US

Candlelight Vigil at Chinese Consulate in New York Protests 20 Years of Persecution of Falun Gong

By Jeremy Sandberg

NEW YORK—Across from the Chinese consulate along the Hudson River, a rally and candlelight vigil was held in New York City on July 15, calling for an end to the persecution and the rescue of family and relatives detained in China for practicing Falun Gong.

NTD was on location to learn the situation of those trying to liberate their loved ones from the grip of the communist regime in China.

A banner proclaiming “End 20 Years’ of Persecution of Falun Gong” preceded rows of people sitting in silent defiance. Flags emblazoned with Chinese characters calling for an end to a brutal state-sanctioned persecution in China lined the rows of protesters.

Annita Bao, a Jewelry designer from Hubei province said her parents were put into a brainwashing center for close to a year for practicing the spiritual discipline.

“I feel that they just want to destroy the people,” said Bao. “It’s very evil. They just gave my parents a little bit of food every day.”

July 20 Vigil outside consulate
Falun Gong practitioners gathered in front of the Chinese consulate to commemorate the 20th year anniversary of persecution in China, in New York, N.Y., on July 15, 2019. (Larry Dye/The Epoch Times)

She is calling for the release of her family’s friends who are still detained by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

“They always want to control the people,” said Bao. “Control the people, and punish people. If you don’t like the communist party, they will destroy you.”

Brutal Persecution

Since 1999, people in China who practice Falun Gong (or Falun Dafa), a peaceful self-improvement practice, have been put in brainwashing centers, prisons, labor camps, and psychiatric hospitals, and have undergone defamation, torture, and had their organs removed against their will at the hands of the CCP.

“They [CCP] want to control people’s minds,” said Sophia Li, an international businesswoman. “They don’t want people [to] have their free mind. They will treat human beings like everything they can use, it’s like an object or an animal.”

Li said her father was put into prison six times, and eventually killed for refusing to renounce his faith. Her mother was also jailed multiple times before they fled for asylum in the United States.

“People living in China, they lost their freedom, they lost their own mind,” said Li, “They are living just like a body but with no true soul.”

Li says the situation in China is still very difficult, but that hasn’t changed her integrity.

“The spiritual thing is like the soul. It’s connected with divine beings. When you truly believe they protect you, and really they will give you wisdom.

“And even [though] I went through such hardship … I think my life is still full of sunshine.”

Friends of Falun Gong

Christine Lin is the creative director of Friends of Falun Gong, a U.S.-based nonprofit founded by concerned Americans that support freedom of belief.

“We talk about the cold war or the red scare as if it were a thing of the past,” said Lin. “But we’ve never left it, we’ve never gotten out of it. Because it’s never done until communism is done.”

“The fact is that communism has infiltrated a lot of American society whether we realize it or not,” she said. “It’s a very sneaky thing and the Chinese communist party, in particular, envisions their domination of the world, and they do it via infiltration.”

Ms. Lin says misinformation through propaganda is one of the communist regimes main techniques.

“They [CCP] had to tell lies to the people in order to justify what they wanted to do in the first place,” said Lin. “It wasn’t that Falun Gong practitioners… being pacifists they weren’t going to overthrow the government, they didn’t have any aspirations in the political field at all.

“But in order to justify that, they had to tell the people that the Falun Gong practitioners were a threat to the state somehow, and a threat to themselves, and those around them.”

The CCP staged a self-immolation event in Tiananmen Square on Jan. 23, 2001, claiming that it was done by Falun Gong practitioners, and spread lies through their state-run media in a propaganda smear campaign.

The event has since been debunked as a hoax designed by the regime to turn the public against the spiritual group.

“So information is their weapon, and information is the counter weapon,” said Lin.

How You Can Help

Lin says in a normal, functioning society these things would be unthinkable, but in China control is managed from the top-down and the regime’s ideology is pumped through every sector of society to turn people against Falun Gong.

According to Lin, there is a lot that Americans can do to help and that through word of mouth and social media the message can be spread to let people know the truth.

“I’d like to ask people to join us at Friends of Falun Gong, we’re at FOFG.org and also on Instagram and Facebook,” said Lin. “All you have to do is share an article, post something to your social media, it’s really literally as simple as that.

“As soon as the whole world understands what’s going on, the Chinese [regime] won’t be able to manipulate a single person into doing the wrong thing.”

View this post on Instagram

FOFG Creative Director Christine Lin speaks at the 20th anniversary of the persecution, in New York. “Falun Gong practitioners around the world have tirelessly worked to spread the truth about the persecution, and increasingly the world’s people are standing by them. The resistance has been admirable. Many of the people in the audience today have survived the worst of the persecution. Others have not personally experienced those horrors, but have shown up at events like these every year. They have all been persistent in their advocacy. This is the way to resist an evil regime—fighting lies with truth has proven to be incredibly impactful. Even as ordinary citizens we have tremendous power.” #falungong #advocacy #humanrights #china #freetomeditate #iamwithfalungong

A post shared by Friends of Falun Gong (@friends_of_falun_gong) on

Meditators from the greater New York area ended the event by holding candles to the night sky. It was a peaceful protest and memorial to those that lost their lives and their freedom during the last 20 years of ongoing persecution in China.

_LD nyc july 20
Falun Gong practitioners gathered in front of the Chinese consulate to commemorate the 20th year anniversary of persecution in China, in New York, N.Y., on July 15, 2019. (Larry Dye/The Epoch Times)