AUCKLAND, New Zealand—Falun Gong practitioners and supporters gathered in Queen Elizabeth Square on July 20 for a rally and photo exhibition that condemns the persecution of Falun Gong in China. This July 20 is the 13th anniversary of the beginning of that persecution.
Barry Wilson, chairman of the Auckland Civil Rights Association, told the rally, “I have been appalled, like a lot of people, at the totally corrupt persecution of Falun Gong.”
Since the Chinese Communist Party launched the campaign to eliminate Falun Gong on July 20, 1999, over 3,400 innocent Falun Gong practitioners have died, according to the Falun Dafa Information Center. The center fears the true number of deaths from torture and abuse is in the tens of thousands. At any one time, hundreds of thousands of practitioners are detained in forced labour camps, where they face brainwashing, abuse, and torture, according to the center.
Mr Wilson was amazed that practitioners around the world had been able to sustain the fight to ensure that the message was brought to the public. Since the crackdown, the Chinese communist authorities have carried out a massive propaganda campaign using television, internet, newspapers and radio to malign the spiritual practice and justify the Party’s actions.
The New Zealand government is not doing nearly enough to help to stop the persecution despite having an independent human rights voice which gives them leverage, Mr Wilson said.
Many passersby stopped to watch the demonstration of Falun Gong exercises in Queen Elizabeth Square and view a photo exhibition that included photos of practitioners after they have suffered torture.
Terri Kessell, a social history teacher from Auckland, was very upset after viewing the images. She expressed her sympathy for Falun Gong saying that she takes every opportunity to let the public know about the human rights abuses in China.
Within 7 years of Falun Gong being introduced to the public in 1992 over 100 million people around the world took up the practice, which is based on the principals of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. Many of these people have reported dramatic improvements in health, energy levels, stress relief, more harmonious relations with family members and colleagues, and a deeper understanding of the meaning of life.
But the rapid rise in popularity of Falun Gong was seen as a threat by the former Chinese Communist Party leader, Jiang Zemin, and in 1999 he implemented the brutal and illegal crackdown. The edict he issued was “eradicate Falun Gong,” and he established the Party organ 6-10 Office to carry out this order.
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