U.S. Congress Urges President Bush to Raise Falun Gong Issue in This Week’s China Visit

U.S. Senators Express Concern Over "torture and death in custody" of Falun Gong practitioners in China

NEW YORK, February 16, 2002 (Falun Dafa Information Center) — Signifying the growing popular recognition of Falun Gong, 94 members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to President George W. Bush on the issue Friday.

“We are writing to respectfully request, that during your visit to China you express our nation’s great concern over the Chinese government’s campaign of terror against innocent Falun Gong practitioners, and solicit the immediate release of specific victims,” the letter said. The named detainees include U.S. permanent resident Dr. Teng Chunyan.

The letter was initiated by Rep. Benjamin Gilman of New York and Rep. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, and had support in 28 states from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

In a separate letter, five U.S. Senators said, “We are deeply concerned about continuing reports of Falun Gong practitioners in China suffering restrictions on freedom of belief and expression, arbitrary detentions, torture and death in custody.” Authored by Sen. Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, it was also signed by Senators Ted Kennedy and John Kerry of Massachusetts, Jack Reed of Rhode Island, and Tom Harkin of Iowa.

The U.S. officials’ voices join the growing international chorus of support for Falun Gong in numerous countries. Local and national officials in Sweden, Ireland, Germany, France, Australia, Canada, and other countries have expressed concern and support for practitioners enduring persecution in China.

“Falun Gong is not a China issue, it’s a human issue, a world issue,” said Falun Dafa Information Center spokesperson Gail Rachlin. “Falun Gong is practiced freely in over 50 countries around the world. Therefore, Jiang’s persecution of Falun Gong is certainly not a ‘domestic affair,’ but rather a direct attack on millions of people throughout the world.” Ms. Rachlin concluded, “Governments of the world community are beginning to realize this and take steps to put an end to this persecution.”

The Falun Dafa Information Center has verified details of 358 deaths since the persecution of Falun Gong in China began in 1999. Government officials inside China, however, report that the actual death toll is well over 1,600. Over 100,000 have been detained, with more than 20,000 being sentenced to forced labor camps without trial.