EU Passes Landmark Resolution to Investigate and Punish the CCP for Persecution of Falun Gong

The flag of the European Union. Photograph: Pixabay/@gregroose.

The flag of the European Union. Photograph: Pixabay/@gregroose.

For the first time in nearly 25 years, European Parliament has adopted a resolution focused entirely on censuring Communist China for its persecution of Falun Gong. While past resolutions have mainly address forced organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners and others, the newest milestone offers decisive actions towards perpetrators involved in repression and surveillance of Falun Gong practitioners in China and abroad, including international investigations, various sanctions, and criminal prosecutions.

The resolution, P9_TA(2024)0037, passed by a majority floor vote on January 18, 2024 in Strasbourg. Following the vote, the EU press room reiterated that “China must release…all Falun Gong practitioners” and stop the persecution.

“This resolution is vitally important because it not only clearly articulates the horrors of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) brutal campaign against Falun Gong, but it also calls for decisive measures to investigate these atrocities and punish the perpetrators,” says Falun Dafa Information Center spokesperson Erping Zhang. “And it does all of this in defiance of the CCP’s political coercion and attempts to spread disinformation about Falun Gong.”

The resolution also calls for the immediate release of Mr. Ding Yuande, the father of a Berlin resident, Mr. Ding Lebin. On December 15, 2023, the elder Ding was sentenced to three years in Chinese prison and fined approximately $2,100 USD. The Falun Dafa Information Center featured Mr. Ding’s case as a prominent family rescue campaign upon his initial arrest for possessing Falun Gong books and flyers.

“It gives me hope that members of European Parliament are showing their determination to end this crime against humanity,” said Lebin, who traveled from Germany to France for the resolution vote on January 18. “Despite the shocking and brutal crimes against practitioners, the members told me they admire the peaceful way that Falun Gong practitioners are exposing the persecution.”

(Mr. Ding Lebin (right) meets with German EU member Michael Gahler (left), in Strasbourg on January 18, 2024.)

Reprisals for domestic and transnational repression

Among the multitiered list of recommendations, members of the European Union (EU) stressed an end to all forms of religious persecution by the CCP in the resolution, including transnational repression and the pervasive use of technology-based censorship and surveillance. Instead, the resolution urges the CCP to adhere to international law and the Chinese constitution.

For perpetrators and entities in violation of these laws, the EU and member states resolve to suspend extradition treaties, employ sanctions, and prosecute under extraterritorial jurisdictions. Furthermore, the resolution recommends to monitor trials of Falun Gong practitioners. And in political and human rights dialogues with CCP officials, relevant EU members will raise the issue of the persecution.

The resolution also raised a novel recommendation: an international investigation into the persecution of Falun Gong.

The President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, will forward this resolution to EU institutions, Member States, and the Chinese regime. Beijing has not responded publicly to this resolution as of the publishing date, January 19, 2024.

‘Freedoms deteriorating’ across China

The resolution notes the documentation of Falun Gong practitioner deaths reached the thousands during this 24-year persecution. Research from organizations such as the Falun Dafa Information Center, Minghui, Freedom House, Weiquanwang, Bitter Winter, Christian Solidarity International, and others supports this statistic

Because verifying and reporting on wrongful deaths in China is difficult and dangerous, this figure is believed to be a small fraction of the real number of those killed from torture and abuse. Furthermore, estimates from multiple separate, independent reports indicate hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners may have been killed in order to extract their vital organs, which are used to fuel a booming organ transplantation business in China.

Members raised concerns of deteriorating civil and religious freedoms for Falun Gong practitioners in public statements this week. German politician Michael Gahler, a sponsor of the resolution, commented that Mr. Ding Yuande and practitioners like him are innocent. “He has not committed any crime. He is innocent. And the only reason why he is arrested is that he is practicing Falun Gong.”

Reflecting these concerns, the resolution cites that authorities frequently detain practitioners and subject them to torture, psychological abuse, and organ harvesting in an effort to make them renounce their faith. Since the persecution began in 1999, authorities have detained or imprisoned several million practitioners.

Future for international response

This recent adoption by the European Parliament paves the way for strong international responses. Recommendations set forth by members of this parliament are relevant for many democratic government bodies seeking to deter Beijing’s violations of international rules of law and conventions.

In 2023, several other government actions around the world called for an end to the CCP’s human rights abuses against Falun Gong, including by the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The aforementioned legislations and resolutions specifically addressed the issue of forced organ harvesting.

Previous EU resolutions similarly focused on forced organ harvesting or broader human rights concerns.

“This new resolution not only defends our generation today,” Mr. Ding Lebin told the Falun Dafa Information Center. “But also defends the next generations by standing against the CCP and upholding universal values like truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.”