An Open Letter to the Vice President
Dear Mr. Vice President:
This is a letter of request from Falun Gong practitioners exiled in Thailand. We fled from mainland China due to the extermination and suppression of the Falun Gong, a peaceful meditation practice, and after strict review by the UNHCR’s political asylum program, were recognized as U.N. refugees in Thailand. The refugees include 16 children under 14 years old.
Dear Mr. Vice President, I believe you already have an in-depth understanding in regard to the fact that the Falun Gong religious group has suffered severe persecution in mainland China. During this 19-year persecution, hundreds of millions of families have been affected. According to the incomplete statistics from minghui.org, from July 20, 1999, to November 2017, at least 4,236 Falun Gong practitioners were persecuted to death.
In 2016, a comprehensive report was published on endtransplantabuse.org, presenting evidence of the widespread illegal organ harvesting operations sponsored by the CCP. At present, Falun Gong practitioners who have escaped from the persecution and fled to Thailand have been forced to stay, due to the CCP’s penetration of U.N. agencies. They have been told that they will not be resettled. The longest stranded person to date has been in exile in Thailand for over five years.
At the same time, the Thai military government, influenced by economic and political pressure, is cooperating with the CCP and arbitrarily arresting and detaining Falun Gong practitioners holding U.N. refugee certificates, regardless of international public concern. Disregarding the U.N.-certified refugee status, a total of seven Falun Gong refugees were arrested by Thai police in March-May this year, and are awaiting trial in October. So far, two Falun Gong practitioners have been detained in immigration detention centers.
At present, many cases show that the majority of Falun Gong practitioners stranded in Thailand have experienced a second persecution at the hands of Thai police. The Thai police have repeatedly acknowledged and defended the results of direct intervention by the Chinese Embassy. In addition, since Thailand has never signed the United Nations Convention on the Status of Refugees, it does not recognize the status of refugees. As a result, legal refugees stranded in Thailand cannot work and support their families. Life is extremely difficult. They can only rely on friends and family to support their livelihoods.
Falun Gong is an ancient cultivation practice that teaches morality and meditation. It is based on the universal principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance. It was introduced to the public by Master Li Hongzhi in 1992. It cultivates the mind, body, and longevity. Because of the effectiveness of its exercises and the principles imparted, there have been millions of people around the world who have embraced the practice and benefitted greatly, both in health and moral development.
Unfortunately, in 1999, former president Jiang Zemin, in his jealousy, hatred, and fear of the increasing number of Falun Gong practitioners (estimated to be over 100 million), started a violent campaign against Falun Gong. He created a false propaganda campaign to slander the practice and used extrajudicial police forces to ban anything related to Falun Gong, focusing the efforts of the CCP on the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. Millions of Falun Gong practitioners were arrested, sent to prison, tortured, and murdered—some through having their organs harvested while still conscious and alive. Many in prison or in hiding lost all contact with their families.
A small number of these practitioners got a chance to flee to Thailand, seeking humanitarian help from the UNHCR and related refugee assistance agencies from around the world.
We must first thank the U.S. government for its long-standing support for Falun Gong. Over the years, America has accepted and placed thousands of victims of the persecution. We are deeply touched by the continued concerns and appeals on behalf of Falun Gong.
Dear Mr. Vice President, on July 24, 2018, the first Ministerial Conference to Advance Religious Freedom was hosted by the U.S. State Department in Washington. In the face of more than 80 foreign delegations and religious leaders from around the world, you represented the United States. The government announced two plans for defending freedom of belief: the Genocide Recovery and Persecution Response Program, and the International Religious Freedom Fund project. The U.S. government will assume a leading role, bringing together national and global resources, and uniting official and civil forces to protect believers.
You also said defending freedom of belief is a top priority of the Trump administration. According to this Epoch Times report, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also said: “We will work with others around the world to help those under attack for their beliefs, and that we expect leaders around the world to make it their priority as well.”
We sincerely hope that these important tasks undertaken by the Trump administration and its plans will proceed smoothly, and will prevent the persecution of religious believers by totalitarian dictatorships, demonstrating the universal values of freedom and liberty that America seeks to protect.
The Ministerial Conference to Advance Religious Freedom once again proves the consistent position the U.S. government takes to safeguard freedom, justice, and human rights in the world. The good people of the world have been shocked by the atrocities taking place in China. The hundreds of millions of religious believers have seen the dawn of human progress. We want to take this opportunity to ask the distinguished Vice President for support. I hope that the U.S. government will lend a helping hand to include Falun Gong refugees who have been certified by the U.N., yet detained in Thailand for many years.
We thank the U.S. government for its great contribution to world peace and freedom.
We believe that if President Trump can fulfill our request, he will gain the support of the international community, and will certainly make the dictatorship of China feel the pressure. We firmly believe that the Trump administration is taking concrete actions to defend the freedom of belief.
The Falun Gong refugees in Thailand, July 2018
Sincerely waiting for your reply!
Praying for peace in the world!
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.