It\u2019s one of the largest campaigns of religious persecution happening in the world over the past 20 years. Millions of innocent people in China have been fired from their jobs, expelled from school, jailed, tortured, or killed simply for practicing Falun Gong (see Key Statistics for more details). For the tens of millions of people who practice Falun Gong today in China, each day they live at risk of being taken away by Chinese authorities to be jailed, tortured\u2014or worse. https:\/\/vimeo.com\/385475263 THE PERSECUTION STORY A closer look at why and how the Chinese Communist Party targeted Falun Gong with a violent campaign to "eradicate" the practice. (10min) Millions Detained, Imprisoned For millions of people in China, the most basic reality of the campaign against Falun Gong has been long periods of detention in \u201creform through labor\u201d camps or prisons \u2013 China\u2019s Gulag system \u2013 after farcical or nonexistent trials. Others are held in makeshift detention centers or "black jails" -- a network of extralegal detention centers within China. Detainees are often forced to work up to 20 hours per day, producing \u2013 without pay \u2013 toys, Christmas tree lights, chopsticks, and soccer balls for export. Those who refuse are tortured (more about arbitrary detention and slavery). The widespread detention and imprisonment of Falun Gong practitioners has been reported by the United Nations, the U.S. Department of State, Amnesty International, and many Western media outlets. https:\/\/vimeo.com\/384609545 Brainwashing and "Transformation" Be it in labor camps, jails, or in special reeducation centers, detained Falun Gong practitioners are forced to undergo what can only be described as brainwashing. The Chinese Communist Party\u2019s goal is to force these people to renounce their spiritual beliefs and come to view Falun Gong as dangerous, as well as to turn in others who are active in exposing the persecution. The key ingredients of the brainwashing process, or what the Party calls \u201ctransformation,\u201d is sleep deprivation, hours on end of staring at videos vilifying Falun Gong, threats, and Cultural Revolution-style \u201cstruggle sessions\u201d. Some particularly \u201cstubborn\u201d individuals who refuse to transform are injected with psychotropic drugs in asylums as treatment for the mental disorder of incorrect political thinking (more about psychological persecution). https:\/\/vimeo.com\/370510322 Torture Perhaps the most prominent feature of the campaign has been its prevalent use of extreme torture. Torture of Falun Gong adherents has been documented in each of China\u2019s provinces, in jails, labor camps, brainwashing centers, and schools in China\u2019s big cities, small towns, and villages. Common torture techniques include shocking with electric batons, burning with irons, tying the body in painful positions for days, force-feeding saline solutions through a plastic tube inserted up the nose, and prying out fingernails with bamboo shoots, to name a few; rape and sexual torture of the Falun Gong in detention are prevalent as well. To date over 4,000 deaths have been documented, and at least 63,000 accounts of torture. This figure is likely only a fraction of the true number due to the difficulty and danger of reporting on abuses in China. (more about torture). https:\/\/vimeo.com\/449105045 Organ Harvesting The Party\u2019s ultimate solution for the vast number of incarcerated Falun Gong adherents, however, is much more terrifying. Estimates from multiple separate, independent reports indicate tens of thousands (possibly hundreds of thousands)\u00a0of Falun Gong practitioners may have been\u00a0killed in order to extract their vital organs, which are used to fuel a booming organ transplantation business in China. Livers, kidneys, hearts, and cornea are removed from the living, anesthetized Falun Gong adherents with matching blood-types and sold to Party officials and other desperate-yet-wealthy individuals from China and abroad. Undercover investigators\u2019 phone calls to Chinese hospitals have caught doctors boasting about this practice on tape (more about organ harvesting). https:\/\/vimeo.com\/413702232 Censorship and Propaganda Fuel Violence But, as in every genocide of the twentieth century, extreme violence first required dehumanization of \u201cthe other\u201d through propaganda. Indeed, one key measure in the Party\u2019s suppression has been to limit, and distort, information about Falun Gong\u2014both in China and elsewhere. From day one of the suppression, the regime banned all books and informational media produced discussing Falun Gong positively. All websites relating to the practice were immediately blocked. Millions of Falun Gong books were forcibly seized and burned publicly. The regime feared people might learn, if they knew not already, that Falun Gong was a healthy, normal, and positive way of life embraced by millions (more about censorship). These censorship efforts have, of course, extended to cyberspace, thanks in no small part to Western companies who have enthusiastically sold Internet surveillance technology to the Party\u2019s security apparatuses. As a result, Chinese people are now in jail for posting evidence of torture online or simply downloading articles about Falun Gong (more about the persecution and the Internet). Alongside censorship, the Party has sought to scandalize Falun Gong through an aggressive propaganda blitz. The regime has been determined to paint Falun Gong as dangerous, deviant, and abnormal. Former Party Chairman Jiang Zemin led the way, attaching onto Falun Gong the label of \u201ccult\u201d three months after his ban as a means to further bend public opinion. Under CCP guidance, various ministries and state media outlets then launched numerous publications, radio and TV shows, and even plays, comic books, and exhibitions meant to demonize Falun Gong (more about this propaganda campaign). Government officials around the world, meanwhile, report receiving defamatory materials from Party emissaries. These are often accompanied by attempts to pressure the elected officials to stay silent about abuses perpetrated against the Falun Gong, to rescind proclamations in recognition of Falun Gong\u2019s contributions to the community, and to block local Falun Gong activities such as parades or conferences. Business owners, journalists, and scholars have also been subjected to similar pressure tactics and threats (more about pressure overseas), leading to a sometimes eerie silence in Western press and academia (see \u201cWhy Haven't I Heard About This?\u201d). Social & Economic Impact With 100 million people targeted for their faith, including business leaders, academics, and government officials, it is hard to overstate the impact on the social and economic well-being of China. Many Falun Gong practitioners, regardless of role or skill, are fired from their jobs, expelled from universities, stripped of health care and pensions, forced into homelessness, and a range of other forms of discrimination (more about: persecution in the family, persecution at work and school, and destitution). Resistance When the persecution was launched in 1999, tens of millions of Chinese who practiced the meditation discipline were faced with a choice. One option was to again surrender to the Communist Party and abandon a practice that had brought them better health, spiritual guidance, and, invariably, newfound hope. A second option seemed to be to continue practicing quietly at home \u2013 but as raids quickly showed, this was impossible even if one were able to turn a blind eye to the persecution of family and friends. A final option was to openly resist the persecution in spite of knowing full well what the painful consequences might be. Whatever the chosen response, Falun Gong adherents have displayed remarkable resilience, with tens of millions still practicing in China today and some new people even joining their ranks. For those who have chosen to more actively resist, Falun Gong practitioners have been consistent in refusing to adopt violence as an option, focusing instead on using every available peaceful avenue to have their voices heard. Adherents first tried to reason with Communist Party rulers through letters and petitions. When these fell on deaf ears, the Falun Gong turned to Tiananmen Square where \u2013 through quietly meditating or displaying banners before being arrested \u2013 they sought to call upon the conscience of the Chinese people as well as world leaders. As the persecution continued, the Falun Gong began countering state propaganda by distributing information exposing the persecution through leaflets, VCDs, emails, and phone calls. Collectively, this resistance movement \u2013 composed of bold individual acts in spite of great personal risks \u2013 constitutes what is probably today\u2019s largest nonviolent movement in the world (see \u201cPeaceful Resistance\u201d).