On this Human Rights Day, Secretary of State Pompeo issued a statement announcing the public designation of 17 foreign officials involved in gross human right violations. The short statement included three names. One of them was Huang Yuanxiong, chief of the Xiamen Public Security Bureau Wucun Police Station in China, who was sanctioned “for his involvement in gross violations of human rights … associated with particularly severe violations of religious freedom of Falun Gong practitioners.”
We applaud this action. It’s long overdue and represents a sharp break with previous attempts by Western governments to appease the Chinese regime.
Although an estimated 100 million Falun Gong practitioners in China have been persecuted for 21 years, Western governments have tended not to raise this issue.
For the Chinese regime, the violation of the human rights of Falun Gong practitioners has always been the most sensitive topic. Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials would tell Western governments that they could raise human rights and the Falun Gong issue in private but not in public. But, then, even in private dialogue, as soon as a Western official would speak of Falun Gong, the CCP officials would get up and leave. That is why many Western officials would not openly mention Falun Gong, despite saying they support human rights.
To the CCP, if a country discusses human rights without mentioning Falun Gong, this indicates a fear of offending Beijing or a lack of seriousness. It is equivalent to a political show, and the CCP knows it has won.
In a letter circulated among Politburo members on the night of April 25, 1999, then-CCP leader Jiang Zemin outlined why he believed Falun Gong should be eradicated. He complained that at the time Falun Gong had “many followers from the Communist Party, [Party or state] officials, scholars, soldiers, as well as workers and peasants.”
He feared the number of people practicing, their presence in all parts of Chinese society—including within the CCP—and throughout the nation.
Jiang also feared that the principles of Falun Gong might be more attractive to the Chinese people than the CCP’s ideology, based on “Marxism, materialism, and atheism.”
Falun Gong teaches living according to the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance and the practice of five meditative exercises.
Jiang launched his persecution of Falun Gong on July 20, 1999. With 100 million practicing Falun Gong, each of whom has family members, friends, and colleagues, this campaign in effect targeted all of the people of China.
The entire weight of the state was brought against Falun Gong practitioners, who lost jobs, places in school, and housing, among other punishments. They have been arrested by the millions and suffered brainwashing and torture meant to force them to give up their beliefs.
After an investigation, the independent China Tribunal concluded that “forced organ harvesting has been committed for years throughout China on a significant scale and that Falun Gong practitioners have been one—and probably the main—source of organ supply.”
Researchers have labeled this organ harvesting as a “cold genocide.”
On the website Minghui.org, practitioners have documented this persecution case by case in detail for 21 years. The whole world has had access to this information. Falun Gong practitioners have tirelessly organized rallies, and visited government offices and provided witnesses.
The U.S. Congress has responded with several resolutions, and many individual officials have expressed support. But the U.S. government had not taken a clear stance in the past.
The Trump administration, though, has acted differently. Trump met with survivors of religious persecution in China, including a Falun Gong practitioner, in the White House on July 17, 2019.
Secretary of State Pompeo has explicitly condemned the persecution of Falun Gong, and Ambassador for Religious Freedom Sam Brownback has condemned forced organ harvesting.
With the sanctioning of Huang, the Trump administration has taken another important step forward.
By standing up to the CCP and condemning its persecution of Falun Gong, the United States shows strength and gives hope to the world.