Brooklyn Graphic (New York): Falun Gong Activists Decry Chinese Atrocities

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09/07/2006

Frank Yu of Brooklyn speaks in front of Brooklyn’s Courthouse about the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China while Yu Sheung Chiu (right) and Chao Feng Chiu, (second from right) meditate
Two Falun Gong practitioners sat crossed-legged, peacefully meditating in front of the Brooklyn Supreme Courthouse opposite Court Street one August morning

Doing the same thing in China could lead to their detention, and even having their organs removed for transplant for western patients, protesters say.

Chao Feng Chiu, 57, who lives on East 14th Street and Kings Highway, protests five days a week outside the Chinese Consulate on 42nd Street in Manhattan, according to Quan Sha, who translated for her since Chiu does not speak English..

"Whether it’s raining, snowing or hot, she is there every day," said Sha.

Chiu, who arrived in the United States from China in 1982, learned about Falun Gong from doctors as she was looking for treatment for diabetes, Sha said. After her condition improved in 1998, Chui started to follow Falun Gong teachings, Sha said.

Chiu’s husband, Yu Sheung Chiu, 69, who was seated next to her, also joins her outside the consulate, Sha said.

Protestors say that Falun Gong practitioners are harassed, jailed and sent to concentration and labour camps. Allegations that the government is now executing people and harvesting hearts, livers, kidneys, skin and other organs emerged earlier this year.

"We are trying to bring awareness of the atrocities that are going on in China," said Clearine Hunter of Crown Heights who practises Falun Gong in Prospect Park. "We want the public to be aware that even though it is going on on the other side of the world, it shouldn’t be allowed to happen."

A spokesperson from the Chinese Embassy declined to comment.

Protesters say that the Communist government welcomed Falun Gong when it emerged in 1992 from the teachings of Li Hongzhi. But as its popularity increased, the government became threatened. Practitioners have been persecuted since 1999 when the Chinese government declared the practice illegal, they say.

Frank Yu, a Brooklyn resident, said his 83- year-old grandmother, who practised Falun Gong in the Jiangsu Province in China, had to quit after being routinely harassed and intimidated.

Hunter says that Falun Gong is not a religion or political practice, but practitioners are trying to raise awareness of the persecution of those who practice it.

Falun Gong, aims to teach moral values including truth, compassion and tolerance through spiritual enlightenment and five exercises -- four standing and one meditating in the sitting position, she said.

According to reports, a person caught practising Falun Gong in China may be arrested, taken to concentration camps and assigned a new name and number, according to Hunter.

At these camps, their organs may be removed while they are still alive, before their bodies are incinerated, Hunter alleges.

"They have Web sites advertising how to get heart and liver transplants," Hunter said. "How can you do that unless you have a stockpile?"

In 2000 Amnesty International called on the Chinese government to stop a crackdown on the Falun Gong, which resulted in "mass arbitrary detentions, unfair trials and other human rights violations."

A report in May from the U.S. Congressional Research Service states that the U.S. State Department has acknowledged that there were credible reports that Falun Gong practitioners who refuse to recant their beliefs have been detained, sent to labour camps, and tortured - sometimes to death.

But the report said they found no evidence of organ harvesting. Following reports in March 2006 that a hospital in [Sujiatun], near Shenyang, had been used as a detention centre where thousands of Falun Gong prisoners have had their organs removed for transplants, American diplomats visited the site twice. Once they went unannounced. They "found no evidence" that the site was being used for anything other than a "normal public hospital"

Hunter was not impressed, saying that there are of reports of at least 36 such sites and that the West has failed to take seriously reports of genocide before.

"China is going to take you wherever they want you to go," Hunter said. "It’s the same thing that was going on in WWII. They came back saying everything was fine to learn later that people were being exterminated."

For information about the Falun Gong human rights campaign, visit www.falundafa.org .

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