July 22, 2009: Special Falun Dafa Information Center News Bulletin

Ten Years of Persecution against Falun Gong in China

Ten years ago this week, on July 20, 1999, former Chinese Communist Party-head Jiang Zemin launched a violent campaign to “eradicate” the Falun Gong spiritual discipline, practiced at the time by tens of millions of ordinary Chinese citizens. Since then, the Party has used coercion, imprisonment, torture, and systematic vilification in an effort to force anyone known to practice Falun Gong to recant the basic tenets of his or her peaceful faith. The following are key news stories and other articles related to the ten year anniversary.

Commemoration Activities Around the World

Ten Years of Persecution in China

Analysis and Multimedia Features

 

Commemoration Activities Around the World

FDIC: Members of Congress Urge President Obama to Support Falun Gong Practitioners in China
In a bi-partisan letter sent to President Obama on July 8, sixty one members of Congress urged the President to “speak very clearly and specifically” in support of Falun Gong practitioners in China. Calling Falun Gong a practice that includes the study of moral teachings, meditation, and physical exercises that is “entirely peaceful,” the Congressional letter says the campaign against Falun Gong in China represents “one of the most unjust and cruel persecutions of our times.”

For the full text of the Congressional letter, see http://media.faluninfo.net/media/doc/2009/07/DCLtr_ToObama.pdf
To read more: /article/891/?cid=84

FDIC: Worldwide Vigils Mark Tenth Year of Persecution while Torture, Arrests Continue in China
“At Chinese consulates throughout the world, tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters will hold candlelight vigils or demonstrations on or around July 20th.  From Brisbane to London, weekend marches and rallies will call for an end to ongoing repression in China and remember those who have lost their lives amidst persecution.”

To read more: /article/892/?cid=84

AFP: Falun Gong rallies in US on anniversary
“Hundreds of supporters of the Falun Gong spiritual movement have rallied in Washington ahead of the 10th anniversary of its ban by China, with a special push to free a prominent rights lawyer.

‘One must wonder exactly why Falun Gong, a serene movement based upon traditional Chinese breathing exercises and meditation, has drawn such a frenzied response,’ Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen told the rally. ‘The answer, my friends, is all too simple,’ the Republican said. ‘Falun Gong stands for the principles of truthfulness, compassion and tolerance. These principles represent the very antithesis of what the Communist Party of China stands for — lies, brutality and intolerance.’

[Chinese attorney Gao Zhisheng’s] wife Geng He, who defected with their children to the United States in March, told the rally that Gao felt obliged to fight persecution that has gone ‘beyond anyone’s imagination.’ She said, ‘Gao has said that to end this nation’s sufferings, we need people with high morals. Falun Gong practitioners have done so, and we must also do our part.’

To read more: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5i0zoHWimTImLQF_V16F-DRe-xBkg
To read Gao Zhisheng’s wife Geng He’s full speech: http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/content/view/19784/

Epoch Times: UK MPs Briefed on Persecution in China
“A panel meeting to discuss the continuing persecution of Falun Gong in China was held in the UK Houses of Parliament on Wednesday 15.

Ethan Gutmann, an investigative reporter on China issues, suggests that up to 162,000 Falun Gong practitioners may have had their organs harvested with 13,500 being the low-end estimate, and 87,750 being the median. He made a comparison to the figures presented in David Kilgour and David Matas’s report on organ harvesting Bloody Harvest stating, ‘It’s remarkable that the two methodologies are completely different yet the discrepancy is quite minimal.’

Dr Yi Xu, a prominent Chinese dissident and regular spokesperson on the promotion of democracy within China, opened his speech expressing gratitude to Falun Gong practitioners… Dr Xu explained how the Tuidang movement – a campaign to help Chinese citizens quit and renounce the CCP which was initiated by Falun Gong practitioners – was having a huge impact within China and on the CCP itself. ‘The Tuidang campaign is the single most successful civil rights movement in China today.’”

To read more: http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/content/view/19732/

Ten Years of Persecution in China

FDIC: Harbin Family Suffers Second Death from Torture
“A Falun Gong practitioner imprisoned in Harbin’s Daqing Prison died on May 23, 2009 due to abuse in custody. Mr. Li Min (??) died at the age of 51, after being tortured and denied medical care when he suffered the symptoms of a stroke. Li is just one of several family members who have been victims of severe rights abuses at the hands of the Chinese authorities because of their identity as Falun Gong practitioners. In 2007, Li’s brother-in-law died in custody at a labor camp after being tortured. Li’s wife is currently imprisoned in Harbin’s Women’s Prison and at risk of abuse.”

To read more: /article/890/?cid=84

The Guardian: China’s Falun Gong crackdown: ‘The persecution is almost underground’
“The men from China’s national security brigades came for Natalie Qiao’s parents at 10pm on 8 June. Five young men in plain clothes bundled the elderly couple into an unmarked car. The crime of Qiao Yongfang and his wife, Yan Dongfei, both aged 60 and residents of Huhot City, in Inner Mongolia, was to be practitioners of the banned Falun Gong religion, which has tens of millions of followers in China.

Amnesty International’s UK director, Kate Allen, who has been following Qiao’s case, said: ‘This is a heartbreaking story – Natalie’s parents were due to visit the UK to see their grandchildren at the end of the month. Now instead of preparing for a family visit, Natalie is worrying about their safety in a Chinese detention centre.’”

To read more: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jul/18/china-falun-gong-crackdown

The Epoch Times: From Peking University to Labor Camp
“[Jin] Min [a Peking University graduate] was sent to a women’s labor camp and her husband was sent to a men’s labor camp. More than 90% of inmates in the labor camps were Falun Gong practitioners. In her year and half of imprisonment, Min experienced and witnessed various kinds of abuse: beating, electric shocks, slave labor, sleep deprivation, violent brainwashing, humiliation, and complete isolation from family.

She was up before dawn and made to work on disposable chopsticks until midnight. Three meager meals were served. The meal was usually a steamed bun with a bowl of soup of water with cabbage leaves. …Min also knitted luxury wool gloves. The guards told them, “Be careful of your work. These are luxury products to be exported to Europe.”

To read more: http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/content/view/19874/

For full Epoch Times coverage of July 20th, see: http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/component/option,com_ettopic/topicid,53/

Chicago Tribune: Falun Gong Practitioners Tell Their Tale
“Some of the Falun Gong practitioners who sought asylum in Chicago over the past year said they never saw the crackdown [in 1999] coming. Zheng, 38, a successful insurance salesman, discovered Falun Gong on a spiritual quest. Nie, a kindergarten teacher, was seeking a cure for insomnia. Both believed that they gained energy and prosperity from the practice, which they adopted in 1996. They married two years later. ‘It’s hard to believe why it would be banned,’ Zheng said. ‘It was so good — not commonly good, extraordinarily good. It brought people so many benefits.’”

To read more: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-falun-gong-19-jul19,0,1562578.story

Analysis and Multimedia Features

Center for the Study of New Religious Movements: “Media and New Religious Movements – the Case of Falun Gong”
“Various calculations by human rights organizations, recently corroborated by a study conducted by Ethan Gutmann and I [Leeshai Lemish] over the last two years, estimate that the number of Falun Gong practitioners currently jailed in China is at least as high as 200,000, possibly much higher.Why do so few people, including academics, know of this fact and what role have media played in shaping public perceptions of Falun Gong? These are some of the questions this paper sets out to investigate.

It turns out that one can be a regular reader of the New York Times, for instance, and never hear about Falun Gong. Others may be under the impression that the ‘crackdown on Falun Gong’ was something that took place a decade ago, and is no longer an issue. And yet others may immediately think of Falun Gong as being some weird, wacky group, its victims of persecution perhaps not so worthy of our sympathy. All these perceptions are rooted in the media coverage patterns detailed below.”

To read the full study (including graphs): http://www.cesnur.org/2009/slc_lemish.htm

University of Pennsylvania Professor Arthur Waldron: The Falun Gong Factor
“Falun Gong is not simply on Beijing’s blacklist. Its name is recorded in the blackest of black letters, for the Chinese authorities have undertaken to crush it. Its continuing existence and growing strength are among the most prickly and difficult problems facing the authorities in Beijing today. This is not because of anything Falun Gong practitioners themselves have done. Rather, it is because of what Beijing has tried to do to them—and failed.

Reports of unrest, repression, rights abuses, and so forth, come from China today in what is effectively a nonstop flow. But oddly, few observers draw the obvious implication, which is that the regime’s control is slipping and its grip on power is loosening. The People’s Republic of China has already entered, in my opinion, a period of flux and possible disorder comparable to that which brought down the Soviet Union between 1989 and 1991.”

Full article: /article/504/

New Tang Dynasty TV: Decade of Courage
An in-depth four part documentary examines the practice of Falun Gong, its cultural and philosophical origins, and the violent campaign of persecution its adherents have been facing since 1999. The videos feature original footage from inside China, commentary from leading Chinese scholars and experts, and interviews with Falun Gong adherents, including ones who were later tortured in custody.

To view: http://english.ntdtv.com/ntdtv_en/pg_ShortFilms/2009-07-15/175082977802.html