TORONTO—Solemn and peaceful, Falun Gong practitioners lined up along St. George Street in downtown Toronto facing the gates of the Chinese consulate. This is the 13th year that the spiritual practice has been violently persecuted by the communist regime in China.
Yellow banners and a couple of keynote speeches from victims and supporters of Falun Gong carried a familiar message: “Stop the persecution of Falun Gong.”
“Today, the Communist Party is responsible for terrible crimes against Falun Gong practitioners and their main goal is to cover up all evidence of these crimes,” said Joel Chipkar with the Falun Dafa Association of Toronto.
Since July 20, 1999, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has imprisoned, tortured, submitted to forced labour, and brainwashed Falun Gong practitioners while simultaneously carrying out a massive propaganda campaign to defame the practice and justify the crackdown.
“We continue to hope that all people in China and outside China see this evil regime for what it truly is, and stop being led astray by its lies, financial enticement, and denials to obtain the harming of good people,” said Chipkar.
Among the more disturbing accusations being levelled against the regime is that it is engaged in wide-scale organ extraction from living Falun Gong adherents.
Elderly ladies with warm faces but minimal English handed out leaflets and newsletters describing the state of the persecution in China today. Many of the people at the rally shared stories of how the persecution had directly affected their lives.
A senior practitioner, Ms. Gao, was forced to join a “brainwashing class” for three months in 2004, where the police tried to force her to stop practicing Falun Gong.
“I was tied like a plus sign shape for a couple of days. I wasn’t allowed to sleep or squat,” she said.
Torture didn’t make Gao change her mind, however, so the police injected unknown drugs into her body.
“This caused huge damage to my body … I could not recognized my own son when I came home from the labour camp,” Gao said.
After the “brainwashing class,” Gao was put into a labour camp for one year. When Gao was released, she noticed the damage from the mysterious drugs slowly creeping into her life, preventing her from doing any kind of work.
“I experienced edema, shivering, memory loss … loss of teeth,” she said. She also said her heart felt so weak she thought it would stop, and her feet felt so heavy she thought she wouldn’t be able to walk.
Fortunately, through practicing Falun Gong, Gao managed to recover her physical health, but she says that she still experiences side effects. Sometimes, Gao forgets things easily.
Toronto resident Wang Yi says the persecution devastated her family, especially her brother, sister, and niece who were tortured in China.
Wang’s brother, whose name she wished to withhold for his safety, was ambushed and beaten by police in Wuhan city.
“[The police] wore hard leather boots, they stomped him across the chest and behind the knees, making him fall to the ground,” Wang said.
“But, that still wasn’t enough for them. They picked up a kettle and poured boiling water over his head.”
The police jailed Wang’s niece, a 19-year-old student at Wuhan University, for a full year.
“She wasn’t allowed to sleep for seven days,” Wang said. “They shone lights on her and jabbed her with needles every time she fell asleep.”
Huang’s only food were buns and cabbage soup. Once she discovered used toilet paper in the latter and never dared to drink it again.
Wang commended the Canadian government for their support of Falun Gong practitioners, but said that the government should put more pressure on the CCP.
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