Compassion Magazine: Ten Important Facts about the Beijing Olympics

One of a series of articles from the most recent edition of Compassion Magazine, a publication of the Falun Dafa Information Center.

1. China's Olympic Committee President was found liable for torture

In 2004, a U.S. federal court found that Liu Qi, the man heading Beijing's Olympic Organizing Committee, was responsible for the torture of Falun Gong adherents during his tenure as Beijing's mayor from 1999 to 2002.

2. To prepare for the Olympics, Chinese security ordered a "strike hard" against Falun Gong.

According to Amnesty International, in preparing for the Games, Former Public Security Minister Zhou Yongkang issued the following order in the context of successfully holding the Olympic Games: "We must strike hard at hostile forces at home and abroad, such as ethnic separatists... and 'heretical organizations' like the Falun Gong.

3. Falun Gong practitioners are being killed in custody faster and more frequently than before.

Within the first three months of 2008, the Falun Dafa Information Center (FDI) documented six cases of practitioner deaths occurring within merely 16 days of arrest and in some cases, within hours.

4. Thousands of Falun Gong practitioners around China have been arrested "in preparation" for the games.

Following orders such as Zhou Yongkang's (see #2 above), Chinese security agencies have reportedly detained at least 8,037 Falun Gong adherents throughout China since 2007.

5. Falun Gong practitioners are officially excluded from the Games because of religious belief, in clear violation of the Olympic Charter.

Throughout 2007, several statements by top officials, as well as an internal document, indicated that Falun Gong adherents from both inside and outside China will be excluded from participation in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, as athletes, coaches, journalists or spectators.

6. Falun Gong has never taken a position on an Olympic boycott.

As a spiritual practice, Falun Gong in and of itself does not take a stance on issues such as whether or not to boycott the Olympics.

7. A "clean up" of districts hosting Olympic venues has included the arrest of local residents who practice Falun Gong.

Between December 2007 and March 2008, at least 36 Falun Gong adherents had been arrested from Chaoyang District alone, which is set to host the beach volleyball and tennis events, and 19 from Shunyi district, the site of the Olympic rowing and kayaking venues.

8. Despite ostensibly freer regulations for foreign journalists, Falun Gong remains taboo.

The Chinese government issued temporary regulations easing restrictions on foreign journalists in January 2007. Nevertheless, a recent English handbook for police indicates that Falun Gong remains off limits.

9. Hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners will experience the Olympics from inside labor camps, where they are often tortured.

According to the U.S. State Department's 2007 report on human rights in China: "Some foreign observers estimated that Falun Gong adherents constituted at least half of the 250,000 officially recorded inmates in reeducation- through-labor camps."

10. Most Chinese are unaware of any of the above because independent information about Falun Gong remains blocked inside China.

For most Chinese, their only source of information on Falun Gong is the state-run media or government sponsored websites, all of which vilify the group and deny rights abuses. As a result, though they live in China, many Chinese remain oblivious to the nonviolent nature of Falun Gong adherents or to the brutality meted out against them.

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