L'Unita [Italian newspaper] reports on Falun Gong rally in Rome

‘L’UNITA” (name of an Italian newspaper; translator):
Demonstration in front of the [Italian] Parliament and the [Chinese] Embassy in Rome.

Speaker for the movement: “100,000 followers incarcerated; 20,00 in labour camps.”

Parliamentarians against China: “End the persecution of Falun Gong!”

Rome, September 26, 2001; excerpt from page 14

By Roberto Arduini

Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance are the Chinese words, which were repeated over and over again yesterday by followers of Falun Gong at Montecitorio Plaza. [Also present there were] Emma Bonino, Sergio d”Elia, [..] and Alfredo Biondi, vice president of the House of Representatives.

This unique protest began at 9am in front of the Parliament Building. It was pointed out that China might attempt to use the events of September 11th in New York as an excuse to intensify the suppression against members of the movement.

In barely two years, since July 1999 until today, more than 286 people in China have died while in custody as a result of torture; 100,000 are incarcerated; 20,000 are enslaved in forced labor camps. Beginning this October, the government has ordered a sharper crackdown and intensified methods. [..]

In the spring of 1999, Falun Gong declared to have 100 million followers worldwide [..]. As a response to the Chinese government’s attempt to curb the movement’s numbers, … followers assembled outside the seat of government in the heart of Beijing. Since then the persecution has intensified, though at that time not yet officially. July 22, 1999 saw the ratification of a special law [against the group].

Today, followers are found in more than 40 countries around the world and websites abound. The protesting practitioners at Montecitorio Plaza exchanged information via faxes, cell phones and the Internet. At least fifty of them demonstrated the five meditation exercises. Intermittently, Falun Gong spokesman Erping Zhang, a victim, and of Chinese heritage himself, and Sergio d’Elia, reminded people that today is October 1st, China’s National Day, a festival, which would be used as an occasion to begin a new campaign against Falun Gong practitioners.

Emma Bonino said that Falun Gong has been persecuted since 1999. It has become necessary to use the attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. as a worldwide uniting factor against terrorism everywhere [..]. The great unifying efforts against terrorism, which is fomenting at the moment, must not become a cover-up for those who interfere with human rights...

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