Changchun Reduced to Chaos in Effort to Round Up Falun Gong Practitioners
Concerned Overseas Supporters Launch Demonstrations, Phone Campaign to Call Torturers in China
NEW YORK, March 13th, 2002 (Falun Dafa Information Center) – Days after the cable signal of eight major Changchun TV stations was overridden by programming exposing the illegal persecution of the banned Falun Gong spiritual practice, Changchun has been the focus of a citywide effort to round up Falun Gong practitioners. This comes amidst chilling reports of police being given orders to shoot Falun Gong practitioners “on sight.”
Chinese City “Like a Police State”
Local sources report that in the wake of the cable broadcasts on March 5, Chanchun has been reduced to little more than a police state, with personnel from the National Security Department, local police, representatives from the community service committee, the army police, and state employees all being mobilized to “stop and search” all citizens in an all-out effort to round up practitioners of Falun Dafa. 24-hour dragnets have been established at most intersections, in railway stations, and at the airport.
Local witnesses say police squads are patrolling every community. People are being arrested in a steady stream. Police have been staking out the homes of practitioners 24 hours a day, arresting anyone going in or out, according to witnesses.
When questioned, local police revealed that they are working around the clock to achieve a state of total surveillance, posting people on every corner of the city. One policeman explained that the capturing of Falun Gong practitioners had taken absolute priority, ahead of preventing crime or aprehending criminals.
Police also indicated that if the jails do not have enough space, practitioners will be sent to labor camps or “re-education” facilities.
One witness reported that late at night, through the thick walls of the Changchun City Police Department, screams from torture can now be heard.
Supporters Worldwide Step In
Overseas supporters of Falun Gong have responded to the sharp escalation in police action through various means, including a 36-hour fast undertaken by Canadian Falun Gong practitioners in front of the Parliament in Ottawa, and public airings of the 50-minute Changchun broadcast in San Francisco.
Supporters have also begun a new campaign to engage the Changchun police department directly over the phone, and urge them not to participate in the escalating persecution. Over the last few days, over 70 branches of the Changchun government and police have been contacted by advocates of religious freedom in the US and Canada.
“The broadcast in Changchun exposed the fact that the persecution of Falun Gong lives on lies and fabrications,” remarked Falun Dafa Information Center spokesperson Gail Rachlin. “For example, Jiang’s regime contests that Falun Gong is a ‘dangerous’ group and is comprised of a relatively small population in China. The videos reveal, however, that Falun Gong is freely practiced throughout the world and in large numbers.” Ms. Rachlin concluded, “This is a fact that people in China have not been shown. Thus, this action has struck fear into Jiang and those carrying out his persecution campaign, and that is why the reaction is so strong…those responsible are terrified of being exposed.”
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a practice of meditation and exercises with teachings based on the universal principle of “Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance.” It is a practice that was taught in private for thousands of years before being made public in 1992 by Mr. Li Hongzhi. Falun Gong has roots in traditional Chinese culture, but it is distinct and separate from other practices in China, such as the religions of Buddhism and Taoism. Since its introduction in 1992, it quickly spread by word of mouth throughout China, and is now practiced in over 50 countries.
With government estimates of as many as 100 million practicing Falun Gong, China’s President Jiang Zemin outlawed the peaceful practice in July 1999, fearful of anything touching the hearts and minds of more citizens than the Communist Party. Unable to crush the spirit of millions who had experienced improved health and positive life changes from Falun Gong, Jiang’s regime has intensified its propaganda campaign to turn public opinion against the practice while quietly imprisoning, torturing and even murdering those who practice it.
The Falun Dafa Information Center has verified details of over 375 deaths since the persecution of Falun Gong in China began in 1999. Government officials inside China, however, report that the actual death toll is well over 1,600. Over 100,000 have been detained, with more than 20,000 being sentenced to forced labor camps without trial.