On July 20th, the Capitol Lawn was jammed with thousands of Falun Gong practitioners from over 30 countries for the seventh annual appeal for U.S. intervention in their persecution by Communist China. They were met by several Congress members and human rights advocates who vowed continued support in their plight for survival.
This is the anniversary of the persecution that started July 20, 1999, and the first time members of the U.S. Congress have stepped forward to acknowledge the allegations of illegal organ harvesting used as part of the persecution of Falun Gong by the Chinese communist regime.
"I am deeply troubled by the illegal harvesting of organs inside China, which is inflicted upon a large number of Falun Gong practitioners throughout the country," said Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen of Florida.
This public support came on the heels of a third-party report by former Canadian Secretary of State (Asia Pacific) David Kilgour and international human rights attorney David Matas, that gave detailed information on the organ harvesting of Falun Gong, and comes to "the regrettable conclusion that the allegations are true." After coming back from London where they spoke to nearly a half a billion people in a BBC interview, these men also added their personal testimonies at the rally.
Before the release of the Canadians' report on July 6, U.S. government officials have been hesitant to step forward publicly on the issue of Falun Gong organ harvesting, as it was only the survivors and families of victims who set their words against that of the Chinese communist regime.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California called the Chinese Communist Party an evil cult, and called upon American corporations to stop pouring money into China until change occurs. He said it was wrong and contrary to the American spirit to put business opportunities before principle, and explained that he had opposed China's most favored nation status because of its human rights record.
Rep. Rush Holt of New Jersey commented on the report recently brought forth by Canadian Secretary of State confirming the allegations of organ harvesting of Falun Gong in China. "One report adds a strong case…the United States should be taking the lead."
Also present was Rep. Lynn Woolsey of California, who spearheaded a resolution against the persecution earlier this year. Congressman Tom Tancredo of Colorado, Congresspersons Dennis Moore and Robert Andrews also sent staff to read their statements of support.
Members of Congress and NGO leaders spoke on a stage surrounded by banners that circled the entire capitol lawn. In front of the stage were neat rows of thousands of Falun gong practitioners, who practiced their qigong [slow exercises] and meditation for more than an hour before the rally.