[xtypo_dropcap]F[/xtypo_dropcap]or 11 years the peaceful adherents of Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa) have suffered persecution in China and for 11 years individuals inside and outside of China have worked to bring this persecution to an end.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched the persecution on July 20, 1999, with the intention of “eradicating” the practice in three months.
Practitioners of Falun Gong inside China have regularly suffered detention, brainwashing, forced labor, torture, and death. According to the Falun Dafa Information Center, hundreds of thousands of practitioners are imprisoned and 3,383 are confirmed to have died from abuse. Thousands more are suspected of having been killed by organ harvesting. Due to the information blockade on matters relating to Falun Gong, the full scope of the persecution is not yet known.
Falun Gong, is based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance and includes practicing meditative exercises. The practitioners of Falun Gong have not quietly accepted the regime’s attempt to eliminate this spiritual discipline.
Through acts of civil disobedience, practitioners inside China have sought to tell the regime’s officials and the Chinese people what Falun Gong is and that the persecution is wrong and must end.
Outside China, Falun Gong practitioners have been joined by government officials, heads of NGOs, lawyers, and ordinary people in calling for the CCP to stop the persecution.
The Epoch Times has interviewed some of those who have taken the lead in opposing the persecution of this peaceful practice, asking what they do and why they do it.
Vice President of the European Parliament
Vice President Edward McMillan-Scott learned first hand about the persecution against Falun Gong practitioners while he was visiting Chinese leaders in 2006. During his visit, he also met with people who had experienced the CCP’s persecution first hand.
“After I left Beijing, everybody I had contact with was arrested, imprisoned, and in some cases, tortured,” said Mr. McMillan-Scott. He made a vow to, “Maintain my campaign for reform and democracy, and human rights in China” until the goal is achieved.
“I think it’s really important for people to understand just what in the world does really take place in China—the prison camps, re-education through labor, child labor, forced labor, torture. This is the real China,” he said. “The worst thing they’ve done is choose a totally innocent group of people [Falun Gong practitioners], and torture them to death, and this has got to stop.”
Vice President McMillan-Scott shared his belief that the ruling regime in China will soon be “swept away” and replaced with democracy. He said in the meantime, “We’re setting up mechanisms that can punish the people who are doing the torture, that are oppressing the people of China, that are infringing human rights, and are conducting campaigns of genocide against certain parts of the population. We are watching.”
As an immigration and refugee lawyer, and an advocate for human rights, David Matas has been a strong voice against the persecution of Falun Gong.
He has furthered his work in human rights through investigations he and retired member of Canadian Parliament David Kilgour have done into the Chinese regime’s removal and selling of organs from living Falun Gong practitioners. Their findings were published in their book, “Bloody Harvest: The killing of Falun Gong for their organs,” and both are Nobel Peace Prize nominees for their work on organ harvesting.
Mr. Matas has hunted Nazis, worked against Apartheid in South Africa, and battled dictatorship in South America, yet has made the forced removal of organs from Falun Gong practitioners one of his main focuses. "At the time I was involved in those human rights struggles, they all looked as daunting as the persecution of Falun Gong does now,” he said.
"What you are dealing with is a dictatorship, and dictatorships in my view are very fragile,” said Mr. Matas.
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