By Lisbeth Ulfstedt
Dagens Arbete (a Swedish trade journal for employees within the print and press industry) no. 9, 13/10/2001
He [A.E.] comes from Varberg, where he started practising Falun Gong as early
Ive always been a seeker and previously practised, amongst other things, qigong. Yet I felt that the spiritual dimension which exists in Falun Gong was missing, he explains.
Outside of qigong and health circles, Falun Gong was relatively unknown in Sweden in those days. The movement was started in China in 1992 by Li Hongzhi and was supported by the Chinese Qigong Society during the first few years. Hongzhi had several honours bestowed upon him by public health experts and the movement expanded rapidly. In short, the idea of Falun Gong is that practitioners find an inner harmony and develop themselves into good, truthful people
[ ] However, on 20 July 1999, nearly three months after 10 000 practitioners peacefully clarified the truth, in Beijing, about the polices harassment of Falun Gong practitioners in another province, the Chinese regime got cold feet. An investigation had shown that 70 million Chinese, of which many were party members, government officials, and employees in the police and armed forces, practised Falun Gong. Falun Gong was banned and the police were ordered to control the method and persecute its practitioners; a decision which seems completely incomprehensible to outsiders.
The regime is afraid of all movements which it cant control. Had a stamp collectors club had 70 million members, it would also have been banned, explains A.E.
The Chinese Communist Party has never tolerated any sort of activity that can be suspected of challenging their power monopoly. Today they have, in addition, escalated the campaign against minority groups as well as various religious associations, according to the international news media.
Since 1999, thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have been imprisoned and tortured, and to date 267 of them have killed in prison. The torture is well documented and has been photographed. Testimonies from Chinese who have managed to flee from the country makes for horrid reading. Amnesty International considers Falun Gong to be a non-political movement. They have also criticized the regime for callously disregarding the right of those people, who are imprisoned merely as a result of their peaceful actions, to live.
Moreover, China has signed the United Nations declaration on human rights: on religious freedom, freedom of assembly, and freedom of expression. But it doesnt seem to mean a thing, A.E. points out
] He wishes that more people would protest, that would make him happy. People can sign their [Falun Gongs] petitions or write letters to the prime minister. It is important that Göran Persson comments on the matter and condemns the persecution in
13 October 2001
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