Commemorating the Persecution of Falun Gong Around the World (Part 1) (Photo Gallery)
Commemorating the Persecution of Falun Gong Around the World (Part 1) (Photo Gallery)
A Falun Gong practitioner carries a paper lotus flower in a parade through the streets of Copenhagen on July 20, 2013. (Matthias Kehrein/Epoch Times)

A Falun Gong practitioner carries a paper lotus flower in a parade through the streets of Copenhagen on July 20, 2013. (Matthias Kehrein/Epoch Times)

The Tian Guo Marching Band leads a parade through the streets of Copenhagen on July 20, 2013. (Jason Wang/Epoch Times)

The Tian Guo Marching Band leads a parade through the streets of Copenhagen on July 20, 2013. (Jason Wang/Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners gather on the square in front of Finlyandsky Station in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on July 20, 2013, to commemorate practitioners who were persecuted to death in China. (Irina Oshirova/Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners gather on the square in front of Finlyandsky Station in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on July 20, 2013, to commemorate practitioners who were persecuted to death in China. (Irina Oshirova/Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners gather for a rally on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, D.C. on July 18, 2013. (Edward Dai/Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners gather for a rally on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, D.C. on July 18, 2013. (Edward Dai/Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners exercise together on the Via Dante in Milan, Italy, on July 20, 2013. The practitioners gathered together to commemorate the anniversary of the persecution of Falun Gong in China, which began on 20 July 1999.
(Marius Iacob / The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners exercise together on the Via Dante in Milan, Italy, on July 20, 2013. The practitioners gathered together to commemorate the anniversary of the persecution of Falun Gong in China, which began on 20 July 1999. (Marius Iacob / The Epoch Times)

Australian practitioners demonstrate the exercises of Falun Dafa in front of Sydney Harbour at Milsons Point, Australia just after sunrise on July 21, 2013. The exercises were organised to mark 14 years since the Chinese Communist Party began persecuting Falun Dafa in China.
(Daniel Granger/Epoch Times)

Australian practitioners demonstrate the exercises of Falun Dafa in front of Sydney Harbour at Milsons Point, Australia just after sunrise on July 21, 2013. The exercises were organised to mark 14 years since the Chinese Communist Party began persecuting Falun Dafa in China. (Daniel Granger/Epoch Times)

Passers-by read signs about Falun Gong outside the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney, Australia on July 20, 2013. The signs were part of an event marking the 14th anniversary of beginning of the Chinese Communist Party persecution of Falun Gong in China. (Daniel Granger/Epoch Times)

Passers-by read signs about Falun Gong outside the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney, Australia on July 20, 2013. The signs were part of an event marking the 14th anniversary of beginning of the Chinese Communist Party persecution of Falun Gong in China. (Daniel Granger/Epoch Times)

A drum corps made up of Falun Gong practitioners marches in a parade through the streets of Copenhagen on July 20, 2013. (Jason Wang/Epoch Times)

A drum corps made up of Falun Gong practitioners marches in a parade through the streets of Copenhagen on July 20, 2013. (Jason Wang/Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners gathered in Parc Lafontaine in Montreal on July 20, 2013 for events commemorating the anniversary of the beginning of the persecution of Falun Gong in China. During the gathering, many people stopped who wanted receive information about the persecution and to sign a petition. (Nathalie Dieul/ Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners gathered in Parc Lafontaine in Montreal on July 20, 2013 for events commemorating the anniversary of the beginning of the persecution of Falun Gong in China. During the gathering, many people stopped who wanted receive information about the persecution and to sign a petition. (Nathalie Dieul/ Epoch Times)

A young woman does Falun Gong meditation during an activity held at a park in Bangkok, Thailand on July 20 to raise awareness about the persecution of the spiritual practice by communist authorities in mainland China. (James Burke/Epoch Times)

A young woman does Falun Gong meditation during an activity held at a park in Bangkok, Thailand on July 20 to raise awareness about the persecution of the spiritual practice by communist authorities in mainland China. (James Burke/Epoch Times)

Two Falun Gong practitioners hold a banner opposite the Chinese Consulate in Chicago on July 20, 2013. (Catherine Wen/Epoch Times)

Two Falun Gong practitioners hold a banner opposite the Chinese Consulate in Chicago on July 20, 2013. (Catherine Wen/Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners meditate together in the Chinatown of Seattle, Washington in the United States on July 20, 2013. (Frank Zhang/Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners meditate together in the Chinatown of Seattle, Washington in the United States on July 20, 2013. (Frank Zhang/Epoch Times)

A young girl visiting Canada with her family takes in the action as Falun Gong practitioners hold an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on July 20, 2013, commemorating the anniversary of the persecution of Falun Gong. (Matthew Little/Epoch Times)

A young girl visiting Canada with her family takes in the action as Falun Gong practitioners hold an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on July 20, 2013, commemorating the anniversary of the persecution of Falun Gong. (Matthew Little/Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade in a heavy rain through the Chinatown of Melbourne, Australia, on July 20, 2013. (Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade in a heavy rain through the Chinatown of Melbourne, Australia, on July 20, 2013. (Epoch Times)

A passerby signs a petition as the Tian Guo Marching Band tunes up in preparation for a parade, in Melbourne, Australia on July 20, 2013. (Epoch Times)

A passerby signs a petition as the Tian Guo Marching Band tunes up in preparation for a parade, in Melbourne, Australia on July 20, 2013. (Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners carry a sign condemning the harvesting of organs from prisoners of conscience in China, in a parade in Copenhagen on July 20, 2013. (Jason Wang/Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners carry a sign condemning the harvesting of organs from prisoners of conscience in China, in a parade in Copenhagen on July 20, 2013. (Jason Wang/Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Xie Yue (with her 6 year old daughter), a medical professional who fled China after suffering detention and torture, tells of a blood sample being taken by Chinese police, at a rally in Philadelphia on July 20, 2013. Falun Gong practitioners when detained in China have been singled out for medical exams, which are believed to be preparatory for possible selection of detainees for organ harvesting. (Frank Liang/Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Xie Yue (with her 6 year old daughter), a medical professional who fled China after suffering detention and torture, tells of a blood sample being taken by Chinese police, at a rally in Philadelphia on July 20, 2013. Falun Gong practitioners when detained in China have been singled out for medical exams, which are believed to be preparatory for possible selection of detainees for organ harvesting. (Frank Liang/Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners practice exercises in Avenue George V in Paris, opposite the Chinese Embassy on July 17, 2013 to commemorate 14 years of persecution. (Guan Ning/Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners practice exercises in Avenue George V in Paris, opposite the Chinese Embassy on July 17, 2013 to commemorate 14 years of persecution. (Guan Ning/Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners and supporters commemorate 14 years of the persecution of Falun Gong in China, in front of Chinese Embassy in Bucharest, July 20, 2013 (Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners and supporters commemorate 14 years of the persecution of Falun Gong in China, in front of Chinese Embassy in Bucharest, July 20, 2013 (Epoch Times)

Passerby stop to sign a petition opposing the persecution of Falun Gong in London on July 20, 2013. Many Asian and Western tourists stopped in the busy areas of Trafalgar Square and China Town to take leaflets and sign petitions against torture and organ harvesting inside China, perpetrated by the Chinese Government. (Si Gross/Epoch Times)

Passerby stop to sign a petition opposing the persecution of Falun Gong in London on July 20, 2013. Many Asian and Western tourists stopped in the busy areas of Trafalgar Square and China Town to take leaflets and sign petitions against torture and organ harvesting inside China, perpetrated by the Chinese Government. (Si Gross/Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners meditate and hold a candlelight vigil outside the Chinese Consulate in Calgary, Canada on July 20, 2013. (Sun Beichen/Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners meditate and hold a candlelight vigil outside the Chinese Consulate in Calgary, Canada on July 20, 2013. (Sun Beichen/Epoch Times)

Onlookers watch Falun Gong practitioners perform exercises together on the town square of Copenhagen, in front of the city hall, on July 20, 2013. (Jason Wang/Epoch Times)

Onlookers watch Falun Gong practitioners perform exercises together on the town square of Copenhagen, in front of the city hall, on July 20, 2013. (Jason Wang/Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners perform meditative exercises in Bebek Park in Istanbul on July 21, 2013. The practitioners gathered to commemorate the anniversary of the persecution of Falun Gong in China, which began July 20, 1999. They demonstrated the exercises and distributed materials explaining the persecution (Tiejun Wang/Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners perform meditative exercises in Bebek Park in Istanbul on July 21, 2013. The practitioners gathered to commemorate the anniversary of the persecution of Falun Gong in China, which began July 20, 1999. They demonstrated the exercises and distributed materials explaining the persecution (Tiejun Wang/Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners hold a rally opposite the the Chinese Embassy in Tel-Aviv, Israel on July 22 to commemorate the start of the persecution of Falun Gong on July 20, 1999. (Tiqwa Mahabad/Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners hold a rally opposite the the Chinese Embassy in Tel-Aviv, Israel on July 22 to commemorate the start of the persecution of Falun Gong on July 20, 1999. (Tiqwa Mahabad/Epoch Times)

To commemorate the anniversary of the beginning of the persecution of Falun Gong, practitioners hold a candlelight vigil on the National Mall on July 18, 2013 in Washington, D.C. The two Chinese characters

To commemorate the anniversary of the beginning of the persecution of Falun Gong, practitioners hold a candlelight vigil on the National Mall on July 18, 2013 in Washington, D.C. The two Chinese characters "zheng fa" illuminated at the front of the vigil may be translated as "healing the universe." (Edward Dai/Epoch Times)

Every July 20, practitioners of the spiritual discipline Falun Gong commemorate a brutal persecution that was set in motion 14 years ago by former Chinese Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual meditation practice that involves five slow moving exercises and teachings based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. It was first taught in public by Mr. Li Hongzhi in 1992 during the height of the qigong boom in China.

Falun Gong spread quickly as word spread of its remarkable benefits to physical health and moral elevation—by 1999 there were an estimated 70 to 100 million practitioners, according to official statistics. For two hours each morning, peasants, factory and office workers, soldiers, intellectuals, Party officials, both the young and old, gathered at public parks and spaces, and did a series of standing and sitting exercises—the former involved stances where arms were raised above heads, while the latter required seating in a cross-legged position.

Despite the meditators’ serene expressions and reported improvement in working environment and performance in many a work place, ex-Party boss Jiang Zemin felt threatened by Falun Gong, and sought its suppression.

A peaceful petition by ten thousand Falun Gong practitioners near Party headquarters and top leadership living accommodations in Zhongnanhai, Beijing in 1999 was upheld by Jiang as an example of a superbly organized Falun Gong “laying siege to Zhongnanhai.” In an open letter to senior officials, Jiang singled out the practice as a threat to the Party’s leadership and the “stability” of the nation.

Jiang’s claims of Falun Gong’s threat to the leadership and society seem somewhat spurious in light of reports by the Party’s security apparatus on the practice. After conducting surveillance on Falun Gong adherents, intelligence officers noted that they were nothing more than what was advertised—harmless qigong practitioners with exceptionally good health, morals, and work ethics.

Still, Jiang pressed ahead with his personal crusade, announcing the start of the persecution on July 20, 1999. He mobilized state machinery to “eradicate” Falun Gong, and even created an extralegal agency, the 610 Office (named after the day of its creation, June 10), to specifically target the practice.

Because Jiang declared “no measure to excessive” in dealing with Falun Gong, practitioners lost their jobs; hundreds of thousands were thrown in jails, labor camps, and mental institutions; over 3,000 were persecuted to death.

Researchers have even gathered evidence to show that Chinese military and civilian hospitals have engaged in the harvesting of organs from Falun Gong practitioners for sale. Tens of thousands of practitioners are estimated to have been slaughtered for their organs, which were trafficked for a profit.

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