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Sunday, November 04, 2007

Vancouver Airport, Falun Gong and Chinese Tourists

This letter to the Vancouver Airport staff is self-explanatory. Let's hope that they will enlighten to how important it is at this crucial time, to let the truth be known about the ill treatment of Falun Gong at the hands of the regime and that they can help minimize the persecution by being more tolerant.

Vancouver International Airport Authority

Dear Sir/Madam:

As Falun Gong practitioners in Vancouver, we would like to let you know a little bit more about Falun Gong and at the same time explain why it is important to us to be in contact with Chinese people from the Mainland once they arrive in Vancouver.

As you may be aware, Falun Gong is a cultivation practice of body, mind and spirit. It is based on the principle of Truth, Compassion and Tolerance and is deeply rooted in traditional Chinese culture. Emphasizing the understanding of life through health and harmony, Falun Gong has helped people from varied ethnic, religious, social, educational and economic backgrounds all over the world, despite persecution and repression. Since its initial public introduction in 1992, Falun Gong has received worldwide recognition, and it is estimated that 100 million people in over 80 countries now practice it.

Regarding the persecution of Falun Gong in China, people often ask the following question: if the principle of Truth, Compassion and Tolerance is so good, how come the Chinese communist regime persecutes those who practice it? Although it’s hard to give a simple answer, history shows that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has often behaved like a dictatorship, engaging in lying, violence and the mass killing of the Chinese people.

In fact, when Falun Gong attracted more people than that of the communist party membership, the regime raised its iron fist and launched a genocidal campaign against Falun Gong in 1999. The resulting persecution has been extremely severe, and the international community will be astonished once the bigger picture is revealed. Ms. Asma Jahangir, Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, said that: "the cruelty and brutality of these alleged acts of torture defy description." Below are some examples.

In March, 2006, two witnesses exposed the shocking news that illicit organ harvesting from live Falun Gong practitioners has been taking place in China. One of the witness’ former husband is a doctor who took organs from Falun Gong practitioners while they were still alive. A few months later, David Matas, an international human rights lawyer, and David Kilgour, a former MP, both Canadians, formed an independent investigative group. They spent two months gathering evidence and investigating the allegations, and came to the conclusion that forced organ harvesting from live Falun Gong practitioners is indeed happening.

Mr. Matas dubbed the macabre practice “a new form of evil on this planet.” This past January, they conducted further investigations and uncovered new evidence including that the military is heavily involved in the lucrative transplant business. Evidence from transplant recipients was also documented. The lack of legislative enforcement in China and the large-scale persecution and vilification of Falun Gong practitioners was covered in the report, as well as the lack of a coherent reply from the Beijing regime in response to the findings.

It is also important to mention that the persecution has been extended to those who step forward to defend Falun Gong practitioners as well. For example, Mr. Gao Zhisheng, a well-known and respected Chinese lawyer, spent time with Falun Gong practitioners in order to gather evidence. Consequently,one woman he contacted named Wang Yuhuan was severely tortured. She was arrested and detained more than ten times by Changchun City police. She was put into the so-called “Tiger Bench” for three days and two nights until her anklebones were exposed from the constant grinding of the shackles. The tendons in her arms were torn because of repeated beatings by the police. Her face was charred from being shocked with electric batons. Her eyeballs were burnt with cigarettes, and ears punctured with bamboo toothpicks. Her body was covered with cuts and wounds. She and other female practitioners were stripped naked and tied down on wooden boards with their limbs spread out for 26 days, suffering insult and humiliation by guards, prison doctors and male inmates. As a result of this torture, Ms. Wang Yuhuan died on September 24, 2007.

Inevitably, lawyer Gao Zhisheng was arrested and tortured because he wrote three open letters to the Chinese top leaders describing the persecution and human rights abuses by the regime and urging them to stop the atrocities. Since then, he and his family have suffered tremendously at the hands of the authorities. In September, Mr. Gao wrote a letter to the US Congress explaining that the Olympics are being used as a tool of repression to further crush all voices of dissent ahead of the Games. And for this he was detained again and no one knows his current whereabouts. We greatly fear for his safety.

Human rights groups have reported that the CCP mobilizes the whole state machine—military, police, and court system—to maintain this persecution. It fabricates stories (the staged self-immolation in TianAnMen square in 2001 is a typical example) and controls all of the media to brainwash their Chinese citizens in order to incite hatred towards Falun Gong. In addition, the CCP uses intimidation to keep people silent and to cover up their massive persecution.

The hatred even extends beyond China. One typical example is the instance in which a Vancouver practitioner was beaten and threatened with a weapon. At 5:30 a.m. on August 2, 2007, in front of the Chinese consulate on Granville St. in Vancouver, three Asian men intimidated and violently assaulted Falun Gong practitioner Zhang Chunyu. They tore up the display boards illustrating the persecution, and kicked several large holes in a wooden hut. The hut had been used as a shelter for practitioners who have maintained a round the clock vigil there for six years to protest the killing, the loss of our family members and call for an end to the persecution. One of the men held a handgun at Mr. Zhang’s temple and shouted, "Go away, you should not be here." He then punched Mr. Zhang in the eyes and head. Mr. Zhang sustained a fractured bone under his left eye and bleeding in his left eye.

Similar incidents of assault, intimidation and harassment have occurred against Falun Gong practitioners during the past few years throughout the world. These incidents have often been directly linked to the Chinese Embassy and Consulates, or to residents of the community who were under the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials' direct command. They can also be caused by hate propaganda against Falun Gong, spread by the CCP diplomatic missions as indicated by defector Chen Yonglin who spoke about this issue when he visited Vancouver a few months ago.

As Falun Gong practitioners, we feel it is important to clarify the truth to the Chinese people in order to clear up their misunderstanding and hatred towards Falun Gong that has been instilled in them by the CCP. In a broad sense, these people are also victims of the persecution, since they are cheated and brainwashed by the hate propaganda of the Chinese communist regime and are deprived of their right to information.

Recently, the CCP invested US$3,000 million in the “golden shield” internet censorship project, its main aim being to block information about Falun Gong from flowing into China, because the regime knows that when the Chinese people learn the truth it will pose a challenge to the regime’s stability.

For all these reasons, Vancouver practitioners deeply treasure the opportunity to talk to people from mainland China when they travel to western countries, since there are few chances for them to hear the facts because they are deprived of their right to information in China. So we have gone to the airport year after year in an effort to hand out pamphlets, talk to people and even provide basic tourist information or help. The practitioners go there entirely out of the goodness of their heart and for the benefit of others. They manage to find time from their busy schedules to do this. As a result of their efforts, many people have changed their attitude after learning the facts about Falun Gong. It should be noted that the practitioners who go there are careful to observe the rules as set out by the airport management and security personnel.

Therefore, we Vancouver Falun Gong practitioners express our sincere appreciation to the airport management for having tolerated our presence over the years. We know it has helped many people see the truth behind the glossy picture. Also, we certainly hope to be able to tell more Chinese people about the persecution of Falun Gong in the future. They appreciate it very much and so do we. At the same time, we would also like to take this opportunity to formally apologize for any inconvenience that our presence (at the airport) might have caused you in the past. We are very grateful for your understanding and please do not hesitate to contact us if you wish to discuss this matter further.

Sincerely,

Vancouver Falun Gong Practitioners

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