November 20, 2001
Today, we gather here in Beijing's Tiananmen Square as Falun Gong practitioners from 10 countries. We are here to appeal on behalf of tens of thousands of innocent people who suffer imprisonment, torture or even death at the hands of their own government in China.
We have travelled to Beijing from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. We are diverse--a CEO, a nuclear engineer, college students, a medical doctor, a housewife and mother, a technology consultant, and many others. And we are here to appeal to China's leaders and to seek an end to the violence and terror they have waged against Falun Gong for two and a half years.
We appeal today for the benefit of all Chinese citizens, to let them know that Falun Gong is good and that its practitioners are good people from all over the world. We also appeal to members of China's government and police who have been misled or coerced by higher authorities into committing crimes against innocent people. We hope that they too can recognize the peacefulness of Falun Gong, change their hearts, and no longer contribute to atrocities.
Falun Gong is an ancient cultivation practice for the mind and body that is both beneficial and important to humankind. We believe it should be treated with respect and fairness in China, as it is treated respectfully elsewhere. Falun Gong teaches that Truth-Compassion-Forbearance is the highest and most noble characteristic of all life in the universe. And Falun Gong requires its students to cultivate virtue. This can only be good for the people of China, and for the people of the world. When China's rulers persecute these people, these principles, it can only be bad for China, and bad for the people of the world.
While suffering under extreme persecution, practitioners have upheld Falun Gong's principles of Truth, Compassion, and Forbearance and have remained peaceful. They have only tried to clarify the truth of their situation to the government and people of China and ask that their basic human rights be restored. We believe it is our obligation to continue this humanitarian effort and assist in any way we can to bring this persecution to a peaceful end.
We make five demands.
First, we call upon China's government to abolish the "610 Office" and other administrative offices that were created for the sole purpose of directing violence against Falun Gong practitioners.
Second, we demand that China's police immediately stop attacking Falun Gong practitioners with torture, rape and sexual violence, criminal psychiatry and other forms of cruelty that have reportedly caused over 1,000 deaths; those responsible should be held accountable and brought to justice.
Third, the government must immediately and unconditionally release all Falun Gong practitioners who have been detained, whether in prisons, labor camps, mental hospitals or elsewhere. It must restore to them their basic freedom of belief and right to practice Falun Gong in peace.
Fourth, the government must restore Falun Gong's legal standing, and remove all the malicious labels it has affixed to the practice.
Fifth, China's government must also cease its treacherous campaign to slander Falun Gong and our respected teacher, Mr. Li Hongzhi. The name of Mr. Li. must be cleared, and the groundless warrant to arrest him withdrawn; he should be allowed to return to see his students in China.
We would like to share a statement made by Mr. Li at the time this persecution began in July 1999:
"We are not against the government of China now, nor will we be in the future. Other people may treat us badly, but we do not treat others badly or treat people as enemies. We are calling for all governments, international organizations, and people of goodwill worldwide to extend their support and assistance to us in order to resolve the present crisis that is taking place in China."
We would also like to thank sincerely all those who have learned about this persecution and offered their assistance. Throughout history, great teachers have shared with us the wisdom that people's actions will have consequences--that doing good is rewarded with good, while doing evil brings retribution. This is an unchanging principle of heaven and earth.
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