U.S. Ambassador-at-large and 29 U.S. Members of Congress send personal statements while 606 from other nations sign a joint statement
NEW YORK—A total of 606 lawmakers from 30 countries and across party lines have signed a joint statement calling on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to immediately stop the “systematic and brutal campaign to ‘eradicate’ the spiritual discipline of Falun Gong.” Another bipartisan group of 29 U.S. Members of Congress, as well as the country’s ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, have issued their own statements condemning the persecution and calling for justice.
“These simultaneous statements reflect an unprecedented effort by government representatives from across the political spectrum and around the world to condemn the Chinese Communist Party’s injustices against Falun Gong,” says Levi Browde, Executive Director of the Falun Dafa Information Center. “Together they send a clear message of solidarity to those suffering in China and an unmistakable rejection of the Chinese regime’s campaign to wipe out a peaceful faith practiced by millions around the world.”
Joint international statement
Current and former ministers, senators, members of parliament, members of congress, and state-level lawmakers from 30 countries in Europe, North America, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America are among the signatories of the joint statement. They express their deep concern for Falun Gong’s well-documented, 21-year-long struggle for freedom of belief in the face of violent repression at the hands of the CCP. They recognize July 20 as the day the persecution began more than two decades ago and note that Falun Gong (a.k.a. Falun Dafa) is an ancient Chinese meditation practice based on the three principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance.
“The persecution of Falun Gong in China has been one of the harshest campaigns against a faith group in modern times,” says the joint statement. “Since July 1999, millions of Falun Gong practitioners in China have been arbitrarily arrested and jailed without due process and many have been tortured and even killed.”
“We … urge the Chinese government to respect international norms, … to immediately stop the persecution of Falun Gong in China, and to unconditionally release all detained Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience.”
The statement’s signatories are current and former officials from the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Romania, Estonia, Hungary, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Latvia, Norway, Argentina, Chile, Japan, Taiwan, Venezuela, the United States and Indonesia.
The joint international statement notes past resolutions from the European Parliament and U.S. Congress condemning the persecution of Falun Gong, while referencing a recent Independent Tribunal in the United Kingdom that found that “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.”
Statements from U.S. officials
In addition to the joint international statement, a total of 29 U.S. Senators and members of the House of Representatives (15 Republicans and 14 Democrats) released separate personal statements and letters calling for the end of the persecution of Falun Gong and expressing “solidarity with Falun Gong practitioners and their families for the lives, freedoms, and rights they lost for adhering to their beliefs.” U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback recorded a video expressing sadness on the solemn occasion of the anniversary and reflecting on the “the 21st anniversary of the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in the People’s Republic of China.” He went on to say that the “untold suffering” endured by Falun Gong at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party, which, he pointed out, includes horrific tactics such as forced organ harvesting. “We thank you [Falun Gong practitioners] for your persistence. We thank you for standing up for religious freedom in a very difficult situation. God bless you and we will continue to stand with you.” Commissioner of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom Gary Bauer recorded a video bringing attention to the “tragic anniversary” of Falun Gong’s persecution and expressing that the USCIRF is “disturbed and outraged by allegations that the Chinese government is facilitating the forced harvesting of organs from Falun Gong practitioners.”
“For two decades the Falun Gong practitioners have faced oppression in China,” notes Representative Rodney Davis (R-IL). “The Chinese government has used unjust political imprisonment, torture, and unconsented organ harvesting to wipe out the Falun Gong.”
Looking towards a better future, Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) writes, “I hope that one day soon Falun Gong practitioners in China and all over the world may exercise their principles free of oppression, as you are free here today.”
The full collection of statements is available here.
Select quotes from international signatories and letters
Several lawmakers issued additional comments alongside their signatures. Select examples are included here.
Tommy Sheppard, MP, United Kingdom:
“Practitioners of Falun Gong have been subject to deplorable persecution from the Chinese Government that has sought to eradicate those that observe the spiritual discipline since the 1990s.
All people have a right to freedom of expression and religion, and China must respect that. We will continue to commit to upholding Human Rights everywhere and any Government that sanctions or allows violations on its citizens (or indeed others) must be held to account and face the response of the international community.”
Hon. Peter Kent, MP, former Minister of the Environment, Canada:
“I call on the international community to speak up more forcefully and more publicly in denouncing the Chinese government’s continuing state-sponsored denial of fundamental human rights.
We must continue to work and hope that China will one day respect rule of law, the freedom of speech, assembly, and religion; a day when the tenets of Falun Gong can be spoken loud in Tiananmen square: Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance.”
George Christensen, MP, Australia:
“The persecution of Falun Gong practitioners, who have suffered oppression, torture and victimisation, is one of the most appalling campaigns undertaken by the Chinese Communist Party. I will always stand in sympathy and support with those who practice this peaceful spiritual observance.”
Ann-Sofie Alm, MP, Sweden:
“On July the 20th, 21 years has passed since the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners first started.
The free world is slowly being aware about the cruelness that the China communist party is doing to its own people. I want to raise awareness of the many of Falun Gong practitioners who have been detained in “re-education through labor” camps, prisons and other detention facilities as prisoners of conscience. There have been reports of torture and even organ harvesting.
This is why this joint statement is so important. The communist party of China needs to know what the free world wants. We want this persecution and all other persecutions to end. It needs to stop right now.”
Media contact: Levi Browde. Email: [email protected] Phone: +1 845-418-4870
The full joint statement and more messages of support can be found here.