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Falun Gong statement
Congressional Human Rights Caucus Briefing
Falun Gong representative
Congressional Human Rights Caucus Briefing (June 3, 2004)
Mr. Chairman Lantos, Congresswoman Woolsey, Congressman Kirk, ladies and gentlemen:
I wish to thank all members and staff of the Human Rights Caucus for holding this important briefing and giving me the opportunity to speak today about the latest developments regarding the Falun Gong issue. As you may know, by July, the Chinese regime’s persecution against Falun Gong will have gone on for a full five years. For those who have had to face it, the repression has been relentless, violent, and systematic.
To date, there are still over 100,000 Falun Gong practitioners serving in labor camps, jail, and mental institutions for the “crime” of refusing to give up their spiritual belief. 108 Falun Gong practitioners have been sentenced from 5 to 13 years for exposing the persecution on the Internet; 20 of them are university professors and graduate students; three were tortured to death in police custody. The confirmed death toll has now reached 968, more than 50 of which were recorded in the first few months of 2004. Because most killings occur behind closed doors, it is safe to say that the actual death toll is much higher.
One of the latest reported cases is that of Jingzhi Xu, a 56 year-old woman from Heilongjiang Province who died just last week on Tuesday. Police had arrested her in her home in 2002 and she was sentenced to three years in prison for making printed materials exposing the persecution. Her family was notified on May 25, 2004 that she had fallen ill. By the time they arrived at the hospital, Ms. Xu had already passed away, apparently from hemorrhaging in the brain. Xu’s loved ones were shocked to see how emaciated she had become. The guards refused to let them to get any closer to examine the body. The police cremated Ms. Xu’s corpse on May 27th without notifying the family. Her loved ones have been devastated by the loss, but have nowhere to turn.
This persecution has gone on for as long as it has partially because the Chinese authorities have taken extraordinary measures to cover up their crimes. Take, for example, the case of Wei Xingyan, a 28-year-old female graduate student from Chongqing University. She was studying “high-pressure direct current transmission and simulation technology” and was known to be a beautiful, intelligent young woman.
She was arrested by police on May 11, 2003 and detained at the Baihelin Detention Center in Chongqing City. On the evening of May 13, police ordered two female inmates to strip her naked. Despite her struggles, a police officer raped her in front of these inmates. Wei Xingyan went on a hunger strike in protest after the assault. The policemen decided to force-feed her and damaged her windpipe and esophagus in the process. On May 22nd, Wei Xingyan became so weak from the hunger strike that she was sent to Chongqing's Southwest Hospital for emergency treatment. At that point, we heard she was unable to speak and that her life was in danger. We can only hope that she is still alive and can withstand the trauma of what is happening to her until we find a way to have her released.
In order to hide the offense, the “610 Office” policemen have blocked off all files and information on Wei Xingyan. For those who are unfamiliar with the “610 Office”, it’s a shadowy, Gestapo-like agency specifically created by Jiang Zemin to persecute Falun Gong. It is an entity with absolute say over each level of administration in the Communist Party and over all political or judicial systems.
In upholding the principles of “Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance”, Falun Gong practitioners have always believed in a path of peaceful, non-violence resistance in the face of this brutal suppression. We don’t fight evil with evil, but through legal and moral means. I think we all agree that those who seek to harm innocent people like Wei Xingyan should be held accountable for their actions. This is why Falun Gong practitioners around the world have sued the man who is responsible for this bloodshed – the dictator of China, Jiang Zemin -- for torture, genocide, and crimes against humanity.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in Chicago just heard arguments last week (May 27, 2004) in regards to the suit brought against Jiang Zemin in the United States to determine whether former or current heads of state are immune from such legal actions. We maintain that Jiang’s crimes were not official acts of his office, but are individual, and therefore not subject to immunity before U.S. Courts. Back in 1999, Jiang could have taken the advice of many high-ranking officials in the Chinese government and taken a peaceful approach with Falun Gong. Jiang and all those he has turned into torturers and murderers have always had a choice, as do all of us.
We know that this lawsuit has made Jiang extremely nervous. Jiang is reportedly using all diplomatic channels, slander, deceit, threats, and bribes to try to have it dismissed. It will be a test of the character of our officials, legislators, and judges whether the U.S. can withstand the pressure and come to a just conclusion.
At the current time, we know that news of this lawsuit, and others like it around the world, has been a real deterrent for those carrying out Jiang’s orders and has seemed to help prevent some incidents of torture and abuse inside Mainland China. Dismissal of the case would only send a dangerous message that torture and genocide can be committed with impunity. We appreciate the inspiring support from members of this Congress in our legal effort.
The Chinese regime claims its human rights record is improving and they try to prove that by playing the game of hostage diplomacy with the U.S., releasing a dissident here, another there. Let us not be fooled. We must see through the insidious nature of this persecution. The mind control and methods of indoctrination and brainwashing are no less terrifying than those depicted in George Orwell’s classic depiction of Communism, 1984. The filth, the pain, the screams are all real.
There are brave individuals who have defied this evil system. Chinese army Dr. Jiang Yanyong risked his life in telling the true stories of SARS to the foreign press last year. And US citizen Dr. Charles Li is now serving a 3-year sentence in a Chinese jail for the “crime” of intending to expose the persecution of Falun Gong in China. A Shanghai-based US Consulate official said that Dr. Li has been physically tortured, forced to attend brainwashing classes, and do forced labor in jail.
Genocide doesn’t merely depend on the numbers of people who are killed – it depends on an intent and a system to exterminate a group of people. Jiang Zemin has expressed that intent since 1999 and he has set up a vast network of operatives and media and police to do his bidding. On the surface, things may seem calm and business as usual in Chinese society, but the truth is, the lives of millions of Chinese men, women, and children are being destroyed right before our very eyes. Every time an employee is fired from his job for his beliefs, every time a neighbor turns in a Falun Gong practitioner to the police, every time a child is forced by his teachers to denounce Falun Gong so that he may stay in school, the society becomes that much more corrupt and rotten. There are few in China who have not been affected by this persecution in some way.
We hope the Chinese people will realize soon that Falun Gong has everything to do with them not just in terms of basic Constitutional rights, but also in a moral sense. The citizens of Hong Kong are certainly beginning to see how fragile their rights and freedoms really are. We hope that this Congress will soon consider and pass the Concurrent House Resolution 304 which will effectively help end China’s campaign against Falun Gong, particularly its overseas interventions on US soil.
On this special anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre, I will end with this thought – that regardless of how difficult things may be, every time a person decides to stand up for what is right, no matter what the consequences, that person brings in courage and light. That may ultimately be the best weapon against evil and darkness that we can all carry with us in our hearts at all times.
Thank you very much.
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