During the 1990s, people performing Falun Gong’s meditative qigong exercises were a fixture in parks across China. Today, the Chinese Communist Party’s campaign against Falun Gong remains one of the largest and most severe instances of religious persecution in the world.
The campaign has fueled the expansion and growing sophistication of the country’s security and censorship apparatus, undermining a host of other rights and governance priorities like building rule of law. Falun Gong practitioners’ resilience in the face of such pressure and its successes countering persecution are an equally important element of the story of contemporary China.
Over the past two decades, a wide range of international human rights groups, investigative journalists, Chinese lawyers, United Nations Rapporteurs, and U.S. government reports have independently documented and recounted the systematic rights abuses – including torture and deaths in custody – suffered by those who practice Falun Gong in China. Below is a small sample of such statements for your reference with corresponding links to other pages on this site that include more extensive compilations.
“Falun Gong practitioners continued to be subjected to persecution, arbitrary detention, unfair trials and torture and other ill-treatment.”
– Amnesty International report, 2018
“Falun Gong practitioners across China are subject to widespread surveillance, arbitrary detention, imprisonment, and torture, and they are at a high risk of extrajudicial execution. Available evidence suggests that forced extraction of organs from Falun Gong detainees for sale in transplant operations has occurred on a large scale and may be continuing.”
– Freedom House report, 2017
“The Tribunal’s members are certain – unanimously, and sure beyond reasonable doubt – that in China forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience has been practiced for a substantial period of time involving a very substantial number of victims. Forced organ harvesting has been committed for years throughout China on a significant scale and that Falun Gong practitioners have been one – and probably the main – source of organ supply.” – Final judgment of the Independent Tribunal into Forced Organ Harvesting from Prisoners of Conscience in China, 2019
“In February 2017, Beijing police detained Sun Qian, a businesswoman and Canadian citizen… Sun is a follower of the Falun Gong…. Sun was reportedly pepper-sprayed, put in handcuffs attached to foot shackles, and deprived of sleep.”
– Human Rights Watch report, 2018
“Detainees [from Beijing Women’s Labor Camp]…stated that Falun Gong practitioners who had not renounced their beliefs after six months in detention were placed in the Intensive Training section until they were ‘reformed’. Falun Gong practitioners formerly detained at this facility mentioned that they would refer to this section as the ‘Intensive Torture Section’.”
– UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Novak 2005
Chinese Human Rights Defenders is a small Hong Kong-based NGO that is a relatively new addition to the field of monitoring human rights in China, having become active in late 2005. Thanks to a well-developed network of informants and activists throughout China, it has quickly developed a reputation as a credible source of information on developments in the country.
Chinese rights lawyers
“Persecution cases of Falun Gong practitioners across the country have noticeably increased recently, and I think this deserves attention. I defended more than 20 cases involving Falun Gong practitioners. Physical torture was quite common. After their arrest, they were often beaten to the point of being paralyzed or [dying].” – Prominent Chinese lawyer Jiang Tianyong, 2009, later jailed for his human rights work
U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China
“Authorities continued to detain Falun Gong practitioners and subject them to harsh treatment. Human rights organizations and Falun Gong practitioners documented coercive and violent practices against practitioners during custody, including physical violence, forced drug administration, sleep deprivation, and other forms of torture.” – CECC Annual report, 2018
International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China (ETAC)
The International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China is a coalition of lawyers, academics, ethicists, medical professionals, researchers and human rights advocates dedicated to ending forced organ harvesting in China. Among the advisory committee members are Edward McMillan-Scott, former Vice president of European Parliament, David Kilgour, Former Canadian Secretary of State, Asia Pacific; Enver Tohti, former surgeon from China who was forced to remove human organs from a living prisoner.
“What we are trying to do is to get the government, the party state in Beijing, to stop killing their own people for their organs.”
– David Kilgour, Former Canadian Secretary of State, Asia Pacific
Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH)
Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting aims to provide the medical community and society with objective findings of unethical and illegal organ harvesting practices with focus on China. Forced organ harvesting, the removal of organs from a donor, without obtaining prior free and voluntary consent, is considered a crime against humanity, as well as a threat to medical science in general. DAFOH is an independent organization, it was founded by medical doctors to voluntarily serve the medical community, as well as society.