Hundreds of Chinese Villagers Defend Falun Gong Adherent
A village in central China has signed another bold petition against the imprisonment of a fellow resident by communist authorities. The move steps up the campaign to have a friend and practitioner of Falun Gong, whose case has been highlighted by Amnesty International, released.
In total, 587 residents of Zhouguantun village in Hebei province put their names to the most recent petition, calling on the local government to release Wang Xiaodong. Wang was sentenced to three years in prison in February after police discovered Falun Gong-related DVDs while ransacking his house. Wang is a practitioner of the Chinese spiritual practice.
Zhouguantun villagers have been fighting for Wang since his arrest six months ago. A month after his arrest, a petition with 300 signatures demanding Wang’s release was delivered to local law enforcement departments.
Sources inside China said news of the petition was transmitted to the inner circles of the Communist Party, who were shocked at the grassroots resistance to the sweeping campaign.
Communist authorities repeatedly harassed villagers who signed the petition, and went on to sentence Wang to three years in prison during a closed trial held on Aug. 13.
Now a new petition, of nearly 600 names, has appeared. In interviews that were conducted under the condition of anonymity, signatories to it expressed contempt for the ruling party’s human rights abuses.
“I know the Chinese Communist Party is living on borrowed time. I want to quit from it,” said a local Party official, whose thumbprint is on the new petition.
Leaving red wax thumbprints on documents demonstrates serious commitment to a cause in traditional Chinese culture.
“The Communist Party is too corrupt! There is no way to make it better,” said a local junior official who also supported the petition.
Wang Xiaodong was arrested at his home on Feb. 25 by Domestic Security (guoan) police, who are specialized in suppressing dissidents.
Wang’s sister, Wang Xiaomei, who attempted to raise awareness of the persecution of her brother by sending a public appeal letter and organizing petitions, was sent to a labor camp for one year in May.
Similar scenarios to Wang’s case, where neighbors and friends defend persecuted Falun Gong practitioners, have occurred in nearly a dozen locales across China. In June, a young woman whose father, a Falun Gong practitioner, was killed in custody, collected 15,000 signatures in Heilongjiang Province.
Falun Gong is a popular practice of meditative exercise and self-cultivation that spread quickly in China through the 1990s. In 1999, owing to the practice’s widespread popularity and perceived challenge to the legitimacy of the regime, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) began a harsh persecution. The campaign resulted in millions being sent to prisons and labor camps where they may be beaten, tortured, or subject to brainwashing in an attempt to have them renounce their beliefs. The campaign continues.
Over 13 years of persecution, Falun Gong adherents have also sought to “clarify the truth” to the Chinese public, explaining the peaceful nature of the practice and the truth of the CCP’s campaign against it. Over the last 18 months in China citizens have for the first time begun openly defending practitioners, in some cases physically wrestling with police to stop adherents from being arrested, and signing their real names on petitions, then stamping them with red wax to express the sincerity of their wish that the persecution stop.
Editor’s Note: When Chongqing’s former top cop, Wang Lijun, fled for his life to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu on Feb. 6, he set in motion a political storm that has not subsided. The battle behind the scenes turns on what stance officials take toward the persecution of Falun Gong. The faction with bloody hands—the officials former CCP head Jiang Zemin promoted in order to carry out the persecution—is seeking to avoid accountability for their crimes and to continue the campaign. Other officials are refusing to participate in the persecution any longer. Events present a clear choice to the officials and citizens of China, as well as people around the world: either support or oppose the persecution of Falun Gong. History will record the choice each person makes.
Read the original Chinese article.
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