Hundreds Gather Outside the U.S. State Department During Human Rights Talks with China
WASHINGTON DC, October 9, 2001 (Falun Dafa Information Center)—Hundreds of practitioners and supporters of Falun Gong gathered outside the U.S. State Department to hold a press conference as the human rights dialogue between senior Chinese delegates and U.S. State Department officials resumed today after two years of stalled talks.
Starting at 8 AM, practitioners and supporters of Falun Gong quietly gathered on the streets outside the U.S. State Department building. Forming single-filed lines, they held banners expressing gratitude to the U.S. government for its continued support as well as calling on China to end the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China.
The press conference began at 10 AM outside the north entrance to the State Department. Levi Browde, of the Falun Dafa Information Center, read a statement calling the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China a “massive human rights violation” and stated that “more than 100,000 practitioners are known to have been wrongfully arrested, jailed, and/or sent to labor camps and mental hospitals.”
“These innocent persons are terrorized by their captors; they are humiliated, raped, abused, beaten, and tortured – even unto death, all for their belief in the very principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance,” Mr Browde said.
Mr. Browde also condemned the “6-10 Office” (“6-10” referring to the date on which this office was established: June 10, 1999) – an illegal office established via executive order from President Jiang Zemin that exists “for the sole purpose of carrying out the assault on Falun Gong.” According to the statement, this 6-10 Office reports directly to the Central Committee of the Communist Party, and therefore, effectively operates above the law, having the authority to use whatever means necessary to persecute citizens who practice Falun Gong in an effort to coerce them into giving up the practice of Falun Gong. The 6-10 Office “has become the primary mechanism of Jiang’s state terrorism policy against Falun Gong, which employs forceful indoctrination, violence and fear to terrorize and dominate the minds and hearts of Falun Gong practitioners as well as all other Chinese citizens,” said Mr. Browde.
The statement called for the “immediate and unconditional release of all Falun Gong practitioners detained and jailed in China,” and in particular the release of Dr. Chunyan Teng, a U.S. permanent resident and medical doctor from New York City who was detained and sentenced to a labor camp last year after her attempts to document the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners inside China.
The statement also expressed appreciation to the U.S. government for its continued support of Falun Gong: saying that “the State Department and the U.S. Congress have made clear, in unequivocal terms, their support of Falun Gong practitioners’ right of self-determination; and they have made equally clear their total opposition to the Chinese regime’s persecution of Falun Gong.”
The second speaker at the press conference was Ms. Terry Marsh, a lawyer from Washington DC who has recently brought charges against two high-level Chinese officials for their roles in carrying out the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China. In her statement, Ms. Marsh said that “terrorism is virtually always state sponsored” and that the systematic detainment, indoctrination, torture and killing of Falun Gong practitioners clearly demonstrates state terrorism is what is being employed by the Chinese regime to persecute Falun Gong practitioners. Ms. Marsh went on to say that to allow such state terrorism to occur in any country is not just a threat to the citizens within that country, but indeed, “a threat to us all.”
Ms. Marsh said her own experience can testify to this fact. Recently, she told members of the press today, she had hired a computer specialist to install special e-mail security software on her home computer. After completing the installation of this software, the computer specialists tracked down an incoming message originating from Beijing. The specialist told Ms. Marsh that those whose message he had intercepted have been attempting to monitor Ms. Marsh’s e-mail communications.
The final speaker, Dr. Shiyu Zhou, read a letter from U.S. Congressman Dennis Moore (3rd District, Kansas), nominating Falun Gong founder Mr. Li Hongzhi for the Nobel Peace Prize of 2001. In the letter, Congressman Moore stated “Mr. Li’s work has brought hope to the international community that China might escape the vicious circle dominating its development. Mr. Li and his followers have been attacked and harassed, and tens of thousands of his followers are imprisoned. Yet they have never faltered.” Congressman Moore concluded his nomination by saying “Through his use of Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance, Mr. Li may be able to follow in the footsteps of other great nonviolent world leaders in bringing peace and change to the people of China. I recommend that Mr. Li Hongzhi receive the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize.”
Upon conclusion of the press conference, practitioners of Falun Gong demonstrated the exercises to photographers and on-lookers.
Supporters and practitioners say they plan on gathering outside the State Department through Thursday when the human rights talks are scheduled to conclude.