China Briefs: July 20, 2009

July 24, 2009 4:49 am Last Updated: October 1, 2015 9:35 pm
Falun Gong practitioners and supporters in San Diego, Calif. are holding a candlelight vigil in memory of practitioners who lost their lives in the persecution in China. Many similar events around the world are exposing the ten-year persecution. (Alex Li/ The Epoch Times)
Falun Gong practitioners and supporters in San Diego, Calif. are holding a candlelight vigil in memory of practitioners who lost their lives in the persecution in China. Many similar events around the world are exposing the ten-year persecution. (Alex Li/ The Epoch Times)

July 9 — Members of Congress Urge President Obama to Support Falun Gong Practitioners in China

Congressional letter calls Falun Gong plight  "one of the most unjust and cruel persecutions of our times."

WASHINGTON DC (Falun Dafa Information Center) — In a bi-partisan letter sent to President Obama yesterday, sixty one members of Congress urged the President to "speak very clearly and specifically" in support of Falun Gong practitioners in China.

"We applaud these members of Congress," says Falun Dafa Information Center spokesperson Mr. Erping Zhang, "for articulating in no uncertain terms that the United States government will not tolerate the arbitrary arrest, torture and death of Falun Gong practitioners — peaceful, law-abiding citizens — as a result of a systematic Communist Party-run campaign. We hope President Obama and his administration will heed their call."

Initiated by Congressmen Rob Andrews (D-NJ) and Chris Smith (R-NJ), the letter highlights how Falun Gong practitioners were first targeted by the Chinese regime ten years ago and how an extrajudicial security force known as the "6-10 Office" was established to stamp out the traditional Chinese practice. "The '6-10 Office' ruthlessly implements the ban [on Falun Gong]," the letter states, "through massive propaganda campaigns intended to demonize Falun Gong and…supervises the arbitrary detention, beating, torutre and 'transformation through reeducation' of Falun Gong practitioners."

Calling Falun Gong a practice that includes the study of moral teachings, meditation, and physical exercises that is "entirely peaceful," the Congressional letter says the campaign against Falun Gong in China represents "one of the most unjust and cruel persecutions of our times." The letter urges President Obama to give "all possible public and private diplomatic support to Falun Gong practitioners in China."

The letter arrived at the White House almost two weeks before a series of events in Washington DC that are planned to mark July 20th — ten years after the day the Chinese Communist Party first launched the campaign to "stamp out" Falun Gong.

In the early morning hours of July 20th, 1999, hundreds of Falun Gong volunteers were detained by Chinese police, and many were pulled from their beds in the middle of the night. Over the next several days, tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners were detained around China. Many were held in stadiums and other public facilities for lack of space at police stations or detention centers. The campaign against Falun Gong escalated, and by 2000, reports of arbitrary arrest, torture and killings of Falun Gong practitioners at the hands of Chinese officials were commonplace. As indicated in the Congressional letter and by human rights groups, they remain so today. …

July 14 — Worldwide Vigils Mark Tenth Year of Persecution while Torture, Arrests Continue in China

WASHINGTON, DC (Falun Dafa Information Center) — Ten years ago next week, on July 20, 1999, former Chinese Communist Party-head Jiang Zemin launched a violent campaign to "eradicate" the Falun Gong spiritual discipline, practiced at the time by tens of millions of ordinary Chinese citizens. Since then, the Party has used coercion, imprisonment, torture, and systematic villification in an effort to force anyone known to practice Falun Gong to recant the basic tenets of his or her peaceful faith.

As the anniversary of that fateful day approaches, Falun Gong practitioners outside China prepare to mark the tenth year of persecution with a series of marches, candlelight vigils, and rallies.

At Chinese consulates throughout the world, tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters will hold candlelight vigils or demonstrations on or around July 20th. From Brisbane to London, weekend marches and rallies will call for an end to ongoing repression in China and remember those who have lost their lives amidst persecution.

"This anniversary is a time of commemoration for the millions whose lives have been unalterably changed by this violent campaign," says Levi Browde, executive director of the Falun Dafa Information Center. "It is also a time for hope. Ten years after the CCP sought to crush Falun Gong 'in three months,' countless Chinese citizens continue to find peace and spiritual fulfillment through the practice, and more and more people are peacefully standing up for their rights to do just that." …

In China, the anniversary of the start of the violent campaign against Falun Gong is being characterized by an escalated security environment and continued reports of arrests, torture, and arbitrary sentencing. Official websites dated as recently as May 27, 2009 cite heightened activity by branches of the extra legal 6-10 Office against local Falun Gong practitioners in the run-up to July 20th. One such posting on the official website for Qidong in Jiangsu province states that the town's 6-10 Office is to strengthen and consolidate its transformation efforts against Falun Gong.

Such efforts often result in the arrest and torture of practitioners and in some cases-death. Such was a the recent case of Ms. Sun Min, arrested recently along with her husband Wu Yang (aka Wu Zhijun), both of them natives of Inner Mongolia who had relocated to Beijing. According to sources inside China, on April 22, 2009, the couple was distributing Falun Gong-related DVDs at a shopping center in Beijing's Fengtai District. They were reported to police and taken to the Niujie District Police Station.

Within one day, Ms. Sun was dead. A police report sent to her family stated that her death resulted from a fall, while a coroner asked to examine the body reportedly told family members that Ms. Sun's injuries were inconsistent with falling. Family members who saw her body described seeing bruises on her wrists and neck, bloody patterned wounds on her forehead, and burns from electric batons. She is one of 3,259 practitioners documented to have died from torture or other forms of persecution since 1999, though the actual death toll is likely much higher.

In spite of continued persecution and at grave risk, China's Falun Gong practitioners persist in their efforts to quietly educate their fellow citizens about the innocence of their practice and the cruelty of the persecution they face. Their efforts include producing and distributing literature and VCDs documenting rights abuses to their compatriots, hanging banners in public squares and parks proclaiming Falun Gong's goodness, and promoting Falun Gong-developed software to enable Chinese citizens to safely circumvent the country's Internet blockade, thus allowing them to freely access information. …

Jul 14 — New Evidence of the CCP's Organ Harvesting Presented in Japan

TOKYO (Clearwisdom.net) — On July 6 to 7, 2009, Canadian renowned human rights lawyer Mr. David Matas spoke at a press conference held at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan in Tokyo and at a symposium in Bunkyo-ku Civic Center. He pointed out that organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners is very common in China, and that sufficient data shows that the live organ harvesting is still going on. He called upon people from all walks of life in Japan to show concern about the seriousness of the problem and demand the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) immediately stop the persecution of Falun Gong.

Mr. Matas explicitly pointed out that even though the CCP implemented the "Human Organ Transplant Ordinance" on May 1, 2007, what is stipulated in the ordinance does not have any restriction on the CCP's military, because hospitals where live organ harvesting takes place are mostly those with military backgrounds, and at the same time, have direct channels for criminal transactions with prisons, police departments and national security departments.

He added that neither criminals awaiting execution nor Falun Gong practitioners donate their organs voluntarily. Therefore it is completely wrong to use their organs. It undermines ethics and morality, and also violates basic norms in the international transplant field. It's the biggest persecution against human rights. …

David Matas revealed new evidence of the CCP's organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners … besides a large amount of data, there were also direct phone calls to big hospitals, and direct conversations with transplant doctors who personally did the operations or related key personnel. Many of them admitted without hesitation that the organs were from Falun Gong practitioners. …

Mr. Matas and David Kilgour, former Canadian Secretary of State for the Asia/Pacific Region, co-authored and published an investigative report entitled, "Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China" three years ago. The report illustrated with a large number of photos and charts the results of their investigation and evidence collection. It revealed that Falun Gong is the largest group subjected to the CCP's brutal persecution in China, and many Falun Gong practitioners have been incarcerated in forced labor camps and mental hospitals, or tortured to death and even had their organs harvested for sale. Related evidence has been constantly updated.

When the international community questioned the sources of a large number of organs for transplants in China, the CCP said that the organs were from executed prisoners. But the large amount of evidence and the number of executed prisoners, and also a large amount of data of organ transplants reported by many hospitals, obviously shows that the before and after numbers do not match. Through collecting evidence from various channels, it has become clear that many organs for transplants were taken from Falun Gong practitioners. …

Mr. Matas stated that we must stop the CCP's persecution of Falun Gong, and stop the CCP from killing people with high technology. The technology itself is neutral, but once it is used by a corrupt government, an evil regime that suppresses its people, it will become a weapon that brings harm to humanity and violates human nature. It is horrible and should be a concern of the international community. He said that Falun Gong is practiced by people from all walks of life and is spreading rapidly. This frightens the CCP, so it spares no effort to persecute Falun Gong practitioners. …

July 15 — Crackdowns in China prompt rally on National Mall in DC

OpEdNews (John Kusumi) — CSN invites the public for July 19 rally, 3-6 pm marking the tenth anniversary of Falun Gong persecution in China

"I think that one year of genocide is too much. So why are we talking about ten?" This rhetorical question sets up the speech we anticipate to be delivered by John Kusumi, founder of the China Support Network (CSN), at a Washington DC rally upcoming on Sunday, July 19 2009. Rock band Light Club, known for its songs that present Chinese human rights issues in the form of American rock music, will also appear and debut a new sonic experience to boost Chinese human rights. Live streaming video of the event will be viewable in China (to those who can get around the Great Firewall of regime-sponsored internet blockage.) …

"The China Support Network began in order to denounce one crackdown, the Tiananmen Square crackdown [of 1989]. Now look at what is on our plate today: Tiananmen crackdown [1989], Falun Gong crackdown [1999-present], Tibetan crackdown [of 2008], and Uyghur crackdown [of 2009]. The CCP can't finish having one problem before it commences to add new ones into the record of history."

In terms of death toll, the Falun Gong crackdown is the biggest and deadliest, followed by the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown, the 2009 Uyghur crackdown, and the 2008 Tibetan crackdown in that order. Hence, it is fitting that the rally which is planned for Sunday on the National Mall (between 3rd and 4th Streets, in Washington DC) is in observance of the tenth anniversary of the still-ongoing Falun Gong crackdown. "The Communists are stubborn, and don't change their ways," observed Kusumi.

The rally is sponsored by Friends of Falun Gong, with the China Support Network and Light Club as co-sponsors. Thousands of Falun Gong practitioners are likely to be in attendance. Additional music and speeches will come from other quarters as well. …
 
July 15 — China: three lawyers arrested for defending the rights of Falun Gong members

Chinese Human Rights Defenders  (CHRD) denounces "a progressive deterioration of the situation" for lawyers who fight for human rights in China”. One of the three arrested had already been sentenced in 2005 to one year of re-education through forced labour for the same reason.

BEIJING (AsiaNews / CHRD) — Chinese authorities have arrested three lawyers in north-eastern China. The root cause for the arrests, their commitment to the defence of followers of Falun Gong, a movement outlawed by Beijing. The group for the Protection of Human Rights, Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), revealed the news today; they are Ruping Liu, Wang and Wang Ping Yonghang.

The arrests occurred between July 2 and 8. Renee Xia, director of international CHRD, has expressed "concern" and stressed that "these actions could signal a gradual deterioration of the situation, for lawyers who fight for human rights in China." …

Confirming the climate of intimidation in China, in recent days the government "warned" lawyers not to take up the defence of human rights activists and demonstrators, referring in particular to the demonstrators of Urumqi. Recently, many lawyers involved in cases of political significance have been arrested, beaten and the Beijing authorities have threatened their removal from the professional role, controlled by the Communist Party of China. These include lawyers who are defending Tibetans, the followers of Falun Gong, Sichuan earthquake victims and parents of babies who died in the melamine to milk scandal.

July 15 — Nathalie continues Chinese prison fight

Watford Observer (John Harrison) — A Chinese woman who is fighting to free her imprisoned parents has vowed to take her case all the way to the United Nations, if necessary.

“Nathalie” found out her parents had been imprisoned thousands of miles away in her homeland five weeks ago. She says the Chinese authorities are persecuting her mother and father because of their belief in the Falun Gong religion, which has been banned in China for the past ten years.

Since then Nathalie has enlisted the help of Amnesty International, Watford's MP Claire Ward and Mayor Dorothy Thornhill, in her fight to free her elderly parents. She will travel to Downing Street on Monday to present a petition she has been compiling to the Prime Minister and is waiting to hear back from the Foreign Office. …

Amnesty International has said the pair are "at serious risk of torture or other ill-treatment". …

July 16 — Falun Gong practitioners rally at Liberty Pole on Wednesday

ROCHESTER, NY (RocNow, Claudia Vargas) — About a dozen local people rallied at the Liberty Pole on Wednesday, the 10-year anniversary of when the Chinese government began persecuting people who practice Falun Gong.

Falun Gong, a Chinese spiritual practice that is Buddhist in nature, started in 1992 and quickly spread by word of mouth, said Weidong Huang, a local practitioner. Huang said that once tens of millions of people were practicing Falun Gong, the government felt threatened by its large influence and started arresting and physically abusing those who practiced.

During Wednesday’s rally, three people shared their personal stories of being held in labor camps in China for a few years because they were practicing Falun Gong.

Dr. Shengyong Wu and his wife, Ling Feng, told a crowd of about 20 on-lookers about how the Chinese police broke into their home in China in 2001 and sentenced them to three years in intensive labor camps, where they were forced to work from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. and sometimes midnight. …

July 16 — Falun Gong rallies in US on anniversary

WASHINGTON (AFP) — Hundreds of supporters of the Falun Gong spiritual movement have rallied in Washington ahead of the 10th anniversary of its ban by China, with a special push to free a prominent rights lawyer. …

Hundreds of Falun Gong members wearing yellow shirts converged outside of the US Capitol, holding banners demanding that China "end the persecution" and handing out fliers to passers-by.

"One must wonder exactly why Falun Gong, a serene movement based upon … exercises and meditation, has drawn such a frenzied response," Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen told the rally.

"The answer, my friends, is all too simple," the Republican said. "Falun Gong stands for the principles of truthfulness, compassion and tolerance. These principles represent the very antithesis of what the Communist Party of China stands for — lies, brutality and intolerance." …

Falun Gong supporters pleaded for the release of Gao Zhisheng, a lawyer who has been tipped for the Nobel Peace Prize who defended the spiritual movement, underground Christians and other unpopular groups. …
 
July 17 — Rally Calls for End of Persecution

WASHINGTON (Clearwisdom.net, Liu Bin and Huang Kaili) — On July 20, 1999, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched a brutal persecution of Falun Gong. Prior to the 10th anniversary of the start of the persecution, more than 1,000 Falun Gong practitioners, nine U.S. Congressmen, and representatives from more than 10 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) held a rally on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., calling upon people to recognize the evil nature of the CCP and for an end to the persecution.

Falun Gong practitioners demonstrated the peaceful exercises [and] held up dozen of banners with the messages, "Stop the Persecution of Falun Gong," and, "Bring Jiang Zemin, Luo Gan, Zhou Yongkang and Liu Jing to Justice." …

Dana Rohrabacher, Congressman from California, and a member of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, gave a speech. He said that as officials elected by the people, they represent people's moral principles. Falun Gong practitioners' right of belief is given by God. He said that we stand together with Falun Gong practitioners, and the American people and U.S. Congress stand together with them. He thanked practitioners for their efforts to protect the truth. The congressman noted that during the 10-year persecution, practitioners still have courage. He said that their efforts have drawn the attention of concerned people all over the world; it is a power which can change the world.

Christopher Smith, Congressman from New Jersey, addressed the rally. He thanked practitioners for coming to Washington, letting the whole world witness their suffering. Congressman Smith said that when the persecution started in 1999, few people knew what Falun Gong was. The CCP's persecution has caused more than 3,000 deaths. Many practitioners are imprisoned. Mr. Smith believes that the U.S. Government and the free world should take more action to stop the suffering of Falun Gong practitioners in China.

Sheila Jackson Lee, Congresswoman from Texas, expressed her respect for Falun Gong for all they have done. She said that the message she hoped to pass on today is that she and her colleagues stand here together with justice, no matter which party they belong to. The congresswoman stated that she does not want to see practitioners jailed and tortured; she does not want children to have to know about violence; she does not want the world to think that people cannot have peaceful beliefs. Therefore, she was happy that every year elected representatives show their support, and more and more people are quitting the Communist Party. …

Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen noted that the persecution has been extended to America. She urges the American government to deport those who have been involved in perpetrating the persecution in this country. The congresswoman expressed that we need to stand with Falun Gong practitioners, prisoners of conscience in China. She clearly said to the CCP: Stop persecuting Falun Gong practitioners; give the Chinese people freedom.

Congressman Diaz-Balart said that unfortunately, China, a great and wonderful country with an extraordinary culture, has been suppressed by a tyrannical power. In the brutal persecution of peaceful Falun Gong practitioners, we can see the violence of this power. He said it is a shame for human beings. …

William Lacy Clay, Congressman from Missouri, expressed that the U.S. Congress's attitude on Falun Gong issue is very clear–the illegal jailing and torture must be stopped and the persecution of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance should not exist in this great country. …

Gus Bilirakis, Congressman from Florida and a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, said that Falun Gong practitioners have proven, through their behavior and actions, that they are a peaceful group and what they ask for is their basic right. He said that practitioners do not give in to violence; they use their hearts to stop the persecution. Through the printed media, TV and the Internet, practitioners clarify the truth to people in China. Congressman Bilirakis said that he will continue his effort to fight for freedom and stop the persecution. He said he will stand with practitioners and share the principle of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.

Representatives from more than 10 non-governmental organizations and supporters of Falun Gong gave speeches at the rally. Michael Horowitz, a senior fellow from the Hudson Institute, said that history is not written by the famous people; it is written by those who bravely devote themselves to truth. He said that Falun Gong practitioners make the world more beautiful. …

On July 20, 1999, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched a brutal persecution of Falun Gong. The persecution is not only towards Falun Gong, but also aims to destroy the moral standards and human principles of all people. …

July 18 — China shuts down legal center, revokes licenses

BEIJING (Associated Press, Audra Ang) — A legal research center in Beijing was shut down Friday and the licenses of more than 50 lawyers — many known for their politically sensitive human rights work — were revoked in what appeared to be one of China's most drastic moves to restrain activist lawyers.

The actions underscore a renewed official push to control these lawyers, who already run the risk of being detained, harassed, attacked and threatened with disbarment for their work. China is also preparing for the communist state's 60th anniversary on Oct. 1 — a particularly sensitive period when dissent is not tolerated.

About 20 officials from Beijing's Civil Affairs Bureau showed up Friday morning at the offices of the Gongmeng rights group's legal research center and confiscated computers and other equipment, said office manager Tian Qizhuang. They also questioned researchers and other employees on the nature of their work. …

In addition, the licenses of 53 lawyers in Beijing have been canceled, effectively banning them from working. …

Attorney Li Xiongbing, who has taken on cases involving the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement, said he was informed he no longer could practice law on June 30, when a court in northeast China barred him from entering. …

July 17 — Falun Gong Practitioners Rally on Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON (NTDTV, Ben Hedges) — On the doorstep of the most powerful government in the world, a plea for support to end a tragedy thousands of miles away.

Gail Rachlin, Falun Gong Spokesperson, says: “On July 20, 1999, there was a declaration by the Chinese government about Falun Gong and they were out to eradicate all Falun Gong practitioners.”

Yet this discipline is practiced by millions in China and many in the West.

“It helps people with their overall health, their well-being and it instills in you great virtue. The three principles are very simple; truthfulness, compassion, forbearance.”

The Chinese regime’s decision to persecute this peaceful practice is baffling to many.

Terry Xu, Former Qinghua University Professor: “I improved my health and mind. I feel my heart very peaceful after practicing Falun Gong. Before I practiced Falun Gong it was difficult for me to sleep at night. But just after I read the book Zhuan Falun, I have slept very well from that time until now.”

Mr. Xu’s status as a professor at China’s prestigious Qinghua University did not allow him to escape persecution.

“More than 20 policemen stormed in my home without showing any ID. They arrested me and detained me. They deprived my right to hire a lawyer. Without legal procedure they sentenced me to two years in labor camp.”

After Mr. Xu was released from forced labor he made it to the United States where he and his family now live. Some of his students weren’t so lucky.

“Mr. Zhang Linjing was my student. He was detained in a jail for eight years.”

Falun Gong practitioners in the United States have organized this rally for the last ten years… to urge the American government to play a part in putting an end to what Terry Xu and others like him have suffered. And people like congressman Chris Smith are listening.

Chris Smith, U.S. Congressman: “… we’ve got to petition the White House and Congress to say let’s pivot, let’s turn and say we stand with the oppressed, not the oppressor.” …

July 18 — China's Falun Gong crackdown: 'The persecution is almost underground'

LONDON (Guardian.co.uk, Peter Beaumont) — The daughter of two held followers and a former detainee tell of continuing abuse 10 years after China launched its crackdown.

The men from China's national security brigades came for Natalie Qiao's parents at 10pm on 8 June. Five young men in plain clothes bundled the elderly couple into an unmarked car. The crime of Qiao Yongfang and his wife, Yan Dongfei, both aged 60 and residents of Huhot City, in Inner Mongolia, was to be practitioners of the banned Falun Gong religion, which has tens of millions of followers in China.

Ten years after the prohibition on Falun Gong was ordered by China's former leader Jiang Zemin, commencing a brutal crackdown on its adherents, believers such as Qiao's parents are still being pursued, despite international protests.

The only change is that the persecution is now more secretive.

Amid new protests in Britain, including a march today from the Chinese embassy to Chinatown to mark the anniversary of the Falun Gong crackdown, Natalie Qiao and a former detainee have described the continuing abuse, providing a detailed insight into how those deemed enemies of the Chinese state are dealt with.

Anyone practising religious observance outside officially sanctioned channels, including members of unofficial Catholic churches or Protestant house churches, risk detention. Other groups at risk include Muslims in the Xinjiang Uighur autonomous region, especially those branded as religious extremists by the authorities.

Falun Gong has been treated most harshly. Supporters outside China claim 2,000 have died in custody since 1999, and the UN alleges that the group's members feature disproportionately among those who have suffered torture and abuse. …

Annie Yang, an antiques dealer who fled to London after being released from a re-education through labour camp, knows at first hand what Qiao's parents are going through.

"I was arrested in March 2005," she said. "I was living in Beijing and was a practitioner of Falun Gong. They came for me in the evening. I'm a single mother and I was with my 16-year old son. Only one of the men was wearing a uniform. None of them showed ID.

"I told them I was a mother. But they took me and left my son on his own. They took me to a detention centre where they kept me for 40 days without access to a lawyer. At the end they said I had been sentenced to two years in a labour camp for being a member of Falun Gong." …

July 18 — People From All Walks of Life Call for an End to the Persecution

WASHINGTON (Clearwisdom, Liu Bin and Huang Kaili) — On July 16, 2009, more than 1000 Falun Gong practitioners and supporters held a rally opposing China's persecution of Falun Gong in front of Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Many non-government organization (NGO) representatives gave speeches at the rally, calling on people to help stop the persecution.

Patricia Burkhardt from Church Women United said, "Torture of Falun Gong adherents has been documented in each of China's provinces, in jails, labor camps, brainwashing centers, and schools in China's big cities, small towns, and villages. To date, over 3,000 deaths have been documented, as well as over 63,000 accounts of torture. An estimate of the real figure puts the actual death toll in the tens of thousands."

She said, "The Falun Gong practitioners have responded to all of this with markedly peaceful means. Throughout the decade of persecution, they have refused to adopt violence. Instead, adherents first tried to reason with Communist Party rulers through letters and petitions. When these fell on deaf ears, the Falun Gong turned to Tiananmen Square, where–through quietly meditating or displaying banners before being arrested–they sought to call upon the conscience of the Chinese people as well as world leaders. As the persecution continued, the Falun Gong began countering state propaganda by distributing information exposing the persecution.

"Collectively, the movement constitutes one of the largest non-violent movements in the world.

"At the same time Church Women United praises their courage to face the persecution with compassion and tolerance.

"Church Women United stands with you together in solidarity until the persecution is ended." …

Patrick Mahoney from Christian Defense Coalition went to Tiananmen Square on August 7, 2008, the day before the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, to appeal for Falun Gong. In his speech, he said that, although the Chinese government deported him, it was his honor. He strongly condemned the persecution.

He expressed his respect to Falun Gong practitioners. He said their behavior is very good and touching.

He pointed out that, to end the persecution and give Chinese people freedom, human rights, and dignity, we must dissolve the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). To reach this goal, Chinese people need to step forward, and different groups need to make their voices heard. He said that we need to speak up in the international arena, that we cannot remain silent, that the President needs to state his position on this issue, and that we need to expose the CCP's human rights violations and exert pressure on it.

Mr. Mohoney said we should not trade human rights with the CCP for business. He called upon President Obama to formally condemn the persecution of Falun Gong on July 20, the 10th anniversary of the persecution.

Mr. Mohoney said we need to tell the American people about the persecution and organ harvesting, because they will be shocked and join the peaceful resistance against the persecution.

Michael Horowitz, a senior fellow of the Hudson Institute, said in his speech that history is not written by the famous. Instead, it is written by those who devote their lives to truth. He said Falun Gong practitioners make this world more beautiful.

Mr. Horowitz agrees that, to end the persecution, we must dissolve the CCP. He said tyrannical powers like the CCP do not have the mechanisms to change themselves. Also, that tyrannical powers cannot exist for a long time. He noted that the former Soviet Union came crashing down, as did those in Eastern Europe, so the CCP will collapse, too–its disappearance is a historical necessity.

Sun Yanjun, a visiting scholar, said that Falun Gong practitioners' ten-year peaceful resistance against the persecution has touched a lot of people. He said, "As a religious-studies scholar, I have seen a lot of religious groups. I have to say that Falun Gong practitioners are the most sincere, kind and wise group that I have ever seen. They create a pure land in this world, and represent the hope of human beings." …

Geng He, the wife of Gao Zhisheng, a famous human rights lawyer, said that Mr. Gao Zhisheng was secretly arrested in China, because he defended Falun Gong practitioners. She said, "Although he is arrested, and we cannot contact him, we don't regret what we have done. Mr. Gao said it is a task for those who have high moral standards to end the Chinese people's sufferings. Falun Gong practitioners are fulfilling this task, and we want to join them."

"Only if we dissolve the CCP can we end the suffering."

Dr. Yang Jianli is the president of Initiatives for China. He sent his representative Mr. Jim Geheran to the rally, who spoke on his behalf … [saying], "What manner of governance is practiced by this Party that rules China today? It is the same government that sent tanks across Tiananmen in 1989 that took away the legs of Mr. Feng (a student protestor maimed for life in the Tiananmen Square Massacre, who was also in attendance at the Capitol Hill rally) and dashed the hopes of a generation of young students.

"What kind of government rules China today? It is a government that calls its citizens terrorists every time they petition for protection."

He went on to say, "The Falun Gong are not subversives, but people of peace. People of Forbearance, Compassion and Truth." …

July 18 — Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong in China

Canada Free Press (Clive Ansley) — July 20, 2009 marks an important anniversary.  But unlike most anniversaries, this is not a happy one, and provides no occasion for celebration.  Ten years ago, on July 20th, 1999 the Chinese Communist Party launched a genocidal campaign of torture, mass murder, and ultimately of genocide directed against some seventy to one hundred million Falun Gong practitioners in China.  This pogrom has continued unabated now for a full decade while the world has stood silently by, averted its eyes and essentially re-enacted the “see no evil, speak no evil, see no evil” cowardice and avarice which characterized the callous indifference of the world during the 1930s to the growing evidence of the coming Nazi holocaust against the Jewish people.

Just as William Lyon Mackenzie King refused to allow any Jewish refugees to disembark in Canada, Canadian politicians at every level of government today demonstrate their unprincipled and craven willingness to succor the most bloodthirsty and barbarous regime since the Nazi era.  In the face of substantial and uncontradicted evidence that the Beijing police state has murdered tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners on the operating tables of China’s hospitals in order to harvest their organs for lucrative profits on the international transplant market; and as the most vicious and unprecedented campaign of persecution and terror against China’s lawyers unfolds before our eyes, disbarring, torturing, incarcerating and “disappearing” incredibly courageous human rights lawyers, what do our unprincipled politicians and our “Fourth Estate” have to say? What do the representatives of the legal profession in democratic countries have to say?

The mass murder of healthy Falun Gong practitioners for the sole purpose of plundering their organs constitutes the greatest Crime against Humanity since the Holocaust; the brutal persecution, terrorization, and repression of the entire “Rights Protection” bar in China constitutes the single greatest affront to the Rule of Law which the world has witnessed in a long time.  As the documentation of these crimes continues to grow exponentially, politicians such as Bob Rae assure us that while there are still some human rights problems in China, Beijing is making substantial progress and the human rights situation is improving significantly.  Our current Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Cannon, thinks we should avoid publicly embarrassing the Beijing dictators about little things like organ harvesting and the bestial torture and disbarment of human rights lawyers.  The Canadian Bar Association and some provincial law societies (with the commendable exception of the Law Society of Upper Canada) have remained totally mute with respect to the treatment of their Chinese colleagues; indeed various CBA representatives continue to peddle the errant and vapid nonsense that China is committed to the Rule of Law and that reform of China’s spurious and fraudulent “legal” system is progressing at an impressive pace.

And the Fourth Estate? The pathetic North American media has been virtually mute throughout this full decade of organ theft and genocide committed by Beijing.  Hardly a word has ever appeared in print and scarcely a whisper of this mass atrocity has been heard on the television networks or cable services.  In terms of sheer undeniable newsworthiness, it is irrefutably the biggest story of this century. Yet it is apparently a taboo topic in our derelict media.  We are informed that those conscientious reporters who turn in stories on the persecution are told by their editors that their papers will not touch this topic.

Instead of offering comfort and support to the innocent victims of Beijing’s bestiality, unprincipled politicians such as those on Vancouver City Council turn the victims into the culprits and curry favour with Beijing.

This is the holocaust all over again. The Beijing Olympics was the Berlin Olympics of 1936 all over again.

Those who do not recognize this parallel are limited to the willfully blind; the morally bankrupt; and the profoundly ignorant.

And I want to end by coming back to the report — Bloody Harvest — by David Matas and David Kilgour. This report MUST be addressed seriously and extensively by the North American media.

The credibility of the authors of this report is simply not in question — David Matas is perhaps the leading human rights lawyer in Canada; David Kilgour is a former Secretary of State for Far Eastern affairs in Canada; both are lawyers; and they have impeccable credentials. This is not coming from the National Enquirer or Fox News; this is coming from sources that are simply unimpeachable. And given the horrendous nature of the allegations — and the unimpeachable sources which have produced the report — crime cannot be legitimately ignored by legitimate journalists. It must be debated.

Journalists are entitled to dispute the methods of the Kilgour-Matas research; they have not done so.

Journalists are entitled to criticize the nature of the evidence; they have not done so.

Journalists are entitled to produce contrary evidence; they have not done so.

But what the legitimate media is not entitled to do is to leave their readers and viewers uninformed about credible and compelling evidence of a new holocaust.

Clive Ansley is the President  of US-Canada CIPFG  
 
July 19 — 10 years on, Falun Gong shows strength
WASHINGTON (AFP, Shaun Tandon) — Ten years after China banned the Falungong spiritual movement, the two sides are waging a battle both at home and abroad where the group has become a nagging thorn in Beijing's side. …

Falungong has tried to show its strength ahead of the anniversary of China's ban on July 20, 1999, with thousands of supporters converging on Washington in yellow shirts for public speeches, prayers and vigils.

Sixty-two members of the US Congress signed a letter to President Barack Obama to denounce "one of the most unjust and cruel persecutions of our times."

The lawmakers called on the Obama administration to speak out to China to end "the extreme brutality of the persecution faced by Falungong practitioners." …

Falungong says that more than 3,200 practitioners have since died from persecution and that Chinese authorities have harvested their organs.

While it is impossible to independently verify each case, Falungong supporters and relatives speak of constant monitoring and harassment.

Jin Pang, 26, a Chinese student in the United States, said her mother was taken away with some 100 other Falungong practitioners in the eastern city of Weifang in July last year ahead of the Beijing Olympics. She has not heard from her mother since.

Jin, who has sought help from dozens of US politicians, fears the worst. She said police held her mother for 11 days in 2001 and beat her with electric batons that burned her body. She said her mother was freed after police demanded 2,000 yuan (300 dollars) from the family. …

July 19 — Falun Gong followers gather on Mall

WASHINGTON (AP) — Falun Gong practitioners and their supporters are gathering on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on the 10th anniversary of a Chinese crackdown on the spiritual movement.

Organizers say thousands of people were participating in quiet meditation early Sunday afternoon.

A rally and concert were planned for later Sunday and were also expected to draw thousands. Several people who say they and their relatives were persecuted by the Chinese government for their beliefs were expected to speak. …

July 19 — Falun Gong practitioners tell their tale

CHICAGO (Chicago Tribune, Manya A. Brachear) — Peter Zheng, 38, and Helen Nie, 40, practice Falun Gong Wednesday morning, July 15, 2009 with neighbors in a courtyard at the CHA development where they live on the South Side. They both were imprisoned in China for their practice of Falun Gong and were able to emigrate to the U.S. in 2008, where they were granted political asylum. …

"The Chinese regime is taking the entire population hostage," said Nie, 40. "They are victims in this persecution. I think they have been completely brainwashed by propaganda. I think this is really sad." …

The 10-year crackdown on Falun Gong practitioners highlights religious freedom issues in China, where millions of Christians worship underground; across Tibet, where Buddhist monks protest control of their monasteries; and in the Xinjiang region, where clashes between Muslim Uighurs and Han Chinese recently escalated. …

Zheng said that in 2001, he was tortured and jailed for seven years. Nie was detained for a month during Zheng's absence. Afraid for their lives and the lives of their families, Zheng and Nie came to the U.S. shortly after his release. They want to return, but Zheng said he won't until the persecution ends and the "perpetrators are brought to justice." 

July 19 — China row campaigners travel to London
OXFORD, UK (Oxford Mail) — A GROUP of people from Oxford who practice the discipline of Falun Gong are going to London to campaign against persecution of its practitioners. It has been outlawed in China since 1999, and today marks the 10th anniversary of the ban.

To mark the occasion, a group of Falun Gong practitioners from Oxford will join protesters from across the UK for a vigil in Parliament Square. People with glowing lanterns will occupy the square, calling on the UK Government to condemn the persecution of Falun Gong. …
 
Amnesty International has raised concerns about human rights abuses of Falun Gong practitioners in China.

July 20 — Local Falun Gong Practitioners Meet on Independence Mall

PHILADELPHIA (KYW1060, Karin Phillips) — Local supporters of an ancient meditation practice were gathering on Independence Mall in center city Philadelphia on Monday at 7pm to mark the 10th anniversary of the banning of the practice in China.

Falun Gong, also called Falun Dafa, is a traditional Buddhist system of meditation and self improvement that was banned by the Chinese government July 20th, 1999. International watchdog groups reports that, since then, thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have been tortured and killed or sent to forced labor camps.

Cindy Wang is a local Falun Gong practitioner: "Innocent people who believe in truthfulness, compassion, tolerance have been tortured, arrested and lost their freedom of living as ordinary people."

Wang says the rally is to draw attention to a US House resolution that officially recognizes the persecution and calls for an end to it.
 
July 20 — An Occurrence on Fuyou Street
The Communist myth of Falun Gong's original sin

National Review (Ethan Gutmann) — Ten years ago, on April 25, 1999, while attending a Beijing wedding, I heard a rumor that a large crowd of people had gathered at Zhongnanhai, the Chinese government's compound. I phoned an acquaintance at the South China Morning Post. "Who are they?" I asked. "We think they are called 'Falun Gong,'" he said. "Apparently it's a huge Chinese religious movement, but we don't really know anything about them." Nobody knew much about them, but the scale of the event was shocking: 10,000 Chinese standing silently in the first mass demonstration since Tiananmen. Equally shocking was the party's ferocious crackdown, which came on July 20.

Falun Gong, at its peak a movement of 70 million people, is mostly invisible to China journalists and little more than a footnote in the West. …

In 1999, the Public Security Bureau estimated that Falun Gong had attracted 70 million practitioners, 5 million more people than belonged to the Communist party itself. It was at that point that a physicist published an article in a Tianjin Normal University journal portraying Falun Gong as a dangerous cult. China isn't the West, and these things aren't random: The physicist, He Zuoxiu, is the brother-in-law of Luo Gan, at that time the head of public security, and the Tianjin Normal University journal answers to the state. The article was a flare in the night sky, a signal and trial of the party's designs.

In China, when you see such a signal and know you are targeted, there are two options. You can keep quiet — and probably get crushed. Or you can stand up — and still probably get crushed. But Falun Gong takes refuting lies to be a central part of its morality. And it had a method for doing this: show up en masse (it's easy to chop the head of a single religious leader, harder with thousands of believers), stay silent, and simply stand around until someone talks to you. It had employed this method already against earlier negative reports — newspaper articles in 1997, a Beijing television segment in 1998. …

According to a former district-level official — call him Minister X — the party's decision to eliminate Falun Gong, and its preparation for that task, happened long before any ban was made public. It was discussed explicitly in party meetings. Jiang Zemin could not resolve the tension that followed the Tiananmen slaughter except by creating a new target, and Falun Gong was it. …

The party will not fire itself, and it is time for the West to engage the reality of China. A post-Communist civil society in China will include a role for Falun Gong, and we should better understand the real history of the movement. For today, it's enough to dispel at least one myth that feeds the misplaced idea that the West has no business commenting on an obscure family quarrel. Falun Gong did not start this war. The Chinese Communist party did. And the party should be held fully accountable for the results.

Mr. Gutmann, an adjunct fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, is the author of Losing the New China

July 20 — Falun Gong followers rally in D.C.

WASHINGTON (Washinton Times) — Falun Gong practitioners and their supporters gathered on the Mall on Sunday to observe the 10th anniversary of a Chinese crackdown on the spiritual movement.

Organizers said thousands of people were participating in quiet meditation early in the afternoon.

A rally and concert were planned for later Sunday and were also expected to draw thousands. Several people who said they and their relatives were persecuted by the Chinese government for their beliefs were expected to speak. …

The drive by China's Communist Party leaders to obliterate the spiritual sect has left a human toll ranging from the deaths of followers in custody to the self-exile of others and the beatings of their lawyers.
 
The group says at least 3,200 of its members have been tortured to death by the Chinese government. It cites Wang Lixuan, who had to watch her 7-month-old son die in front of her after he was hung upside down. Then police broke her neck and crushed her skull. …

July 20 — Falun Gong marks a decade of repression

MELBOURNE (Radio Australia, Sen Lam) — Ten years ago today, 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners staged a quiet demonstration in Beijing, taking the Chinese authorities by surprise.

Following that incident, China's government banned the movement, with the Chinese Communist Party accusing the Falungong of  "advocating superstition" and "jeopardizing social stability".

Over the past ten years, Falun Gong suporters have claimed a range of human rights abuses including detentions, torture, killings and the accusation that tens of thousands of Falungong practitioners are kept for organ harvesting.

We could not get a Chinese government official to join us this morning …

July 20 — Crimes must be exposed

MIRAMICHI, Canada (Miramichi Leader, Marie Beaulieu) — July 20, marks ten years since the brutal persecution of Falun Gong began in China. For ten years, Falun Gong practitioners have been branded as criminals by the regime, tortured and killed for no just cause.

It's no secret that the communist authorities use hundreds of different Stalinist torture methods on them in an effort to force practitioners to renounce their belief in truth, compassion and tolerance. So far, there are an estimated 50,000 deaths by torture with tens of thousands still missing after being detained by authorities. Many of them have become unwilling organ donors which is a booming industry in China.

The funny thing about all this is that — no matter how sinister a plight this is — governments of the free world have made friends with the Chinese dictators and perpetrators of these crimes against humanity, rather than supporting the innocent victims who are at the mercy of a bloodthirsty regime. …

July 20 — Falun Gong seeks US support in Internet censor fight

BEIJING (Reuters, Lucy Hornby) — Ten years after a government crackdown drove it underground in China, Falun Gong is trying to position itself to get U.S. government funds to help defeat Internet censors worldwide.

The spiritual group's efforts to stay in contact with its members in China spawned a sophisticated effort to evade Chinese censors, which has now expanded enough that it was used by Iranian protesters to get around government controls in June.

A decade since the crackdown began, Falun Gong has spread overseas. There it has taken on a more political agenda against the Communist Party of China, which in turn still fears its organisational power.

At the centre of the effort is the Global Internet Freedom Consortium (GIFC), made up of about 50 software engineers and Falun Gong practitioners, said Zhou Shiyu, a faculty member at Rutgers University in New Jersey and spokesman for the group.
 
"We started out to stop the persecution but we helped people in closed societies, which we are very proud of, because we know the pain of people in these societies," said Zhou.

GIFC didn't get any the $15 million earmarked by the U.S. Congress in 2008 to support efforts to defeat Internet censors, in part because of Falun Gong's anti-China stance. …

Many students and tech-savvy youth bypass government Internet controls with virtual private networks and other work-arounds. But GIFC's vision is to allow even the non-savvy to break through China's controls, rendering them ultimately ineffective.

"Our goal is not this elite user. We want to make this massive and decisive, to tear down the wall," Zhou said.

China began arresting key Falun Gong leaders on July 20, 1999. Two days later, it launched a propaganda blitz against the group, which it has banned as a "cult".

Some on the mainland still practise quietly, although others are subject to detention or harassment. Falun Gong says over 3,000 members have died in custody over the past 10 years. …

GIFC estimates a million people a day use its software in China, and 400,000 in Iran. It is also popular in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Myanmar, Zhou said.

After GIFC launched a Farsi service, the surge in traffic crashed its servers. The group first suspended services to Iran, then decided to divert resources after the Tehran protests began.

"It's unfortunate, we have really run out of resources. We would like to help but we are limited," Zhou said. "People worked overnight just to keep it going." …

July 18 — Exhibition on Falun Gong Chinese movement opens in Prague

PRAGUE (Prague Daily Monitor / CTK) — An exhibition on the Falun Gong Chinese spiritual movement was opened in Prague centre on Wenceslas Square Saturday within a series of events marking the 10th anniversary of the Falun Gong persecution in China. …

People can light a candle on Wenceslas Square in memory of the Falun Gong victims of persecution and write a message that the organisers will later deliver to the Chinese Embassy in Prague. …

The exhibition on Wenceslas Square tells several stories of the people who have died in repressions against Falun Gong.

Reports surfaced that organs for commercial transplants are being removed from the imprisoned Falun Gong followers against their will. …

July 20 — Streatham daughter demands action on Falun Gong torture anniversary

STREATHAM, Surrey, England (Streatham Guardian, Matt Watts) — A Streatham Common woman whose parents fled China after they were tortured for their religious beliefs is fighting to raise the profile of their struggle and that of millions of others.

Youyan Li, of Hepworth Road, and her parents practice Falun Gong — a Buddhist practice acclaimed for its healing powers — followed by an estimated 70 million people in China and millions others across the globe.

Today (July 20) marks the official 10-year anniversary of what Ms Li says is a brutal persecution by the Chinese authorities of Falun Gong practioners because they feared the religion posed a threat to their control of the country.

It is alleged that millions have been tortured and the Government has been accused of killing 40,000 people in an “organ harvesting” campaign where organs were allegedly taken from thousands of illegally imprisoned, healthy practioners.

Ms Li’s parents, both award-winning scientists, were victims of the persecution before eventually escaping to Australia in 2003 after being granted asylum there.

Her mother, Jing Hang Liu, was arrested six times and jailed for three years after being falsely accused of organising an anti-Government protest.

She is now visiting her daughter in Britain and is calling on people to pressure the British Government to take action to end a situation “verging on genocide”.

Jing Hang Liu, 67, said: “I was tortured with force-feeding through lethal nostril insertion, injection of unknown drugs, long-term sleep deprivation, physical punishment, and slave labour.”
 
She was told it would all end if she gave up practicing Falun Gong. She believes the only reason she was not killed to harvest her organs was she was too old. …

Streatham MP Keith Hill has already raised the issue of persecution of the Falun Gong in Parliament at her request, and Youyan Li and her mother were due to visit Downing Street today to hand over a letter demanding more action be taken.

July 20 — Amnesty International Condemns the Persecution of Falun Gong

CANADA (Clearwisdom, Ying Zi) — On July 16, Alexander Neve, the Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada, condemned the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) persecution of Falun Gong practitioners at a press conference on Parliament Hill. He called upon the Canadian government to take more action to help stop the persecution of Falun Gong.

Ten years ago, on July 20, 1999, the CCP launched the brutal persecution of Falun Gong. Mr. Neve said that July 20 is a symbol of the serious human rights violation of Falun Gong practitioners, including torture, 3000 deaths, and thousands of people being jailed. He said that at the core of these human rights violations is the deprivation of millions of people of their right of belief, conscience and expression.

David Kilgour, lawyer and former Canadian Member of Parliament, and David Matas, well-known Canadian human rights lawyer, have collected 52 pieces of evidence and verified allegations of the CCP harvesting organs from living Falun Gong practitioners. Mr. Kilgour said at the press conference that the brutal persecution of certain groups by the CCP has happened periodically since the CCP obtained power in 1949.

Mr. Neve said that the persecution not only targets Falun Gong practitioners, but also those who dare to speak out for Falun Gong. Many lawyers in China who defend Falun Gong have been attacked, harassed or even jailed. He pointed out that many lawyers who handled Falun Gong practitioners' cases have had their professional licenses illegally revoked by the CCP. …

Zhou Limin, spokesman for the Falun Dafa Association, said that currently, sixteen family members of Canadian citizens are jailed, and one was sentenced to sixteen years because of their practice of Falun Gong.

Shen Yue, a Falun Gong practitioner from Montreal, told stories of his mother and three aunts. His mother was sentenced to two years in prison in 2001. Later, on June 30, 2007, because she handed out Falun Gong informational materials, she was arrested again and sentenced to five years.

Shen Yue said that his mother was badly tortured in jail. His three aunts are still imprisoned in the Shijiazhuang Women's Prison. "In 2004, two of my aunts were sentenced to four years and one was sentenced to five years. They are forced to do heavy labor from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m."

Mr. Neve said that the Canadian government should also take note of July 20. He suggested that the government protect the rights of Canadian citizens' family members and exert pressure on the Chinese government [to end the persecution]. He said that the Canadian government must deliver a clear message to the Chinese government on this tragic date. …

July 20 — Taking a stand by sitting in tranquility

NTDTV — A million minutes to help millions of Falun Gong practitioners oppressed by the Chinese Communist Party

[Jared Pearman, Organizer, Million Minutes of Meditation]:
“Million Minutes of Meditation is a project that we started at Friends of Falun Gong USA, to help bring in more people to show their support for Falun Gong.”… “What we’re actually trying to do is get people to sit down and meditate, meditate and then donate some of those minutes of inner peace to help stop the persecution in China.” …

A photo exhibition at the site documents the 10 years of persecution Falun Gong practitioners have experienced since.

[Jeff Nenarella, Photo Exhibit Coordinator]:
“Behind me there are a few different torture re-enactment photos. On the top right here we have, its called the Tiger Bench, which is a brutal form of persecution where they strap you down into this L position, sitting on boards. Then they torture you, they burn your legs with hot rods, and your chest—in the most excruciating way possible, to break the will of the practitioners.”

Yet one gets the strong impression here that courage and hope haven’t been forgotten. …

[Mrs. Larios, Participant]:
“Well, our heart goes out to the people of China and to all people all over the world. And if we can experience peace here within our little family structure, we want that peace to go all the way across the world, all over the world and touch every heart everywhere.”…

July 21 — Chinese Web sites close amid tightening controls

BEIJING (Associated Press, Alexa Olesen) — Two more Web sites dedicated to social networking went offline in China on Tuesday amid tightening controls that have blocked Facebook, Twitter and other popular sites that offered many Chinese a rare taste of free expression.

China's crackdown on social networking sites began in March, when Chinese Web users found they could no longer visit YouTube shortly after video appeared on the site purporting to show Chinese security officials mistreating Tibetans. …

"I am especially pessimistic about this fall and next spring," said Wen Yunchao, a well-known Chinese blogger based in Guangzhou in south China. "I expect they will be more and more restrictive because they have yet to come up with a good way to manage the Internet. They are aware that it has this great power and they are afraid of it." …
 
Wen, the blogger from Guangzhou, said having two sites close on the same day indicates pressure from authorities for them to shut down. He said the timing of the closures was probably related to the 10-year anniversary on Wednesday of the banning of the Falun Gong spiritual movement. …

July 21 — Chinese embassy protest over Falun Gong ban

DUBLIN (Irish Times, Danielle Moran) — A PROTEST was held yesterday outside the Chinese embassy in Dublin by the Irish Falun Dafa Association to mark 10 years of a Chinese government ban on the Falun Gong spiritual movement.

The protest was the third event in as many days which commemorated 10 years of the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China, said event organiser Ming Zhao. Yesterday’s protest was preceded by a rally in Dublin city centre on Saturday and a candlelit vigil held outside the embassy on Sunday night.

The Irish association claims that hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have been arbitrarily arrested and imprisoned in China.

The movement says that “detention facilities and prisons all over China have been used to mainly detain Falun Gong practitioners” and that members constitute up to 90 per cent of detainees in a number of women’s prisons. …

The protesters say the group’s website, www.minghui.org, has recorded more than 3,280 cases of death by torture of Falun Gong members by Chinese authorities. …

July 21 — Falun Gong practitioners call for government help to end China's communist regime

CANADA (Chatham Daily News / Sun Media, Aedan Helmer) — Falun Gong practitioners marked a grim anniversary yesterday, protesting a decade of persecution and alleged atrocities at the hands of China's communist regime.

A small group of demonstrators formed a chain facing the Embassy of the People's Republic of China, meditating and performing ceremonial Falun Gong rites while calling on western governments to help end a decade of bloodshed.

The spiritual practice of Falun Gong was introduced in China in 1992 based on the three tenets of truth, compassion and forbearance. As its popularity grew, the practice was outlawed by the Communist government in 1999, and a violent crackdown was launched on July 20 of that year with the goal of eradicating the spiritual practice within three months.

Ten years later, estimates range between 200,000 and two million Falun Gong practitioners incarcerated in Chinese detention centres and labour camps, with a conservative estimate of more than 3,000 killed.

The Chinese government has come under harsh criticism from international humanitarian organizations in the face of the allegations.

"For 10 years we've been doing nothing but trying to tell the truth," said Lucy Zhou, national co-ordinator of Falun Dafa Association of Canada.

"We're not a political organization, we're a group of people who practise meditation and spirituality in a very quiet and peaceful way. We're not supposed to be a threat to anybody."

David Kilgour, retired MP and the author of a damning 2006 report uncovering evidence of live organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners, delivered a passionate speech yesterday aimed directly at Chinese Ambassador Lan Lijun.

"We're here for the Falun Gong community today but we might be talking about many others in a long list of persecuted citizens of China," said Kilgour.

"These are peaceful, non-violent, good citizens of China," said Kilgour of the estimated 100 million Falun Gong practitioners still in that country.

"No Chinese citizens have been treated more brutally, more mercilessly than the Falun Gong community."

July 22 — China says Falun Gong ban 'works'

BEIJING (BBC News, Michael Bristow) — A Chinese official says the country has been successful in efforts to crack down on the spiritual movement Falun Gong, 10 years after it was banned.

Li Anping, from the China Anti-Cult Association, told a national newspaper that people now realised the true nature of the movement.

But Falun Gong still exists, and has organised protest events outside China to mark the anniversary. …

The Chinese government is not keen to mark this anniversary and there has been little mention of Falun Gong in the media over the past few days.

But Mr Li told China's Global Times: "As people have realised the true essence of the cult, it's [now] impossible for them to organise a massive activity."

His association is a non-governmental body made up of volunteers, although it receives government backing.

But the Falun Gong information centre, based in New York, puts forward a different picture.

It says the Chinese government has carried out a violent campaign against practitioners over the last 10 years.

It claims that more than 3,000 people have been killed and tens of thousands tortured in China's crackdown on the movement. …
 
Although the group is banned in mainland China, it is legal in Hong Kong, which was returned to China in 1997.

There have also been demonstrations against China's crackdown on the movement in Hong Kong, Taiwan and the United States over recent days. …

July 22 — Chinese official: Beijing has won the battle against Falun Gong

BEIJING (AsiaNews.it / Agencies) — China has won the battle against Falun Gong, the practice of which has now been eradicated. This according to an official from an association close to the Communist government, who boasts the "success" of the campaign launched in 1999 by Jiang Zemin… 

Li Anping, of the China Anti-Cult Association – a movement of volunteers that has government support — said that people have understood the “true nature of the movement” and that it “is [now] impossible for them to organize mass activities”.  Beijing, however, is maintaining a low profile on this issue, the official newspaper makes almost no mention of the campaign of repression against Falun Gong. 

Abroad, activists and followers of the movement have organized marches and demonstrations to remember the violence of the Chinese government.  The Falun Gong Information Center, an organization based in New York, denounces the killing of 3 thousand followers and tens of thousands of cases of torture.

In recent days the Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) reported the arrest of three lawyers in north-eastern China, for their defence of Falun Gong followers. The detentions occurred between July 2 and 8. They are Ruping Liu, Wang Ping and Wang Yonghang and their fate is shrouded in silence. Commenting on these reports, Renee Xia, international director of CHRD, expresses "concern", stressing that “these actions could signal a gradual deterioration of the situation, for lawyers who fight for human rights in China”.
 
Falun Gong is the practice of meditation and physical exercises inspired by Buddhist and Taoist traditions … On 25 April 1999 over 10 thousand followers demonstrated peacefully in Beijing against the violation of their rights. In July 1999 — at the suggestion of the then President Jiang Zemin — a fierce persecution against the group….

19 July — Commemorating persecution in China

WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Canada (David Matas) — Remarks prepared for delivery to a candlelight vigil in front of the Legislative Buildings commemorating the 10-year persecution of Falun Gong in China

Today we must remember all the victims of persecution in China
– the Uighurs and Tibetans who are senselessly killed solely for seeking to preserve their identity and culture,
– the democracy activists, human rights defenders and political dissidents who stand up for universal human rights values,
– the Christian evangelicals and members of house church congregations, repressed for holding a belief which the Chinese state does not control, and
– all those who protest the arbitrary power of the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese state.

On this day, we should pay especial attention to the persecution of the practitioners of Falun Gong. The Communist Party of China decided ten years ago, on July 20, 1999, to have the Government of China ban the practice of Falun Gong. The Government announced the ban two days later.

Falun Gong is a set of exercises with a spiritual foundation based on Taoism and Buddhism. Since the banning, the practitioners of Falun Gong have been persecuted in China far worse than any other victim group.

• The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture reports that 66% of the victims of torture and ill-treatment in China are Falun Gong practitioners. The next largest group is Uighurs at 11%. Every other victim group is single digits.

• The extremes of language the Chinese government uses against the Falun Gong are unparalleled, unmatched by the comparatively mild criticisms China has of other victims. The standard regime refrain about the Falun Gong community is that it is an evil cult, though the practice of Falun Gong has none of the characteristics of a cult.

• The documented yearly arbitrary killings and disappearances of Falun Gong exceed by far the totals for any other victim group. Since the banning, over three thousand named Falun Gong practitioners have died as a result of the persecution.

• The United States Department of State's Country Reports provide that Falun Gong adherents constitute at least half of the inmates in the country's re-education-through-labour camps.

• Human rights lawyers, left alone when they defend other unpopular causes, are persecuted once they defend Falun Gong practitioners. That was the case for Gao Zhisheng who was fine despite taking on a number of unpopular causes, until he opposed the victimization of Falun Gong. Now he is disbarred; his office has been shut down; he has been brutally tortured; his family was forced to flee China to escape danger; he has been arbitrarily detained and has disappeared.

• Falun Gong practitioners and prisoners sentenced to death are the sole victims of forced organ harvesting, the extraction and sale of their organs to patients in need of transplants. Former Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific David Kilgour and I released a report in July 2006 and a revised report in January 2007 which came to the conclusion that practitioners of Falun Gong were being killed for their organs throughout China from 2001 to the date of our report. Since our report has come out, statistics show that this problem has got even worse. …

David Matas is an international human rights lawyer based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada