Virginia State Senators to Biden: Address Communist China’s Crimes

Virginia State Senators to Biden: Address Communist China’s Crimes
Virginia state senator Mark J. Peake (R-Lynchburg) at the state capitol in Richmond, Va., in January 2023. (Courtesy of Sen. Mark Peake’s Office)
Terri Wu

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va.—Virginia state senators Mark J. Peake (R-Lynchburg) and Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax) have written a joint letter asking President Joe Biden to “address the crimes that the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] has committed along with the dangers that the party poses.”

Citing the Chinese spy balloon flying over America for days before the U.S. military shot it down on Saturday, Peake told The Epoch Times, “It’s time for Joe Biden to wake up and take a stand against the CCP and let them know where America stands.”

Petersen’s father-in-law is from North Korea. The family was Christian and persecuted; the senator’s grandfather-in-law was executed by the communists.

“This issue of religious persecution by communist governments is something that we know about firsthand, and I will speak up,” the senator told The Epoch Times.

In the letter dated Jan. 30, Sen. Peake enclosed a copy of the resolution he sponsored during this year’s Virginia legislative session.

“I support the resolution because no individual should be persecuted for their spiritual practices. But unfortunately, Falun Gong practitioners continue to be persecuted for expressing their spiritual beliefs,” he wrote in the document.

“Therefore, taking my expressed concerns into consideration, I would like to stress heavy emphasis and urgency in addressing the threat of the CCP,” he added.

Peake wrote the letter upon finding out that he couldn’t introduce the resolution to the Virginia Senate because the Virginia Senate Rules Committee deemed the issue a federal matter and not within the state’s power, even though the Virginia House passed a similar resolution last year.

The Epoch Times has contacted the White House and State Department for comment.

Falun Gong practitioners join the Independence Day parade in Fairfax, Va., on July 4, 2022. (Terri Wu/The Epoch Times)
Falun Gong practitioners join the Independence Day parade in Fairfax, Va., on July 4, 2022. (Terri Wu/The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, a meditation discipline based on truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, was introduced in Virginia in 1996. In three years, the CCP began a nationwide suppression of the peaceful discipline in China as the practice’s popularity had drawn an uncomfortably large number of adherents—estimated at over 70 million.

Over the past 23 years, millions of adherents to the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance have been held in labor camps, mental asylums, drug rehabilitation centers, unofficial black jails, or other detention facilities. The vilification, forced slave labor, torture, and organized killing through forced organ harvesting arising from the persecution have led to an untold number of deaths. Those who survived are left with injuries and financial and psychological harms suffered from the ongoing abuses.

Among these atrocities, Peake’s resolution highlighted forced slave labor and forced organ harvesting, and the importance of informing Virginia residents and the medical community of such crimes.

He said that the CCP’s forced organ harvesting on Uyghurs was well-known, “but I think it’s important for Virginians to know that they [CCP] are doing it to the Falun Gong as well, in addition to the slave labor and the brutality that they have raked upon the Falun Gong.”

In the resolution, Peake also cited local support in the Commonwealth, “Despite little media coverage of the CCP’s persecution of Falun Gong, more than 5,000 Virginia residents have signed petitions to their local governments, and more than 20 Virginia localities have adopted related resolutions condemning the CCP’s atrocities against Falun Gong practitioners in China, including the use of forced organ harvesting and slave labor.”

Among the supportive localities, the County of Fluvanna in Peake’s district passed a resolution condemning the persecution (pdf) in November 2021. The City of Fairfax in Petersen’s district also passed a similar resolution in June 2021.
Previously in 2020, both Peake and Petersen joined 47 other Virginia lawmakers in sending a letter to the then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, urging him to take “forceful, and sustained action” to end the “mental and physical torture” and “immoral practice of non-consenting organ harvesting by the CCP.”
Terri Wu is a Washington-based freelance reporter for The Epoch Times covering education and China-related issues. Send tips to [email protected].
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