Comments on the Chinese Communist Party's Persecution of Falun Gong Overseas (Part I)

On Monday evening, April 3rd, 2000, the United Nations held a major activity to commend diplomats who helped save Jews during World War II. During the war, there were 84 diplomats from 24 countries who risked their lives by giving visas to more than 300,000 Jewish people, enabling them to escape to other countries. Ho Feng-Shan, China's Consul-General in Vienna at that time, was one of those diplomats.

Ho Feng-Shan was called the "Chinese Schindler." He was the Consul-General of China in Vienna from 1938 to 1940. During World War II, he risked his life by giving several thousand "Visas for Life" to Jewish people in Austria, enabling them to escape from the Nazi genocide policy. When the Chinese Ambassador to Germany learnt of this, he, out of his concern for the diplomatic relationship between Germany and China, called Ho from Berlin and asked him to immediately stop issuing the visas. However, Ho was not affected at all. The Nazi government even used the excuse that the Chinese Consulate had rented a Jew's house to confiscate the house. However, Ho then moved the Chinese Consulate to another house, which was much smaller than the previous one, and continued to issue the visas. This lasted until he left the country. The parents of Rabbi Israel Singer, the secretary-general of the World Jewish Congress, are among the people he rescued.

In response to Mr. Ho Feng-Shan's righteous act of saving the Jews in Austria, Israel awarded Mr. Ho with the title of "righteous among the nations," an honour given to non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews in World War II.

Even though he was under pressure from his superiors, his own government, and the Nazi government, and in a difficult and dangerous situation, Ho Feng-Shan still upheld the principle of humanitarianism and exhibited a diplomat's morality, conscience, and independent character. His righteous act has left a shining page in human history for diplomacy and earned an excellent reputation for the Chinese people on the international stage.

Unprecedented darkness in Chinese diplomacy

Unlike He Feng-Shan's righteous deeds, after Jiang Zemin and the 610 Office started to persecute Falun Gong nationwide, the Chinese diplomatic agencies abroad began to systematically instill the Chinese government's lies and hatred in foreign countries and tried to spread the persecution all over the world. Their goal was to act in tandem with the illegal persecution of Falun Gong in China and to rapidly eradicate Falun Gong worldwide. Since then, a struggle between righteousness and evil has taken place worldwide on an unprecedented scale. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has written the darkest page in China's contemporary period of diplomacy, since its primary diplomatic goal is to persecute its own people. However, overseas Falun Gong practitioners, through their resistance to the persecution with their painstaking and persistent efforts, have been beacons of light during this dark period of history.

Perhaps people can still remember the following scenes, which I want to use to show how absurd and ugly the CCP's diplomacy is.

In September 1999, during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in New Zealand, Jiang Zemin personally distributed a pamphlet containing slanderous information about Falun Gong to the international leaders who attended the summit, including U.S. President Clinton. The diplomats of the Western countries who were present were dumbstruck by Jiang's act of disregarding diplomatic protocol, trying to disseminate propaganda for the purpose of persecuting his country's own innocent people.

In October 1999, again Jiang called Falun Gong an [slanderous term omitted] in the French newspaper Le Figaro. He then brought to China the lies that he had just made up and quoted them in the so-called anti-cult propaganda in China. In this way, he escalated the vicious campaign of slandering and condemning Falun Gong throughout China.

In 2000, in front of millions of viewers, Jiang made up irresponsible lies. On the prominent CBS TV station in the United States, he alleged that the founder of Falun Gong had claimed himself to be Shakyamuni and Jesus re-incarnated, which is a total fabrication.

Jiang's absurd acts of frenziedly slandering Falun Gong practitioners have brought disgrace to China, and opened the darkest, most shameless, and most disgraceful chapter in the history of Chinese diplomacy. Since then, slandering, harassing, and persecuting innocent Chinese people and cooperating with the brutal persecution of Falun Gong in China has become the first priority for overseas Chinese diplomats.

In the past five years, the Chinese Embassies and Consulates have violated international diplomatic treaties; grossly trampled the laws of the countries where they are located; sent out slanderous materials to various countries' officials, media, and non-governmental organisations; used economic or diplomatic pressure to try to prevent local governments of foreign countries from giving Falun Gong awards and their righteous support; used the public libraries, media, Internet, universities, and other channels to instill hatred in people outside of China; poisoned and manipulated the overseas Chinese communities, attempted to stir up overseas Chinese people to hate, threaten, and harass Falun Gong practitioners; refused to provide passport extensions to overseas Chinese Falun Gong practitioners, interfered with their local activities, etc. The Chinese Embassies and Consulates have done numerous things that were both illegal and immoral. The following cases are just a tip of the iceberg.

Exposing the dark secrets of the Chinese diplomats' participation in the persecution

Exerting pressure on foreign governmental officials

What Jiang is most afraid of is that the foreign governments and their righteous officials will stand up to oppose the persecution of Falun Gong. Therefore, Jiang has ordered the Chinese Embassies and Consulates to exhaust their efforts to promote slanderous propaganda and apply diplomatic and economic pressure to the different levels of foreign government officials.

1) Attacking Falun Gong at any occasion, time, or location, no matter who is present

Chinese diplomats should focus their efforts on tackling the issues that are of great importance to both China and the foreign countries in which they reside. However, to show off their achievements and to curry favour from Jiang Zemin, the Chinese diplomats have often attacked Falun Gong at any occasion, time, and location.

In July 2000, at meetings that were held in Chicago and Cleveland, the Chinese Ambassador to the United States, Li Zhaoxing, was supposed to speak to more than 250 attendees, including board chairmen, corporate presidents, government officials, lawyers, and other community leaders about the relationship between the United States and China. He instead used the meetings to slander Falun Gong and spread hatred.

On March 11, 2001, the former Chinese Ambassador to the United States, Zhu Qizhen, led a team of Chinese diplomats to meet the former White House National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice. People outside the meeting originally thought that the purpose of this meeting was to discuss U.S. arms sales to Taiwan. Instead, Zhu took out his pre-prepared speech and started to slander Falun Gong in front of Rice. Rice ended the meeting after Zhu had read his speech for 20 minutes.

In 2002, when the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tang Jiaxuan, met with the Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Alexander Downer, during his visit to Australia, one of the most prominent topics was to slander Falun Gong. He demanded that the Australian government restrict the local and legal activities of Falun Gong practitioners.

2) Suppressing the voices of justice

Falun Gong has been spread to over 60 countries worldwide, and the major Falun Gong books have been translated into twenty to thirty languages. Because of Falun Gong's benefits to people's mental and physical health, the harmony Falun Gong brings, and the beauty of the practise, local officials and residents have a good impression of Falun Gong, and thus many government officials have issued commendations or awards to Falun Gong. After the persecution started, Falun Gong also received support from many upright officials. Every time these officials gave Falun Gong awards and support, diplomats from the Chinese Consulate would repeatedly send the officials materials that contained slanderous material about Falun Gong. The Chinese diplomats disregarded diplomatic protocol and rudely demanded the officials to withdraw their awards.

In November 2000, Stan Bogosian, the former Mayor of the City of Saratoga in California, issued a proclamation letter to commend Falun Gong practitioners for their contribution to their local communities. Immediately after that, he received a phone call from the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco and was asked to have a face-to-face meeting and withdraw his proclamation for commending Falun Gong.

In December 2000, Mayor Randy Voepel of the City of Santee in California was prepared to issue a proclamation to Falun Gong. As a result, the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles sent him a letter containing very harsh words, which vilified Falun Gong and asked, in a very threatening way, that he not issue any awards or support Falun Gong. It also asked him not to allow Falun Gong to register as an organisation. Mayor Voepel responded in a letter and on television that he was "chilled to the bone" that "a Communist Nation would go to this amount of trouble to suppress what is routinely accepted in this country."

In November 2002, the Chicago City Council unanimously passed a resolution condemning China for its persecution of Falun Gong. One week later, the Executive Consul-General of the Chinese Consulate in Chicago sent a three-page letter containing slanderous material about Falun Gong to every member of the Chicago City Council.

Similar things have also happened in other cities. Except for a few officials who gave in to the CCP's pressure, most of them sternly refused the irrational demands of the CCP's diplomats. Mr. Bogosian and Mr. Voepel, mentioned above, both resolutely issued proclamation letters to Falun Gong practitioners. They also testified at a Congressional hearing regarding the incidents. In October 2004, Congress unanimously passed H. Con. Resolution 304, asking the CCP government to stop using its diplomats to spread lies about Falun Gong on U.S. soil, interfere with the local government officials, and harass Falun Gong activities. According to incomplete statistics, up to now, Falun Gong has received at least 1,227 proclamations or awards, 129 supporting resolutions, and 1,060 supporting letters worldwide.

While exerting pressure on foreign government officials, the Chinese Embassies and Consulates have also often twisted foreign officials' words and made things up to deceive the Chinese people.

In February 2001, seeing that the City of Decatur, Illinois had issued a proclamation to Falun Gong, the Consul-General of the Chinese Consulate in Chicago sent the mayor materials containing slanderous information about Falun Gong. After receiving the material, Mayor Terry Howley quickly wrote back, stated the characteristics of Falun Gong and politely expressed that he was sorry for any misunderstandings that might have occurred. This was not at all an apology. The consulate quickly twisted the facts. On March 9, the Xinhua News Agency of the Chinese government fabricated news claiming that the Mayor of the City of Decatur had "apologised" for declaring "Falun Dafa Week."

3) Using threats to make other countries participate in the persecution

On one hand, the CCP has attempted to create a false impression in China's propaganda that all foreign countries oppose Falun Gong. Meanwhile, they have also threatened other countries to make them participate in the persecution of Falun Gong and restrict Falun Gong practitioners' right to appeal. These actions have caused big problems in various foreign countries.

In April 2002, when Jiang Zemin visited Germany, the German police gave in to the CCP's pressure and interfered with the practitioners' peaceful protest activities. During Jiang's visit, the German police infringed upon the Falun Gong practitioners' basic human rights a number of times. Later the Ministry of Domestic Affairs in Berlin gave an apology to the practitioners.

In June 2002, the Icelandic government, which gave in to the CCP's pressure, used the blacklist that Jiang's regime submitted to them and refused to allow 60 Falun Gong practitioners entry into Iceland. This resulted in strong objections from the international media and the Icelandic people. On the day when Jiang arrived, 450 parliament members and noted public figures acted together and published four whole-page advertisements in the biggest newspapers in Iceland to apologise to Falun Gong practitioners. The advertisements used three Chinese words meaning "apology" as the title, while the English title was "WE APOLOGISE!" Around three thousand people spontaneously held a large-scale assembly and protest in the capital. They held up Falun Gong banners and sealed their mouths with black tape to express symbolically that the Icelandic government had violated the people's will, and that they were dissatisfied with the government's mistreatment of Falun Gong.

A large-scale Chinese parade was held in France from January 24 to 27, 2004, during the Chinese New Year. During the parade, several people were temporarily detained. The French police arrested individuals who wore yellow scarves, wore clothing imprinted with the words "Falun Gong" or "Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance," held small yellow banners, or wore yellow clothes. The individuals that the police arrested included tourists who were not Falun Gong practitioners. These acts were criticised and denounced by many human rights organisations, human rights lawyers, government officials, parliament members, scholars, and Falun Gong practitioners from various countries. When the Delegate Minister for Local Freedom, Mr. Patrick Devedjian, met with the French Falun Dafa Association President, Mr. Tang Hanlong, he promised that the unreasonable acts conducted by the French police against Falun Gong practitioners would not happen again.

In addition, the CCP's Embassies have also applied pressure to Burma, Cambodia, and other countries in an attempt to have Falun Gong practitioners who protested the CCP's persecution arrested or even deported, so that they could be brought back to China for persecution and brainwashing. The CCP was strongly denounced by the international media for these actions.

On December 12, 2001, upon hearing the news that Jiang Zemin was about to visit Burma, 70-year-old Mr. Chan Wing-Yuen, a resident of Hong Kong, unfurled a small banner with the words "Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance" by the road to the airport in Rangoon. He was arrested and sentenced in a closed trial, where no defence lawyers or family members were present to see how his rights were abused.

On August 9, 2002, under pressure from the Chinese Embassy, the Cambodian government openly violated international agreements and sent Falun Gong practitioners Mr. Li Guojun, about 50 years old, and Ms. Zhang Xinyi, a couple who had received certificates from the United Nations' High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recognising them as official "persons of concern," back to China. The sole reason for their being sent back to China was that they were Falun Gong practitioners. They were never heard from again.

In October 2002, when Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Wang Yuzhi, who had been brutally persecuted in China and later came to the United Arab Emirates after much trouble, was clarifying the truth to the Chinese people in the local airport. Agents of the Chinese Consulate noticed and followed her. They pressured the local police to arrest Ms. Wang and wanted to send her back to China. With help from overseas Falun Gong practitioners and the Canadian government, Ms. Wang Yuzhi was rescued and brought to Canada.

(To be continued)

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