New Report: After 24 Years, the Chinese Regime’s Relentless Persecution of Falun Gong Churns On

Falun Gong practitioners at the annual candlelight vigil in Washington, D.C. on the anniversary of the persecution in 2017 honoring fellow believers in China who have died during the persecution.

Falun Gong practitioners at the annual candlelight vigil in Washington, D.C. on the anniversary of the persecution in 2017 honoring fellow believers in China who have died during the persecution.

New York—Nearly a quarter century after its launch, the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) persecution of Falun Gong believers remains one of the largest and most severe human rights crises in China today, complete with large-scale imprisonment, invasive surveillance, and deaths in custody, according to a report published today by the Falun Dafa Information Center.

“The machinery is still churning, and the violent campaigns have not stopped,” says a Falun Gong practitioner from Shaanxi who fled China for the United States in May. This is despite the death in November 2022 of former CCP chief Jiang Zemin, who launched the persecution in July 1999.

The study, which focuses on the period from January 2022 to the present, found that Falun Gong believers throughout China continue to be subject to intensified persecution surrounding sensitive dates, that evolving digital surveillance tools are driving arrests, and that at least 182 practitioners have died due to persecution since January 2022.

In a tragic milestone, last month, the total number of Falun Gong believers documented to have died due to torture or abuse surpassed 5,000. According to the 2019 London-based China Tribunal, thousands—possibly hundreds of thousands—more have been killed to harvest their organs, a crime reaffirmed by new academic research and countered by recent legislative efforts around the world.

“The fact that this 24-year-long persecution campaign has targeted a group of people precisely because they embrace the core principles of Falun Gong’s teachings—truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance—has profound ripple effects,” says Levi Browde, executive director of the Falun Dafa Information Center and one of the report authors. “When China’s ruling regime demonizes goodness, and imprisons upstanding citizens, it tears apart the very fabric that holds society together.”

The report, titled Falun Gong: 24 Years of Persecution, draws on a wide array of information, including Chinese government documents, refugee testimonies, academic studies, human rights group reports, and first-hand accounts transmitted from China to the website. In addition to highlighting recent key developments, it also features detailed profiles of 10 prisoners, many with family members outside China advocating for their release.

The CCP’s pursuit of Falun Gong practitioners extends far beyond China’s borders. Physical assaults in Chinatowns, illicit diplomatic pressure upon local officials, and surveillance of students on university campuses are just some of the tactics used by the Chinese regime to malign and silence Falun Gong in the United States, and in countries around the world.

In a promising development, as democratic governments have focused attention on countering Beijing’s transnational repression since January 2022, they have engaged in more arrests, prosecutions, and undercover investigations of those perpetrating these violations to better protect the Falun Gong community. For example, in May 2023, two Chinese men were arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for trying to bribe U.S. officials in order to “topple Falun Gong” in the United States, according to a Department of Justice indictment.

Despite the CCP’s massive investment in crushing the practice, Falun Gong survives—and even thrives—in China and globally, bringing health, hope, and peace of mind to tens of millions of people. In China, rights lawyers courageously represent Falun Gong clients, colleagues display kindness, and even some police are sympathetic. Around the world, ordinary citizens and government leaders condemn the persecution and have imposed sanctions on Chinese officials.

The report offers detailed recommendations to policymakers in the United States and other democracies on how to counter the CCP’s persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China and beyond the country’s borders. It also offers recommendations for action to scholars and human rights groups.

Read the full report here.

To interview the report authors or request a private briefing, email [email protected].