US Stands ‘In Solidarity’ With Falun Gong 24 Years Since CCP’s Persecution Began: State Department

US Stands ‘In Solidarity’ With Falun Gong 24 Years Since CCP’s Persecution Began: State Department
Falun Gong practitioners call for an end to the persecution of the spiritual group in China, during an event marking 24 years since the launch of the persecution, on Capitol Hill on July 20, 2023. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

The State Department reiterated the United States’ commitment to supporting Falun Gong on July 20, which marks the anniversary of when the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) first launched its persecution campaign against the peaceful spiritual practice.

“Today, we recognize 24 years since the People’s Republic of China launched a campaign of repression, inside and outside its borders, against Falun Gong and its millions of practitioners, advocates, and human rights defenders. We stand in solidarity with this community,” Matthew Miller, State Department spokesperson said in a tweet.

U.S. Ambassador at Large Rashad Hussain joined the State Department, writing on Twitter: “The People’s Republic of China should end its 24-year persecution of followers of Falun Gong, a meditation practice in the Buddhist tradition centered on truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. PRC abuses have targeted and harmed millions of practitioners, including individuals in the U.S.”

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual practice rooted in traditional Chinese culture. It consists of meditative exercises and moral teaching based on the three principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance. The practice surged in popularity in the 1990s leading to an estimated 70 million to 100 million adherents in China. Deeming this to be a threat to its control, the communist regime initiated a sweeping campaign of suppression against the practice 24 years ago.

The prosecution, which continues today, has seen millions of adherents thrown into detention facilities where they suffer torture or are even killed for their organs. An untold number of Falun Gong practitioners have perished as a result of the campaign.

Mr. Miller, at a regular press briefing on Thursday, referred to several U.S. sanctions on Chinese officials for their involvement in persecuting Falun Gong adherents, adding that “it’s an issue that remains a concern for us.”

Frank Wolf, commissioner of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), also described the regime’s abuses.

“Marking the 24th commemoration of the Chinese Communist Party’s persecution of Falun Gong on July 20, USCIRF condemns in strongest terms the brutality with which the CCP has carried out its abuses,” Mr. Wolf wrote in a statement sent to The Epoch Times.

Frank Wolf
Frank Wolf, a commissioner of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and a former Virginia Congressman, speaks during a candlelight vigil mourning the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre in Washington on June 2, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

“CCP authorities have been harassed, detained, imprisoned, and killed thousands of Falun Gong practitioners—up to 5,000 victims, according to a recent report. We commend the U.S. government for taking measures to hold the Chinese government accountable, including the imposition of sanctions on officials responsible for religious freedom violations against Falun Gong practitioners and many other religious communities.

“USCIRF further urges the U.S. government to work with like-minded international partners, including in the United Nations, to use all tools at their disposal to counter these abuses. USCIRF will continue to work with our civil society partners as we look forward together to a day when the Falun Gong community, along with believers of all faiths and traditions in China, can worship freely, safely, and in peace.”

Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), chairs of the bipartisan and bicameral Congressional-Executive Commission on China, in a statement called on all Falun Gong practitioners to be released in China and for CCP officials to be “held accountable for their crimes,”

Voices of Support

Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) said he was “proud to stand by these individuals, and for religious liberty worldwide.”

“The CCP has persecuted Falun Gong practitioners for 24 years. We must not ignore the egregious human rights violations committed daily against the peaceful people practicing Falun Gong in China,” he wrote on Twitter.

Eleanor Norton, District of Columbia Delegate to Congress, issued a statement supporting the anti-persecution efforts.

“On the 24th anniversary at the start of the persecution of Falun Dafa in China, I write in support of Falun Gong practitioners in the District of Columbia and around the world who are working to end the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners.”

Ms. Norton, a lifelong civil rights advocate, wanted to recognize Falun Gong practitioners calling for an end to the persecution, as well as those in China who still face persecution and those who have died at the hands of the CCP for their beliefs.

“Falun Gong is a peaceful religion based on self-improvement through teachings, meditation, slow movements, and regimented breathing. Falun Gong practitioners have suffered mercilessly at the hands of the Chinese government for over two decades. Reports of this persecution include detention, torture, and organ harvesting. The only crime of those who practice Falun Gong is to be born into a society of intolerance,” she wrote.

NTD Photo
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-Washington) speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 21, 2020. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

“The United States of America was founded on the belief that individuals have fundamental rights, including freedom of religion, speech, and due process under the law,” she wrote, adding that the CCP’s “suppression and violence” remind Americans what they might take for granted.

“We must fight to raise awareness of those persecuted in China who cannot raise awareness themselves,” she wrote. “I stand in solidarity with the many Falun Gong practitioners who fight for the freedom to speak and practice the religion of their choice. I hear you, and I stand with you.”

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) issued a statement of support and referred to a measure introduced last month that would impose sanctions on people who participate in the organ trafficking orchestrated by the CCP.

“On this day in 1999, the CCP launched a brutal persecution of #FalunGong, a spiritual practice based on Truthfulness, Compassion & Tolerance,” he wrote on Twitter. “The Falun Gong Protection Act seeks to stop the torture, forced organ harvesting and killing of these peaceful people. #FreeFalunGong.”

Rally in Washington

On July 20, an estimated 1,500 people participated in a rally and parade near Washington’s National Mall to call for an end to the CCP’s atrocities.

Falun Gong practitioners, leaders of human rights organizations, experts, and policymakers attended the event to show their support for Falun Gong and decry the human rights abuses carried out by the CCP.

“There is, and was a genocide 20 years ago. It needs to be recognized,” said Nina Shea, director of the Center for Religious Freedom at Hudson Institute.

From The Epoch Times

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