In October 2000, top Chinese Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin ordered to “intensify the struggle” against Falun Gong overseas, according to a leaked Party document.
Since then, adherents of the Falun Gong outside China have seen their tires slashed, their homes vandalized, their e-mail accounts hacked and their phones tapped; they have received death threats, have been beaten and even shot.
In addition to blatant hate crimes, at the documented instigation of Chinese embassies and consulates they have also been barred from joining community cultural events, have been denied restaurant services, and have been spied on by colleagues and classmates. Here are a few examples of incidents that took place in the United States.
These were cited in a House of Representatives resolution (HCR 304) condemning the extension of the persecution overseas, which was passed in 2003:
- Five Falun Gong practitioners were assaulted while distributing leaflets outside the Chicago Chinese Consulate. The two assailants, who were convicted of battery, were members of a Chinese-American organization with close ties to the consulate.
- The Chinese Consulate in San Francisco wrote to the mayor of Saratoga, urging him to retract a proclamation honoring the contributions of the Falun Gong to his community.
- Between 1999 and 2003, the apartment of Falun Gong spokeswoman Gail Rachlin was broken into five times. The only items taken were her address book, tax records, and Falun Gong-related materials. (for more on Resolution 304, including the full text, see here)
Until he defected in 2005, Mr. Chen Yonglin worked as a diplomat in the Sydney Chinese Consulate. But his disgust at what he was required to do on a daily basis– monitor and sabotage the activities of Australians who practice Falun Gong or support other persecuted groups in China – led him to walk out of the consulate and seek asylum.
Secret documents that Chen smuggled out with him show how oppression of the Falun Gong outside of China has not been limited to the United States.
Here are a few of the more prominent cases:
- Iceland: In June 2002, hundreds of Falun Gong adherents were barred from entering Iceland to join peaceful demonstrations during a visit by Jiang Zemin. They were stranded at airports around the world after being denied boarding on flights based on a blacklist supplied by Chinese authorities, an act the Icelandic Ombudsman later ruled illegal. (Story)
- South Africa: In June 2004, gunmen opened fire on a car of visiting Chinese Falun Gong adherents, seriously injuring one man’s feet. The group had just arrived in Johannesburg intent to serve Chinese officials Zeng Qinghong and Bo Xilai with a lawsuit over crimes against humanity. (Story, Film)
- Argentina: In December 2005, ethnic Chinese assailants punched and kicked a group of Falun Gong adherents in Buenos Aires in front of national media. The attack came the day after a visiting top Chinese official, Luo Gan, was served with a lawsuit for torture and crimes against humanity. A year earlier, during a visit by Party leader Hu Jintao, thirty Chinese men attacked Falun Gong practitioners, cutting their banners with knives. (Story)
In addition to incidents of this nature, which have been documents in over 30 countries, the persecution is felt worldwide in several other ways:
- Propaganda attacking Falun Gong that originates from the Communist Party has been spread seemingly everywhere, leading to bigotry and suspicion toward the Falun Gong internationally. While much of this situation has been rectified as people have gotten to know those who practice Falun Gong and what the discipline stands for, the effects of this smear campaign, which began in 1999, can still be felt today. For instance, practitioners of Falun Gong living in the U.S., Australia, and Europe – including many who are not Chinese – report being denied jobs or academic opportunities because of their religious beliefs.
Of course, another reason for international discrimination against the Falun Gong is that some fear that if they are seen as associating with Falun Gong they might lose business opportunities in China or collaborative programs with the Chinese regime.
- Chinese people living in the diaspora have felt discriminated in their own communities because of their spiritual discipline and their choice to openly speak out for human rights in China. In addition to receiving death threats, they have also been barred from community activities.
- Ms. Wang Xiaodan, for instance, told of how she was singled out at her University of Minnesota Chinese student club (http://en.epochtimes.com/news/7-6-26/56872.html). The elderly Ms. Huang Daiming won a lawsuit after an Ottawa Chinese seniors club revoked her license because she practices Falun Gong (http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/resources/news/e_bg_falun-gong/view).
- Chinese practitioners of Falun Gong living outside of China can rarely return to mainland China to visit their family, including elderly parents. Often they cannot even communicate freely over the phone as these are tapped either in China or abroad and the family in China fear punishment.