WASHINGTON—In a landslide vote, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 412–1 on Tuesday to call for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China.
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 member 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.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual discipline that was introduced to the public in 1992 in mainland China. On July 20, 1999, the then-head of the Chinese Communist Party Jiang Zemin initiated the persecution of the spiritual practice.
House Resolution 605, "expresses sympathy to Falun Gong practitioners and their family members who have suffered persecution, intimidation, imprisonment, torture, and even death for the past decade solely because of adherence to their personal beliefs."
All but one of the 413 members of congress that voted on the resolution recognized the persecution and called for it to end, with 17 abstaining. The lone dissenter was U.S. Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas), known for his opposition to legislation that he perceives to interfere in another country's affairs.
Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.) said, "One of the invaluable things about this resolution is that it officially documents this Chinese-government sponsored violence on American soil, exercised against American citizens.
"Many of the Falun Gong have fled to America, and the government has followed them here, cyber-attacking their American Web sites, installing agents in their midst, and raising crowds to harass and beat them, as happened last year in New York."
Levi Browde, executive director of the Falun Dafa Information Center, said, "The passage and specific text of this resolution  is especially significant for it demonstrates that the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China is as urgent today as it ever was. As it recognizes, the reality remains that millions of innocent people in China who practice Falun Gong are at constant risk of arbitrary detention, torture, and death."
The Falun Dafa Information Center is the official press office for Falun Gong, and also specializes in documenting the human rights abuses Falun Gong practitioners face in China.