The Nature, Scope & Scale of Persecution

The sheer scope and scale of the 20-year-long persecution campaign carried out by the Chinese communist party against people who practice or support Falun Gong is difficult to quantify, but here are a few key facts.

Over the past 20 years, more than 100 million people who practice or support Falun Gong have been targeted with a systematic persecution campaign launched by the Chinese communist party.

Millions have been subjected to arbitrary harassment or detention by police, with tens of thousands suffering severe torture and abuse in custody.

Untold thousands have died from torture.

And, for more than a decade, Falun Gong practitioners have been detained and systematically killed on a large scale so their organs could be sold for profit by the Chinese regime.

The Nature of Persecution

As a meditation practice rooted in traditional Chinese culture and Buddhist philosophy, Falun Gong garnered widespread praise throughout China in the 1990s.

For many, the practice not only provided a pathway to good health, it awakened within them a desire to become honest, compassionate, and tolerant people.

Falun Gong … is, in my judgment, the greatest single spiritual movement in Asia today. There is nothing that begins to compare with it in courage and importance. Mark Palmer, former U.S. Ambassador

For this reason, Falun Gong practitioners were widely regarded as the boy scouts of Chinese society — those earnestly engaged in trying to be good people in every aspect of life.

Good family members. Good colleagues. Good citizens.

When a few rulers of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) saw Falun Gong’s popularity, and ordered the practice to be “eradicated,” just what exactly were they going against? In targeting Falun Gong, the CCP has sought to destroy a force for goodness and compassion, and in so doing, hurled China back to the darkest days of the Cultural Revolution.

The Scope of Persecution

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) controls most aspects of public life inside China.

Military and security personnel take their orders from CCP leaders.

All major corporations have a CCP official sitting on their board to ensure CCP directives are implemented throughout the company.

All major media have CCP censors to monitor and alter reports.

Most housing is under the control of the CCP.

[The Chinese regime] sanctioned the systematic use of violence against [Falun Gong], established a network of brainwashing classes and embarked on a painstaking effort to weed out followers neighborhood by neighborhood and workplace by workplace. The Washington Post, August 5, 2001

Therefore, when the CCP launched the campaign to “stamp out” Falun Gong, it could do so by denying people their education, their jobs, their housing, and quite simply, their basic ability to live. Or, as has been the case for millions of people, the CCP could simply throw them into forced labor camps, or hold them in prisons, “black jails” or other types of holding facilities.

Under the CCP, Falun Gong practitioners could be rendered destitute, regardless of whether they were incarcerated or not.

The Scale of Persecution

When the CCP launched the campaign against Falun Gong in 1999, there were 100 million people practicing throughout China.

While some have attributed this figure to Falun Gong sources, the number actually originates from the Chinese authorities themselves, and more specifically, to a series of surveys conducted by the Chinese government.

Furthermore, similar numbers were cited on multiple occasions by Western media outlets such as the New York Times and Associated Press prior to the ban in July 1999.

Before the crackdown the government estimated membership [of Falun Gong] at 70 million — which would make it larger than the Chinese Communist Party, with 61 million members. The Associated Press, November 13, 1999

Shortly after the launch of the persecution, the Chinese regime shrank the estimate dramatically to 2 million as part of its propaganda campaign and a means of downplaying the scale of violations.

In 2009, ten years after the persecution started, an analysis of reports from people inside China revealed there were between 20 million and 40 million people actively engaged in peaceful civil disobedience activity to expose the persecution.

What does all this mean?

For 20 years, 100 million people (and their family members) have been the target of a systematic, violent campaign by the CCP to force them to give up their beliefs.

This makes Falun Gong the largest persecuted religious group in the history of the world. The scale is simply unprecedented.