WASHINGTON—"A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step," said philosopher Lao Tzu. On July 15, nearly 4,000 Chinese activists, persecuted individuals and citizens took a step for the Tuidang movement. They gathered at the Washington Monument.
The movement invites people to reject the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), as a start toward a free China. It began after the Epoch Times published a series of editorials in 2004 called the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party. They detailed the ruthless nature and history of the Party. According to a previous Epoch Times article, the “Nine Commentaries” concludes with the words: “Without the Chinese Communist Party, the upright and kindhearted Chinese people will rebuild China’s historical magnificence.” Individuals responded, first with letters to the editor, then with thousands, then millions of statements, rejecting the CCP.
A bipartisan Senate resolution, S. Res. 232, was introduced last week. Co-sponsored by Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), it asked the U.S. government to support "the Tuidang Movement, whereby the Chinese citizens renounce their ties to the CCP and its affiliates." The movement started seven years ago. It has inspired almost 100 million Chinese people to renounce their memberships in either the Party or its related groups, such as the Young Pioneers and the Communist Youth League. A statement from Menendez commended “volunteers and participants of the Tuidang movement for their peaceful pursuit of a fair and open government, a free people, and a society rooted in the practice of virtue.”
A Bloody History
As the biggest totalitarian regime in the world, the Chinese Communist Party has led a series of attacks on the Chinese people and their culture for 62 years. Dr. Charles Lee, spokesman for the Global Service Center for Quitting the Chinese Communist Party, said that the regime has constantly persecuted its people since it came to power. The Party’s brutal deeds included the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, two nationwide political campaigns in the 1960s and 1970s that led to a deadly famine and the killing of intellectuals, religious believers, and many others.
"In 1989, as military tanks rolled over the bodies of innocent student protesters on Tiananmen Square, the Chinese lost their hope in democratic reforms by the government," said Lee. He was speaking of why Chinese people are seeking a solution outside of Party rule. "Throughout its history the Chinese Communist Party has killed so many people, a number that exceeds the death toll of both world wars," said Lee. "Such crimes are against heaven, earth, and its people."
Lee has personal experience of those crimes. Between 2003 and 2006, he was tortured while in detention in China. The American citizen was captured as soon as he landed in China, suspected of traveling from California to counter the propaganda campaign against Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa). An international "Rescue Charles" campaign spanned his three years of imprisonment.
"We ask all those who have already withdrawn from the CCP to help speed up the disintegration of the Party by helping other fellow Chinese [quit]," said Lee.
The rally condemned certain Chinese officials. Former President Jiang Zemin, who started the ongoing persecution against spiritual group Falun Gong a decade ago, has been sued for genocide in more than 20 countries. The persecution systematically put millions of practitioners of Falun Gong to jails and labor camps, where many of them suffered severe torture. "Bringing people like Jiang to court ensures that justice still exists," said Dr. Dayong Lee, chair of the Coalition for Bringing Jiang Zemin to Justice.
Seeking A New Start
Today, statements denouncing the Chinese Communist Party by people from all walks of life are posted on streets in China and online. Although the CCP made it a tradition for all citizens to join the Party at a young age, voices against oppression and supporting a regime change have emerged through the Tuidang movement.
"The people of China have awakened," said Biaoqiao Tang, spokesman for the Interim Government of China. "We decided for ourselves that our children will not be the slaves of the CCP."
The number of people that have repudiated the Party will soon reach 100 million. "This is a crucial point in history," said prominent Chinese democracy activist Jingsheng Wei. "I am glad to see young people joining this movement. We are up for a big change."
Others gave encouraging words. "We are here to show our solidarity and respect to our Chinese friends who are raising awareness of human rights atrocities committed by the Chinese Communist Party," said Dr. Quan Nguyen, chairman of the Delegation of Vietnamese Communities. "Let’s give a big hand to the 100 million heroes."Over a dozen elected officials sent their greetings to the participants of the Rally, including Kwame Brown, chairman of the Capital City Council.
Patrick Forrest, former senior official at the Department of Homeland Security and currently running for the 32nd district Virginia State Senate, said that the path to freedom was "seldom easy but attainable" and "not only meaningful for us, but [for] our children as well."
He continued, "I take that single step today to associate with all those like you who treasure and strive ceaselessly for human rights and fundamental freedom. We commit ourselves to cheering before you, rallying with you, and standing beside you." Then he said three times, "Falun Dafa hao," which is Chinese for "Falun Dafa is good."