LONDON—Over 1,000 practitioners of the Falun Gong spiritual practice marched through the streets of London on Aug. 30, calling for an end to a 20-year-long persecution instigated by the Chinese communist regime.
Starting at Regent’s Park and ending outside Parliament, the march featured exercise demonstrations of the Falun Gong discipline, colorful Chinese fan dances, and a marching band.
The mind-body practice includes a seated meditation and standing exercises similar to tai chi, with practitioners saying they also live their lives by the tenets of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.
“The ancient, history-tested principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, my Polish mother was teaching me those principles,” said Maria from Poland.
But overshadowing the discipline’s spirituality is its suppression in China. When more people started practicing it than were members of the Communist Party, former leader Jiang Zemin tried to eradicate the practice.
“In 2015, my mother was sentenced for two-and-a-half years imprisonment. My father and I were held in a brainwashing center for 21 days,” said Janet Feng, who was persecuted for her faith in China.
Supporters continue to call for an end to the persecution, which began in July 1999.
A people’s tribunal held in London earlier this year found that Falun Gong practitioners are victims to a crime that for many is hard to believe—forced organ harvesting. In its final judgment in June, the tribunal concluded forced organ harvesting is happening in China, and described China as a criminal state.
“The powers, the politicians, the legislators across the world should come together, to bear, to stop, this horrendous practice, of killing individuals for stealing their organs,” said Hamid Sabi, legal counsel to the tribunal.
Enver Tohti testified at the tribunal about removing organs from a prisoner who was still alive. Tohti also spoke at the rally on Aug. 30.
“We can compare it to the Holocaust. When the Holocaust started nobody believed, then by the time they regret it, it already caused six million people [to] die,” he said.
“I’m frustrated. Ten years ago in one of the rooms behind me, for the first time I had confessed I was technically a killer,” he said, gesturing to the Houses of Parliament.
“I felt so bad about it, I made my confession. Since that time I started campaigning for the victims of organ harvesting. Ten years have passed, and I still have to come here to tell the world what’s going on there.”
Ethan Gutmann, co-founder of the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse said some groups in the West have been complicit with organ harvesting.
“It is time to start looking at and being confrontational with the groups, that not only did nothing, but embraced the Chinese. They were complicit in some way with the Chinese motives to cover this up,” he said.
“That means we have to look very hard at three candidates, that’s the World Health Organization, the Transplantation Society, and to some extent, the Foreign Office. The British Foreign Office did nothing in this, and in fact, made apologies for the Chinese,” he added.
“The time for that kind of dithering has been over for many many years.”