On April 17, 2012, Falun Gong practitioners in Italy were invited to attend a Human Rights hearing hosted by the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Italian Parliament. Based on their personal experience of illegal imprisonment, torture, and forced labour, they testified to the brutal persecution of Falun Gong practitioners that is taking place in China today.
Presided over by Mr. Furio Colombo, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, the hearing was attended by many Members of Parliament, including Mr. Enrico Pianetta and Mr. Renato Farina. Ms. Zhao, a Falun Gong practitioner who had experienced persecution first hand in China, recounted to the MPs how she and her family benefited from practicing Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong), and how she was illegally arrested and tortured.
She said: "In early 1996, my parents started to practice Falun Gong. Through the practice, my mother, who had been infirm and bedridden, got rid of all her chronic illnesses. Out of curiosity, I started reading Zhuan Falun and was deeply impressed by the profound principles. So I took up the practice as well, followed gradually by the entire family. Seeing the change in my mom’s health, many neighbors also started to practice."
On July 20, 1999, Jiang Zemin and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) started to brutally persecute Falun Gong practitioners all around the country. Ms. Zhao and her family suffered a great deal. She said: "In China, for telling people Falun Dafa is good on Tiananmen Square, my husband was illegally detained for nearly two years, during which time he was forced to do long hours of labour. My brother was taken from his place of employment by the police and unlawfully sentenced to five years of imprisonment simply because digital Falun Gong books were saved on his computer. He was often beaten and tortured in prison. He lost almost all of his teeth due to the beatings, and for a long time he lost his eyesight. For not giving up practicing Falun Gong, I was unlawfully detained three times and was fired by my employer. Never were judicial procedures followed before I was detained."
While in prison, Ms. Zhao was tortured: "I went on a hunger strike to protest. They handcuffed my arms and legs to metal bed frames. Two people held down my arms and two others held down my legs, while two force-fed me by poking a rubber hose into my nostril down into my stomach. Other practitioners were forced to stand by and watch. Afterwards, a female practitioner more than two months pregnant was force-fed the same way.
“At the detention centre, the guards as well as the head of the center said to me many times, 'We know you are a good person.' When I asked, 'Why do you detain a good person here?' Their answers were almost the same: 'You know about the Communist Party. If we did not catch you, we would lose our jobs.' In China, the Communist Party not only forces the police to detain good people and forces the judges to sentence good people, but also forces the public not to believe in Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance."
In closing Ms. Zhao said: "Whenever I think of those people who still have a conscience but succumb to the tyranny of the Communist Party and act against their conscience, I feel sad yet worried for them. It is the law of the universe that good is rewarded with good and evil reaps evil. We have to take responsibility for whatever we do, whether we do it intentionally or are just following orders."
After hearing Ms. Zhao's testimony, the MPs were deeply moved and thanked the practitioners.
Mr. Renato Farina said: “The US has added a question about organ harvesting to the non-immigrant visa application form. Italy lags behind in this regard. I will submit to the Foreign Affairs Committee a resolution to 'stop the persecution of Falun Gong.'"
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