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U.S. leaders can speak up about human rights to leaders of the biggest abuser
By John Nania / Letter to Editor of Epoch Times
December 11, 2003
It seems fitting that the Premier of China is visiting the US during International Human Rights Day. Imperfect our history may be, but the US has been the most prominent and forceful proponent of human rights since the Declaration of Independence was written.
The Chinese communist party, in contrast, is the world's biggest abuser of human rights. Chinese slave laborers, many of whom are prisoners of conscience, manufacture countless inexpensive products appearing in our retail stores. China ranks second-to-last (ahead of only North Korea) on the media freedom index compiled by Reporters without Borders.
Jails, labor camps, detention centers, and mental hospitals overflow with those who hold beliefs not appearing on the communist party's short list of approved beliefs. You risk your freedom and your life if you are a Tibetan Buddhist, Falun Gong practitioner, Catholic whose priest follows the Pope, or a "house church" Protestant.
The communist party, under edicts from former leader Jiang Zemin, scorches human rights through a sweeping, underreported campaign of genocide that targets 70 million-plus directly in China, and spills over into other countries, including the US. Millions are spent to systematically hunt down, detain, torture, and kill people who practice Falun Gong. The stated goal: "eradicate" Falun Gong. Millions more go to cover up the genocide campaign, to the extent that many will observers will deny or downplay its significance (it does clearly fit the UN Convention on Genocide's definition of the term).
The persecution of Falun Gong is not just a campaign of genocide that kills people's bodies. It is an assault against human conscience, a campaign which is satisfied not at vanquishing the body, but only when the vanquished have signed papers renouncing the beliefs they hold dear AND then turn to actively force others to abandon fundamental principlesthe persecuted become persecutors. It is a campaign against anyone in the world, beyond all national boundaries, who cares about human rights, freedom of belief, and basic humanity.
American Charles Lee was jailed on arrival in China this past January, then tried, convicted, and sentenced in one day of "justice" for intending to let Chinese people know about the true situation of Falun Gong and its stated principles: Truth, Compassion, Tolerance. Why have most of us not heard his story?
To see what the Legislative Branch of our government says about Falun Gong, read House Concurrent Resolution 188, passed 420-0 by the 107th Congress, or House Concurrent Resolution 304, now under consideration in the 108th.
Lawsuits are in process in a number of courts around the world, including Chicago's federal district court, charging Jiang and his subordinates with genocide, torture, and crimes against humanity. Our Judicial Branch has a golden opportunity to serve justice on human rights in China in general, and Falun Gong in particular. This story, too, is relatively unknown.
The Chinese communist party twists arms to silence foreign journalists, corporations, and governments regarding human rights--particularly regarding this campaign against Falun Gong, which is the personal obsession of Jiang, still pulling strings as military commander.
The Chinese leadership cares about international public opinion--see its eager public relations pushes for WTO membership and hosting the Olympics. To misdirect criticism and confuse people of conscience, the communist party media monopoly and diplomatic missions have produced and spread a campaign of misinformation about Falun Gong. Jiang himself hand-delivered a package of vicious lies to President Clinton at a summit in 1999. They spin dark untruths that dissolve under the bright light of independent investigation.
The US State Department in its annual human rights report, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and other governmental and non-governmental bodies across the world have documented the unjust persecution of Falun Gong, and the consistently peaceful, constructive responses of the persecuted.
If the truth is revealed in our media, and our government and business leaders speak out directly, change in China is possible. The biggest proponent of human rights can positively change the biggest abuser of human rights, not through economic or political sanctions, but simply by exercising the inestimable power of moral suasion and international public opinion.
Tell them that it is wrong to persecute good people for their beliefs. They will hear our voice.
John Nania is a Minneapolis consultant and writer.
To learn more about Falun Gong and freedom of belief, see the non-profit Friends of Falun Gong www.fofg.org
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