Lawmakers around the world issued a statement on July 20 to commemorate those who have suffered at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on the 23rd anniversary of the persecution of Falun Gong.
“Today marks the solemn anniversary of the beginning of the Chinese government’s brutal campaign of persecution against Falun Gong practitioners. 23 years later, we remember all those in China who have been denied freedom of religious belief,” the cross-party Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) said in a statement.
“Over the past two decades, hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have been imprisoned, with many subjected to the most severe forms of torture and credible reports of widespread, state-sponsored forced organ harvesting.”
IPAC is an international cross-party group of legislators pushing for democratic countries to take a tougher stance on the CCP and its activities on trade, security, and human rights.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual practice first introduced to the public in China in 1992 and has since spread to millions around the globe. The teachings are based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance.
The CCP’s persecution of Falun Gong was personally launched by former CCP head Jiang Zemin. In June 1999, Jiang ordered the creation of the “Leading Group for Handling the Falun Gong Issue,” an extralegal CCP group, and its office of operations called the “610 office,” for the sole purpose of eradicating Falun Gong. The entities could override police and courts in China and direct lower-level CCP and state officials to commit egregious abuses against Falun Gong practitioners.
The CCP’s persecution against Falun Dafa practitioners has been systematic and multi-pronged, from weaponizing state media outlets to slander the practice and deter public support, to various methods to force practitioners to renounce their belief such as illegal detention, brainwashing, severe torture methods, forced labor, and even forced organ harvesting. Outside mainland China, the CCP uses propaganda, censorship, and other violent tactics to perpetuate a climate of intimidation and fear.
According to the Falun Dafa Information Center, the CCP increased its persecution amid the COVID-19 pandemic to stop Falun Gong practitioners from spreading news about the true situation of the CCP virus in China. The CCP virus is also referred to as the novel coronavirus, or SARS-CoV-2.
The IPAC in its statement said it also commends “the courage of all those who have stood against the CCP’s persecution of other religious and ethnic groups in China, including Tibetan Buddhists, Christians, Uyghurs, and other predominantly Muslim Turkic groups.”
Lawyers Targeted for Defending Falun Gong
Falun Gong practitioners have not been the only victims of Jiang’s dedicated persecution. The CCP has also intimidated, attacked, imprisoned, and tortured many lawyers over the decades for having sought to represent innocent Falun Gong practitioners.
“We remember in particular lawyers Gao Zhisheng and Chang Weiping, who have both been imprisoned for defending the rights of Christians and Falun Gong practitioners in court, and house church leader Pastor Wang Yi, who was sentenced to nine years in prison in December 2019,” IPAC said in its statement on July 20.
Gao Zhisheng, a renowned human rights lawyer who has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three times, has been missing since Aug. 13, 2017. Gao, a self-taught lawyer and a devoted Christian, has a wife and two children who fled to the United States in 2009. They continue to raise awareness about his disappearance. His wife, Geng He, told Radio Free Asia in 2021: “From this day onwards, I will treat the CCP’s Consulate, the closest one to my home, as his cemetery.”
Chang Weiping, a lawyer who has represented vulnerable individuals in China, including practitioners of Falun Gong, was taken away in October 2020 by police officers in Shaanxi Province and was tortured and denied access to his family. A pre-trial hearing for Chang took place on July 12 at Feng County Detention center in Baoji City.
IPAC said in its statement: “We once again call on our governments to stand up and speak out for an end to such repression. The Chinese government must be held accountable for upholding the human rights and religious freedom of all peoples in China.”
Frank Fang contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times