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People from All Walks of Life Join More Than a Thousand Falun Practitioners in Rally Calling for An End to the Persecution
Kerry Huang and Ying Wang, Clearwisdom Net
On July 20, 2006, the seventh anniversary of the beginning of the persecution, more than a thousand Falun Gong practitioners from around the world gathered in Washington DC. They held a rally on the west lawn of the Capitol, joined by over ten other groups including Freedom House and Friends of Falun Gong. They condemned the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) seven-year persecution of Falun Gong, particularly the recently discovered mass-scale organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners. They called on people from all walks of life to combine efforts to stop the persecution. Several US congressmen and renowned human rights leaders came in person to support.
The rally, hosted by Director of Freedom House Nina Shea and Deputy Director Thomas Melia, began at 1 pm. Five congressmen and congresswomen made speeches. Kansas Congressman Dennis Moore and Robert Andrews sent representatives to make speeches, and over ten non-governmental organizations and groups sent representatives to speak. They included Wendy Wright, Chairman of Concerned Women for America, Bob Turner of the Jubilee Campaign (a human rights movement), and representatives from the International Coalition on Freedom of Religion or Belief and International Coalition for Christianity (Washington DC Area). Former Canadian MP David Kilgour and human rights lawyer Matas also spoke at the rally. The two Canadian lawyers published a report about their investigation of mass organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners in China earlier this month.
Congresswoman Woolsey: "The persecution of Falun Gong is absolutely unacceptable."
California Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey said in her speech that the CCP and its agents' persecution of Falun Gong practitioners is absolutely unacceptable. Freedom of belief is not a privilege, but the right that everybody should enjoy.
Woolsey also said that the CCP continues torturing and abusing and even killing thousands of people simply because they practice Falun Gong. Even an American citizen was incarcerated and tortured. Some Falun Gong practitioners in the United States have been subjected to attack, abduction and harassment. She and congresswoman Lehtinen propose to urge the CCP to stop interfering with the freedom of belief in America.
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen from Florida said, "Today, you are exercising the universal rights of freedom of conscience, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. You are the hope for those who strive for these rights. We held a rally here last year, you commitment to your cause is so steadfast, your determination is so strong, your voices are stronger and stronger, the whole world is listening."
She said, "America stands firmly with you, opposing being persecuted, discriminated and tortured for their belief. The American people regard freedom of conscience as a sacred right, so this congress and I have taken legislative action regarding the injustice on you. I initiated resolutions for supporting you at the House of Representatives. These resolutions support Falun Gong, condemn the CCP's trampling upon human rights and brutal persecution of Falun Gong."
Congressmen Dana Rohrabacher: The CCP will be thrown into the dustheap of history
U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, Chairman of Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of International Relationship Committee of the House of Representatives said that the American flag represents freedom and justice. The United States is not just a place where everybody comes to make money. Some companies in the US go to China for the sake of making money, which acts to strengthen the CCP's autocratic rule over Chinese people, and it is against American policy. The CCP, like the Nazis, will one day collapse, just like the collapse of the Soviet Communist Party. One day, the CCP will be thrown into the dustheap of history.
Congressman Rohrabacher believed what Falun Gong practitioners have done is noble. He said, "Human history will remember that what you are engaging in is a courageous act, a moral movement. We will expose the CCP's evil, expose the CCP's crimes of harvesting organs that many American people have yet to know."
New Jersey Congressman Robert Andrews asked Susan Prager to deliver a speech on his behalf. He said, "Seven years ago, the CCP started the brutal persecution of Falun Gong. I express my condolences to Falun Gong practitioners who have died as a result of persecution. Falun Gong practitioners only hope to have the right to peacefully and freely practice their belief."
Andrews also related that the recent allegations of organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners are the latest record of the CCP's barbaric persecution of human rights. He will take the initiative in the congress to require these human rights abuses be stopped immediately. He will require the CCP to allow Falun Gong practitioners to practice in a peaceful environment.
Congressman Tom Tancredo from Colorado said, "Since I was elected as Congressman, I have learned that you have struggled for being able to practice freely. I know tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have been detained, incarcerated and sent to forced labor camps. An officer from the CCP's embassy left there and joined in Falun Gong practitioners' rally, which shows that the CCP will definitely be cast aside."
The Jubilee Campaign's Bob Turner pointed out that many Christians in China also suffer the same persecution. He said that, "Today, I, as a Christian, firmly stand with Falun Gong practitioners. Those who cultivate Falun Gong must obtain freedom. We want the freedom without fear, and the freedom to express freely. The CCP tyranny must be ended. How many more Falun Gong practitioners are still suffering torture and murdered? Today, we are here to say, "Enough!" The persecution must be stopped."
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