ÖSTRAN: Falun Gong-followers marched to Stockholm

21 July 2001
By Åsa Gustafsson

In connection with the second anniversary of China’s ban on Falun Gong, a march was held from Falun (a town in Sweden) to Stockholm. The participants arrived at Myntorget [a square] in Gamla Stan [Stockholm’s old town district] on Thursday. Ulrik Dahlgren, a Falun Gong representative from Nybro, was one of the participants in the 250-kilometre-long march.

250 kilometres for 250 dead people in China, says Ulrik Dahlgren.

(…) Despite the fact that there were only about fifteen participants, we have received a lot of attention along the way, he says.

People have waved in encouragement, many have stopped their cars and let us by. There was even a nice lady who drove by and wanted to invite us for a cup of coffee, says Ulrik Dahlgren.

Yet most of all, he is satisfied with the fact that they have received attention regarding the persecution to which active Falun Gong practitioners in China are subjected. According to sources in China, a Falun Gong practitioner is now executed daily. Reports get to the West via e-mail and Internet; a channel that is hard for the authorities to control, even if attempts have been made, says Ulrik.

Banned in 1999

The Prime Minister of China, Jiang Zemin, banned Falun Gong completely, on 22 July 1999. In two years 250 people have died due to torture and persecution.

One does not even have to be active oneself, says Ulrik Dahlgren, it can be enough to know somebody or to be related to a Falun Gong practitioner.

According to Ulrik Dahlgren policemen in China have been promised that if they beat a Falun Gong practitioner to death, it will be officially reported as suicide.

Threatening movement

It can be hard to understand why a non-political, non-religious and non-commercial movement like Falun Gong is so threatening to China’s Communist party.

Ulrik Dahlgren says that the Government supported Falun Gong when the movement was established in 1992. Many women aged 50-60 used Falun Gong to become healthier and stronger. The Ministry of Sports saw how it improved people’s health and how the costs for medical care decreased.

But as the movement grew, the authorities increasingly saw it as a threat against the [XX] party. Today it is estimated that 70-100 million Chinese practise Falun Gong. It has become a mass movement that is bigger than the [XX] party itself. And among the practitioners there are policemen, members of the armed forces, and politicians.
The [XX] party prohibits everything that they cannot control and which is not in line with the party, says Ulrik Dahlgren. The [XX] party is responsible for corruption and lies, which goes against the principles of Falun Gong: truthfulness, compassion and tolerance.

Falun Gong in Sweden

Falun Gong is practised in Sweden by a couple of hundred people. In Kalmar there are around twenty who meet in the municipal park once a week. It is hard to say exactly how many people practise Falun Gong as there is no membership connected to participation.

You can simply come and participate as long as you like and to what extent you like, says Jörgen Persson. He is a Falun Gong-representative from Ronneby, and has participated in the march along with Ulrik Dahlgren.(…)

Meetings all over the world

On Friday, meetings were held all over the world in order to call attention to the second anniversary of China’s ban on Falun Gong. In Stockholm, practitioners planned to hand over a letter to the Chinese Embassy to appeal for an end to the brutalities. Candlelight vigils have been held at various places; and in Larmtorget [the town square] in Kalmar local practitioners showed people the movements and informed them about Falun Gong.

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