The persecution of Falun Gong in China continues to compel peaceful resistance around the world.
To raise awareness about the gruesome persecution in China, Falun Gong practitioners around the world have organized various projects and protests. They contributed to breaking through the internet blockades in China to counteract the propaganda of the Chinese regime and reduce the persecution. Falun Gong practitioners have also established uncensored media, made phone calls to China, reached Chinese viewers through satellite TV, organized parades, set up information stands, created petitions and put together art exhibitions. Additionally, some have produced award-winning films such as Unsilenced, Eternal Spring, and Hard to Believe
Although the persecution is still underexposed, there has been notable support from those outside the Falun Gong community. Medical experts from many countries have opposed and protested against the harvesting of organs from Falun Gong practitioners in China. Representatives of various governments and human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have also spoken out against this persecution.
Falun Gong practitioners around the world have organized a variety of public events to bring attention to the ongoing persecution in China. These events include protests in front of Chinese embassies, parades, rallies, and simple information booths at community events and tourist sites.
Protests outside Chinese Embassies
During important dates or politically sensitive events, Falun Gong practitioners hold peaceful protests in front of their local Chinese embassies or consulates. Oftentimes, adherents also write an open letter about the persecution to the CCP or to their local community.
In London, Falun Gong practitioners have held a candlelight vigil outside the Chinese embassy 24/7 since 2001. Practitioners in London are determined continue the vigil until the persecution ends.
Parades and Rallies
Parades, candlelight vigils, and rallies are annually held by Falun Gong adherents in major cities to memorialize important dates and remember the lives that have been lost over the course of CCP’s persecution.
In Washington D.C., for example, Falun Gong practitioners hold events around July 20th – the onset of the persecution. The events begin with a rally outside the Capital Building and feature speakers and the U.S. government and various human rights organizations. Practitioners walk from the rally to the Washington Monument where they hold a candlelight vigil to honor those killed in the persecution.
From the Eiffel tower in Paris, to the National Palace Museum in Taipei, Falun Gong practitioners in around the world set up information booths at famous landmarks to raise awareness of the persecution. Practitioners pass out fliers about the practice, demonstrate the meditation exercises, and display information about the persecution for passersby to see.
NGO panels, Congressional hearings, and meetings with government officials and their staffers are another function by which Falun Gong practitioners are able to sound the alarm and update people on Capitol Hill about the developing situation in China.
The most recent panel held in Washington, D.C., was at the International Religious Freedom Summit in June 2022.
Hosted by the Hudson Institute, featuring experts Nina Shea, senior fellow and director of the Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute; Nury Turkel, chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom & Hudson senior fellow; Levi Browde, executive director at the Falun Dafa Information Center; and Ethan Gutmann, Co-founder of the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China.
The persecution of Falun Gong has been a topic of discussion in a number of congressional hearings in the United States. In 2012 the Congressional Executive Committee on China held a hearing exclusively on the persecution. Present at the hearing was Chung Ting-pang, a Taiwanese citizen illegally arrested and detained by Chinese authorities in June when he visited his family in the mainland. Chung Ting-pang was eventually freed with the efforts of his family, the Taiwanese people and the international community. In his testimony Chung detailed the torture he was subject to while under a 24-hour surveillance and interrogation. The Chinese communist authorities forced him to confess fabricated charges.
Meetings with Government Officials
In May 2022, persecution victim Zhang Yuhua and Simon Zhang, whose mother was arrested three days before the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and died after a month, met with International Religious Freedom Ambassador-at-Large Rashad Hussain at the US State Department to share their stories and ask for stricter measures countering the Chinese Communist Party’s crimes against humanity. In his opening remarks, Hussain emphasized that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s ruthless persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China is unacceptable and intolerable. He also reiterated support for Falun Gong practitioners and condemned the suppression in China.
Falun Gong practitioners outside China have assisted in contesting the dehumanizing propaganda about the practice peddled by state-run media. Notable efforts include forming calling teams to directly speak to the Chinese people and developing software to break through China’s internet firewall.
Global Calling Teams
Falun Gong practitioners directly call the Chinese people and talk to them about what is happening to Falun Gong, debunk slander about the practice, and encourage them not to be complicit in the persecution.
Some teams specifically call those involved in persecuting Falun Gong such as members of the 610 Office, the extralegal police force tasked with persecuting Falun Gong. These simple phone calls can save the lives of Falun Gong practitioners inside China.
During a phone call in early 2020, a Finland practitioner reached the director of a detention center where Falun Gong practitioners were being held. Although the man replied to her with vulgar language at first, she was able to change his mind: After a few days, she received a call from him and he apologized and swore not to persecute Falun Gong adherents in the future. The practitioners held there were released.
After the persecution began in 1999, Falun Gong and anything related to it was heavily censored online in China. This meant the dehumanizing propaganda peddled out by state-run media went uncontested in the digital space. In response to the censorship, a number of tech-savvy Falun Gong practitioners overseas created a slew of software to break through China’s “Great Firewall.”
They have since formed the Global Internet Freedom Consortium (GIFC). The group’s technologies—which include Ultrasurf, Freegate, GTunnel, FirePhoenix, and GPass—have emerged in recent years as the most successful and popular avenues for users inside China and other closed societies to access websites freely and securely.
According to the Consortium, as of June 2008, the number of hits noted on their servers reached more than 400 million per day. It is further estimated that over 90 percent of the internet traffic from China for anti-censorship purposes goes through their secure gateway services.
Falun Gong-related websites remain among the most systematically and hermetically blocked by China’s Internet firewall.
Falun Gong practitioners have utilized various media to educate people about Falun Gong and the ongoing persecution, including art exhibitions and award winning films.
Art of Zhen Shan Ren
The fine arts exhibition features traditional style oil paintings created by Falun Gong practitioners. Currently, the exhibition consists of 22 pieces, each reflecting either the meditation practice of Falun Gong or the practitioners’ unyielding spirit in the face of the Chinese Communist Party’s persecution. Exhibits of the “Art of Zhen Shan Ren” have toured over 900 cities and 50 countries worldwide.
One painting in particular, titled “Coming for You,” was created by Taiwanese artist Jou Yishiou from Taipei (pictured below). She said, “All artists from the exhibition…wish to document the great history of Falun Dafa with our artwork. The artwork is based on true stories of the persecution. Practitioners in China are enduring enormous hardship, but their persistence and dauntlessness shines in the dark.”
Films Highlighting the Persecution
Multiple noteworthy films have highlighted this ongoing human rights crisis in China and its broader implications internationally. Many have won awards at film festivals and other venues. Below are some of the most renown and recommended films that provide insight into the persecution of Falun Gong:
Based on true events, “Unsilenced” follows university students in Beijing as their carefree days are shattered by the 1999 order that banned the spiritual practice Falun Gong in China. As the state churns out lies and starts brutally suppressing voices of dissent, they cross paths with Daniel, a cynical American reporter struggling to find meaning in his profession in the country he loves.
With the risk of prison, torture, and even death looming over them, they must all make a choice: to go with their conscience and speak the truth, or to remain silent as atrocious crimes go on behind closed doors.
In March 2002, a state TV signal in China is hijacked by members of the banned spiritual group Falun Gong. Their goal is to counter the government narrative about their practice. In the aftermath, police raids sweep Changchun, and comic book illustrator Daxiong (Justice League, Star Wars) is forced to flee.
Combining present-day footage with 3D animation inspired by Daxiong’s art, Eternal Spring retraces the event on its 20th anniversary, and brings to life an unprecedented story of defiance and an exhilarating tale of determination to speak up for religious freedom, no matter the cost.
In 2021, singer-songwriter and human rights activist James H. White meets three sisters in Washington, D.C. whose stories change his life. He pursues this story across the Atlantic to uncover a sinister spectre, one that seems to underlie everything from COVID to media censorship, to politics and entertainment.
Featuring insights from some of the world’s leading human rights experts, lawyers, and heartbreaking interviews with those who faced, and survived, the unimaginable.
In the northeastern city of Changchun, China, a group of six ordinary people — including a truck driver, a food vendor, a housewife — gathered in secret to plan an extraordinary task: to break into the television broadcasting system of the most tyrannical regime on earth – that of the Chinese Communist Party. Their goal was to expose one of the gravest, state sponsored, lies in Chinese history. A single lie used to justify the persecution of millions of people. It was an event that sparked an information revolution that challenged oppressive regimes around the world, from Beijing to Tehran, and continues to reverberate today.
Although Yingying’s mother was killed in a modern day persecution and the little girl is alone on the streets of Northern China, an enchanted art form could reunite them. Enter a child’s world, where hope and imagination are more powerful than police batons or state-sponsored violence, where noble determination conquers all.