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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lawyer Representing Falun Gong Practitioners Sentenced to Two Years


A Guangzhou attorney who defended Falun Gong practitioners was charged with “sabotaging law enforcement” and sentenced to two years in prison on July 13. Zhu Yubiao is the first attorney in Guangdong Province to openly defend Falun Gong practitioners and has represented three adherents so far.

The verdict against Zhu was primarily based on Falun Gong materials being found in his home ... More at Epoch Times

Monday, July 25, 2011

For shame, Mr. Baird


Peter Worthington - On his first official visit to China as Canada’s foreign minister, John Baird called China an “important ally. . .a strategic partner” and talked of a “new era of trust,” saying that China’s abominable human rights record were best dealt with behind closed doors.

In short, it was a sorry display of pandering and ignorance.

Not everyone is interested in China.

It’s a regime that will literally do anything to advance its own interests.

If that means blackmailing, lying, intimidating, subversion, espionage, cheating, so be it. China will do it.

Economic deals and investments in Canada are in China’s interests.

We all know China specializes in selling human organs for transplants.

It’s one thing to take the organs of criminals sentenced to death; it’s another to “harvest” organs from political dissidents.

There’s evidence body organs have been taken from Falun Gong practitioners who are not political and no threat to the regime — except that their popularity among the people offends the communist hierarchy.

When Baird was asked about the tens of millions killed by Chinese Communism, he noted Russia and Germany “have been through challenges in their history. We now count them as allies.”

It’s flawed justification.

Germany and Russia are no longer ruled by Nazism and communism.

China has never revoked communist eagerness to kill its own citizens.

As for Tibet, China boasts it’s “peaceful and free” since Chinese soldiers took over, and imported Chinese to outnumber Tibetans.

Which brings us to John Baird himself.

One wonders why he was appointed foreign minister, a hometown boy who knows nothing of the world.

Look at his record.

Baird is 42 and from the age of 15, has been only interested in Conservative politics.

He has no background in the job market, never met a payroll, never been in the workforce, no real experience in life. A pure political animal nourished in the corridors of Conservative politics.

Baird was first elected to the Ontario Legislature in 1995 at age 24, and proceeded through various cabinet posts until becoming a federal MP.

He lists his pre-political job as “consultant.”

His Wikipedia resume is some 20,000 words long – 50% longer than the PM’s Wikipedia resume, and 2,000 words longer than Churchill’s. Some vanity for a guy who has really done nothing except get elected.

When Baird was asked about the deportation of Lai Changxing from Canada to China after 12 years of being in Canada, he wouldn’t comment.

Lai may be a scoundrel, but China has assured Canada this alleged leader of a smuggling, bribery and fraud operation will not face execution or torture.

Do you believe China can be trusted?

Baird does.

What’s scandalous about the Lai case is his previous lawyer with experience in China, Clive Ansley, was assured by Canadian officials that Chinese witnesses who testified on the assurance that their identities would be kept confidential, were subsequently betrayed by Canada, their names given to the Chinese. The whereabouts of witnesses are unknown.

In 2003, Anlsley wrote an outraged letter to then-Liberal Immigration Minister Denis Coderre noting the “treachery” and the “unconscionable betrayal” of Chinese who had trusted Canada’s promise of confidentiality.

The Chretien government did nothing.

Also, Baird wasn’t prepared to make waves over the kidnapping in Uzbekestan, and imprisonment in China, of Canadian citizen Huseyin Celil.

Baird hopes Chinese goodwill may eventually release the guy.

What “goodwill?”

Shame on him, shame on Canada, shame on China.


More at Toronto Sun

Cisco and others enabling China



Cisco Systems and others are working on a government project in the city of Chongqing, for example, that includes creating the biggest police surveillance system in the world. A year and a half after Google pulled its search engine out of China to avoid censorship, Microsoft’s Bing still censors searches in China. Earlier this month, it agreed to provide search results in English for Baidu, China’s leading — and heavily censored — engine.

The United States needs enforceable standards of ethical behavior when American companies work with authoritarian governments.

In May, Chinese practitioners of Falun Gong sued Cisco, accusing it of helping the Chinese government design and maintain the so-called Golden Shield system used to track and target dissidents online, including Falun Gong followers who were apprehended and tortured.

More at NYTimes

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Former Chinese Diplomat Chen Yonglin Commends Falun Gong Resilience


Mr Chen, who defected from Sydney's Chinese Consulate in 2005, told rally attendees that in recognising the principles of truthfulness, compassion and tolerance, Falun Gong had "revived the spirit of traditional Chinese culture.

“Millions of Falun Gong still raise their hands in prisons, in their houses, in exile—they will never give up. They have written a heroic history for the Chinese nation against the appalling communism cult,” he said.

...
More at the Epoch Times

Friday, July 22, 2011

Playing footsie with Beijing


On November 20, 2001, in an unprecedented appeal for the rights of the Chinese people, thirty-six Falun Gong practitioners from twelve countries raised a banner reading "Truth-Benevolence-Forbearance" and sat in a meditation pose on Tiananmen Square. They were arrested, beaten, and deported. More at Falun Gong Human Rights Watch

Are the Tories sacrificing human rights for business opportunities?

Birthday greetings are nice, but when you’re the governing party of a Western couLinkntry that has styled itself as a defender of human rights, you might think twice about firing off happy returns to the authoritarian rulers of 1.3 billion people. The message is liable to get used in ways you never intended.

That’s what happened a couple of weeks back with a congratulatory letter the federal Conservatives sent the Communist Party of China, marking the organization’s 90th anniversary. State news agencies in China seized on the note, which was signed by Tory party president John Walsh and looked ahead optimistically to “future relations between the two parties,” as proof that political movements around the world are celebrating the birth of Chinese Communism.

Conservative party officials did not return calls for comment, but if they thought the gesture might slide by unnoticed, they were wrong. Dermod Travis, executive director of the Canada Tibet Committee (CTC), demanded that the party retract “the flattering, backslapping words,” and wondered aloud why the idea failed to set off alarms at Conservative headquarters. “Someone should be wise enough to appreciate that the [Communist] regime only maintains power through military oppression,” he said in a statement. “It doesn’t deserve congratulations, but rebuke.”

The CTC wasn’t the only organization worried by the Tories’ growing chumminess toward China’s rulers. As John Baird embarked this week on his first trip to the country as Canada’s foreign minister, human rights advocates say the government’s once-strong line against Beijing has been blurred in recent years by more solicitous overtures aimed at improving trade. Instead of speaking out against China’s recent crackdown on dissenters, they note, Baird sought during the run-up to his four-day visit to reassure business leaders who believe Canada has paid a price in the past for criticizing China. “My government gets it,” Baird told a Bay Street audience. “As Canada’s new minister of foreign affairs, I get it.”

Baird insisted he will raise the issue of human rights with his Chinese counterparts behind closed doors. Still, his words mark a retreat from the rigid stance epitomized by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s 2006 remark about not sacrificing values to “the almighty dollar” of Chinese trade. In those days, the government won plaudits from rights organizations and security hawks, calling out Beijing on everything from product safety to industrial espionage. But the era of tough talk has ended. “There’s been a huge softening of approach, and I think Mr. Baird’s trip is the latest manifestation of it,” says Cheuk Kwan, head of the Toronto Association for Democracy in China. “There’s a certain amount of kowtowing that may be necessary when you’re dealing with the world’s second-largest economy. I think our government could be much stronger.”

Kwan and representatives of 12 other human rights organizations have made that case in a letter to Baird, calling for a comprehensive China relations strategy that puts human rights front and centre. The need for assertiveness, they say, has been underscored by the clampdown since 2009 that has seen hundreds of bloggers, artists, human rights lawyers and property rights activists vanish into China’s prison system. “We need to get past the idea that this is the responsibility of one or two well-meaning, lonely souls in a corner of Foreign Affairs,” says Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International in Canada. “There should not be a moment in our engagement with China where we aren’t considering the potential to advance a positive human rights agenda.”

As for the potential cost of angering an economic behemoth, the coalition believes China’s bark is worse than its financial bite. In the two years following Harper’s “almighty dollar” remark (a time, they note, when he further angered Beijing by receiving the Dalai Lama in Ottawa), annual exports to China rose 22 per cent, to $9.5 billion, while total trade between the two countries grew by 25 per cent.

Yet it’s no more clear that publicly scolding Beijing will do anything more than worsen the situation for persecuted individuals. The recent crackdown, after all, has taken place since Canada and other countries abandoned their program of closed-door “bilateral dialogues” with China on human rights, in favour of speaking their minds in forums of their choosing. Yet even as leaders in Britain, Canada, Germany and the U.S. spoke out against the imprisonment of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo and the renowned artist Ai Weiwei, authorities expanded their security sweeps, placing spouses, friends and relatives of the dissenters under house arrest.

Considering this history, Canadians shouldn’t be too quick to dismiss the value of quiet engagement, says Gordon Houlden, who in his 22 years as a Canadian diplomat in China did his share of backroom cajoling. Over the years, it has produced concrete improvements at what he calls the “coal face” of government operations, such as the training of prison guards in humane handling procedures for inmates. More importantly, he says, steady pressure strengthens the hands of reformers working within the existing power structure. “I’m convinced there are elements within the leadership of the Communist party that genuinely wish to have a more open society,” says Houlden, who now heads up the University of Alberta’s China Institute. “Their efforts—liberal elements versus conservative—go on as we speak.”

By all indications, this sort of logic appeals to senior Conservatives, who believe they can make nice with Beijing while keeping political freedom near the centre of the Tory brand. In a speech last month, shortly after winning his first majority government, Harper sounded as tough as ever, inveighing against “moral ambiguity” toward new players on the global stage. But he didn’t single out China, and his greatest diplomatic achievement to date may be his 2009 visit to Beijing, where he took a public chiding from Premier Wen Jiabao, yet gained Canada “favoured-destination” status from China’s travel authorities, clearing the way for an estimated $100 million per year in tourism.

Same goes for Baird, who last week told a Chinese-language reporter that the government stands by its principles on human rights. Yet on his publicly released agenda for the trip, the phrase “human rights” lay tucked into a list of governance issues to be raised in private meetings with his ministerial counterparts. “That shows some sympathy with the Chinese interpretation of how the relationship should work,” says Charles Burton, a Brock University political scientist who follows Canada-Chinese relations. “Different audiences get a different nuance of message.”

Not what you’d call good news for long-time activists, who put little stock in Western leaders’ brave promises to talk tough when the microphones are off. “As far as we’re concerned, human rights should be discussed both out in the open and behind closed doors,” says Amnesty’s Neve. But for now, they are reserving judgment, hoping Baird might gain some clear commitment to improve political, religious or personal liberties at a time when Beijing least wants to offer it. Unlike the choreographed merriment surrounding the Communist party’s 90th, that would be something worth celebrating.

More at Macleans.ca

EU Members Support Falun Gong

Letter from Member of the European Parliament, Zuzana Roithova

Member of European Parliament

Zuzana Roithova

Brussels, 13th July 2011

Dear Falun Gong practitioners:

Thank you for inviting me to write this letter for you, in regard to July 20th, 2011, as the 12th anniversary of the beginning of the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners by the Chinese government.

As we know, on July 20th 1999, the Chinese government initiated the persecution of Falun Gong – unparalleled in its severity in recent times. In response, Falun Gong practitioners have maintained a quiet heroism in exerting a peaceful and comprehensive anti persecution campaign until the present time.

Your efforts to draw attention to this unprecedented persecution are essential for the fight against this persecution. It is very important to encourage the international community to apply pressure on the Chinese regime to honor its international commitments and to protect the freedom and human rights of all Chinese citizens regardless of their ethnic background or religious belief. Representatives of democratic countries around the world should raise the important issue of human rights while meeting representatives of the Chinese government. When participating at the European Parliament’s delegation to China in November last year, I personally addressed the representatives in the National People’s Congress of China with the following words:

“I spent a bigger part of my life living under a totalitarian regime that imprisoned and tortured people for their opposite opinions, which resulted in intellectual and economic destruction of the country. Nowadays, people in my country live in freedom and prosperity. Europeans will never give up their fight for the right of every human being to live a life in dignity and freedom. Therefore we will aim on including the human rights clause into the EU-China agreement on the strategic partnership.”

Today practitioners of Falun Gong are standing together with the citizens of China, calling on the communist regime to end its oppressive ways. I esteem your efforts and wish you to persist in continuing your fight toward freedom!

Sincerely,

Zuzana Roithova

Letter from Member of the European Parliament Ana Gomes

European Parliament

Ana Gomes

Brussels, 19th of July 2011

Dear Falun Gong practitioners,

Given the proximity of the 20th anniversary of the Falun Gong movement, I wish to convey my recognition and encouragement to all the practitioners of the Falun Gong in China who have stood up and continue to stand up against the crackdown and harassment perpetrated by the Chinese authorities.

I am a great admirer of the Chinese people and its millenary civilization and culture. I also admire the last decades of economic progress that China has known, liberating thousands of millions of human beings from misery. I believe that the Falun Gong movement has inherited its strength from the long tradition of the Chinese people’s resistance to oppression and injustice.

Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights protects the freedom of thought, conscience and religion. The People’s Republic of China, as a Member of the UN Security Council, has special obligations to respect human rights under the United Nations Charter. Unfortunately though, the persecution against Falun Gong practitioners is an example of the Chinese undemocratic regime and its poor human rights record. The Falun Gong movement in any democratic society is recognized as a legitimate one, a movement which lays its right to exist on the freedom of thought, practice and assembly, one that does not propagate hate, violence or instability. It is, therefore, with great concern that I have heard of the continuous attempts of suppression of the Falun Gong in China, through violent repression – killings, torture, and imprisonment – as a way of curbing the Falun Gong’s independence, popularity and ethical values.

I stand in support for the Falun Gong followers’ struggle to survive and fight for their basic human rights and I admire the courage of all those who, since 1999, have complained, sued, demonstrated and spoken out against the repression, despite the terrible repercussions of these actions on their lives.

As a Member of the European Parliament, I intend to keep following the situation of the Falun Gong practitioners in China and will keep asking the High Representative/Vice-President of the Commission Catherine Ashton to raise the rights of the Falun Gong followers in the EU political dialogue with China.

I will keep urging my colleagues and other European political actors to stand on your side and support all those in China who, like the Falun Gong followers, continue to fight for their basic human rights and freedoms.

Best regards,

Ana Gomes

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Baird glossing over human rights in China, persecution of Falun Gong


by Marie Beaulieu - Baird's trip to China is nothing but a classic case of throwing out the baby with the bath water when it comes to human rights. The Foreign Minister has now affirmed that the Canadian government is looking at human rights issues eye-to-eye with the Chinese Communist officials. Last time I checked there were no human rights in China.

Most Canadians expect democratic values to be blended equally with trade on diplomatic missions. For instance, to simply flash by the communist officials a list of human rights violations is not enough for those officials to take action in stopping the gross persecution of Falun Gong for example, or the crackdown on lawyers. Where is the consistency and principled agenda that Tories promised Canadians?


More at London Free Press


Stand up for our values with China



By Kate Heartfield: It's not as if we agree with China on everything except Google searches and the death penalty. The way the Chinese regime understands global security is fundamentally different from the vision Harper sketched in that Maclean's interview. Given China's immense power, that matters. Even if China's inability to share our values never makes it a threat to us, the countries China supports do and will become threats.

And what does Baird do in China? Well, he mouths a lot of Chr├ętienera pap about Canada's "strategic partnership" with China and our "common interests." There was the usual assurance that human rights were discussed, but no signs China was willing to meet Canada partway on anything.

Standing up for our values doesn't mean we can't have a respectful diplomatic relationship with China. But surely any Canadian minister has a responsibility not to whitewash the actions of the Chinese regime or show disrespect to the brave Chinese citizens who are standing up for freedom and paying the price - right now.

The success of Canada's relationship with China should never come down to whether we managed to avoid saying anything controversial. I remind the prime minister: It's not good enough to say "everybody likes us." That's not a sufficient way to protect our interests.

Ottawa Citizen: Read more

Baird Not Fazed by Moral Pitfalls in China




John Baird said Wednesday that a history of human rights atrocities shouldn’t affect Canada’s forming stronger ties with the Chinese regime, whom he has referred to as a “strategic partner” and “ally” on his trip... And while the previous Russian and German regimes that carried out genocidal campaigns have been replaced with democracies, China remains under the control of the same entity responsible for deaths estimated as high as 60 million.

Baird told reporters that he raised human rights concerns during his meetings with Chinese authorities, including the plight of Falun Gong and the case of Uyghur-Canadian Huseyin Celil who remains imprisoned in China. Publicly, Baird's trip centred on ...

More at The Epoch Times

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Deaths in Chinese Prison Part of National Campaign


Three-year effort by the Communist Party to ‘transform’ millions

DEATH TRAP: Three middle-aged practitioners of Falun Gong were killed at the Jiamusi Prison, pictured earlier this year. The deaths took place soon after a Strict Management Team was established to brainwash them ... More at The Epoch Times

After 12 Years, Falun Gong's Peaceful Resistance Brings Hope Amidst Repression


CFP - Twelve years ago this week, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched a campaign to eradicate Falun Gong—a peaceful and popular spiritual practice embraced by tens of millions of Chinese citizens. This violent, systematic suppression in China that began on July 20, 1999 continues today, characterized by ongoing abductions, torture and death throughout the country. Link

Yet, there is also an optimistic dimension to this story, as Falun Gong practitioners have responded with grassroots civil disobedience on a scale unprecedented in China's history. They have broken through the CCP’s veil of misinformation and are convincing a growing number of Chinese people to stop participating in the persecution.

“Today, Falun Gong adherents remain among those most severely persecuted in China.”

Amnesty International Press Release

For 12 years, human rights organizations have also documented the CCP’s defamation, beatings, rape, torture, and murder of tens of thousands of innocent men and women whose only crime has been to believe in a faith that is not controlled by the communist regime (excerpts). In 2006, United Nations Special Rapporteur Manfred Nowak reported that Falun Gong practitioners accounted for two-thirds of victims of alleged torture in Chinese custody.

In April 2011, Amnesty International stated in its latest annual report that Falun Gong practitioners “who refuse to sign a statement [renouncing their beliefs] are typically tortured until they co-operate; many die in detention or shortly after release” (report). Last week, Freedom House expressed its grave concern over the ongoing campaign, stating that: “Today, Falun Gong adherents remain among those most severely persecuted in China” (press release).

Indeed, in 2011, the Falun Dafa Information Center has already documented three dozen cases of individuals who died from abuse since January 1 (news). Although the full death toll is certainly much higher, even at these conservative estimates, no other group of Chinese prisoners of conscience is known to suffer such high fatality rates from torture.

In the face of such horrific brutality, with the world's most powerful authoritarian regime turning the full force of its repressive apparatus against them, Falun Gong practitioners ... have responded with one of the largest, most innovative nonviolent movements the world has ever seen.”

In the face of such horrific brutality, with the world’s most powerful authoritarian regime turning the full force of its repressive apparatus against them, Falun Gong practitioners have neither been cowed nor resorted to violence. Rather, both inside China and around the world, they have responded with one of the largest, most innovative nonviolent movements the world has ever seen.

Tens of millions of Falun Gong practitioners in China operate an underground network of homemade leaflet and DVD distribution. Overseas Falun Gong engineers have developed remarkably effective tools for circumventing Internet censorship. Global media companies founded by Falun Gong practitioners bring uncensored news to China and smuggle first-hand reporting of on-the-ground events to the outside world. Thousands of Falun Gong volunteers from around the globe regularly call China, convincing perpetrators to cease their torture (analysis).

This 12th anniversary is a solemn day of remembrance for those who have been killed, maimed, and persecuted, and a reminder to the world’s people that the human rights situation in China remains dire.

But it is also a day of hope.

Twelve years after former CCP-head Jiang Zemin claimed Falun Gong would be wiped out within three months, the practice is not only still alive in China, but also thriving around the world. Practitioners' peaceful resistance offers a lifeline of truth and compassion to millions of Chinese and a model worth rallying around for the international community.

On this day, the Falun Dafa Information Center hopes that all people in China and elsewhere will stop being led astray by CCP propaganda and financial enticements, and will come to the aid of these kind, courageous people. We call on government officials and average citizens around the world to openly condemn the CCP for its blatant attacks on Falun Gong practitioners, their families, and their lawyers (How Can You Help). We urge them to openly call for the end to the persecution, so that China can begin a new chapter and move towards a bright future.

More at FDIC

Friday, July 15, 2011

US Senators Condemn China's Persecution of Falun Gong: Res. 232



Introduced just in time for the 12th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party’s egregious campaign of human rights violations against Falun Gong practitioners in China, Resolution 232 offered by U.S. senators is calling for the persecution to end.

S. Res. 232 condemns the CCP’s brutal repression against the spiritual discipline also known as Falun Dafa, which is based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion and forbearance.

Co-sponsored by Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Tom Coburn (R-MD), the resolution was drafted by Menendez’ staff, based on H. Res. 605, which passed near-unanimously in March of 2010.

The bipartisan resolution calls upon the Chinese Communist Party to 'immediately cease and desist' from its campaign of brutal repression against Falun Gong in China. ...More at the Epoch Times

Conditions for China's Rights Defenders Worsens: EU Hearing


Xia Yiyang is from the U.S.-based Human Rights Law Foundation. He believes the current situation in China has to do with the Communist regime's illegal persecution of the Falun Gong spiritual group 12 years ago. In 1999 the regime launched a nation-wide campaign aimed at eradicating the practice. That campaign continues to this day.

“The regime established a system to damage its own legal system, this was intentional and systematic. This of course did not stay within the Falun Gong group, and was used on others. Now we can see that some human rights activists, lawyers and even artist are being persecuted under the same system,”said Xia Yiyang.

More at
NTDTV

Members of US Congress Rally for Falun Gong - Video


Tuidang Rally at the “Freedom Plaza,” Washington DC (Photo 2010)
Go Falun Gong Go!

Senate resolution 232 supports "Tuidang" CCP withdrawal movement


Video: The resolution is the first to be introduced in the Senate, and also the first U.S. government resolution to recognize Tuidang, a growing peaceful movement of Chinese people who are withdrawing from the Communist Party. This year’s rally, held annually, celebrates the approaching milestone of 100 million Chinese who have renounced the Communist Party since 2004.

“We, as human beings, must stand together. The good people of this world must stand together against the type of tyranny, injustice, and the human suffering that has been brought about by this dictatorial regime in China,” said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher.

“This fact is so important for the Americans to understand—that that force in the world—if you allow an evil force like that to continue without being challenged that evil force will someday affect us here,” Rohrabacher added.

More at Epoch Times

Senate Resolution 232 condemns the persecution of Falun Gong and recognizesTuidang

Support the resolution here

Jul 13, 2011 - Introduced in Senate. This is the original text of the bill as it was written by its sponsor and submitted to the Senate for consideration. This is the latest version of the bill currently available on GovTrack.

SRES 232 IS

112th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. RES. 232

Recognizing the continued persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China on the 12th anniversary of the campaign by the Chinese Communist Party to suppress the Falun Gong movement, recognizing the Tuidang movement whereby Chinese citizens renounce their ties to the Chinese Communist Party and its affiliates, and calling for an immediate end to the campaign to persecute Falun Gong practitioners.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

July 13, 2011

Mr. MENENDEZ (for himself and Mr. COBURN) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations


RESOLUTION

Recognizing the continued persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China on the 12th anniversary of the campaign by the Chinese Communist Party to suppress the Falun Gong movement, recognizing the Tuidang movement whereby Chinese citizens renounce their ties to the Chinese Communist Party and its affiliates, and calling for an immediate end to the campaign to persecute Falun Gong practitioners.

Whereas Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa) is a Chinese spiritual discipline founded by Li Hongzhi in 1992 that consists of spiritual and moral teachings, meditation, and exercise based upon the universal principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance;

Whereas, during the mid-1990s, Falun Gong acquired a large and diverse following, with as many as 70,000,000 practitioners at its peak;

Whereas, on April 25, 1999, an estimated 10,000 to 30,000 Falun Gong practitioners gathered in Beijing to protest growing restrictions by the Government of the People’s Republic of China on the activities of Falun Gong practitioners, and the Government of the People’s Republic of China responded with an intensive, comprehensive, and unforgiving campaign against the movement that began on July 20, 1999, with the outlawing of Falun Gong;

Whereas the Government of the People’s Republic of China has stated that it fully respects and protects citizen’s freedom of religion in accordance with the law, but that ‘Falun Gong is neither a religion nor a spiritual movement; rather it is an evil cult against humanity, science and society’;

Whereas, on October 30, 1999, China’s National People’s Congress promulgated an ‘anti-cult’ law (article 300 of the Criminal Law), effective retroactively, to suppress the Falun Gong movement and thousands of religious sects across the country;

Whereas, since 1999, more than 6,000 Falun Gong practitioners have reportedly served time in prison, with estimates of those in reeducation through labor camps reaching as many as 125,000 people, and Falun Gong practitioners are said to constitute approximately two-thirds of all prisoners and detainees of conscience in China (roughly 15,000 people);

Whereas the publication of ‘Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party’ in November 2004 by the United States-based newspaper, the Epoch Times, led to the creation of the Tuidang movement;

Whereas the Tuidang movement, which translates literally as ‘withdraw from the communist party’, has encouraged as many as 90,000,000 people to publicly renounce their membership in the Chinese Communist Party and its affiliates since 2004;

Whereas, in the lead up to and during the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, authorities conducted propaganda campaigns portraying ‘cults’ like Falun Gong as ‘dangers’ to society that ‘wreck families’ and ‘poison the minds of youth’, carried out strict surveillance of practitioners, and detained and imprisoned large numbers of practitioners;

Whereas, according to estimates by the Department of State and human rights organizations, since 1999, from several hundred to a few thousand Falun Gong adherents have died in custody from torture, abuse, and neglect;

Whereas a review of the Government of the People’s Republic of China by the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review in February 2009 reiterated concerns regarding human rights violations against Falun Gong practitioners, including arrests, detention, torture, and reeducation through labor camps;

Whereas the Department of State’s 2010 Human Rights Report on China cited reports of Falun Gong adherents being committed to mental health facilities, medicated against their will, and forcibly subjected to electric shock treatment;

Whereas the Department of State’s 2010 Human Rights Report on China stated that the Government of the People’s Republic of China automatically censored e-mail and web chats based on an ever-changing list of sensitive key words, such as ‘Falun Gong’, and periodically blocked the blogs of a number of prominent activists, artists, scholars, and university professors; and

Whereas the 2010 Annual Report of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China found that lawyers involved in human rights advocacy work--including in legal cases involving Falun Gong practitioners and others deemed by the Government of the People’s Republic of China to threaten ‘social stability’--have been harassed by the Government of the People’s Republic of China based on who their clients are and the causes those clients represent: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate--

(1) expresses solidarity with Falun Gong practitioners and their families for the lives, freedoms, and rights they lost for adhering to their beliefs and practices;

(2) calls upon the Chinese Communist Party to immediately cease and desist from its campaign to persecute Falun Gong practitioners and promptly release all Falun Gong practitioners who have been confined, detained, or imprisoned in retaliation for pursuing their right to hold and exercise spiritual beliefs;

(3) emphasizes to the Government of the People’s Republic of China that freedom of religion includes the right of Falun Gong practitioners to freely practice Falun Gong in China;

(4) calls upon the President, the Secretary of State, and Members of Congress to--

(A) mark the anniversary of the Government of the People’s Republic of China’s official repression of the Falun Gong spiritual movement;

(B) express solidarity with persecuted Falun Gong practitioners in China; and

(C) meet with Falun Gong practitioners; and

(5) expresses support for volunteers and participants of the Tuidang movement for their peaceful efforts to reclaim Chinese history and culture, and for their pursuit of a fair and open government, a free people, and a society rooted in the practice of virtue.

More on GovTrack

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bilirakis Blog: Gus Delivers Remarks on Stopping Religious Persecution of Falun Gong, etc


I have been a strong advocate for Falun Gong practitioners and year after year have called upon the communist regime in china to join the world of nations by allowing even basic human rights for religious minorities. Today’s event is fitting since this week we are commemorating the 12th anniversary of the Falun Gong crackdown by the PRC.

To be taken seriously as a participant in the twenty-first century global economy, China must take the rights of their citizens seriously. Egregious injustices, such as those suffered by the Falun Gong practitioners and others targeted by the Chinese Communist Party, are unacceptable in a civilized world and must end today.

Unfortunately China and Turkey are just two examples in a world full of oppressive governments which continue to persecute religious minorities for simply trying to engage in one of the most basic of human endeavors: the right to worship freely.

More at Committee on Foreign Affairs

After 12 Years, Repression of Falun Gong in China Still a Grave Concern



At a rally, Congressperson Ileana Ros-Lehtinen compared the CCP police state tactics to the Gestapo and the KGB.

Freedom House - As the 12th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) launch of a massive crackdown on the Falun Gong spiritual group approaches on July 20, Freedom House remains deeply concerned about the ongoing human rights abuses committed against adherents, their families, and increasingly, their lawyers.

"Over the past twelve years, Falun Gong practitioners and their families have suffered greatly at the hands of the Communist Party, simply for exercising their fundamental rights to freedom of belief and peaceful expression of their views,” Sue Gunawardena-Vaughn, Freedom House’s senior program manager for international religious freedom.

“In recent years, we've also seen the CCP expanding the repressive tactics used against Falun Gong to others in China, including human rights lawyers."

On July 20, 1999, the Chinese Communist Party, led by Jiang Zemin, initiated a large-scale campaign to wipe out Falun Gong, seeing the spread of the independent spiritual movement as a threat to the CCP's power.

Today, Falun Gong adherents remain among those most severely persecuted in China, alongside Tibetans, Uighurs and other vulnerable minorities. They are targeted for surveillance, imprisonment, and torture, particularly surrounding international events like the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2010 World Expo in Shanghai. Tens of thousands of people are estimated to be in detention for their affiliation with Falun Gong, while others face daily challenges like internet censorship and discrimination.

Since early 2011, numerous human rights lawyers who had represented Falun Gong practitioners in court among other cases they took—including Teng Biao, Tang Jitian, and Jiang Tianyong—have been abducted and reportedly tortured, including being beaten and forcibly medicated. Gao Zhisheng, known for publishing open letters documenting the torture of Falun Gong adherents, has been disappeared since April 2010.

Meanwhile, agencies like the extralegal 6-10 Office, a CCP security apparatus created in 1999 to implement the crackdown, remain active across China, arbitrarily detaining citizens, interfering with judicial procedures, and undermining rule of law development. In 2010, the central 6-10 Office launched a three-year nationwide campaign to intensify efforts to “transform” Falun Gong adherents, a coercive process typically involving physical and psychological torture aimed at forcing them to renounce their beliefs.

“The ongoing campaign against Falun Gong not only puts innocent people’s lives at risk, but it also undermines the possibility of genuine legal reforms in China,” says Vaughn. “Freedom House calls on the Communist Party to abolish the 6-10 Office and immediately release all Falun Gong prisoners of conscience.”

Freedom House will co-sponsor a rally on the western lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. EST. For more information, click
here.

China is ranked Not Free in Freedom in the World 2011, Freedom House's survey of political rights and civil liberties, and Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2011.

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

What can China teach us?

Amazon: Read the Nine Commentaries here

In addition, the continued large-scale suppression of Falun Gong spiritual practice which lasts 12 years. After Chinese authorities estimate that the number of people who perform meditation exercises of Falun Gong far exceeded the number of members of the Communist Party, Jiang Zemin, the former leader of China, launched a broad campaign of suppression of Falun Gong across the country.

Nominated in the Nobel Peace Prize 2010, an international human rights lawyer David Matas argues that China continues large scale organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners. Herewith, international pharmaceutical companies play an important role in providing the unauthorized practice of harvesting organs from prisoners in China during the trials of their drugs.

Incidentally, during the Beijing Olympics, according to the rights of Falun Gong, Chinese authorities arrested at least 10,194 Falun Gong adherents, fearing their appeals to protect their rights. Of these, about one hundred persons died in prison in a few weeks or days. Many of them have still not released, some were sentenced to long term imprisonment.

At the same time the popularity of the people of the ruling Communist Party in China has been steadily falling. In recent years become a mass movement of an abandonment of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its affiliated organizations (pioneer and komsomol). In 2006 it was published a book "Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party," which outlined the results of research into the Chinese Communist Party. This book changed the political views of millions of Chinese. More than 94 million people inspired by this book almost-thirteenth of the population of China (using aliases) since 2006 announced at a special web-site on their abandonment of the Communist Party, komsomol and pioneer. Every day to this number is added 40-50 thousand people.

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