Faithful adherents of Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa), a peaceful self-improvement practice, sat on the lawn in meditation under the shade of giant Redwood trees bordering the capitol building, sheltered from the intense California sun.
The words “Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance,” written in both Chinese and English, hung on booths and appeared on bright yellow shirts, sharing the tenets of Falun Gong with all those passing by on June 11.
The date was chosen to remind people of the establishment of what is called the 610 Office, which is named after the date June 10, the day it was established. The office is charged with destroying freedom of belief inside mainland China. It was created in 1999 by the previous Chinese leader Jiang Zemin, specifically to eradicate Falun Gong.
However, the eradication failed. As people were being arrested in droves through the state-sanctioned persecution, the Chinese regime began what has been described as “one of the most horrific medical crimes against humanity.”
Along with believers of Falun Gong, doctors and lawmakers have voiced their support for the spiritual practice, and opposition to the Chinese regime’s crimes.
A Doctor Against Forced Organ Harvesting
Doctor Alejandro Centurion is a practicing neurologist in Monterey, California. Since 2006, he has been an associate member and West Coast delegate of Doctors Against Forced Organs Harvesting (DAFOH). Centurion has worked for over the past decade to raise awareness about the Chinese regime’s ongoing forced organ harvesting practices.
“As a physician, to hear that there was this crime taking place, it was almost so hard to believe,” Centurion said. “My conscience couldn’t not do something about it, to speak about against it.”
Centurion acknowledges the value of organ transplanting, as members of his family have received transplants. However, he emphasizes that they must be done ethically.
“What’s taking place in China, it’s just one of the most horrific medical crimes against humanity, that we’ve never really seen before in history,” Centurion said.
Centurion said that DAFOH has worked to inform both medical doctors and lawmakers about what’s secretly going on in China. DAFOH also has members that are transplant surgeons.
Centurion added that DAFOH was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016.
“Some people, I think, have a hard time believing this is truly happening, because it is just so horrific,” Centurion said. “If someone truly in their heart knows that this is taking place, I don’t see how someone can’t do something.”
“This is a crime being committed by an evil party.”
Centurion said that China does the second-most transplant surgeries in the world, and are expected to surpass the United States. However, the number of registered donors in China is only 500,000, according to Centurion. By comparison, the United States has 130 million registered donors.
China is able to provide more organs, even more than the United States, in a matter of weeks. This is not possible without a source of organs that can be obtained on demand, according to Centurion.
Law Maker’s Support
Assemblyman Randy Voepel (R-Calif.) serves southern California’s 71st district. He saluted the Falun Gong supporters before he took center stage to speak at the rally. He wore not only his Vietnam Veteran hat, emblazoned with service medallions, but also his dog tags hanging from his neck.
Voepel emphasized the importance of him being a Vietnam Veteran as he serves as a representative in California’s capitol. “I’m the last fighter against the Chinese communists, and all communists,” Voepel said.
“I’m the last one, and I never give up.”
Voepel said that he will continue to support Falun Gong as long as he is on this earth. He also gave his continuing support to people—those whose identities are not even known—that are wrongfully jailed in Chinese prisons.
Voepel gave a warning about the political system that has harmed and continues to harm so many. “The Chinese Communist Party wants to conquer the world,” Voepel said. “All their strategies are simply to enslave the world and eliminate all of us.”
Voepel explained that the people who stand together to oppose the communist regime may also become its targets, “Ladies and Gentlemen, we must always oppose the Chinese communist regime and we must support those freedom fighters and wonderful people of free souls in China.”
Voepel closed his speech with the United States Marine’s battle cry—”Oorah.”
After the rally concluded, practitioners of Falun Gong visited the 120 California lawmaker’s offices, requesting further support for Falun Gong and to end the persecution in China.
An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported the name of an assemblyman who gave support at the rally. The correct name is Assemblyman Randy Voepel of the 71st district. The Epoch Times regrets this error.