Appeal in Front of the Chinese Consulate – Stop Killing Falun Gong Practitioners in China
4-year commemoration of April 25
On April 25, 2003 Falun Gong practitioners and supporters of the greater Los Angeles area appealed in front of the Chinese Consulate in downtown L.A. They called for an end to the State-run persecution of their meditation practice in China. Falun Gong is a mind-body meditation practice that centers on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.
“When people are abused, they should be able to appeal. This is a person’s most basic right, dignity, and conscience”, says Michael Ye, a professor at U.S.C and a Falun Gong practitioner who participated in the commemoration event on Friday.
That is what they did four years ago. On April 25, 1999 over 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners gathered outside of the “Appeals Office” in China’s capital Beijing. They traveled there to silently appeal to the government to put an end to the violence and State-sponsored propaganda and libel directed at the practice. The gathering followed a series of peaceful appeals throughout China.
By all accounts, the historic 1999 appeal was a peaceful, beautiful display of civil rights. The road as well as exits and entrances to buildings (such as the Zhongnanhai residential compound) where left conspicuously clear, and those present were orderly and quiet. That night, however, Chinese President Jiang Zemin began using this appeal as an excuse to start a campaign against the millions of innocent Falun Gong practitioners.
The Chinese government isolated Falun Gong, the most popular form of qigong practices in China, as early as 1996, when the practice’s main text, Zhuan Falun (you can view this book for free at www.falundafa.org), became a best seller in Beijing. Even though Falun Gong has never had a political agenda, Jiang Zemin’s regime became both fearful and jealous of the increasing popularity of the self-improvement practice, the largest non-Party entity in China. At the same time, some analysts have pointed out that Jiang saw an opportunity to strengthen his own power base by attacking another group, a technique used extensively by Mao Zedong during the Cultural Revolution of the 60s and 70s.
In July 1999, three months after the peaceful appeal, Jiang Zemin officially banned Falun Gong. The ferocity of his campaign has led some China watchers to believe that he has become obsessed with Falun Gong and is thus waging a personal crusade against innocent people.
Over the pat four years, Jiang has detained hundreds of thousands, and has sent tens of thousands of men, women, and children from all walks of life to be “reeducated” in labor camps. To this day, the details of 669 deaths from police abuse and torture have been confirmed. Sources within the Chinese government, however, indicate that the actual number of victims is well into the thousands. For his persecution, Jiang Zemin is being sued for accounts of torture, crimes against humanity, and genocide.
Moreover, the regime has orchestrated an extensive propaganda campaign that has also taken advantage of the corporate media. First, China’s State-run media exports lies about Falun Gong on a daily basis (We just experienced one such lie when the regime tried to cover up the spread of SARS, leading to a still unknown number of deaths worldwide). One such lie about Falun Gong and Falun Gong’s founder, is the fake “self-immolation” (to see why it’s fake go to: http://faluninfo.net/videosonline.asp
). Second, China has used leverage to pressure most Chinese language media, including publications in the U.S., to follow the Party line. Third, the regime has struck multi-billion dollar contracts with companies such as Rupert Murdoch’s BBC, CNN, Yahoo and others, which have limited or even tainted their coverage of Falun Gong. The overall result has been a shortage of accurate information about Falun Gong and the persecution.
Meanwhile, over these four years of persecution Falun Gong practitioners in China have remained peaceful, not once resorting to violence. They have risked their lives and put in a lot of effort to tell the world that Falun Gong is a good and peaceful individual practice, that Falun Gong is not against the Chinese government and that they are being persecuted simply for trying to be good people.
Friday’s appeal included practitioners silently doing the Falun Gong exercises as well as a press conference. Falun Gong practitioners in Los Angeles gather in front of the Chinese Consulate on 625 Shatto Pl (one block east of Vermont between 4th and 6th) every Saturday afternoon from 2-4pm and invite all kind-hearted people to come sit by their side.
For more information please visit www.fofg.org