NEW YORK-When the Beijing Olympics officially kick off, the spotlight will be on athletes around the world competing for Gold. But away from the spotlight, as swimmers swim at the Water Cube and runners sprint at the Bird's Nest, Falun Gong practitioners are jailed, tortured, or languishing away in labor camps minutes away.
On Sunday, the Falun Dafa Information Center released a Journalist's Walking Guide to the Persecution of Falun Gong in Beijing, documenting the fates of several Falun Gong practitioners in Beijing and around China near Olympic sites. [For the online version of the guide, please visit the Falun Dafa Information Center.]
In the pre-Olympic frenzy, the Communist Party of China detained more than 8,000 Falun Gong practitioners, about 500 of whom are from Beijing. In a constant struggle to silence dissidents, The Communist Party's crackdown has resulted in not only mass arrests but also the sentencing without trial of Falun Gong practitioners to “re-education through labor” camps and violent torture deaths. And yet almost no media have reported on the abuses.
The Journalist's Walking Guide intends to change that, urging journalists in Beijing reporting on the Olympics to break through the Chinese Communist Party's monopoly on state-run media and information blockade. The Guide features information about Falun Gong practitioners such as Xu Na, an artist from Beijing who was arrested in January. Others with profiles in the Guide, such as Gu Jianmin from Shanghai, have already been tortured to death.
The Guide also includes maps of Beijing and all of China with pinpoint markers of various Olympic sites juxtaposed with locations that are known to have jailed and/or tortured Falun Gong practitioners.
Levi Browde, the Executive Director of the Falun Dafa Information Center, stressed the significance of the Guide in a statement.
“For each profile, we have included whatever concrete details are available which might assist those seeking to verify the circumstances surround these individual cases,” said Browde. “It is our hope that this guide will assist journalists arriving in Beijing to shed light on what has happened to Falun Gong adherents in China in recent months and over the past nine years.”
But should journalists follow the guide with the intent of exposing the Communist Party's violent abuse of Falun Gong practitioners, they are guaranteed to face hurdles and obstacles, as the Communist Party has taken special care to suppress information flow. Beijing Olympic officials have laid down strict censorship orders, declaring that journalists are not allowed to interview locals without permission and will have certain websites the Communist Party deems “sensitive,” such as those about Falun Gong, blocked.
Even though the Chinese regime has specifically targeted Falun Gong, the persecution against the spiritual movement is really a persecution against all Chinese, said Browne.
“For the individual accounts of Falun Gong practitioners relayed in this volume reflect not only the tragic human costs of a religious minority being brutally suppressed, but rather, the very real dangers any Chinese citizen might face at the hands of the Party-state,” he said.