The Persecution of Falun Gong

May 28

After being awoken to the genocide crisis in China last week after watching Forging The Dream, I stumbled across a documentary called Transmission 6-10. This is a comprehensive documentation of the persecution of Falun Gong (a pacifist religious group), by the Chinese Communist Party.

The Falun Gong is a spiritual discipline which was first introduced in 1992 to the Chinese public. Due to its use of meditation and moral philosophy of truthfulness, compassion and tolerance, 100 million people were practising it just 4 years after its introduction.

In July 1999, the Chinese Communist Party leadership started a nationwide crackdown and propaganda campaign with the intention of eradicating the Falun Gong. Many believe the reasoning of this is because the Falun Gong had more followers than the CCP, which posed a threat to them, even though Falun Gong is non-political. Soon after, thousands of Falun Gong leaders were abducted and detained. In October 1999, CCP declared Falun Gong a “heretical organization” and began banning access to websites that mentioned Falun Gong. In order to eradicate the group, there was a wave of illegal imprisonment, forced labour, propaganda and psychiatric abuses, with the apparent aim of forcing practitioners to recant their belief in Falun Gong. This was achieved by creating a ‘6-10’ office which had the mission of suppressing the Falon Gong.

During the last 13 years, over 3500 Falun Gong practitioners have been verified as having been killed or tortured to death—the true number is likely in the tens of thousands. Millions of Falun Gong practitioners have been arbitrarily detained and brainwashed in “re-education through labor” camps, prisons, and detention facilities. Falun Gong practitioners consistently receive the “longest sentences and worst treatment” in labor camps, and in some facilities, Falun Gong practitioners were the substantial majority of detainees.

It is also widely known that the Chinese government is harvesting organs from Falun Gong practitioners. These political prisoners are alive when their corneas, kidneys and livers are harvested for sale to foreigners, then left to die.

Here are some stories of people who fell victim to the CCP.

Mr. L Renqing

On July 1, 2002, officers from the Fushun City Police Department arrested Mr. L Renqing while he was talking in public in Fushun City about Falun Gong. He was beaten and detained in the Fushun City Second Detention Center for four months, where he developed scabies all over his body. He was sentenced to six and a half years in prison and taken to Dabei Prison located in Shenyang City. In December 2002, he was transferred to Huazi Prison in Liaoyang City. 

On the morning of September 27, 2004, under orders from the guards, three prisoners coerced Mr. L into an empty cell, stuffed his mouth, and then beat him until all three of the prisoners were exhausted. He was injured all over his body and had two broken ribs. Mr. L was unable to take care of himself for over a month. While he recovered, he was forced to sit on small plastic stool as another form of torture. Starting in September 2005, he began to cough up blood and had difficulty breathing. He asked to see a doctor many times but was always ignored. He was never allowed to see a doctor and was never treated for his progressively weakening condition.

On December 9, 2007, Huazi Prison officials transferred Mr. L to Ganjingzi Prison located in Dalian City. Mr. L was forced to do hard labor even though he was in a very poor physical condition. He could not walk, so the guards had two prisoners carry him to the workplace. He went on a hunger strike for seven days to protest this brutal mistreatment. He coughed up blood and became extremely weak. A doctor diagnosed him with advanced tuberculosis. Huazi Prison officials transferred him to Tieling Prison. Another examination revealed a large hole in his lung; physicians told the prison administrators that he could die at any time, but they still refused to release him.

Finally heeding his family’s urgent requests, on March 10, 2008, Tieling Prison officials took Mr. L to the Tieling City Tuberculosis Hospital for treatment. He had water in his lung, and his heart did not function properly. The doctors operated on him but announced he would not live long. The long-term mental and physical tortures that Mr. L had endured damaged his health beyond recovery. Mr. L Renqing died on April 19, 2008.

Mr. Zhang Shihang

In May 2006, polices from Kuangshan Police Station arrested Mr. Zhang Shihang. They also confiscated Mr. Zhang’s computer, digital camera and printers, which were worth 19,000 yuan.

A 40-year-old policewoman from the “610 Office” in Huaiyin came to the police station. She pulled Mr. Zhang into another room and beat him. She had Mr. Zhang tied to a metal bed and beat him on the chest and abdomen with a plastic baton. Mr. Zhang screamed from the pain. The policewoman laughed and said, “I don’t believe that beating cannot change you.” She gagged Mr. Zhang with a towel and beat him without restraint. She slapped him and shocked him with an electric baton. Mr. Zhang became incontinent from the shock. He shook so badly that the metal lock and ropes on his wrists and heels broke his skin and dug into his muscles, causing severe bleeding. The policewoman pressed the baton against his head trying to force Mr. Zhang to give in. 

When Mr. Zhang refused, the policewoman again became irate. She removed Mr. Zhang’s pants and underwear. Then, she shocked his scrotum with the electric baton. Mr. Zhang convulsed and lost consciousness.

The policewoman poured cold beer on him. After a while another policewoman arrived. The two policewomen locked Mr. Zhang onto the metal bed face down. Suddenly, Mr. Zhang felt a sharp burning pain on his anus. His limbs contracted and the handcuffs and ropes went deeper into his wrists and heels. One policewoman said, “Insert the baton into his anus, and shock him.” Then they did it. Mr. Zhang still refused to give up his belief.

The policewoman did this twice and stopped. Mr. Zhang was immobilized on the bed for two more hours, and then policemen took him home. 

Because Mr. Zhang did not renounce his belief, he was then jailed in the Jinan City Detention Center. While at the detention center, Mr. Zhang’s scrotum and anus became inflamed and bled. Criminals in the same cell with Mr. Zhang always cursed and beat him. A few weeks later, Mr. Zhang was sent to the Second Wangcun Forced Labor Camp in Shandong Province and was released nine months later.

Ms. Xiao Sumin

At the beginning of 2008, the Chinese Communist Party was carrying out a new round of arrests of Falun Dafa practitioners, citizens who defend their rights, as well as members of religious groups. The reason given for the arrests was “to host a successful Olympics.” On May 30, 2008, Ms. Xiao Sumin and another practitioner, Ms. Sun Shujie, were arrested. They were held in the Pingdu City Appeal Office. Their families are not allowed to visit them.

After enduring more than two weeks of continuous torture, Ms. Xiao was on the verge of death. Guards took her to the emergency room at the Haici Hospital in Qingdao City. On the afternoon of June 12, the police officer called her family members and asked them to go to the hospital. When they arrived, they saw that Ms. Xiaos body was swollen, an infusion hose was inserted into the root of her inner thigh, both her hands, feet and inner thigh areas were purple in color, and there were three holes (larger than needle holes in size) on her neck. The doctor said that Ms. Xiaos lungs and kidneys had failed, she had lost the ability to urinate and was in coma. Ms. Xiao died on June 20. 

Ms. Li Fengzhen

At about 5:00 p.m. on June 10, 2008, seven police officers led by Li Fuguo and Wang Min from Domestic Security Division of the Tanghai Public Security Bureau broke into Ms. Li Fengzhen’s house. The police threw her into the police car. 

They took Ms. Li to the Tanghai Detention Center where she was severely beaten resulting in serious brain damage. On June 25, 2008, Li Fuguo, captain of the Domestic Security Division, informed Ms. Li’s family that Ms. Li had been sent to the Ankang Hospital . He ordered her family to pay the hospital fee. The family refused him, so he went directly to Ms. Li’s husbands place of employment (the post office), and extorted 4,000 yuan from him. 

While Ms. Li was held in the Ankang Hospital, she was injected with an unknown drug. In just two months she went from being a normal, healthy person to losing her memory. She became distraught, did not recognize the people with whom she was once familiar, and she became very thin. She couldn’t stand, walk, or see clearly; she had pain in her ribs and she couldn’t take care of herself. 

A few months later, Tanghai Public Security Bureau let the family take the disabled Ms. Li home. 

Ms. Lis older brother, practitioner Mr. Li Enying, had been persecuted to death in a labor camp less than a year earlier.

This is a human rights issue, yet not enough is being done to address is. The photos of the victims are too brutal to post on my blog (as I have some younger readers), so I encourage you to search these online. Honestly, how many of you reading this entry were aware of this issue? I wasn’t. And what are we going to do about it? Spread awareness. Awareness is always the starting point. So, please, watch the movie, share this post, start the conversations and SPREAD THE WORD.

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  • Reply Janet Johnson May 29 at 1:21 pm

    This is horrific but sadly, not surprising. I had never heard of this spiritual practice. It sounds lovely and effective but as a spiritual practice, it should stay private. The Chinese government’s intolerance, obsessive paranoia and torture techniques are not news. If anything, the climate will only get worse given the economic mess the world is in and the obvious failure of the “one child per family” policy. I do question the naive determination of all these people to use their spiritual practice to confront the authorities. That hasn’t worked before. Won’t now. Why poke the bear? I spent years writing letters petitioning to have prisoners of conscience freed via Amnesty International. Endless heart breaking stories from China.

    My other concern is that when a spiritual practice gets used as a political forum, doesn’t it sacrifice its original purpose? I have never have been too sure about the group approach to spiritual practice. How do you go into the quiet with all those people and their energies around you?

    Thanks for sharing this.

    Srorlanh Pi Bro Tas Kaua’i,

    Janet and Allen

    • Reply June Taylor May 29 at 7:54 pm

      Dear Janet,
      In reply to your comments
      “I do question the naive determination of all these people to use their spiritual practice to confront the authorities.” and “My other concern is that when a spiritual practice gets used as a political forum, doesn’t it sacrifice its original purpose?”

      My personal feeling is that these people are not “using their spiritual practice” to confront the authorities. They are using their human nature that is fundamentally against the crimes being committed by the Chinese authorities, and there happened to be many people against it, so naturally people went together to appeal for the end of the persecution. I feel there is nothing wrong with standing up against the persecution of innocent people. I feel it is not about using any practice to stand up against the authorities. If it were the persecution of other practices (not just this practice), wouldn’t it be better for more people to stand up against the injustices than one person alone?

      In other words it is not using the spiritual practice to achieve anything. Nor are these people after any political change. These people only want the end of the persecution and that is their only motive, and they are simply using their inherent sense of right and wrong, good and evil. Is that political? I don’t believe these people are after anything political. If using one’s sense of right and wrong and acting accordingly in the circumstances is considered political, then I am all for this idea of “political” as it is achieving something selfless and good. These people would not be appealing to the world had the Chinese Regime not persecuted them for the practice. For example, the torture and murder of people who practise Falun Gong would affect their friends and families also. Knowing the innocence of the practitioners, those around them would naturally speak up against the injustice. It is not about “poking the bear”, as you may see it. Perhaps it is because the bear has gone wild and it is time to call upon those around us to restrain this dangerous animal, lest it harms more people. It is about appealing for the end of persecution, the end of human rights violations. And I do not see anything better than for these people to have the courage to team up together to achieve such a goal.

      These are my personal feelings only.

      June Tayor.

  • Reply James Poulter May 29 at 6:01 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing in such detail about this essential documentary and critical human rights issue! Stop the persecution of Falun Gong!

  • Reply Frederic Roukema May 29 at 8:59 pm

    Janet Johnson, your comments seem slightly contradictory to me. As a spiritual practise, we cannot stay private, because we aim to save people by telling them the truth. The Chinese government’s intolerance, human rights abuses and suppression of the truth is the most important news of the day, all the world buys their products, they have so much power because people forget what they do, many people know it but some don’t, if determination is naive then I am a child, hard things take perseverance. The castle is hollow and the walls are about to fall down. People power surged through north africa, don’t doubt it can do the same in asia. The time is now to share the truth with all and soon the dawn will come.

    Thank you, xiexie, heshi.

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