An international group of lawmakers has issued a statement to denounce the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) human rights atrocities on the eve of the 22nd year of the persecution of the spiritual practice Falun Gong in China.
“Twenty-two years ago, the Chinese Communist Party began a campaign of persecution against Falun Gong practitioners,” the cross-party Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) stated on July 19. “We take this solemn anniversary to remember all ethnic and religious minorities persecuted by the Chinese government, including Tibetan Buddhists, Christians and the Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim Turkic groups.”
IPAC is a coalition of legislators focused on reforming the approaches that democratic countries take to deal with the CCP’s illiberal and growing global influence. Established in June 2020, the coalition is comprised of over 100 politicians from 20 nations.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a self-cultivation practice that was first introduced to the public in China by founder Mr. Li Hongzhi in 1992. The practice involves teachings based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance, as well as five gentle meditative exercises. It is now practiced in more than 110 countries by millions of people.
IPAC in its statement called for global attention to hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners who have been arrested and harassed or tortured in China since the CCP began its brutal persecution on July 20, 1999.
The persecution was instigated by former CCP head Jiang Zemin, who ordered that Falun Gong be banned and eradicated. He also ordered the establishment of the “610” Office, for the sole function of persecuting and eradicating Falun Gong. The extralegal agency, created on June 10, 1999, was given the authority to override the police and courts in China.
Researchers in the United States have called for leaders to recognize the persecution of Falun Gong by the CCP as genocide.
“Genocide is the destruction in part of a religious community, for example, with the intent to eradicate it, and I don’t think there’s any doubt that what has happened these past decades to Falun Gong meets that criteria,” Nina Shea, a senior fellow and director of the Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute, said at a rally in Washington on July 16.
Many imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners have been “subjected to the most severe forms of torture” in efforts to force them to renounce their faith, IPAC stated.
“Particularly concerning are reports of forced organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners and prisoners of conscience in China,” the group adds, noting that analysis by an independent people’s tribunal, known as the China Tribunal, had concluded that killings of practitioners for their vital organs “have been enacted on a widespread, state-sponsored, and systematic level.”
While Falun Gong practitioners made up the “principal source” of the organs, the tribunal said in its report, released in March 2020, that other minority groups, including Uyghurs, are also likely targets of such horrific crimes.
“We once again call on our governments to stand up and speak out for an end to such repression,” stated IPAC. “Democratic states must take actions to stop the trade and use of forcibly harvested organs globally. The Chinese government must be held accountable for upholding the human rights of all peoples in China.”
According to Minghui.org, a U.S.-based website that tracks the persecution of Falun Gong in China, 4,641 practitioners have been confirmed to have died due to the CCP’s persecution over the past 22 years. The website notes that the true death toll is believed to be much higher “but due to strict censorship in China, many cases remain unreported or require further investigation.”