May 04, 2009: Falun Gong News Bulletin

Monitoring the Falun Gong Human Rights Crisis in China

FDIC Statement: Honoring Falun Gong’s April 25th Appeal, Ten Years On

News about 10th Anniversary and Situation Inside China

Commentary and News from Outside China

FDIC Statement: Honoring Falun Gong’s April 25th Appeal, Ten Years On
“On April 25, 1999 thousands of Falun Gong practitioners gathered quietly in Beijing to ask for the release of adherents who had been beaten and detained in a nearby city. More broadly, they sought to raise concerns with government leaders about ongoing harassment of Falun Gong at the hands of a few high-ranking officials.

Ten years later, Falun Gong practitioners and their supporters are honoring the spirit of peace, justice, and compassion with which that appeal was held. Equally important, we are remembering the tremendous price Falun Gong adherents and their families in China have paid for their unyielding dedication to their faith and its underlying principles of honesty, kindness, and forbearance in the face of unrelenting brutality.

Hundreds of thousands—if not millions—remain unlawfully imprisoned in Chinese labor camps and prisons, the largest single population of prisoners of conscience in the country.”

Full statement: /article/879/?cid=84

New Tang Dynasty TV: April 25th, The Protest that Changed China
April 20: An in-depth half-hour long documentary examining the background to the appeal, the events of the day, and its aftermath. The video features original footage from the peaceful protest, commentary from leading Chinese scholars and experts, and interviews with Falun Gong adherents, including one who met former premier Zhu Rongji that day and another who was later tortured in custody.

Watch online:

Associated Press: China spiritual group endures despite 10-year ban
April 24: A musician dies in police custody, a lawyer is beaten, an aid worker abandons China after 10 years of persecution — the stories are the human toll behind China’s decade-long campaign to wipe out Falun Gong…

At a highway off-ramp on the outskirts of Beijing, Yu Qun, a non-practitioner, reluctantly met an Associated Press reporter to show pictures and tell the story of her younger brother, Yu Zhou, a folk musician and a practitioner who died last year in police custody….

In recent years, a handful of Chinese lawyers have begun taking Falun Gong cases. Cheng Hai, a self-trained Beijing lawyer represents Yu Zhou’s wife and family, as well as six other practitioners. He says he was beaten earlier this month while trying to visit the home of another Falun Gong client.

Full story:

New York Times: China Still Presses Crusade against Falun Gong
April 27: In the decade since the Chinese government began repressing Falun Gong, a crusade that human rights groups say has led to the imprisonment of tens of thousands of practitioners and claimed at least 2,000 lives, the world’s attention has shifted elsewhere….But 10 years on, the war on Falun Gong remains unfinished.

In the past year, as many as 8,000 practitioners have been detained, according to experts on human rights, and at least 100 have died in custody. …In recent months, scores of practitioners have been given long prison terms, including Zhang Xingwu, a retired physics professor from Shandong Province who last week was sentenced to seven years after the police found Falun Gong literature in his apartment….

The continued crackdown highlights the difficulty of eradicating a movement whose adherents stubbornly cling to their beliefs, but it also provides a window into the psyche of an authoritarian government that, despite its far-reaching power, remains deeply insecure.

“The excesses and the savagery have really lowered the quality of the government and harmed [China’s] reputation abroad,” said Jerome Cohen, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and an expert on Chinese law. “They’re paying a high price for the cruelty to these people.”

Full story:

United Press International: Falun Gong said to total tens of millions
April 24: China’s decade-long campaign to wipe out the Falun Gong movement has failed to stifle its appeal, a lawyer for imprisoned members says.

Han Zhiguang of the Beijing law firm Gongdao says Falun Gong members in China today number in the tens of millions, the London Telegraph reported Friday. “We do not know the exact number but one thing is certain: It is expanding,” Han told the Telegraph.

Full story:

Prominent Chinese Democracy Activist:  “Falun Gong’s persistence of non-violent resistance is admirable”
April 25: Hu Ping, a prominent political commentator and editor-in-chief of Beijing Spring Magazine spoke at a rally in New York commemorating the April 25th appeal.

“What surprised me most is that the regime claimed it knew nothing before the [April 25th] incident. And a lot of people suspected Falun Gong was a secrecy group based on that claim. But soon, I understood things were not that. A priest friend of mine told me that he was in Beijing just two days before April 25, 1999. He stayed in one of his friend’s places in Beijing, and he came to learn from this friend that Falun Gong practitioners wanted to appeal to the State Council. His friend was neither a Falun Gong practitioner, nor a regime official. From that I can see that the appeal was not kept secret beforehand….

In 10 years, the Chinese communist regime’s illegal, systematic, and extinctive suppression could not defeat Falun Gong, and Falun Gong’s peaceful resistance to fight for freedom of belief is heroic. It has become the largest human rights movement in the modern world. It has established an example of non-violent resistance for China and for the whole world. Falun Gong is playing an important role in the current rights protection movement in China. And I believe Falun Gong will definitely offer great help in the process of moral rebuilding in China’s future.”

To read the full speech, see:

Chinese human rights lawyer: April 25th  appeal was “a very significant and meaningful event in China’s modern history”
April 24: The following are excerpts of comments made by Zhang Jiangkang, a human rights lawyer in Xi’an, X province, during an interview with New Tang Dynasty TV.

“I think it was a very significant and meaningful event in China’s modern history. It was a rational and peaceful action undertaken by Chinese citizens, completely peaceful and justifiable, which is remarkable. It was a Chinese-style nonviolent movement…

Falun Gong, you could say, has blossomed everywhere….What does this say, then? It says that since April 25th, 1999, what the Chinese authorities have done to Falun Gong is completely a mistake and stands in contrast to the civilized world.”

To hear the interview:

China Post: Falun Gong Members in Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong Commemorate April 25th appeal
“About 200 members of the Falun Gong spiritual group planned to rally in Japan Saturday against China, which 10 years ago banned the movement.

Zhang Yanhui, 31, a university student in Japan, told reporters that his cousin died in Chinese police custody in 2002. “He was arrested when he was travelling to petition against the persecution of Falun Gong followers,” Zhang said. “They took his money, and he was beaten and tortured in prison.”

“Hundreds of yellow-shirted practitioners congregated in a downtown Hong Kong park, where they carried out group qigong.. in the pouring rain. Protesters then marched with drums and banners to demand that Beijing’s Communist leaders end the decade-long crackdown against practitioners, some of whom were remembered with floral wreaths. About 800 practitioners held a similar protest rally in Taipei.”

To read more: