Recalling the night of 20 July 1999 in China can be traumatic but survivors can’t ever forget what has been seared in their memory when under the veil of darkness police and security dragged hundreds of innocent people who practised Falun Gong (an exercise and meditation practice introduced by Master Li Hongzhi) from their homes, forcing them into prisons and detention centres.
We want to remind the world lest they forget like the holocaust during the Second World War that killed 6 million Jews. We don’t want people to write off 20th July 1999 like the holocaust which they say is something that never happened and is part of a conspiracy theory! Auschwitz survivor Philip Riteman says the Holocaust must be remembered so ‘it doesn’t happen again’.
The horrors in Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union were made possible because those in the outside world were not asking, or not knowing. These systematic campaigns of inhumanity were kept alive by governments systematically hiding them from the public and the world. Can you imagine the scope of a government’s secret machinery in Germany that could keep people in the dark about the atrocities happening in their own backyard?
The cover-up is happening even today
China’s authoritarian regime has sought to cover up a genocidal campaign it willingly engineered, and one whose web of complicity is stunningly vast.
How could we not know for 23 years about such a violent, drawn out, massive campaign that aims at ‘eradicating’ 100 million people for their dedication to a popular meditation and exercise practice that helps improve your body and mind and moral character? That’s what we all need to think about — the nefarious practice of a government that can kill its own peace-loving citizens and have the gumption to cover-up.
Falun Gong or Falun Dafa is best understood as a comprehensive self-cultivation practice with ancient roots. True cultivation practices do aim at improving physical health and vitality, but their overall goal reaches beyond that: transform the whole person, physically, mentally, and spiritually. What set it apart from other qigong schools were its absence of fees or formal membership, lack of daily rituals of worship and an emphasis on morality or virtue, and the spiritual nature of its teachings.
Twenty three years after the night of 20 July 1999, even today the persecution of Falun Gong continues unabated and has taken on a more barbaric role of killing Falun Gong practitioners for their organs to feed a flourishing billion dollar organ transplant industry.
What went wrong? Although Falun Gong initially enjoyed considerable support from Chinese officialdom, by the mid- to late 1990s, the Communist Party and public security organizations increasingly viewed Falun Gong as a potential threat due to its popularity and growing numbers, independence from the state, and spiritual teachings.
It was hard to believe that an innocuous practice that had grown in popularity — as many as 70 million practiced according to the Chinese government’s own study and saved the country millions of yuans in health bills, was suddenly considered an evil practice. Interestingly, many high-ranking officials in the Communist party, government and military had taken up the practice.
Denying religious freedom and trying to control the mind and spirit is the nature of the State in China. Also, with a righteous practice that engenders strong moral character, there is the fear of the government’s corruption and misplaced ethics being questioned and exposed.
Tensions culminated in April 1999, when over 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners gathered peacefully near the central government compound in Beijing to request legal recognition and freedom from state interference. This demonstration is misconstrued as triggering the persecution that followed.
So on July 22, Falun Gong was formally outlawed across the land, marking the official beginning of a state-engineered hate campaign that has lasted 23 long years.
Orchestrated by China’s ex-president Jiang Zemin, the persecution is unprecedented for its devious nature and virulent scope.
It has branded millions of peace-loving citizens ‘enemies of the state’ and sought to destroy them.
Mounting evidence tells a terrible tale of murder and mutilation in China.
Multiple independent investigations estimate tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have been killed to fuel lucrative organ transplant industry.
Shocked by these reports, former Secretary of State for Asia Pacific, David Kilgour and renowned Canadian human rights attorney David Matas launched their own independent investigation.
In order to hide evidence of the state sanctioned crimes, police and government officials are ordered to cover up all murders. They were instructed to “Report All Deaths as Suicides” and “Cremate Bodies Immediately.”
Families have been torn apart and homes ransacked and destroyed. The families, friends and colleagues of more than one hundred million practitioners have been implicated by association.
The funding for the Persecution comes from the tax payers’ money. One quarter of the nation’s financial resources is used to sustain the persecution.
Who is the real enemy of the people?
The suppression of Falun Gong has been from the outset in direct violation of the international rights treaties China has signed.
Jiang Zemin created the 6–10 office (named for the day it was created, June 10, 1999) with the sole purpose: to “eradicate” Falun Gong. It is like Hitler’s Gestapo, an extra-constitutional body of unquestioned power whose sole intention is to spread terror that penetrates every aspect of Chinese society.
Under orders from the top, “no means are too excessive” in the mad drive to eradicate Falun Gong. Police and labour camp authorities have to fulfil quotas for the number of practitioners they can “transform” and they are free to use any method which includes imprisonment, torture and killing. The police who make quotas get bonuses or promotions; those who do not may be fired.
What has given Falun Dafa practitioners the strength to withstand such torture and cruelty?
Peaceful resistance is the hallmark of Falun Dafa practitioners. Their non-violent response has often been compared to that of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King. Their living by the credo of Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance have often humbled the cruel perpetrators and rendered them impotent. That’s why Falun Dafa faithful have borne the brunt of China’s formidable security apparatus for 23 long years and mustered what is arguably the most sustained challenge to authority in 70 odd years of communist rule.
Throughout the past 23 years, Falun Gong practitioners all over the world have continued with an unprecedented campaign that is strictly non-violent and non-political. Through the internet and the web sites they have built up a world-wide network; and Human Rights organizations, prominent non-governmental organizations and politicians and leaders of various governments have joined a chorus of voices, condemning the Chinese Communist party’s twenty three year persecution. Their single objective is to restore the basic human rights of Falun Gong practitioners to freely practice their beliefs. The worldwide awareness of this issue has resulted in a big wave of support to the victims of the persecution in recent years.
It won’t be out of place to mention that even with the coronavirus raging all over China, the Chinese Communist party has been persecuting Falun Dafa practitioners. But true to their spirit, Falun Dafa practitioners are going about helping people in distress and especially old people who have no one to care for them.
To conclude on a positive note: “This anniversary is a time of commemoration for the millions whose lives have been unalterably changed by this violent campaign,” says Levi Browde, executive director of the Falun Dafa Information Center. “It is also a time for hope. Twenty three years after the CCP sought to crush Falun Gong ‘in three months’ countless Chinese citizens, people all over the world continue to find peace and spiritual fulfilment through the practice, and more and more people are peacefully standing up for their rights to do just that.” #23YearsTooLong