China's communist regime launched a campaign of systematic persecution to eradicate Falun Gong in 1999. Practitioners of the spiritual discipline countered the Party-mandated violence with efforts to peacefully resist. The environment at the time was heavy and oppressive, “as if the sky was falling”—a phrase commonly used by Chinese speakers to characterize such situations of terror, oppression and uncertainty.
The regime's official attitude toward Falun Gong had seemingly changed overnight. After receiving numerous proclamations from various government agencies, Falun Gong was suddenly “banned,” even though no law was ever passed to officially ban the practice.
Many volunteers who coordinated group practice sites (where people gathered to meditate together) were illegally arrested overnight on July 20, 1999. For them and thousands of others, the sky had indeed truly fallen.
Those who had lived through earlier campaigns of repression in communist China quickly realized that a big storm was brewing. Many didn't see any hope in resisting the regime's policy, even though they knew the policy was wrong. After all, the CCP had succeeded in all of its previous “struggles”—a term Marxist governments routinely dust off when targeting various groups for persecution.
In China over the last several decades, similar “struggles” brought about campaigns of brutal repression against landlords, intellectuals, people of faith, and students entertaining thoughts of political modernization and democracy.
No one wanted to be associated with a persecuted group because they didn't believe that their voice would make any difference, other than to put themselves and their families in danger. The terror of the communist regime had been so prevalent for so many years, that it had changed people's perceptions of right and wrong.
This was the starting point for those who practice Falun Gong in China back in 1999. However, despite all of the indignities and even horrors that the campaign of persecution brought, they didn't give up. They stayed true to their spiritual belief and their faith that people's consciences would eventually awaken.
Over the past 14 years of persecution, practitioners' positivity and persistence have had a remarkable impact on our world at large.
Wide Support for Falun Gong Outside China
While the Chinese communist regime has spent a fortune in its attempts to export the suppression of Falun Gong outside China, these efforts have consistently failed.
Instead, people all over the world have come to condemn the persecution, with a particular focus on the issue of state-sanctioned organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners in China. Below are a few recent examples of this growing global trend:
- The European Parliament passed a resolution “expressing deep concern” over “credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from non-consenting prisoners of conscience, including from large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners imprisoned for their religious beliefs” on December 12, 2013. The resolution also “demands an immediate end to the 14-year persecution of the Falun Gong spiritual practice by the Communist Party of China, and the immediate release of all Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience.”
- A pending resolution (H. Res. 281) with similar contents in the U.S. Congress passed the markup in the Asia Subcommittee of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on December 11, 2013. The subcommittee markup is the first step in the process leading to a vote on the House floor.
- On December 9, 2013, the eve of International Human Rights Day, a global petition with 1.5 million signatures from people in over 50 countries across 4 continents was delivered to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The petition called on the UN to initiate further investigations into forced organ harvesting from imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners in China and to call upon China to immediately end this atrocious crime against humanity.
Falun Gong has received over 1,000 proclamations and supportive resolutions from government officials and various organizations the world over. The main text of Falun Gong, Zhuan Falun, and other Falun Gong books have been translated into more than 30 languages and published across the globe. Over 100 million people in approximately 100 countries currently partake in the spiritual practice.
Turmoil Inside the CCP
A movement to quit the CCP and its affiliated organizations (the Communist Youth League and the Young Pioneers) has led to over 150 million Chinese renouncing their association with the Party. The movement was inspired by the publication of the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party in November 2004, a series that systematically exposes the true nature of the CCP through each phase of its history.
In addition to sightseeing and purchasing gifts for their friends and families while travelling abroad, many Chinese tourists now arrive at their destinations with a new objective: to quit the CCP and its affiliated organizations. Tens of thousands continue to disassociate themselves from the Party each day. Some Chinese tourists have also sent greetings to the founder of Falun Gong, expressing hope that he can return to China soon.
Despite its overt aggression within China and overseas, the communist regime has had no way to stop this ever-expanding phenomenon. Its vague, and often deceitful, response to organ harvesting allegations has also met with severe criticism throughout the world.
Key Figures in the Persecution of Falun Gong Toppling Like Dominoes
Many high-ranking CCP officials who actively participated in the persecution of Falun Gong are now being investigated for crimes of corruption by the regime itself. Yet the CCP fails to mention, or even acknowledge, their most serious crimes—persecuting and harvesting organs from Falun Gong practitioners.
Some attribute the downfall of these former Party powerhouses to the Party's need to protect its own survival, and its willingness to sacrifice any among its own leadership to escape responsibility itself. Many others believe that “what goes around comes around” and that those who fall from favor are simply experiencing some form of karmic retribution for their misdeeds.
Regardless of what you believe, here's what's happening with some of them:
- Li Dongsheng, vice minister of Public Security and head of the 610 Office, is under investigation for corruption and abuse of power, according to a recent announcement by state-run media in China.
- Zhou Yongkang, former head of Domestic Security and one of Li's main sponsors in the Party, is rumored to have been either arrested or under house arrest. Zhou played a key role in implementing the persecution of Falun Gong through the 610 Office and Political and Legal Affairs Committee.
- Bo Xilai was found guilty of corruption on 22 September 2013. He was stripped of all assets and sentenced to life in prison. Bo began the business of organ extractions from living Falun Gong practitioners in Dalian City, where he was the mayor at the outset of the persecution in 1999 and 2000. Other areas soon followed the example. The military, forced labor camps, prisons, and detention centers formed a supply chain of organ trade, reaping tremendous profits at the expense of human life.
- Wang Lijun, former deputy mayor and head of the Public Security Bureau in Chongqing—and Bo's protégé—was sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment on September 24, 2012. Wang served as police chief of Jinzhou City from May 2003 to June 2008. Shortly after assuming this post, he formed the On-Site Psychology Research Centre, which specialized in organ transplant research. In 2006, he received the Guanghua Award for his work there. During his acceptance speech, Wang said that the research results were based on “thousands of on-site studies,” which corroborates other data suggesting that thousands of live organ harvests were carried out at this center within approximately 3 years.
Growing Grassroots Support
Falun Gong practitioners in China are gaining more and more support from their families, neighbours, attorneys and even 610 Office staffers. A petition in February 2009 provided the first glimpse of this phenomenon.
Falun Gong practitioner Mr. Xu Dawei from Qingyuan County, Fushun City, Liaoning Province, was badly abused in prison. Due to the brutal torture, he suffered organ failure and had a mental collapse. His body was covered with telltale cuts and bruises. Surviving 8 years of imprisonment, he died only 13 days after his release, on February 16, 2009.
The villagers in Mr. Xu's hometown expressed great discontent that such a good man was tortured to the brink of death. Dozens of people went to Dongling Prison, demanding an explanation for his death. However, they were all turned away.
Mr. Xu's family persisted in petitioning for justice. Despite the significant risk to everyone involved, their efforts resulted in 376 villagers from 5 villages signing a petition to appeal to the local government. They hoped that the government would hold the responsible people accountable for Mr. Xu's wrongful imprisonment and death.
Villagers' signatures on a petition calling for an investigation into Mr. Xu's death.
Many similar petitions, with thousands of signatures, have since appeared in China.
This and other stories that will be presented in this series aim to illustrate this: That Falun Gong's 14-year journey of peacefully resisting the persecution has sown the seeds for the return of good values in China, validating the eternal principle: good triumphs over evil.
(To be continued)
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