SANTA MONICA, Calif.—The Ride 2 Freedom public celebration event took place May 31 with nearly two dozen bicyclists—boys and girls from all over the world, who will ride their bikes 3,000 miles to Washington, D.C., where they plan to meet with President Obama, and then to New York City, where they plan to speak with members of the United Nations in an effort to bring attention to the Chinese regime’s oppressive, systematic torture and abuse of its citizens: men, women, and children, many of them prisoners of conscience.
The criminalization of spiritual belief and the right to practice religious beliefs without fear of persecution, imprisonment, and torture—this a global issue. Part of the Chinese regime’s ongoing use of torture and physical terrorism is the practice of removing vital organs from the lives of prisoners of conscience. It has already been brought to the attention of the United Nations and well-documented in books by international, award-winning authors such as Ethan Gutmann in his book, “The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting, and China’s Secret Solution to Its Dissident Problem.”
These practices, by their very nature, are a war against civilians and in many cases entire families are imprisoned because of one family member’s beliefs. Participating in Sunday’s event were members of the spiritual practice Falun Gong (or Falun Dafa). These are people who do not drink, smoke, or use drugs, and practice living a nonviolent lifestyle.
They have been made a focal point for the persecution of all groups of religious faith—Catholics and Protestants included.
These religious purges are designed to strike fear in all those who are not party line believers. One could make a very logical argument that China tolerates no religion except the party line, which they use as a religious program: as if toeing the party line is pious.
Torture by anyone is a crime upon the person; programmed torture by a government regime is a crime against humanity.
This is a global issue because it is an assault on the concept of being a human being.
Let us be aware that our silence on this tragedy could be interpreted as acceptance.
For more information, visit www.ride2freedom.us
Shelley B. Blank has worked with major national and international newspapers as a journalist as well as a corporate executive. He has produced programs for Public Radio and lectured on modern multimedia communications and technology.