Over 100 people gathered in Sydney on Sept. 30 to call on the Australian government to deny visas to human rights violators who are responsible for religious and political persecution in China. The rally also condemned the recent violent assaults in Hong Kong.
A list of human rights violators compiled by the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG) and the Falun Dafa Information Center (FDI) was submitted to the Australian government on Sept. 18, calling for their entry or visa applications be denied.
“We ask our government to help rescue Australian families, deny visa applications and forbid entry to those involved in the human rights abuses,” Dr. Lucy Zhao, President of the Falun Dafa Association of Australia, said in a press release.
The list of perpetrators has already been submitted to the U.S. Statement Department, as well as officials in other countries.
Michelle Nguyen is a committee member for International Coalition to End Organ Transplant Abuse in China and the Vietnamese Australian Lawyers Association. She said that a June 17 judgment by an independent people’s tribunal on China “was unanimous and clear” that Falun Gong practitioners’ organs are being harvested, and the practitioners killed on demand by the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
The tribunal was chaired by Sir Geoffrey Nice QC—the lead prosecutor of former Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic at the International Criminal Tribunal.
Backing calls from survivors of the CCP’s persecution, who were standing next to her, Nguyen called on the government to act on sanctioning the individuals responsible for these atrocities within Australia’s borders.
“The forced organ harvesting has been committed for years on a significant scale, and Falun Gong practitioners have been one, and probably the main source of organ supply,” Nguyen said.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual practice that has been brutally persecuted by the CCP for 20 years. The discipline, consisting of meditative exercises and a set of moral teachings centered around the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, gained significant popularity in the 1990s, with an estimated 70 million to 100 million people practicing in China by the end of the decade, according to official estimates at the time.
Fearing that the practice’s enormous popularity would threaten Party rule, then-paramount leader Jiang Zemin launched nationwide persecution on July 20, 1999.
Practitioners have been, and continue to be, imprisoned, tortured, and killed for refusing to renounce their faith. At any given time, hundreds of thousands of adherents are incarcerated in China for their faith, according to estimates by the Falun Dafa Information Center.
Recently in Hong Kong, a Falun Gong practitioner, who had just left a police station after applying for a demonstration permit for the 70th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party’s takeover of China, was violently assaulted by masked assailants. She is among many victims of the violent, often bloody assaults seen in Hong Kong in recent months.
“We also condemn the recent violent attacks in Hong Kong,” Zhao said at the rally.
William Ho, a Taichi master from Sydney’s Hong Kong community, recounted his family’s experience of being persecuted by the CCP.
“I have endured for over thirty years before openly protesting the CCP, but I can’t endure more,” Ho said in Mandarin. “The Chinese Communist Party hasn’t done a single good thing for decades!”
Mass protests in Hong Kong have entered into their 17th week, sparked by a now-withdrawn government bill that would have allowed the ruling CCP to extradite anyone passing through the former British colony to face trial in China’s notorious courts. Millions of Hong Kongers feared that the proposed law would have eroded Hong Kong’s judicial independence and the rule of law.
Ho called for “all governments of free countries” to sanction the corrupt officials of the CCP, to “confiscate their property, and deny their visas.”
Fatimah Abdulghafur, a leader from Australia’s Uyghur community, and human rights activist Bob Vinnicombe also addressed the rally, calling for international attention to the CCP’s persecution of groups such as Falun Gong and Uyghurs.
According to the tribunal’s report, Uyghurs are also targeted by the CCP for organ harvesting.
According to information from the U.S.-based website Minghui.org, which serves as a clearinghouse for information about the persecution of Falun Gong in China, a U.S. State Department official already confirmed receipt of the submitted list and said the department will take appropriate action in all cases.
Individuals on the list include former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin, officials in the propaganda, political and legal affairs, and public security departments, doctors involved in forced organ harvesting, prison guards, as well as officials of the “610 Office”—a gestapo-like extra-judicial police force explicitly formed to persecute Falun Gong practitioners.
Under its “Global Magnitsky Act,” the government of the United States can deny human rights violators’ and their family entry into the country and also restrict their U.S.-based assets. A similar bill was introduced in Australian Parliament by now-retired Labor MP Michael Danby, but the bill has since lapsed.
Michael Danby MP told Parliament on Dec. 3 that around the world the Magnitsky Acts are becoming “a weapon for Democratic pushback by Western governments, against officials connected with authoritarian governments, who engage in serious human rights abuses and corruption in their own countries.”
The bill sought to ban human rights violators from traveling to Australia. Violators would also have their assets frozen and be barred from sending their children to Australian schools.
With reporting by Epoch Times reporters Melanie Sun, Cathy He, and Henry Jom.