Mr. Zhang was detained on Sept. 21, 2001 for distributing flyers to the public that contained information about human rights abuses against Falun Gong practitioners in China. Soon after he was detained, Mr. Zhang was sentenced to two years at the Mianyang Xinhua Forced Labour Camp in Sichuan Province, where he was tortured with electric batons, beaten, deprived of sleep and bound with ropes until he lost consciousness. This torture was administered repeatedly as labour camp guards attempted to coerce him to write a repentant statement renouncing Falun Gong.
Like thousands of other cases across China over the past few years, the torture of Mr. Zhang is part of former Chinese leader Jiang Zemins policy to eradicate the traditional Chinese faith, and just one of the methods sanctioned by the regime to do so. Other methods implemented by the regime include forced brainwashing classes, incarceration in mental hospitals and a four-year media campaign vilifying Falun Gong.
In a bristling commentary issued last week by the Chinese Communist regimes mouthpiece, Xinhua News Agency, the regime called for a fight until the end against Falun Gong.
For a regime caught between rebuilding its image in the wake of the SARS cover-up and carrying out the eradicate Falun Gong orders of its former leader, what is the nature of this fight and how does the regime carry it out? As Mr. Zhangs case illustrates although cloaked in the assertion of maintaining social order and shrouded in a vilifying anti-Falun Gong propaganda campaign the answer lies squarely within the definition of a haunting word: genocide.
Traditional Chinese Faith 100 Million Strong
Between 1992 and 1999, Falun Gong a spiritual faith based on the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance and having roots in ancient Chinese culture flourished throughout China. In November 1998, Chinas state-run Shanghai TV reported that there were about 100 million people practising Falun Gong approximately 1 out of every 12 Chinese people.
In April 1999, the Associated Press reported a similar figure, saying at least 70 million [practised Falun Gong], according to the State Sports Administration.
Falun Gong practitioners were found in all walks of life, from farmers to bankers, from housewives to government and military leaders. Some sources say government officials at the highest level members of the Politburo Standing Committee had read the Falun Gong books and had family members who were practising Falun Gong.
Former Chinese Leader Orders Falun Gong Eradicated
In July 1999, however, fearful and jealous that Falun Gong had touched the hearts and minds of such a broad range of Chinese people, Jiang Zemin used his power as the countrys top leader to ban the practice an act that went against the decision of Politburo Standing Committee members as well as the Premier. In fact, Jiangs actions against Falun Gong were illegal because they overstepped the power granted to Jiang by the Chinese Constitution.
According to sources in China and thousands of testimonies from victims, Jiang implemented the persecution through a three-prong directive to all levels of government:
- Destroy Falun Gong practitioners physically through systematic, state-sanctioned forced-labour, torture and killings.
- Destroy Falun Gong practitioners reputations through a worldwide media campaign to demonize Falun Gong and falsely depict its practitioners as dangerous cult members and a menace to society.
- Destroy Falun Gong practitioners financially, which, in a Communist nation where the government can exercise significant control over employment and housing, allowed Jiang to deny Falun Gong practitioners the basic necessities for living. Practitioners lost their salaries and pensions, were fired from their jobs, and kicked out of their housing. In addition they suffered widespread extortion, confiscation of property and state-enforced fines when detained by police.
The 6-10 Office A Gestapo for Falun Gong
-- Ms. Gail Rachlin,
Directed by the 6-10 Office, sources in China say police, detention centre and labour camp officials across the country are granted awards and promotions for successfully extracting statements from Falun Gong practitioners renouncing their faith regardless of the methods they use. If the officials cannot extract these statements from practitioners, they are often fired from their posts and/or subjected to punishment from their superiors. Thus, those who renounce Falun Gong are often released, while those who do not, continue to be tortured and abused, or die in the process like 29-year-old Mr. Zhang Xiaohong.
In the last four years, almost 800 (reports / sources) deaths from torture have been verified, while the true death toll is believed to be in the thousands. Thousands more have been forcefully incarcerated in mental hospitals where many are tortured. More than 100,000 have been sent to forced labour camps, typically without trial.
This is Jiangs horrific form of persecution, says Falun Dafa Information Centre spokeswoman Ms. Gail Rachlin. It is a terror that does not just destroy lives, but aims to destroy faith.
Ms. Rachlin continues, Jiang has tried so hard to build himself up as a leader that ushered in a great situation in China, but that is a deceptive façade. What kind of situation could there be in a nation where 100 million people are targeted with a policy of genocide? Like the case with the SARS outbreak earlier this year, the persecution of Falun Gong in China is covered in a web of lies and misinformation the truth is its genocide.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa (about), is a practise of meditation and exercises with teachings based on the universal principle of Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance. It is a practise that was taught in private for thousands of years before being made public in 1992 by Mr. Li Hongzhi. Falun Gong has roots in traditional Chinese culture, but it is distinct and separate from other practises such as the religions of Buddhism and Taoism. Since its introduction in 1992, it quickly spread by word of mouth throughout China, and is now practised in over 50 countries.
With government estimates of as many as 100 million practising Falun Gong, Chinas then-Communist leader, Jiang Zemin, outlawed the peaceful practise in July 1999 (report), fearful of anything touching the hearts and minds of more citizens than the Communist Party. Unable to crush the spirit of millions who had experienced improved health and positive life changes from Falun Gong, Jiangs regime has intensified its propaganda campaign to turn public opinion against the practise while quietly imprisoning, torturing and even murdering those who practise it. To that end, Jiang established the 6-10 Office, a Gestapo-like agency spanning from the Central Government to the local governments. The United States Congress has described the 6-10 Office as an agency charged with overseeing the persecution of Falun Gong members through organised brainwashing, torture, and murder. (news)
The Falun Dafa Information Centre has verified details of 782 deaths (reports / sources) since the persecution of Falun Gong in China began in 1999. In October 2000, however, Government officials inside China reported that the actual death toll was well over 1,600. Expert sources now estimate that figure to be much higher. Hundreds of thousands have been detained, with more than 100,000 being sentenced to forced labour camps, typically without trial.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT THE FALUN DAFA INFORMATION CENTRE
Gail Rachlin 917-501-4441, Levi Browde 914-720-0963, Erping Zhang 646-533-6147, or Feng Yuan 917-941-1097.
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