A total of 921 lawmakers from 35 countries and regions worldwide issued a joint statement on International Human Rights Day to condemn the Chinese regime’s decades-long persecution of the spiritual practice Falun Gong.
Falun Gong, or Falun Dafa, was introduced in China in the 1990s, known for its meditative exercises and moral teachings centered around three principles: truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.
Its growing popularity—about 70 million to 100 million adherents by 1999, according to state estimates at the time—was deemed a threat by the Chinese regime, which then launched a brutal suppression campaign in July 1999. Millions have since been thrown into prisons, labor camps, psychiatric wards, and other facilities. Hundreds of thousands have suffered torture, according to estimates from the Falun Dafa Information Center.
Minghui.org, a U.S.-based website dedicated to documenting the persecution, has tracked down about 4,600 deaths under various abuses, though experts say the real toll is likely far greater due to the challenge of verifying information from China.
“The persecution of Falun Gong in China has been one of the harshest campaigns against a faith group in modern times,” lawmakers wrote in the statement published by the Falun Dafa Information Center. They urged the Chinese Communist Party to “immediately stop the persecution” and “unconditionally release all detained Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience.”
“Every human deserves dignity, they should have control over their body and freedom of belief,” said David Seymour, a member of the New Zealand Parliament.
Levi Browde, the center’s executive director, applauded the lawmakers’ stance, calling it “an unprecedented effort” to “stop the Chinese Communist Party’s injustices against Falun Gong.”
“Together they send a clear message of solidarity to those suffering in China and an unmistakable rejection of the Chinese regime’s campaign to wipe out a peaceful faith practiced by tens of millions in China, and around the world,” he said in a press release.
An independent people’s tribunal in 2019 found Falun Gong practitioners to be the primary victims of China’s state-sanctioned organ harvesting—they’re killed for their organs, which are then sold on a lucrative black market of transplant tourism.
“These are humans who are being slaughtered, something inhumane, something very barbaric,” said Guspardi Gaus, a lawmaker in Indonesia.
Marking International Human Rights Day on Dec. 10, the United States sanctioned a Chinese official for his role in human rights violations against Falun Gong practitioners, making him the first-ever persecutor of Falun Gong to be punished.
Wang Ting-yu, a member of Taiwan’s unicameral legislature, the Legislative Yuan, signaled that the island state could initiate similar sanctions.
“Taiwan can at least check the identity of those who persecute Falun Gong … and classify them as persona non-grata or investigate if they have illicit funding in Taiwan,” he said in a statement. “If this becomes a common practice around the world, we’ll let the Chinese Communist Party know that if you persecute Falun Gong, you will have nowhere to go in the world, nowhere to hide.”
Wang noted that the CCP has “accumulated” tactics during the persecution campaign and applied them in suppressing other faiths, such as Catholics, Christians, and Uyghur Muslims.
“Solving the Falun Gong issue is fundamental in solving all these problems,” he said. “I hope that China will remove the Communist Party and give its own country and people a chance.”