by the wicked Chinese Communist Party (CCP), most Falun Gong practitioners, and society as a whole. The events of the past ten years have fully validated the purity and righteousness of Truth-Compassion-Forbearance. The faith of Truth-Compassion-Forbearance is indestructible, a fact that has been witnessed by all.
On July 20, 1999, the leaders of the CCP initiated the brutal persecution of Falun Gong out of jealousy and paranoia. At the time, they publicly stated their goal of “eradicating Falun Gong in three months” and gave the infamous policy for the persecution: “defame their reputations, bankrupt them financially, and destroy them physically.” They felt assured that with their iron grip over television, radio, newspapers and the Internet in China, along with all their other propaganda organs, once they mobilized the military, police, special agents, jails and labor camps, diplomats, and with their half-century’s experience in persecuting innocent people, three months would be plenty of time to wipe out a group of unarmed Falun Gong practitioners that live by compassion and forbearance. Many in China said that Falun Gong’s efforts to resist the persecution would be like “dashing an egg against a rock”.
As the last decade has gone by, people can see that the “egg” is an indestructible, divinely assisted one. Instead of being wiped out, Falun Gong practitioners inside and outside of China have become more mature and rational, gained deeper understandings of the principles of Truth-Compassion-Forbearance, and strengthened their faith. Along the way, they have helped 57 million Chinese people withdraw from the Chinese Communist Party or its affiliated organizations. This was an outcome that the perpetrators of the persecution could never have imagined possible.
At the same time, even though Falun Gong practitioners knew from day one that the persecution would end in failure, the vast majority of us did not expect that we would need to continue to resist the persecution for ten years. There are factors related to our cultivation state at work here, not to mention changes brought about by the cosmic climate. Regardless, this unprecedented ordeal has allowed us to see ever more clearly the CCP’s wicked nature, and to realize that the persecution can be completely ended only with the CCP’s disintegration. We saw that this persecution is wicked to the extreme not just because it targets the Falun Gong practitioners’ belief in Truth-Compassion-Forbearance, but because it is attempting to wipe out the moral principles and spirituality of people all over the world. Because of this, helping more people to know the truth has become the top priority for all truly cultivating Falun Gong practitioners.
We know that in the past ten years, massive amounts of truthful information have been widely disseminated through the Minghui/Clearwisdom websites and through the Falun Gong practitioners, but inside and outside of China, too many people are still unable to overcome the CCP’s lies and slander, which they came into contact first. There are also too many people who dare not look at Falun Gong positively, in the face of economic benefits or the CCP’s iron-fisted rule. Still more are buried in their busy lives, without a chance yet to find out about Falun Gong even after ten years. But we firmly believe that the stage of history was not created for the evil, and the truth will guide people to find hope and discover what they need most in their lives.
Ten years have passed by, unexpected by good and evil alike, and a new chapter of history is being written. The cultivators of Dafa will walk ever more solidly, quickly, and steadfastly on their paths. On a foundation forged over the last ten years, Dafa disciples inside and outside of China will not only cultivate themselves better, but will pour even more of themselves into resisting the persecution and helping people to know the truth. We will absolutely not allow this persecution to go on. This battle between good and evil can only end in the CCP’s ultimate demise, a fate brought on by itself; the end of the persecution; and more people of the world seeing the truth and choosing to side with justice and goodness.
We hope that more people will distance themselves from the CCP as soon as possible, discover the facts for themselves, and in the process help end this wicked persecution–and may the truth lead even more people to find hope.