Zhang Cuiying, Paintings of freedom
At the opening of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights Falun Gong practitioners expressed their concern about the repression that is striking down their fellow practitioners in China.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a method deeply rooted in Chinese tradition. It consists in the practice of five exercises (energizing and relaxing, with slow, supple movements), and in the gradual assimilation, through day-to-day right thinking and action, into the characteristics of the Universe: Truth, Goodness and Forbearance.
Although its teachings use some Buddhist and Taoist terms, Falun Gong is not a religion and has neither ritual nor worship. In July 1999 Jiang Zemins government launched an irrational crackdown on Falun Gong.
An Australian painter of Chinese origin is also in Geneva for the opening of the Commission on Human Rights and is exhibiting her work here. Zhang Cuiying, a Falun Gong practitioner, reveals paintings full of wisdom and serenity. The famous mountains and rivers of China have provided her with much inspiration, resulting in the expansion of her mind and an ability to see in a new way. By the end of 1997, the practice of Falun Gong gave her the strength to regain her health, following months of arthritis. The most serious event, however, occurred at the close of 1999, when she could never have imagined that in returning to China to protest against the ill-treatment of Falun Gong practitioners, she would have to undergo eight months of imprisonment, torture and abuse
Upon her return to Australia, she resumed painting. Through her paintings one senses her suffering, and, above all, the hope that never deserted her during those months of detention. The exhibition held in Geneva, as in other cities around the world, is a call to each and every one to become aware of the repression of Falun Gong members in China where, since 1999, more than 1,600 practitioners have died , 50,000 are held in bleak labour camps and thousands of others are denied their most fundamental rights. These works of art, exhibited several days ago in Geneva, reflect above all the serenity of spirit that their author admits to having rediscovered after so much suffering, and by this means she wants to bring her support to all those who suffer oppression from the Chinese authorities who refuse to allow them to practise their ideal method.
Hunger strike of 800 Falun Gong campaigners
On 21 March, nearly 800 campaigners of the Chinese spiritual movement Falun Gong began a twoday hunger strike in Geneva in front of United Nations headquarters. Their protest is against the persecution of practitioners in China. Surrounded by banners denouncing the repression on the part of the Beijing authorities, the members of the movement, coming from several European countries as well as from the United States and Asia, had already demonstrated peacefully the previous day in Geneva, where the Commission on Human Rights has been in session since 18 March. The hunger strike aims at expressing practitioners solidarity with those being detained in China. President Jiang Zemin, they say, has given the order to kill without mercy and to shoot on sight practitioners of the movement. Enough of torture and killing in China read a text distributed by the demonstrators. It details torture cases and deaths of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners and abuse against detained women. To date, Falun Gong says, the repression has led to 1,600 deaths, 100,000 detained, 20,000 held in labour camps and 1,000 in psychiatric institutions. Falun Gong asks the Commission on Human Rights to condemn China.
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