Worldwide Vigils Mark April 25th Falun Gong Appeal
Practitioners of Falun Gong marked April 25 last Friday with candlelight vigils around the world, renewing calls for the Beijing regime to end a nine-year campaign of suppression that has recently escalated with the approach of the Olympics. It was on April 25, 1999, that Falun Gong first gained worldwide attention when some 10,000 adherents petitioned the central government in Beijing. Those gathering asked officials to release 40 practitioners who had recently been subjected to police abuse and unlawfully detained, and called for protection of their right to practice their beliefs in peace. Falun Gong practitioners and their supporters participated in candlelight vigils and sit-ins outside Chinese embassies and consulates in New York, Washington DC, London, Paris, Sydney, and other cities around the world.
Falun Gong Arrests and Deaths in Custody Escalate as Olympics Approach
Chinese security agencies have been conducting large-scale arrests of Falun Gong adherents throughout China in recent months as authorities step up efforts to “stamp out” the practice in advance of the Olympic Games in August. Since January, the Center has been receiving regular reports from adherents and their families inside China of door-to-door searches and arrests. According to statistics compiled from these reports, there have been at least 1,878 arrests across 29 provinces, major cities, and autonomous regions.
In an alarming and related trend, the Center has received reports indicating adherents in China are being killed in custody within days, or even hours, of being detained by the authorities. Among those reportedly killed in custody shortly after detention was folk musician and Beijing resident Yu Zhou (see below).
For more information:
“Hundreds of Falun Gong Adherents Arrested in ‘Preparation’ for Olympics:” http://www.faluninfo.net/displayAnArticle.asp?ID=9517
“Falun Gong Deaths Escalate as Olympics Approach:” http://www.faluninfo.net/displayAnArticle.asp?ID=9518
Sunday Times (London): Yu Zhou Dies as China Launches Pre-Olympic Purge of Falun Gong
April 20, 2008 – “Members of a peaceful Chinese spiritual movement say that more than 1,500 of its supporters have been detained in the run-up to the Olympic Games and that one of them, a popular folk singer, has died in custody….
The official media have not reported the arrests, but there has been lively discussion among music fans on Chinese websites over the fate of the singer Yu Zhou, 42. “Another beautiful soul has left the world,” commented one distraught fan.
Falun Gong representatives said Yu was arrested on January 26 while returning home from a concert in Beijing. His family were called to the Qinghe district emergency centre on February 6 to view his body, which was covered in a white sheet…
Yu won a following among young Chinese for his mellow folk ballads. His group, Xiao Juan and Residents from the Valley, released two successful CDs and appeared on the Phoenix television channel.”
Weekly Standard: Carrying a Torch for China
Ethan Gutmann, author of Losing the New China, has called for President Bush to boycott the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics because of the severity of the persecution of Falun Gong, including evidence of organ harvesting from detained adherents of the practice:
April 21, 2008—“Beijing's was always a blackmail bid….The blackmail bid took place in clear sight of the mindbending persecution of Falun Gong, an operation that had already mobilized China's state security forces on a scale that dwarfs the current Tibet crackdown….I have interviewed some of the survivors. Roughly half of the Falun Gong practitioners who have emerged from the camps describe physical exams aimed at determining the health of their internal organs, along with close examination of corneas. Ears, genitals, and the other parts of the body usually scrutinized in medical exams--all of which have no value in the organ market--were routinely ignored…
…As an indigenous Chinese movement, rather than a separatist one, Falun Gong has taken a neutral position on boycotting the Chinese Olympics, sensing correctly that it has become a matter of Chinese “face” that the Olympics continue. But we in the West have our own version of face, a genocide line that cannot be crossed without our identity beginning to crack. No matter how much we ignored the crying, the persecution of Falun Gong demonstrably crossed that line, and even if the Chinese leadership calls off the torch relay or makes an effort to resolve the Tibet situation, it is too late for this Olympics.”
For more information visit: http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/014/986himak.asp
Daily Mirror: Annie Yang reveals Olympic torch guards place her into labour camp
The story of how Falun Gong practitioner Annie Yang was taken from her home by Chinese special police and tortured for a year in a labour camp was reported in detail in Britain’s national newspaper The Daily Mirror.
The brigade of guards—the Flying Dragons—who took her from her home were the same who donned blue tracksuits and accompanied the Olympic torch in its progress around the world.
“When I saw the torch in London being guarded by men in blue tracksuits, it brought back terrible memories,” she told the newspaper. Also covered in the article was the story of Wenjian Liang, sister of a Nottingham resident who was sentenced to a labor camp last year and remains in custody.