Taiwan: Rapid Growth of Falun Gong in Taiwan Noted at Global Alliance for Democracy and Peace Conference

The Second World Convention of the Global Alliance for Democracy and Peace (GADP) was held at the JW Marriott Hotel in Houston from October 30 to November 1. Chinese community leaders from 140 countries and areas attended this 3-day Convention. US Congresspersons Sheila Jackson Lee and David Wu sent their congratulations in person and delivered speeches. Falun Gong practitioner Sen Nieh, Professor at The Catholic University of America and member of the Board of Directors for GADP North American Branch and GADP Washington DC Chapter spoke to the general assembly on November 1.

During the last 2 days of the assembly, several keynote speakers, including Dr. Ho-I Wu, Chairman of the Board of Directors of GADP - Headquarters, Mr. Mutong Lee, Chairman of the Board of Directors of GADP North American Branch, and Dr. Mingtong Chen, Deputy Secretary of the Commission of Mainland Affairs of Executive Yuan, mentioned several times the support of Falun Gong by GADP.

As a Falun Gong practitioner and member of the Board of Directors of GADP North American Branch and GADP Washington DC Chapter, Professor Sen Nieh briefly discussed the ongoing persecution of Falun Gong in China. He pointed out that "There is sharp contrast in how the governments across the Taiwan Strait handles the issue of Falun Gong."

He said that Falun Gong, which is based on "Truth, Compassion, Tolerance", is a qigong cultivation method from the Buddha school. Since its public introduction by Mr. Li Hongzhi in 1992, it has gained popularity among the general public in China. According to an official survey conducted in 1998, the number of people practising Falun Gong had reached 70 million to 100 million. After practising Falun Gong, millions of people regained their health and elevated their moral standard. The medical expenses of people in society were greatly reduced. In Taiwan, the government respects the will of the people and protects human rights and freedom. During the past 4 years of persecution in Mainland China, many people in Taiwan came to seek information out of curiosity and then found out that "Truth, Compassion, Tolerance" is very good and Falun Gong was not like what was depicted by the Jiang Zemin regime's propaganda in China. Many people started to practise Falun Gong. Falun Gong has thus gained wide popularity and rapid growth in Taiwan, from about 3,000 when the persecution started in July 1999 to more than 300,000 practitioners at present. In 21 cities and counties, people of all ages, races, levels, and walks of life--from Government officers, college professors, doctors and lawyers, to housewives and schoolchildren--are practising Falun Gong.

Taking the academic and scientific communities as an example, several dozen professors, staff members, and graduate students in National Taiwan University practise Falun Gong: including Professor Chucheng Ming, Chairman of the Department of Political Sciences, Professor Jinghua Chang, Director of the Institute of Journalism, Professor Chinghsi Chang, former Chairman of the Department of Economics, Director of Human Resources, and others. Government leaders and members of Congress also expressed their support and acknowledgement of Falun Gong's principles. President Shoeibean Chen and Vice President Shiowlian Lue have openly expressed their support of Falun Gong. The Mayor of Taipei, Dr. Yingjeou Ma, came to attend a Falun Gong gathering and publicly condemned Mainland China's suppression of Falun Gong. Among overseas Chinese, Representative Jianren Chen from the Taipei Economic and Culture Representative Office in the US also publicly supported Falun Gong. During the recent incident of the illegal detention of Taiwan Falun Gong practitioner Sheaukae Lin by the Chinese government, the three Parties and one independent group in the Legislative Yuan all expressed deep concerns and condemned the persecution.

However, on the Mainland side, Professor Sen Nieh said that out of jealousy and trying to consolidate his personal power, Jiang Zemin and his cohorts started the large-scale bloody persecution of Falun Gong in July 1999. They established the Gestapo-like "610 offices" to persecute Falun Gong. Widespread illegal arrests, torture, detention and jailing were seen across China. Many were sent to forced labour camps, mental hospitals, and many women were sexually abused or raped, etc. Jiang's regime ordered the radio stations, TVs, newspapers, and media at all levels to denigrate Falun Gong by fabricating lies and false accusations so it could continue persecuting Falun Gong. It also ordered police, soldiers, and public security officers to use violence and tyranny to persecute Falun Gong practitioners. The Falun Gong practitioners' human rights were trampled, and they suffered both physically and mentally.

Professor Nieh said that because of "guilt by association", about 300 to 400 million Falun Gong practitioners' relatives and family members have been implicated and persecuted. Several hundred thousand Falun Gong practitioners were sent to forced labour camps or sentenced to long jail terms. Millions of families were broken. Parents were fired from their job and had to leave home and go from place to place to escape persecution, while children were forced to leave school and deprived of the right to an education. Elderly people lost their pensions and medical coverage. The persecution has extended to all major cities, small towns, countryside, and villages. It is the largest scale human rights violation of the Chinese government against its own people. Because most of the evidence is hidden and the news is blocked, the real situation of the persecution, the means of the tortures, the number of persecuted, and the level of the atrocities, are largely unknown. The limited information sent out of China by people who risk their lives is already enough to move people to tears. Taking the death cases as an example, verified deaths of torture with names, personal information and details of persecution have reached over 800.

Professor Nieh commented that the peaceful protests by Falun Gong had thwarted the most brutal persecution and embodied peacefulness.

Professor Nieh also mentioned that the appeals by Falun Gong practitioners in the past few years have apparently changed from being reactive to proactive. Now several dozen ongoing lawsuits in the world have been brought against Jiang Zemin and his accomplices.

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