A global coalition of lawmakers condemned the Chinese regime’s continued persecution of the spiritual practice Falun Gong, in a statement released on the eve of the suppression campaign’s 21st anniversary.
“Today, we highlight the plight of the Falun Gong together with all religious minorities who have suffered from repression under the rule of the Chinese Communist Party,” the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) said in a July 19 statement.
The group, established to coordinate policies to address the Chinese regime’s growing influence around the world, comprises senior politicians from around the world, including the United States, Australia, Germany, Japan, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the European Parliament.
“We … urge the world to stand up and speak out for an end to such repression, an end to impunity, and for justice, accountability, human rights, and human dignity for all the peoples of China,” the statement reads.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is an ancient spiritual discipline that includes moral teachings based on truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.
With roughly 100 million people in China practicing Falun Gong by 1999, then-Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Jiang Zemin considered the group’s enormous popularity a threat to the atheistic rule of the Party.
On July 20, 1999, Jiang began a nationwide campaign to round up and throw Falun Gong adherents into prisons, labor camps, brainwashing centers, and psychiatric wards in an effort to force them to renounce their faith.
Millions have likely been detained over the past two decades, with hundreds of thousands tortured, according to estimates by the Falun Dafa Information Center.
More than 4,500 Falun Gong adherents are confirmed to have died under torture while incarcerated, according to Minghui.org, a U.S.-based website that serves as a clearinghouse for information about China’s ongoing persecution. Due to authorities’ extensive efforts to censor related information, the true death toll is likely much higher.
The IPAC especially highlights ongoing reports of Falun Gong adherents being targeted for forced organ harvesting in the Chinese regime’s for-profit organ transplant industry.
In 2006, The Epoch Times broke the story of how the Chinese regime had been killing prisoners of conscience, mostly Falun Gong adherents, by harvesting their organs for transplant surgeries.
Several reports conducted by independent researchers have since confirmed the allegations.
In June 2019, an independent tribunal in London, after a yearlong investigation, concluded that forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience has taken place in China for years, “on a significant scale.” The tribunal judgment also states that Falun Gong practitioners are likely the main source of such organs.
The IPAC statement read, “Particularly troubling are reports … that this practice had been perpetrated on a widespread, state-sponsored, and systematic level.”
Over the weekend, Falun Gong adherents in Washington commemorated the 21st anniversary of the persecution with a candlelight vigil, while practitioners in New York held an online event to remember the occasion amid a local ban on large gatherings due to COVID-19.
More than 600 current and former lawmakers from 30 countries signed a statement calling on the Chinese regime to end its persecution of Falun Gong.