FDI: U.S. House of Representatives Calls For End to Falun Gong Persecution in China

17 Mar 2010

New York—The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution Tuesday urging the Chinese Communist Party to end its decade-long campaign against Falun Gong and expressing solidarity with victims of persecution in China.

House Resolution 605 (full text) recognizes, “the continued persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China on the 11th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party campaign to suppress the Falun Gong spiritual movement and calling for an immediate end to the campaign to persecute, intimidate, imprison, and torture Falun Gong practitioners.”

“The Falun Gong spiritual discipline is based on truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance,” said Ros-Lehtinen. “Yet these innocents are brutally targeted by the Chinese regime. The stark reality which this resolution addresses gives new meaning to the phrase 'Butchers of Beijing.’”

“The passage and specific wording of this resolution is especially significant for it demonstrates that the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China is as urgent today as it ever was,” says Levi Browde, Executive Director of the Falun Dafa Information Center. “As it recognizes, the reality remains that millions of innocent people in China who practice Falun Gong are at constant risk of arbitrary detention, torture, and death.”

“The resolution’s content also highlights that attaining genuine freedom and human rights protection for all Chinese people is predicated on ending the persecution of Falun Gong. For how can a civil, healthy society develop when tens of millions are targeted in such a fashion?”

Citing Western press reports as well as Amnesty International, the United Nations, and Washington’s own Congressional-Executive Commission on China, the resolution’s text provides a detailed timeline tracking events from the origins of the violent persecution through to the widespread arrests and deaths of Falun Gong practitioners that accompanied the 2008 Olympic games.

The resolution also cites estimates that tens of millions continue to practice Falun Gong inside China, while challenging the Party’s anti-Falun Gong propaganda, particularly its use of the label “cult” to defame adherents at home and abroad.

It calls “upon the Government of the People’s Republic of China to immediately cease and desist from its campaign to persecute, intimidate, imprison, and torture Falun Gong practitioners, to immediately abolish the 6-10 office, an extrajudicial security apparatus given the mandate to ‘eradicate’ Falun Gong, and to immediately release Falun Gong practitioners, detained solely for their beliefs, from prisons and re-education through labour (RTL) camps.”

It also calls upon the President and Members of Congress to mark the 11th anniversary of the launch of the persecution, which will take place in July 2010.

House Resolution 605 is the third congressional resolution passed since 1999 specifically highlighting the plight of Falun Gong practitioners. (two prior resolutions: House Resolution 304 / House Resolution 218)

Bipartisan Support

In addition to the resolution’s author Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen from Florida, the bipartisan initiative drew 80 co-sponsors, split evenly between Democrats and Republicans. The vote on the resolution was near unanimous. The only dissenter was Ron Paul of Texas, known for his opposition to censuring rights abuses in other countries.

The resolution went to a vote following an 18-minute-long floor debate during which Representatives Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Diane Watson (D-CA), and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), spoke in support of the declaration.

“The Falun Gong spiritual discipline is based on truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance,” said Ros-Lehtinen. “Yet these innocents are brutally targeted by the Chinese regime, whose heinous tactics include harvesting the organs of Falun Gong practitioners and violently harassing even those practitioners living in the United States.”

“The stark reality which this resolution addresses gives new meaning to the phrase 'Butchers of Beijing.’”

Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), who could not attend the debate in person, submitted a statement for the record.

“This resolution is a testament to the millions of victims of the Chinese Communist Party that the Chinese government cannot hide the truth, and its victims will not be forgotten,” said Bilirakis’ statement. “Egregious injustices, such as those suffered by the Falun Gong practitioners and others targeted by the Chinese Communist Party, are unacceptable in a civilised world and must end today.”

“It is important not to underestimate the real world impact that this resolution will have,” says Browde. “First, by articulating the official position of the U.S. Congress, a leader in the free world, it sets an example for policymakers around the globe to follow.”

“Second, as the resolution’s text is translated into Chinese and circulated among grassroots networks throughout China, it will bring meaningful hope to millions suffering persecution and encourage further nonviolent efforts to end abuses. Moreover, its exposure of Communist Party fabrications and assertion of solidarity with the victims will give pause to would-be persecutors.”

Background

Founded in 1999, the Falun Dafa Information Centre is a New York-based organisation that documents the rights violations of adherents of Falun Gong (or “Falun Dafa”) taking place in the People’s Republic of China. In July of 1999 China’s autocratic Communist Party launched an unlawful campaign of arrests, violence, and propaganda with the intent of “eradicating” the apolitical practice; it is believed certain leaders feared the influence of the practice’ 100 million adherents. The campaign has since grown in violence and scope, with millions having been detained or sent to forced labour camps. The Centre has verified details of over 3,000 deaths and over 63,000 cases of torture in custody. Falun Gong is a traditional-style Buddhist “qigong” practice, with roots in the Chinese heritage of cultivating the mind/body for health and spiritual growth.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT THE FALUN DAFA INFORMATION CENTRE

Contacts: Gail Rachlin (+1 917-757-9780), Levi Browde (+1 845-418-4870), Erping Zhang (+1 646-533-6147), or Joel Chipkar (+1 416-731-6000)

Fax: 646-792-3916 Email: contact@faluninfo.net, Website: http://www.faluninfo.net/

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