Fifth Annual World Falun Dafa Day Celebrations Held in 50 Cities Worldwide
Festivities Tempered by Exhibitions of Torture Techniques Used against Falun Gong Practitioners in China
NEW YORK (FDI) – From San Antonio to Sydney, London to Tokyo, Falun Gong practitioners in approximately 50 cities around the world held activities celebrating twelve years since the practice was first made public in China by Mr. Li Hongzhi.
The celebrations included traditional dancing, singing and public demonstrations of the Falun Gong exercises.
Activities in most cities also carried a sobering message, as speeches and pictorial exhibitions revealed details of the violent persecution of Falun Gong on-going in China. In some cities, Falun Gong practitioners displayed live demonstrations of torture techniques used by police and forced-labor camp personnel throughout China as part of an illicit campaign to “transform” Falun Gong practitioners into renouncing their beliefs.
An exercise and meditation practice with roots in ancient Chinese culture, Falun Gong flourished in China during the mid-to-late 1990’s, with Chinese government estimates putting the number of practitioners at 70-100 million people by the end of 1998.
In July 1999, however, then-Chinese leader Jiang Zemin launched a nation-wide campaign to “eradicate Falun Gong” out of fear that its widespread popularity was overshadowing his own legacy. China watchers believe Jiang also had other personal motives to attack the traditional Chinese practice (special report).
In more than a dozen countries around the world, both civil and criminal lawsuits have been filed against Jiang and several other senior Chinese officials known to be the primary instigators of the persecution of Falun Gong in China. The lawsuits charge Jiang and his supporters with torture, genocide and crimes against humanity. (news / website)
Perhaps the most significant of the legal cases is a class-action lawsuit filed in Chicago in 2002, naming Jiang and the ‘6-10 Office’ – a Gestapo-like agency established by Jiang specifically to “eradicate Falun Gong” – as defendants. Oral arguments for the class-action suit, which is now on appeal before the 7th Circuit Court, will be heard on May 27th in Chicago.