A Streatham Common woman whose parents fled China after they were tortured for their religious beliefs is fighting to raise the profile of their struggle and that of millions of others.
Youyan Li and her parents practise Falun Gong – a Buddhist practice acclaimed for its healing powers – followed by an estimated 70 million people in China and millions others across the globe.
|Falun Gong Practitioners Jing Hang Liu and Youyan Li|
Today (July 20) marks the official 10-year anniversary of what Ms Li says is a brutal persecution by the Chinese authorities of Falun Gong practitioners because they feared the religion posed a threat to their control of the country.
It is alleged that millions have been tortured and the Government has been accused of killing 40,000 people in an "organ harvesting" campaign where organs were allegedly taken from thousands of illegally imprisoned, healthy practitioners.
Ms Li's parents, both award-winning scientists, were victims of the persecution before eventually escaping to Australia in 2003 after being granted asylum there.
Her mother, Jing Hang Liu, was arrested six times and jailed for three years after being falsely accused of organising an anti-Government protest.
She is now visiting her daughter in Britain and is calling on people to pressurise the British Government to take action to end a situation "verging on genocide."
Jing Hang Liu, 67, said: "I was tortured with force-feeding through lethal nostril insertion, injection of unknown drugs, long-term sleep deprivation, physical punishment, and slave labour."
She was told it would all end if she gave up practising Falun Gong. She believes the only reason she was not killed to harvest her organs was she was too old.
She said: "I am lucky to be alive, lucky to have escaped China."
Ms Li said: "We can never return to China while this goes on. This torture and persecution is still going on today yet not enough people know it is happening and more must be done to get world leaders to end it."
She said the international community feared raising the issue with China because of their economic and military might.
Streatham MP Keith Hill has already raised the issue of persecution of the Falun Gong in Parliament at her request, and Youyan Li and her mother were due to visit Downing Street today to hand over a letter demanding more action be taken.
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