Commemorating April 25, 1999, at the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES—Human rights advocates, democracy advocates, and Falun Gong practitioners gathered opposite the People’s Republic of China’s Consulate in Los Angeles on the evening of April 25 to commemorate the 14th anniversary of a peaceful demonstration carried out by 10,000 Falun Gong adherents in the center of Beijing.
Eric Zhang, one of seven speakers who took part in the rally, personally witnessed the demonstration in 1999. He recounted how on April 23 and 24, 45 Falun Gong practitioners had been beaten and arrested in Tianjin, a city nearby Beijing, after they had gone to ask a magazine to correct an error-filled report about Falun Gong. Those arrests triggered the April 25 gathering.
“We came in the spirit of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance [the three fundamental principles of the Falun Gong spiritual discipline]. We were there to tell the truth and correct the lies that several people had said [in the Tianjin magazine article].”
They waited through the day for the central appeals office to respond to three requests: that Falun Gong be given a safe and legal environment in China, that the publication of Falun Gong books (banned in 1996) be allowed, and that the practitioners in Tianjin be released.
China’s premier responded in a conciliatory way to the practitioners and in the evening the practitioners in Tianjin were released.
Unknown to the practitioners gathered in Beijing, while the premier was ordering the release of the practitioners arrested in Tianjin, the head of the Chinese Communist Party, Jiang Zemin, was calling for the persecution of Falun Gong. That persecution would begin on July 20, 1999.
The president of the China Social Democratic Party, Liu Yinquan, explained why that persecution matters to all Chinese.
“In China, now, there’s no law, there’s no morality, there are a lot of social problems, social crises,” Liu said. “There are conflicts everywhere.”
“What caused this? It’s very related to the crackdown on Falun Gong, which started 14 years ago,” Liu said. “Why? When the crackdown on Falun Gong happened, the whole social system of China became a society of gangsters. Jiang Zemin gave them orders: ‘You can detain them without any sentencing; you can kill them—if you kill Falun Gong practitioners, it’s counted as suicide; attorneys cannot defend Falun Gong practitioners; courts cannot accept the appeals of Falun Gong practitioners.’ We know that people’s organs were harvested when they were alive.”
Organs For Sale
Dr. Dana Churchill, the Western USA spokesperson for Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting, a human rights group of medical doctors committed to ending forced organ harvesting, addressed in detail one of the points made by Liu Yinquan: the development of an institutionalized organ theft ring within the CCP.
Dr. Churchill said that researchers have determined that Falun Dafa practitioners are regularly given medical screening upon entry into prisons, labor camps, or other facilities—something not usually done for other inmates, and a measure unrelated to concern for the well being of the inmates.
Dr. Churchill explained that as a large, healthy group detained in China’s prisons and labor camps, Falun Gong practitioners have become the predominant source of organs used for transplantation operations in China.
Dr. Churchill told of the horror of what is being done, of how organs are being taken from practitioners while they are still alive, and, according to at least one report from a guard who claims to have witnessed a transplantation operation, still conscious.
He mentioned that a friend, a doctor, had gone to China to see how they were handling things. Upon his return, he said, “This is real; they are really doing what you have told me!”
Ms. Li Shuying, a Falun Dafa practitioner and retired high school teacher, was illegally imprisoned in China many times. Ms. Li described how she was tortured, forced to stand motionless for countless hours, and, if she moved, be beaten.
She was also tortured through sleep deprivation, and forced to watch anti Falun Dafa propaganda videos and forced to write reports on them.
She said the guards were brutal, using any means to get Falun Dafa practitioners to give up their faith. The guards would not get their reward if they could not get the practitioners to recant, Ms. Li said. After her release, she finally escaped to the West.
The seven speakers reprised these themes: they demanded the Chinese Communist Party establish the rule-of-law in China and cease the persecution and murder of prisoners of conscience, especially Falun Gong practitioners, bring those responsible for these crimes to justice, and allow Falun Dafa to peacefully exist in China.